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Target: Terrorism - Rumsfeld Visits Mideast; Bush Visits New York; Giuliani Confident That New York City is Moving Forward

Aired October 3, 2001 - 07:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Forging a coalition to fight terrorism -- at this hour Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is headed for the Middle East and Central Asia. And in Israel today, Palestinian gunmen kill two Israelis and Israel's army attacks in return. Just ahead, we'll ask former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his reaction.

Good morning, everybody. We made it to the middle of the week here. It is Wednesday, October 3. From New York, I'm Paula Zahn -- good morning, Miles.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Miles O'Brien. Busy morning ahead. You have the secretary of defense on his way to the Middle East, the president headed here, Rudy Giuliani coming up in just a minute.

ZAHN: And Benjamin Netanyahu as well. All that in the first half hour.

O'BRIEN: Busy morning.

ZAHN: We're going to get to some of that.

Right now, it's time to bring you up to date on some of the latest changes as America and its allies target terrorism. As Miles just said, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld will hold talks with political and military leaders during his three day diplomatic mission. That comes as the Taliban's supreme leader issues a warning on radio to Afghans -- oppose the Taliban, he says, and face death.

And at the site of the towers' destruction, the grim recovery of more bodies. Among them, several more firefighters.

O'BRIEN: Now let's get details on what Secretary Rumsfeld expects as he heads to the region.

Our Jeanne Meserve is in Washington with more on this diplomatic mission -- good morning, Jeanne.


Secretary Rumsfeld will be meeting with both political and military leaders as he travels through the region, hoping to solidify old relationships and in the case of Uzbekistan, to build a new one. He left last night from Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington for this trip and spoke to reporters on board the plane, saying what he wants most from allies in the region is intelligence.

Rumsfeld said, and this is a quote, "I really believe that before it's over, it's not going to be a cruise missile or a bomber that is going to be the determining factor. It is going to be a scrap of information from some person."

Rumsfeld also hinted that the U.S. does have clues as to the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. He said, "I have a little bit of a handle, but I do not have," he said, "coordinates."

Rumsfeld's stops on this trip include Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt and Uzbekistan. In Egypt, Rumsfeld hopes to meet with U.S. troops who are on exercises there. In Saudi Arabia, Rumsfeld said, he will not be making any specific requests for military assistance, the U.S. very sensitive to the political situation that some of the Middle Eastern countries find themselves in. However, it is critical to the U.S. war against anti-terrorism that they do have signs of support amongst the Muslim countries. Of course, the U.S. already has a substantial military presence in Saudi Arabia and in the region right now, Miles, 30,000 American troops and two aircraft carrier battle groups -- back to you.

O'BRIEN: CNN's Jeanne Meserve at the Pentagon, thank you very much -- Paula.

ZAHN: And President Bush is coming here to New York today to talk with business leaders about what the government can do to revive both the local and national economy. He also will visit with first graders at P.S. 130, one of the public schools not far from that area, and have lunch with Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Major Garrett has more from the White House for us -- good morning, Major.


This presidential trip is really meant to deal with two of the many traumas affecting the country and New York City in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. One is, of course, economic. The president wants to sit down with those 30 business leaders and get their ideas about what the government can do to increase demand not only for businesses to buy and invest in new products, but for consumers to also purchase more products.

It's a tricky proposition and the senior Bush economic advisers are unsure exactly how to proceed. The president is in a consultive mood on this point. He wants to find out from people who are on the front lines in the business community what the government can do to help them.

On the emotional side of the equation, that's tonight other trauma. The president will, as you said, meet with children at P.S. 130, first graders, to talk to them and listen to them about their reaction to the events of September 11, something the first lady has said is very important. Educators, leaders, parents all need to sit with their children, let them talk, let them explain what they're thinking, what they're fearing, what are some of the emotional effects this trauma, this tragedy has had on them. The president will do that.

In some small way, Paula, that at least brings full circle one thread of this story. You'll recall on September 11 when the president heard the most devastating news, that the second tower had been hit by a second commercial airliner, he was sitting with children in Sarasota, Florida, teaching them to read -- Paula.

ZAHN: So let's talk a little bit more about the challenge of some -- coming to some kind of agreement with Congress on an economic stimulus package. Any ideas of where the battle lines are drawn and where there's room for compromise?

