CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Target Terrorism: The Brewing Storm in Afghanistan
Aired October 2, 2001 - 16:01 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.
ANNOUNCER: The brewing storm in Afghanistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have said that the Taliban must turn over Al-Qaeda. Otherwise, there will be a consequence.
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ANNOUNCER: An even sterner warning from Britain to Afghan rulers sheltering Osama Bin Laden.
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TONY BLAIR, PRIME MINISTER OF GREAT BRITAIN: I say to the Taliban, surrender the terrorists or surrender power. That is your choice.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is the evidence? Where is the proof?
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ANNOUNCER: From the Taliban and their supporters, a renewed demand and continued defiance.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is preparing to leave tonight for the Middle East. There is no word yet on exactly which countries he is going to. The Pentagon says that Rumsfeld will meet with political and military leaders, as the United States moves forward with its war on terrorism.
Now, let's go to my colleague Joie Chen at CNN center. She has a look at some of the day's other developments -- Joie.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Judy, thanks very much. We want to bring our viewers up-to-date on the day's events. President Bush saying today that there is no greater symbol that America is back in business than the reopening of Reagan National Airport. Mr. Bush went there today to announce the airport will resume a limited number of flights on Thursday under much tighter security. Reagan National is the only airport still closed in the after the September 11th attacks because of worries that it is so close to Washington landmarks.
Three weeks to the day after the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were hit, the NATO Secretary General says the Unite States now has presented the alliance with "clear and compelling" evidence that the attacks were directed by Osama Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network.
Supporters of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban held anti-American demonstrations today in the Pakistani city of Quetta, and in the Afghan city of Kandahar. This on the day that British Prime Minister Tony Blair issued one of the toughest warnings yet to the Taliban, along with an emotional condemnation of the terrorists.
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BLAIR: If they could have murdered not 7,000 but 70,000, does anyone doubt they would have done so and rejoiced in it? So there is no compromise possible with such people. There's no meeting of minds, no point of understanding with such terror. Just a choice, defeat it or be defeated by it. And defeat it we must.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: Mr. Blair was speaking to members of his own Labour Party. But given the strength of his words, Judy, you can understand that the words did reach across the pond. Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Joie. Let's get more now on Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's trip to the Middle East. Our National Correspondent Bob Franken is at the Pentagon. Bob?
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We still don't know the itinerary. We get the impression they don't know the itinerary, that in fact it's a work in progress. As a matter of fact, it is entirely possible, we are told, that by the time Secretary Rumsfeld takes off from Washington this evening they will perhaps know the first stop but will still be developing an itinerary and an agenda.
This is going to be for a series of face-to-face consultations in the area. Secretary Rumsfeld is going to be in fact taking a personal message from the president. He's personally representing him, of course. The administration decided it was time for face-to-face meetings.
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TORIE CLARKE, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: It is very strong sign from the administration. The president has asked him to do this. It's a very strong sign of the importance we place on the region and the importance we place on the coalitions. As the secretary and others have said many times, this a very different kind of war, and the coalitions will be very different. (END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKEN: Well, the coalitions, of course, are something still being developed. And there are many who believe that this trip by Secretary Rumsfeld represents that the military planning is far along and it is time now to have these personal consultations with the leaders in the sensitive areas that will be affected by this before the final plans are put into place and military action commences. Judy.
WOODRUFF: bob, what exactly can he do in these face-to-face meetings that they can't do by having some of these people coming to Washington, by talking on the telephone?
FRANKEN: I think that we're talking about parts of the world where there are very extreme sensitivities. The fact that the administration reaches out as opposed to beckoning somebody to come to Washington and is there in person for the kind of face-to-face negotiations that might be required is considered a plus. It also seems to be signal that the United States -- a signal perhaps to the Taliban -- that the United States is in the final stages of its military planning, and that the words "there's no room left for negotiation" take on added meaning when the Secretary of Defense himself visits the region.
WOODRUFF: Bob Franken reporting from the Pentagon.
Now let's check in with the White House about Rumsfeld's trip and about the president's reaction to today's forceful speech by the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Here is our White House correspondent Kelly Wallace. Kelly.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Judy, when reporters asked Ari Fleischer, President Bush's spokesman, about what kind of message the administration is trying to send by having Defense Secretary Rumsfeld make this trip, as opposed to the nation's top diplomat, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Fleischer responding saying that Secretary Rumsfeld is the appropriate person to make the trip.
Again, just following up from what Bob said, the only information we are getting is that he will be going to share information and continue consultations with U.S. allies.
