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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Target: Terrorism - U.S. To Show Evidence Linking bin Laden To Attacks

Aired October 2, 2001 - 05:01   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We begin our coverage this morning in Islamabad, Pakistan, where CNN's Tom Mintier has word of a key U.S.- Pakistan meeting. Tom, good morning.

TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Leon.

A piece of that puzzle was put into place today. Pakistan has always said they wanted to see or hear the evidence linking Osama bin Laden with the attacks on New York and Washington. Well, today they got it. The U.S. ambassador, Wendy Chamberlain, had a one and a half hour meeting with President Musharraf, a meeting that basically outlined where the investigation has gone to date. In other words, a current update from the U.S. ambassador. It was described to me by a U.S. Embassy official as an oral briefing, basically telling him what the United States had as far as evidence was concerned.

The meeting, that lasted an hour and a half, also, according to the U.S. Embassy, covered a wide range of other issues. But they were clear to point out that the president of Pakistan had, indeed, been briefed by the U.S. ambassador, Wendy Chamberlain, in an hour and a half meeting. Now, to other wide range of issues may be Pakistan's support for the United States. They have always promised that they were going to allow their air space to be used, they were going to provide intelligence and logistical support. Just what that logistical support would be has never been answered clearly, even in our interview with the president.

So, we'll have to wait and see now, but the evidence has been presented in an oral presentation by the U.S. ambassador to the president of Pakistan, something since the very beginning they have been asking for.

HARRIS: Well, Tom, any sense at all or any word on whether or not either the president or the ambassador to the U.S. is going to be speaking to the press at all today?

MINTIER: Well, it's doubtful. You know, I have a standing request for an interview with the American ambassador here and they told me that that had not been approved yet. So we're still waiting. I doubt if either will meet the press.

This was a very well guarded secret meeting, basically that we have been trying all day to confirm, because we knew that the State Department was going to send out these cables to their embassies of allies and then Pakistan was listed as a special case where the briefing would, indeed, be by the ambassador herself to the president.

So we can confirm that that meeting has taken place. The oral presentation of the evidence the United States has, has been presented to President Musharraf himself.

HARRIS: OK, now we know that President Musharraf has been waiting for this evidence for some time. Now that he does have it, what do you know is the plan for the next step there in Pakistan?

MINTIER: Well, what the next step is, the president has basically promised his unstinted support to the United States in their war on terrorism. Domestically, he has some issues because as we saw today in Quetta, there are rather large anti-American demonstrations going on. What he may do with this information really hard to say. I doubt if he could call the newspaper editors in and tell them points one, two, three, four, five, this is what the American investigation is dealing with, because this was done very, very quietly by the American ambassador and done face to face. So it's doubtful that any of the details of the investigation that was provided to Pakistan will be appearing in the local papers at all.

HARRIS: OK, understood. We understand that. But I'm sure you understand that we are just chomping at the bit ourselves and trying to find out any little nugget we can on that.

Now, let's change topics if we can for a second, Tom. What have you learned about the refugee situation in the past 24 hours? Has anything changed or has it gotten as bad as the U.N. is predicting it's getting?

MINTIER: Well, I think it won't get as bad as the U.N. is predicting it is going to get unless there is military action inside Afghanistan. People have made their way out of the cities, basically taking all the money they have, and to pay someone in a truck or a car to drive them to the border area. In many instances, they get out maybe 10 or 15 miles from the border and walk across a mountain pass to get into Pakistan.

According to the Pakistani officials, 10,000 to 15,000 people have done that. Their two borders are still officially closed and there's really not a major massing of people on the Afghanistan side.

If, indeed, there are air strikes, if, indeed, there is military action, then those numbers are expected to swell. And the humanitarian officials are constantly asking Pakistan if that does happen if they would open their borders to allow refugees to stream across safely. So we'll have to wait and see.

HARRIS: Yes, definitely.

Tom Mintier in Islamabad this morning, thank you. We'll talk with you later on this hour and next hour.

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