GARRETT: Well, the central idea the president expressed yesterday, and it's an important one, is he wants the package large enough to actually help the economy but not so large in dollar terms that it creates real deficits here in Washington, deficits that could raise long-term interest rates. And that's not going to be easy.

Among the things the White House and Congress are seriously talking about are accelerating depreciation schedules for businesses so they can write off the costs of things they've already purchased so they'll go out and purchase more. Also do things possibly to accelerate the Bush tax cut that's already in place, move that to consumers faster so they have more money. But also there'll be a good deal of government spending on infrastructure -- highways and bridges, railroads, things that put real money in the economy even faster.

Right now those are the key ideas. There's a lot of negotiating that needs to go on, though -- Paula.

ZAHN: All right, Major, thanks for that update. We'll see you a little bit later on this morning -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Let's go overseas now to Pakistan, the last diplomatic window on Afghanistan.

Our Walter Rodgers is in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad -- Walter, it seems to me that it is conspicuous in its absence that Pakistan is not on Secretary Rumsfeld's itinerary.

WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's a very shrewd observation, Miles. It is very interesting.

Let me begin by saying that Britain's prime minister, Tony Blair, however, is coming to Pakistan on Friday and we've already, of course, reported that Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld is on his way to the Middle East and Central Asia. All that attests to the fragility of the situation in this part of the world.

Pakistan, for example, it was hoped that the United States would originally be allowed to use some Pakistani air bases to launch attacks against Afghanistan if it, indeed, came to that. That request has now apparently been scaled down, the United States concerned about anything that might destabilize the regime of President Pervez Musharraf here. The United States apparently now will only be using Pakistani air bases for refueling, apparently not launching any attacks against Afghanistan from this corner of this part of South Asia.

Also, the United States may be able to launch some special ops operations from here.

Again, the United States wants nothing that would destabilize its newfound friend, President Musharraf, here in Pakistan.

Rumsfeld going to, going particularly to Saudi Arabia to smooth out what have been called bumps in the road. You'll recall the Saudis were very slow to come aboard with the United States coalition. The United States has a major state of the art command center at the King Fahd Air Base in southern Saudi Arabia. By the way, the bin Laden family, the bin Laden construction family built that U.S. command center there.

Again, it took a good deal of negotiations just to get the Saudis to agree to let the United States use that.

You have to remember that this is an extraordinarily difficult part of the world for the United States to work in because the radical Islamist leaders are casting this as a coming battle between Islam and the United States. President Bush, of course, denies that. People, many people in this part of the world simply do not believe it.

There were demonstrations in Karachi, Pakistan last night. Not many people, but again, it hinted in the southern port city of Karachi at the instability, the volatility on the Islamic streets here. People simply do not want to believe that Osama bin Laden is guilty of the crimes the United States believes he's guilty of.

I spoke with an Islamic cleric earlier today and he said the United States has no evidence. I pointed out reports that we carried on CNN that, in fact, there was evidence to suggest that some of the kamikaze hijackers responsible for the terror attacks in the United States had trained in Afghanistan. The Islamic cleric here simply dismissed it as fabrication. They simply don't want to believe the United States has evidence even when reasonably credible evidence is presented to them -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Walter, when you get to the bottom line of all of that, it seems to me that when you look at the geography and the political situation in the region, Pentagon and military planners are looking awfully closely north of Afghanistan to places like Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, which not too long ago would have been out of the question given the fact that that's sort of a Russian sphere of influence.

What, it's just hard to imagine at this juncture that there'll be a huge U.S. presence in Uzbekistan, but there you have it, huh?

RODGERS: Well, you're talking to an old Soviet hand here and it still boggles the mind. But you have to remember Uzbekistan has an 80 mile border that it shares with Afghanistan and these would not be the first Americans in there. There has been a joint Uzbeki mission there, a collaboration on drug interdiction, on anti-terror training, the U.S. helping the Uzbeks train their people to stop an Islamist, a ridiculous Islamist revolt in that part of the world.

Also, the United States is very, very interested in that border between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan simply because there is a great fear that some former Soviet nuclear material might have been smuggled into Afghanistan and that's why the U.S. presence in Uzbekistan isn't really that new -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Walter Rodgers is Islamabad, Pakistan, thanks very much for your insights -- Paula.

ZAHN: We have some breaking news now to report out of Tennessee this morning. The Associated Press is confirming that a Greyhound bus crashed in Tennessee after a passenger slits the throat of a driver. We can't even tell you where this has happened in Tennessee this morning and we can't tell you how many people were on board the bus. But we felt that was important to bring it to you. As soon as we have more information available we will bring it to you.