A short time ago we did see President Bush. He was walking out of a meeting with White House Chief of Staff Andy Card, the president dropping off at a meeting today at the staff level of the National Security Council.
Judy, we know that the White House is saying it welcomes the comments of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. But we also know that the administration not going as far as Tony Blair did. We heard the British Prime Minister telling the Taliban if those leaders do not adhere to U.S. demands they basically should either surrender terrorists or surrender their power.
As we know, the administration walking a delicate diplomatic dance, not stating publicly that one of its goals here would be removing the Taliban regime. Instead, as we heard the president earlier today, he says there is no timetable here. But he said that the Taliban must adhere to his demands. That means turning over suspected terrorist Osama Bin Laden, any other associates of the Al- Qaeda network, and shutting down those terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. Or if they don't do that, Mr. Bush says they will face the consequences.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: There's no negotiations. There's no calendar. We will act on our time, and we will do it in a manner that not only secures the United States as best as possible, but makes freedom in the world more likely to exist in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Also, Judy, the White House responding very quickly to comments from Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan complaining that the United States providing evidence to other countries and that it should provide evidence to the Taliban. And if the U.S. did that, then perhaps Taliban leaders would open up negotiations over suspected terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Ari Fleischer saying the U.S. not responding to complaints from the Taliban. Judy, back to you.
WOODRUFF: Kelly Wallace reporting from the White House.
Many people have been trying to read between the lines of Prime Minister Blair's speech, which Kelly just mentioned, looking for clues about those expected military strikes against terrorists. Others are trying to figure out what Blair's tough talk says about him. CNN's Margaret Lowrie reports from London.
BLAIR: Just a choice, defeat it or be defeated by it. And defeat it we must.
MARGARET LOWRIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the prime minister's own words and those of British newspaper headline writers, it would appear the U.S. war on terrorism has been claimed by Britain as its own battle.
BLAIR: The aim will be to eliminate their military hardware, cut off their finances, disrupt their supplies, target their troops -- not civilians.
LOWRIE: Prime Minister Tony Blair seen not just standing shoulder to shoulder with U.S. President George W. Bush, but helping to lead the charge himself. But, analyst say, don't mistake him for political hawk. Rather, he acts out of moral conviction.
BOB JENKINS, POLITICAL ANALYST: Tony Blair is probably the preeminent conviction politician amongst NATO leaders. Which is to say everyone knows that he has a Clintonian pragmatic streak, but he also carries great credibility in European capitols as someone who stands up for what he believes.
LOWRIE: Fighting this, analysts say, is something Tony Blair believes in. In the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, Prime Minister Blair and his wife flew to the States to make clear their support, a gesture welcomed by President Bush.
BUSH: Thank you for coming, friend.
LOWRIE: Friend, indeed. Britain may belong to the European Union, but historically it is seen having a special relationship with the U.S. Analysts say both sides benefit.
JENKINS: There is the risk that he will be viewed as a lap dog of Washington, but he also has the objective of trying to strengthen Britain's role as a bridge between the European Union and United States. That is a role which gives Britain and Tony Blair a lot of leverage within the European Union.
BLAIR: We continue the air campaign. We do not rule out any options.
LOWRIE: Leverage with Washington as well. In Kosovo, Britain was believed influential in helping then-President Clinton change his mind about ground troops. This time, analysts say, Britain expects to have a role in any negotiations over a regime to replace the Taliban should that come to pass. And a seat at the table when allies define and execute other strategic aspects of what will likely be a wide- ranging and lengthy war against terror.
Margaret Lowrie, CNN, London.
WOODRUFF: As the United States and allies like Great Britain try to secure Arab support for the war on terrorism, the Bush administration is thinking about a series of high-profile steps related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We're going to get the latest on that now from our State Department Correspondent Andrea Koppel. Some interesting language coming out of the administration today, Andrea.
ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Judy. Several administration sources have told us that right now there are couple of versions, a couple of drafts, of a major Middle East speech that Secretary Powell will deliver at some point in very near future. He was supposed to deliver it last month at the United Nations General Assembly, but obviously following the events of September 11th, that decision was put on hold.
What is significant about this speech is that for the first time it will address the matter of a Palestinian state, sources telling us that it will clarify the U.S. view on an end result of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, which would be the creation of a Palestinian state.
Secretary Powell was asked about it this afternoon following a meeting with the Indian foreign minister. He said that, quite honestly, this is really nothing new.