O'BRIEN: All right, coming up, a man who was on the 83rd floor of one of the World Trade towers when tragedy struck.


MUNA DHINGRA: All of a sudden as I'm walking in the hallway I hear a door explode and just this big ball of fire just engulfed me. I just froze. I didn't do anything. I just stood there.


O'BRIEN: That's quite a story.

Also ahead, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on his continuing efforts to get the Big Apple back to normal. And then, an up close look at some of the spy planes the U.S. is using to target terrorism. We're back in just a moment. Stay with us.


O'BRIEN: All right, we have some breaking news here at CNN. Just to recap what Paula was stalking about just a few moments ago, a little bit earlier this morning a Greyhound bus ran through a median in Manchester, Tennessee. Vanderbilt Medical Center is saying 10 people have been killed in this incident. There are reports that someone on board that Greyhound bus slit the throat of the driver.

The victims are being airlifted to hospitals by helicopters. We are tracking this as best we can. We will keep you up to date. Just to recap, a Greyhound bus crashed going through a median, apparently, according to authorities, after someone slit the throat of the driver. Reports of at least 10 fatalities. We're tracking that and watching it closely. We'll keep you up to date. Moving on now, a New York man burned badly in the World Trade Center attacks has gone home from the hospital, but he faces a long road to recovery, physical and psychological.

We get details from our medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


Yes, well, this is a feel good story amidst all that's been going on lately. And I had a chance actually to interview Mona Dhingra, a securities broker at the World Trade Center. He was in his office in the World Trade Center on the 83rd floor on September 11.


DHINGRA: All of a sudden as I'm walking in the hallway I hear a door explode and just this big ball of fire just engulfed me. I just froze. I didn't do anything. I just stood there.


GUPTA: He was a survivor, but he was a survivor at an incredible cost.


DHINGRA: I ran into my office screaming, "I'm burnt! I'm burnt! There's a bomb. Bomb."


GUPTA: And what he's saying there if you can't make it out is that he was burned and burned. In fact, he sustained burns over nearly 40 percent of his body. Not surprising, as the temperatures in that building probably got above 1,000 degrees.

Well, he was able to surpass nearly insurmountable obstacles and yesterday Muna was released from Weill-Cornell Medical Facility.

It looks like he's going home and he will heal well from his burns. But I guess nobody can fully heal, probably, from what they've seen and experienced.


DHINGRA: Everybody over here has been so upbeat and they're all happy about me leaving. And I have been very happy about, I'm very happy about leaving also. But at the same time, I just, I have such deep sorrow that, you know, that this is happening and I really, I don't know why I don't feel that I deserve this. I don't know why I don't deserve the second chance. But I have it so I have to make the best of it and I will.


GUPTA: And just a really remarkable transformation there. You can see what he looked like before, just four days after the tragedy, and yesterday as he's leaving the hospital. He talked a lot about second chances, talked a lot about some of the guilt that he's experiencing as he is one of the survivors of that great tragedy. So we wish him well -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: All right, Dr. Gupta. If he were your patient, what would you prescribe for him long range for, you know, his psychological well being?

GUPTA: Right. Well, certainly he is experiencing something that is well known, a condition of survivor's guilt. He's alluded to that a couple of times when I talked to him in the hospital. It sort of ranges from, you know, I'm not sure why I was the one who survived to all the way to the ones who died were lucky, and that's because of all the guilt and the nightmares and the memories of all that happened to him.

I think the important thing, Miles, is to know that there is a good first diagnosis of this thing known as survivor's guilt and post- traumatic stress and there's good treatment available. The things that, those sorts of things are available to all sorts of people, not only the people that were in the building that survived, but really people all around the nation.

We sawn an outpouring of compassion, sympathy, blood donors, volunteers, things like that. The guilt and the compassion and all that can be channeled into good things, but it's important to know that if it gets to be a problem that there is good help available.

O'BRIEN: Well, and also it's not just counseling. There are some drugs available for people who are coping with post-traumatic stress?

GUPTA: Right. And I think that's a good point. And certainly one of the issues is self-medication versus actually seeing someone first before trying those medications. And they certainly advocate the latter. There are good treatments available both through medications and through counseling. But the first step would actually be seeing somebody who can make the diagnosis and prescribe the right therapy.

O'BRIEN: Let me ask kind of a hard question here. When you talk about survivor guilt, is it harder for people who weren't injured at all as opposed to those who are suffering with injuries, as this gentleman is?

GUPTA: You know, we've learned so much about this over the -- from previous wars, previous tragedies here in this country, all sorts of different things. It is a tough question. I certainly think it probably affects everybody a little bit differently. The manifestations can be quite severe, Miles. It can be depression, lack of eating, divorce. It could be things even ranging to suicide. But certainly if the symptoms are, you start to feel those or if someone recognizes those in somebody else, the first step would be to allow yourself to grieve, allow yourself to actually get through the process. Do it at your own timetable. And if it continues or if it gets to be too much, then certainly go ahead and seek help.

O'BRIEN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you very much for giving us a little house call this morning. We appreciate it.

We're going to take a break. When we come back, among the many things we are tracking, we have that Greyhound bus crash in Tennessee. Perhaps as many as 10 fatalities after apparently a passenger slit the throat of a driver. We're tracking that story.

And coming up shortly, an interview with Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Stay with us.


O'BRIEN: First Lady Laura Bush says the September 11 attacks have helped Americans realize how strong and unified the country is. Mrs. Bush was a guest on CNN's "LARRY KING" last night. She talked about the need for Americans to try and continue with their daily lives.


LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I mean, you know, I understand why people are frightened. I certainly understand that. We all do. But at the same time, we don't want our lives to be totally disrupted from what was normal by a terrorist act. And I think people when they think about it rationally and use common sense, can will realize that they can go about their daily lives in a very normal way.

LARRY KING, HOST: How well is the media doing?

BUSH: I think the media is doing well. I thought, especially at the first, the media was really very good about not sensationalizing the lives of the people who were lost and giving the people who were grieving, their loved ones, the survivors, a chance to grieve with some privacy.

I'll tell you one thing that has been so consoling to me, and that is these survivors, Lisa Beamer and other people that I've seen on television

KING: Boy, we've had her on.

BUSH: who are so

KING: We're having her on again Friday.

BUSH: so terrific.

KING: Amazing.

BUSH: And they literally consoled the country. And their strength, I think, strengthens us. I've seen so many people on television who lost someone they loved and their lives were changed forever. And their children's lives were changed forever. But they still -- their strength comforts us.

KING: Ted Olson. Amazing.

BUSH: Ted Olson is one, for sure.

KING: Does that surprise you, the way people have acted?

BUSH: I guess it does surprise me. And then I don't know why I'm surprised because I know how great Americans are. That's one thing I got to know when I got to campaign for my husband around the country.

But I also think they are strengthened because they know that all of America prayed for them and that everybody in America grieves with them. And so I guess it's sort of a mutual strength.


O'BRIEN: Mrs. Bush says the crisis has been a strain on the president, but she says he has handled it well.

Three weeks after the attacks on the U.S., more Americans are getting back in the air and on the road. That's according to a survey by AAA's Auto Club South. During the week of the attacks, the overall travel business was down to roughly half of what it was a year earlier. Two weeks after the attack, air travel showed strong recovery and is now down 10 percent. It rebounded from a 40 percent drop during the week of September 11.

The survey also found more people driving two weeks after the attack. AAA's Auto Club South covers Florida, Georgia and parts of Tennessee.

ZAHN: President Bush is heading to New York today, where he will talk to business leaders about the ailing economy here and have lunch with Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

And the mayor joins me now with more on the city's ongoing recovery from the tragedy of September 11. Good to have you with us this morning, sir. MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK CITY: It's nice to be you.

ZAHN: Thank you.

So what are you going to ask the president for today?

GIULIANI: I'm just going to thank the president for the support that he's given us. There's no reason to ask the president for anything. He's given us everything we've wanted. He's anticipated, his administration is in constant communication with us, asking us what they can do, how they can help. The governor and I have complete and open access with the White House and the president. So this is really to help us more than anything else, to come here and talk about the economy, talk to our business leaders and talk about the plan for the continued recovery of the economy because it's really bounced back pretty significantly in the last week.

And also, he's going to visit with some firefighters and have lunch with them and I mean it's really him coming to us and bolstering everything up, which is what the president does so well.

ZAHN: But this is coming at a time when the city's projected budget gap has more than doubled and then there is word in the "New York Times" that you're going to have to start curtailing spending in many different departments. Are you going to ask the president for more money today?