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COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: As the president said this morning, there has always been a vision in our thinking, as well as in previous administrations' thinking, that there would be Palestinian state that would exist at the same time that the security of the state of Israel was also recognized, guaranteed and accepted by all parties. That vision is alive and well. We hope it will come about as result of negotiations between the two sides.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO TAPE)
KOPPEL: Judy, the reason why this speech would be significant is that at the moment what the administration is hearing over and over again in meetings with various Arab leaders is that unless and until the United States is able to prove it is very serious about trying bring about an end to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis -- which has been at full throttle for the last year -- their support will be on shaky ground.
The governments themselves, the leaders want to support this international coalition against terrorism. But Arab street, the average man and woman in the Middle East feels so upset, there is so much anger towards the United States and Israel that it feels that the United States doesn't deserve its support. That really is the balancing act Secretary Powell is trying to carry out right now, trying to decide whether or not the time is right to deliver this speech.
Right now, we are told, the timing isn't right with the latest upsurge in violence between Israelis and Palestinians -- and at the same time trying to build this international coalition against the Al Qaeda terrorist network -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right. Andrea Koppel at the State Department.
As the Bush administration grapples with war and terrorism, first lady Laura Bush says the president shares the pain many Americans are experiencing, along with their determination to fight back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: He's very focused. He's very disciplined. I think the American people are seeing that now. He's very resolved. He's very compassionate. He really does empathize -- I mean, all of us, every American can grieve with the families who directly lost someone in this. We can grieve for that, and we can also grieve for a loss of innocence that we have as a country, that feeling of -- that we always thought we weren't really vulnerable. All of those things, I think we all grieve for together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: That clip was from an interview with Laura Bush that airs on CNN's "LARRY KING LIVE," tonight at 9:00 eastern.
Just ahead, a Taliban official demands to see the evidence against Osama Bin Laden. We'll have a live report from Pakistan. Also, a U.S. Congressman explains why the U.S. should help Afghan rebel forces fighting the Taliban.
WOODRUFF: The Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan said today that the Taliban want to see evidence of Osama Bin Laden's ties to the terrorist attacks three weeks ago today. For more on the ambassador's comments, and other late developments in the region, I'm joined by CNN's Walter Rodgers in Islamabad. Hello, Walter.
WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Judy. It was as if the Taliban ambassador felt the dogs of war nipping at his heels. He pleaded with the United States and its allies not to declare war on Afghanistan. In a rare news conference, he spoke in English, Ambassador Abdul Salam Zaeef, telling the United States that he wants to negotiate. The problem, of course, is that the Taliban wants to negotiate but the United States has been saying no to negotiations unless and until Osama Bin Laden is turned over. The Taliban ambassador said that is not going to happen. Osama Bin Laden is going to stay in Afghanistan.
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ABDUL SALAM ZAEEF, TALIBAN SPOKESMAN: This is not the new week and this is not the new thing. We want justice. We want justice. We don't want to surrender them without any proof, any evidence. Where is the evidence? Where is the proof? We cannot able to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RODGERS: That demand in this part of the world for proof or evidence linking Osama Bin Laden categorically to the attacks on the United States, it resonates throughout this corner of Islamic world. People here simply do not want to believe that Bin Laden was involved, because they can find it more convenient just to fall back on traditional anti-Americanism here, and see the Americans as villains.
In the Pakistani city of Quetta, along the border with Afghanistan in the southwest, along the border with Afghanistan in the southwest corner of Pakistan, there were considerable demonstrations today. Thousands of Islamist extremists turned out on the street to denounce the United States, its planned attacks on Afghanistan. Also to denounce the government of Pakistan.
That denunciation seemed more an attempt to scare the Pakistani government, to warn them that the Pakistani streets and Muslim fundamentalists have great power there to influence policy, perhaps to try to scare President Musharraf from getting any cozier with the United States or allowing Pakistani bases to be used as launch pads for attacks against Afghanistan. Judy.
WOODRUFF: Walter, we're looking at pictures of these demonstrations today in Quetta. If these turn violent, what might President Musharraf or his government do about them?
RODGERS: Well, these demonstrations should be put in some sort of context. This was one political party, a radical Islamist party with ties to Afghanistan. They do not represent the silent majority of the Pakistani people.
That's not to say there's not much sympathy here for the people of Afghanistan and what they would endure if there was a United States attack on that country. But again, this is not a threat to President Musharraf. He has built a very broad consensus among intellectuals, moderate Islamic clerics and among even journalists in this part of the world, trying to make the case that Pakistan had no choice but side with the United States because the alternative would have been for the United States to join in an alliance with the arch enemy of Pakistan, India and Israel. That would have been horrific in terms of Islamic Pakistani views. Consequently, President Musharraf believes he's got a consensus will hold just as long as the U.S. attack on Afghanistan doesn't go on too long. Judy.
WOODRUFF: Walter Rodgers reporting for us from Islamabad. Walter, good to see you again.
A U.S. congressional delegation has just returned home after meeting in Rome with the exiled Afghan King Mohammad Zahir Shah. White House officials are telling CNN that the United States hopes to use the exiled king as a rallying force to unite the groups opposed to the Taliban. One of the Congressmen who attended those meetings is Republican Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania. He joins me now here in Washington.
Congressman Weldon, do you believe the exiled king would rally, would unite the forces in Afghanistan against the Taliban.
REP. CURT WELDON (R), PENNSYLVANIA: He already has, Judy. We met with him on Sunday morning at his home for an hour and a half prior to meeting with the very leaders of what was the Northern Alliance, what is now the Unified Front. He offered himself and said that he would come back to his country put in place what is called a (UNINTELLIGIBLE), which is an historical tradition in Afghanistan, bringing the leaders of the various tribes together.
That group has three-year plan, led by the king, to establish an interim leader of the country and then a new government that would represent all the various factions. The groups that were there following the meeting with the president, that we met with, that numbered approximately ten of the various regions represents a broad cross-section of Afghans geography and their various tribal groups and leaders. They were united.
WOODRUFF: I hear what you are saying, that they represent a broad cross section, but how can you be so sure that the people of Afghanistan would support the king when he's been out of the country for so long?
WELDON: They're not asking to support the king. They're saying -- first of all, the king belongs to the majority of tribe in Afghanistan that represents 55 percent of their people.
WOODRUFF: The Pashtun.
WELDON: That's exactly right. But also, the king is not asking to be reinstated to his position. In fact, he said this is not ego trip for him. He's offering himself to establish the process brings the very groups together, which is a process inherent in the Afghan culture. The factions that all in the past have been at odds with each other are united that that's the best course for Afghanistan to take. They were solid. There was no split in their unity. And the key thing is, prior to going to Italy, we went to Russia where we met with the Russian leaders. They encouraged us to meet with the king. Russia has never done that before. The Russian leaders encouraged us to meet with the opposition groups.
Turkey. We met with Turkish leaders the following day. They encouraged us, and said this was the best process. I think the president is exactly on the right track. He's building that coalition, and we are gradually putting the Taliban where it should be, shown to be minority group that is misusing the Afghan people.
WOODRUFF: Let me ask you. Last night I happened to be listening to National Public Radio, and they were interviewing people in Afghanistan on this very question. A couple of them said, "Why should we respect this king? He didn't come back to help us when the Russians invaded our country."
WELDON: The king was powerless, first of all, when he was exiled in 1973. He was exiled by one of his relatives. The Communists took over. Even the king acknowledges that Russia is today not a Communist, Soviet nation. It's a different country. Russia is as troubled by Osama bin Laden's presence there as we are. And I think the key
WOODRUFF: But my the point is that he wasn't there to help them in their hour of need 10 years ago.
WELDON: Well, the king is not offering to go in or help or wave a magic wand and solve the problems. What's he's doing is bringing together, according to Afghan tradition, the various tribal lords and leaders to allow them to discuss and deliberate and come up with an interim leader that they all can agree on, a consensus can build on, and then, over a two-year period, put a government into place.
I think that's good for the Afghan people. And coupled with that, America can't go in for the short term. We've got to make sure we give the humanitarian assistance to allow some of the basic problems of poverty and health care to be dealt with at the same time.
WOODRUFF: What about the reaction, Congressman Weldon, of other countries in the region, particularly Pakistan, which has said it doesn't want to see the king come back.
WELDON: Well, I don't know that Pakistan has said that. I have not seen that.
But I can tell you, Turkey thinks that this is a viable direction to go. Turkey is use a unique position. They are very close to Russia. They are very close to just Israel. They are very close to us. They have good ties with Pakistan. Turkey is 99 percent Muslim. Turkey's leaders are out front, saying this is the right process to go.
Turkey has NGOs on the ground in the northern region who are helping the people of Afghanistan. They're operating medical facilities. They're providing food. I happen to think that we should be increasing the amount of funding through Turkish-based NGOs that directly benefit the Afghan people.
WOODRUFF: All right, Representative Curt Weldon, part of a group of a bipartisan group of members of Congress who did visit in Rome with the exiled king of Afghanistan and also met with members of the Northern Alliance.
Congressman, thank you very much.
WELDON: You're welcome.
WOODRUFF: Good to see you.
WELDON: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: And now let's go down to Atlanta and to Joie.