GIULIANI: When we made the original request, we made it clear that that was just a beginning. In other words, that that was just a small percentage of what would be needed for the overall recovery. And we don't, we have been, we've had like four or five meetings in the White House already going over all this.

So it really isn't necessary to ask the president. I mean the president understands that this is going to be a very, very expensive thing to bring the city back. But it's the core of the American economy and in order to make sure that it recovers properly, it's going to require federal help, state help and city help.

But I would not, you know, I read some of those articles earlier this morning and they've got to -- they've got to kind of balance the doom and gloom a little. I mean the reality is the economy of this city is very strong. It's very vibrant. We need help, but America needs help right now and we're going to get through this. People should lift their eyes up a little bit, not have them, you know, kind of down so much.

ZAHN: But at the same time, you're having to spend some $40 million to encourage tourists to come back into the city...

GIULIANI: Forty...

ZAHN: ... to spend, spend, spend. Did we get that number right? $40 million, right?

GIULIANI: Yes, $40 -- well, that's -- the city isn't spending that. No, no, no, no, no. The city isn't spending $40 million. Those are all private groups that are spending that money on encouraging people to come back. The city's portion of that, I don't know, maybe it's a couple of million. I mean it's not, the city is not spending $40 million on advertising.

ZAHN: But explain to the American public testifying even though -- or today, even though you said that the economy has bounced back a little in the last week, just how desperate some of the hotels are in town and all of those services related to the tourist industry.

GIULIANI: Nobody's desperate. Nobody's desperate. Nobody's desperate.

ZAHN: Ten percent occupancy is not great, is it, Mr. Mayor? GIULIANI: Don't use that word. Bad word, desperate, doom, gloom, all of this. It's, that may be the very reason why the economy is having a little bit of trouble coming back, because everybody is in this doom and gloom mode. The reality is that the hotels are about 70 to 80 percent of what they were last year at this time. I think that's a significant bounce back compared to what people thought was possible three weeks ago.

I was on Times Square on Saturday and there were lots of people there and here's the point, I think, to make to people. If you want to show that we can stand up to these terrorists, that they can't frighten us, they can't affect us, that Americans are just too tough to be affected by that, well, then come to New York and make that point. Come here. Come here and enjoy it. Great restaurants. The best plays in the world. We've got a team headed for the play-offs and we've got great sports. So you come to New York and make that point.

There must have been at least a hundred people on Times Square who came up to me and said I'm from Oklahoma or I'm from Los Angeles, I'm from Chicago, I'm from Seattle. I'm in New York to make a point. And I knew the point they were making. So I think that'd be a great thing. And that would get the economy right back to where it should be.

ZAHN: I wanted to talk about you for a moment, very quickly. A Quinnipiac poll came out showing that your popularity now rests at 90 percent, although voters seem to be divided on the notion of allowing for legislation to let you run a third time around. Have you come to any conclusions?

GIULIANI: Have I come to any conclusions on what to do?

ZAHN: Whether you'll attempt to run again?

GIULIANI: I'm going to do whatever the legislative leaders think is the right thing to do. So really this isn't just my decision. If it's helpful to have a longer transition and it assists in making sure that this is a seamless transition of probably the most complex thing the city has gone through, then I'm willing to do that. So I don't want to support that. I'm obviously not going to push that. My desire is to try to unify the city, not create a source of division.

ZAHN: So if the mayoral thing doesn't work out, how about running the Port Authority? There's a lot of talk about you'll possibly be giving that a shot.

GIULIANI: I haven't focused on a next job yet. It's been, it's been a full time and more than full time job focusing on the day to day recovery, relief, making decisions about how we recover as many people as possible, making decisions about how to readjust the budget and then every day going to funerals and wakes, in some cases for personal friends. So that's really been the focus of my attention, not the next job or the political stuff, which almost seems insignificant right now. ZAHN: Yes, I think it's been very painful for the nation to watch you as you've gone about the business of trying to provide comfort to families.

Mayor Giuliani, thank you so much for your time this morning.

GIULIANI: Thank you very much.

ZAHN: Appreciate your being with us.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

ZAHN: And the mayor will also appear on "LARRY KING LIVE" tonight at 9:00 Eastern, 6:00 Pacific time.

Now a quick break. When we come back, I will talk to former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.





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