CHEN: Judy, since the attacks three weeks ago today, more than 150,000 tons of debris have been removed from ground zero in New York. Today, special Army teams used remote-controlled rovers with tiny cameras to search deep inside the rubble. The number of people confirmed dead at the site now stands at 344. And according to the New York police, 5,219 others are missing and presumed dead.
Also today, a man who was on the 83rd floor of Tower one during the attack was released from the hospital today. His name is Manu Dhingra. He was burned over 35 percent of his body. And he faces about a year of rehabilitation. Today, he described what happened.
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MANU DHINGRA, WORLD TRADE CENTER SURVIVOR: I turned the corner from the elevator. And suddenly I just heard an explosion. And I was just covered in a ball of fire. I could only imagine that it came from the elevator shafts or something. But at that time, I still remember that in that ball, I was just thinking to myself: Please, God, make it quick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: An incredible story of survival.
We're joined for more on this by CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. You actually met Mr. Dhingra when you were up in New York yourself.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
I saw him four days after this all took place. And I went to the hospital thinking that I would hear stories about how the burns are being treated. And certainly I heard a lot of stories like we just heard now: fireballs cascading through hallways and people just trying to escape at all costs.
He was describing -- and I talked to his burn surgeons, who were all describing temperatures greater than 1,000 degrees in the building. And just for a point of reference, 155 degrees for just one second will give you a third-degree burn, Joie. So you can imagine what 1,000 degree temperatures were doing. And Manu Dhingra here is one of the lucky ones. He was one of the ones who able to get out and actually survive -- at great cost -- but is doing well.
CHEN: When you talk about survival in medical terms, for a physician, is his survival -- to us, it seems remarkable that you can live through that and walk away three weeks later. Is it remarkable to you?
GUPTA: It is remarkable. The physicians, we actually use all sorts of different formulas and equations to try and figure out: How well is he going to do? And one of the things is actually to take his age -- he's 27 years old -- and add that to percentage of his body that was burned, between 35 and 40 percent. And you get about 65-67 percent. And that's the likelihood of death from a burn like that.
So you can imagine, people die from burns often because of infections -- the skin protects the body against infections -- because you can't regulate your body temperature. The skin, being the largest organ of the body, certainly does a lot of those things for you.
CHEN: When you say that he faced a fireball of 1,000 degrees, it is impossible for me to comprehend what 1,000 degrees is. Is there any measurement of what 1,000 degrees would feel like? Would you feel it?
GUPTA: Good question.
And a lot of what you feel initially -- and burn surgeons, again, were telling me about this -- you feel flash burns. And those certainly hurt, first-degree burns that just get your outer layer of skin. You've still got nerve endings there, so those hurt. When you get through a third-degree burn, you are getting your epidermis, your outer layer of skin, and your inner layers of skin. You're getting the nerve endings as well. So a lot of times you won't feel the burns.
He'll feel the flash. And then a lot of time, the burn pain will go away. Certainly your skin might be charred. It might in fact be completely burned and you may not feel it. CHEN: I certainly cannot imagine what the psychological impact is going to be for Mr. Dhingra. But what about his medical, his physical prognosis? What would you expect for him now?
Well, we certainly heard from the doctors today. He is doing well. He's going to get out the hospital. His road is not completely done yet. He's still going to need a lot of rehabilitation. He may need some regrafting to some of the sites that he had grafted already. The grafting involves taking the skin from other parts of body that cover that.
That may be an ongoing process for him for a while. He may also need to take some antibiotics to prevent those infections that we were talking about. So it sounds like he is going to do well. He's still got a bit of road in front of him now.
CHEN: Yes, but he does feel the fortune of making it through this.
CHEN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, from our medical unit, thanks very much for being with us.
And just ahead here: an update on the day's latest developments, and details as well on the president's visit to the soon-to-be- reopened Reagan National Airport.
CHEN: For viewers joining us late here in the afternoon on CNN, we want to get a quick check now of some of the latest developments as the United States and its allies target terrorism.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld heads to the Middle East tonight for talks with military and political leaders in the region. There's no word yet from the Pentagon on which countries Mr. Rumsfeld will visit or how long he'll stay. There was a stern warning issued today from the British prime minister, Tony Blair. He says Afghanistan's Taliban rulers must surrender terrorists, including Osama bin Laden, or surrender their power.
But the Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan is again demanding evidence that bin Laden was involved in the September 11 attacks. And the State Department is warning that it has received information that symbols of American capitalism in Italy might be targeted by terrorists next month.
On what else lies ahead, here is Judy.
WOODRUFF: Well, Joie, here in Washington, members of Congress are continuing to work on the proposed anti-terrorism legislation.
For the latest on that and other developments on Capitol Hill, let's turn to CNN congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl.
Jonathan, I gathered from what the attorney general was saying on the Hill today: some of that legislation running into trouble.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, what we have here really is the first significant break in that bipartisan spirit that has dominated on Capitol Hill since September 11.
Really a remarkable event: The attorney general of the United States comes to TV cameras flanked by Senate Republican leaders saying that Congress is moving too slow on giving him those tools he says he needs to track down terrorists in the United States. And he implied that the problem was foot-dragging on the Democratic side.
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JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I met with Senator Leahy this morning again and expressed to him my deep concern over the pace at which we are making progress. I think it is time for us to be productive on behalf of the American people so that our protection of the American people can in fact be effective.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: Now, Senator Leahy that Ashcroft is referring to, that is Patrick Leahy, the Democratic chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee, the Democratic point man in these negotiations. He came to the cameras afterwards and pointed the finger at the White House, saying that the White House has backed away from previous agreements on this anti-terrorism bill.
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SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: Just now, I asked Vice President Cheney, "Please go back and find a way to solve this problem," ideally to go back to the agreement we had over the weekend, because if we're at that point, we can wrap this matter up just in a matter of hours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: But as Senate Democrats and Republicans fight over this, there's actually significant progress over in the House side of the Capitol. You had the two top members of House Judiciary Committee, Democrat John Conyers and Republican Jim Sensenbrenner, have come together.
These are two people that hardly agree on anything before that committee. They have joined together, have full agreement on an anti- terrorism bill that the administration very much likes. There is one provision, though, Judy, in that House deal that the administration does not like. It is a two-year sunset. What the House bill would do is to say that these extra powers that law enforcement will get to track down terrorists will expire in two years unless the Congress decides to renew them -- Judy. WOODRUFF: Jonathan, a lot of people concerned today about the condition of South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond. Can you bring us up to date on that?
KARL: Yes, I do have some news on that.
We have just learn from Senator Thurmond's office that the senator will be spending the evening at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. They call it a precautionary step. They say that he is alert, that he is doing fine, undergoing a standard battery of tests since he, of course, did have fainting spell.
They say that he maintained consciousness on the floor. But it was a scare this morning, where they thought that he was in significant trouble. There was actually point where somebody tried to take his pulse and had a hard time finding his pulse -- but Strom Thurmond reported to be doing much better. But, again, he is over there at that Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He will be spending the night, his office says, simply as a precautionary measure.
WOODRUFF: All right, well, we certainly wish him well.
Jonathan Karl, thanks very much.
We are waiting now, we're told, at any second now, the man who has become the face of New York City's response to the terror attacks, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, is expected to talk to reporters in New York, part of his daily briefing. And we will go to that just as soon as it gets under way.
But, in the meantime, while we are waiting, let's talk about an event here in Washington today. And that is the last United States airport still closed after the September 11 attacks, we learned today, will soon be back in business.
Our Kathleen Koch is standing by with us -- with more now -- Kathleen, I can't talk. And she is at Reagan National Airport -- hello, Kathleen.
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy.
Well, this airport has literally been stuck in "The Twilight Zone" since the terrorist attacks: no passengers, no skycaps. Even the newspapers on the newsstand downstairs are dated September 11.
Obviously, this airport has remained closed because of very serious security concerns over its close proximity to the nation's capital, to vital buildings there: the White House, the Pentagon, the CIA, Capitol Hill itself. So what President Bush is proposing is that this airport reopen -- back to you.
WOODRUFF: We're interrupting to go to Mayor Giuliani in New York City.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
MAYOR RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK: ... we have received from the people of Illinois. I think many of you who have been here for the last three weeks or down at the World Trade Center will see lots of police officers and firefighters from Chicago in particular, but also from all over Illinois. They've been very generous and very kind and very, very helpful in helping our police. They've actually filled in for our police officers, filled in for our firefighters. And I have to tell you, Governor, for me, seeing that sign when the Yankees first opened in Chicago, "Chicago loves New York," meant a great deal.
(UNKNOWN): Except for baseball.
GIULIANI: Except for baseball. I'm waiting to see "Boston loves New York."
(UNKNOWN): Mayor, thanks.
I just want to take a minute. We came out this morning from Chicago, several of the corporate executives from the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois, to say thanks to you and the governor for the great job that you're doing, not only for your state and your city, but for America. You're exemplary. Your attitude, your decorum, the way you've conducted this thing has been an inspiration to all of us that serve in leadership positions throughout the United States.
We have, I think, increased the flow of traffic between the number one financial center, New York -- and I admitted that to the mayor -- to the governor this morning -- and Chicago, and I think that's what's important. We've got people moving now, traffic at O'Hare Airport is up, more people coming to New York, and I think each day proves that it's safer and good that we get back to normal business.
We ran an ad in the New York Times this morning quoting the great Abraham Lincoln, a native son of Illinois, in his Gettysburg Address, and I think his words are probably about as appropriate as they ever were back in 1863 when he wrote it. This comes from both the mayor of the city of Chicago, who sends his best to you and his thanks for what he does for the people of Chicago and from me and the people of the state of Illinois, along with an Abraham Lincoln bust for you to have on your desk. He was a great leader, and you are a great leader and have done a great job for America.
Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor, for all you do.
GIULIANI: Thank you.
(UNKNOWN): You bet.
GIULIANI: Thank you very much. Thank you. (UNKNOWN): Thank you.
GIULIANI: Please thank Mayor Daley for me also.
(UNKNOWN): I will.
GIULIANI: He's called several times and was very generous in the number of police officers and firefighters that he sent to us. Thank him for me.
I'll give you some of the statistics so I can update you. We're now at 161,387 tons that have been removed. The missing persons list from the police department remains the same, at 5,219. The list at the emergency center has changed somewhat, based on people coming in and checking filings, and they're at 4,392 at the emergency center.
We've had 1,202 applications for death certificates. We've had 1,369 people file just yesterday for food stamps and for emergency funds, which is also a service being provided at the family center.
So I think you get from that a notion that the family center is very, very busy. The people there are doing an absolutely wonderful job, and it's really remarkable how well they are handling the tremendous volume of people with sensitivity, care, concern and assistance.
One of the things that we've put in motion to do so that people understand that this is going to happen, we have asked that an urn be prepared -- we'll show you a replica of it in the next several days -- in which soil from the World Trade Center will be put so that every family can be given something from the World Trade Center -- soil from the World Trade Center.
I make that announcement now because we have found out that some people are trying to sell something from the World Trade Center to families. So no one is going to sell anything from the World Trade Center. We're going to give it to you. So if anybody comes along that wants to sell you something, they are fraudulent, they are deceiving you, and we will provide every single family with an urn made in beautiful wood with soil from the World Trade Center.
And that will be done over the course of the next several weeks. It's might take a little longer than that, but we're in the process of doing it. So don't buy anything from anyone, because they're probably almost definitely defrauding you.
We're making progress in getting some of those buildings open that are in the World Financial Center. Merrill Lynch, for example, now has a scheduled date of being open by October 22. And then the other buildings that are there will take longer, more in the 10, 12 week category, but hopefully we can make that October 22 date for Merrill Lynch and get them started.
Traffic is crowded, but it appears as if our experiment with single-occupancy vehicles, banning them, is working. Here is a chart that shows that the Queensboro Bridge traffic is down 33 percent, Manhattan Bridge is down 38 percent from an average day, west-bound Williamsburg is down 10 percent, and traffic volume on the Brooklyn Bridge is down 64 percent. And here is the map that shows the backup on Queens Boulevard has been substantially lessened, although it's increased somewhat in the last two days.
And it appears as if, from the point of view of businesses and schools, that we're roughly back to an average day. The schools, I think, we at 87 or 88 percent today, so that's roughly what they normally are. And businesses appear to be back to their normal volume.
So we'll continue, again, with the ban on single-occupancy vehicles coming in from 63rd Street South. But at least the first three days in which we've done it, it appears to have a very, very beneficial affect.
The Brooklyn Ferry also has become quite popular; maybe, that'll become a permanent thing. And I'm asked to announce that it's going to run on Columbus Day, because Columbus Day is, for a lot of people, a work day, and there was some confusion about that.
We are very, very pleased with the bond sale. It was our most successful ever. We're oversubscribed by four times. That means we have $4 billion offered for $1 billion worth of bonds, so we should go out and get the other $3 billion now, Joe. We don't want to leave that $3 billion on the table, right?
And as a result of that, we were able to sell the bonds very, very quickly and it's our most successful note sale that we've ever had. And I attribute that to two things: I think people's willingness to want to make a statement that they support New York, but also the fact that I think that they realized that the economy and the economy of New York is a very, very solid one, and very, very strong one.
I also want to thank Delta Air Lines again. I held a press conference with them earlier today. They've offered 10,000 free rides to New York City, which they are going to be offering all over the country, through radio advertising and television advertising. And I think it's just a wonderful way to make a statement about the fact that terrorists can't stop us or terrorists can't hinder us from doing what we want by coming to New York City.
You might want to come, like the governor has, he's going to go see the Yankee-Chicago game tonight. Do you think they have a chance tonight? I don't think so.
GIULIANI: We're warming up for the playoffs.
And I have with me one of the most distinguished citizens in the United States and one of our most distinguished Yankee fans, Henry Kissinger.
Dr. Kissinger, do you want to say a few words? (APPLAUSE)
HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Mr. Mayor, all I want to say is I was in Europe when this tragedy occurred, and to see what courage you gave to the people of New York and to the people of this country made one proud to be an American.
Of course, as fellow Yankee fans, I admired him -- I admired the mayor before September 11.
But I was at a dinner with him the other day where he said he holds a parade even if the Yankees lose.
But I really want to thank you, Mr. Mayor, on behalf of -- as a resident of New York and as somebody who is deeply concerned about the impact of these events that you showed what courage and dedication and patriotism can do, and you showed that our people is going to overcome this difficulty, and that those who did this will be sorry they ever tangled with us.
GIULIANI: Thank you.
KISSINGER: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger joining New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani there talking to the press.
I would say the most interesting, important comment we heard from the mayor, just briefly, is that the city of New York will provide a wooden urn to each family that lost someone in the World Trade Center, with some of the remains of the building, the soil under the World Trade Center. And he spoke of people who are trying to sell this sort of thing, unbelievably. But he said: We are going to give it to you.
And he said this will happen in the days ahead.
Our coverage of "America's New War" continues after this.
WOODRUFF: As the United States mobilizes for the war on terrorism, many Americans are expecting and wanting the government to respond in a big way.
Our Bill Schneider is here now with a look at the way the public views the government -- Bill.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Judy, you know, a conservative activist recently said: "Wars are nasty things. They make governments grow."
Well, after years of retrenchment, could it be that the era of small governments is over?
(voice-over): It sure looks like big government is back. The lockbox has been opened. And deficit spending is back.
SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: Well, I'm afraid we were already a bit into deficit spending if you consider the use of any of the Social Security surplus as deficit spending, which we all made a promise we would not do.
SCHNEIDER: Plus a big new government agency ,the Office of Homeland Security, headed by a new Cabinet-level official, Tom Ridge, and big new government powers.
ASHCROFT: Our risks go up. And that is what has given me such a sense of urgency about the legislation which we need to pass to give us the tools to curtail terrorism.
SCHNEIDER: The government has acted to bail out the airlines and expand federal authority.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will work with Congress to put the federal government in charge of passenger and bag screening and all safety inspections.
SCHNEIDER: When President Clinton proposed an economic stimulus package back in 1993, he got clobbered for it. And now?
BUSH: I'm confident we can work with Congress to come up with an economic stimulus package, if need be, that will send a clear signal to the risk-takers and capital formatters of our country that the government is going to act, too.
SCHNEIDER: The public's trust in government collapsed in the 1960s and '70s. While it rebounded a bit during the good economic times of the mid-'80s and mid-'90s, it never got back to where it was before the Vietnam War -- until now.
The latest "Washington Post" poll shows the public's trust in government surging to its highest level in 35 years.
CROWD: USA! USA! USA!
SCHNEIDER: What's happening now is a rally effect: a sudden burst of faith in everything that symbolizes America, including the federal government, which is odd, because the September 11 attacks could be seen as a failure of government.
But Americans are not in the mood for recriminations. People are expressing confidence in government for a simple reason: They have to. It's matter of life and death -- and another reason: Politics has been suspended, a mood of warm bipartisanship has engulfed Washington, even in the most unlikely places.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: And I want to thank the president, who came through for us.
SCHNEIDER: A lot of Americans believe that if you get rid of politics, governments will work just fine -- like now.
WOODRUFF: So, Bill, people liking government more, wanting more government, is that the same as liking Democrats more, liking liberalism more?
SCHNEIDER: Well, there's really no evidence that liberals, the left, Democrats are doing that much better. For one thing, Congressional Democrats have put aside their wish list, like a patient's bill of rights or prescription drug coverage for the elderly because the war terrorism is crowding and filling the agenda.
It's also clear that it's not really helping Democrats very much, because it's helping incumbents. People want security, not change, at a time of crisis.
WOODRUFF: Even if they're Republicans who previously didn't like a lot of government.
SCHNEIDER: That's right.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, thanks very much.
I'm Judy Woodruff and CNN's coverage continues now with Bill Hemmer in New York and Joie Chen at the CNN center in Atlanta.
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