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America Strikes Back: White House Taking Protests in Stride

Aired October 9, 2001 - 05:40   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.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: So let's check in with Kelly Wallace at the White House this morning for the latest on how support is holding up for the United States.

Kelly, protests in the Philippines, in Gaza, in southern Pakistan, what is the reaction from the White House?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well exactly, Carol, protests throughout the Middle East and South Asia. You know the White House saying there were protests before September 11, attacks before the military strikes against Afghanistan and that protests will certainly continue, but this is another sign of just how difficult it will be to hold this international coalition against terrorism together.

Now starting on Tuesday, President Bush sits down with a very, very strong supporter in this coalition. He'll be talking with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Germany is one of a handful of countries that has offered to provide military troops to any later part of this military campaign. The Germans are also providing intelligence information in helping with the investigation as some of the suspected hijackers did spend time studying in Germany.

But another very big concern, the situation in Pakistan. On Tuesday, today, we saw more protests in Karachi. You saw people carrying posters of suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden, other people burning the American flag. Now White House officials believe that Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf has the situation under control. Still, Secretary of State Colin Powell will be traveling to that country later this week to make sure the country remains stable.

And then there is the concern that many countries with very large Muslim populations have remained silent so far about the U.S.-led military campaign, but the Bush White House is putting an optimistic face forward saying silent support is just fine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has been gratified by the support he is receiving around the world, including nations in the Middle East, and that continues to be the case. That's the message that the president, the vice president, the secretary of state have been hearing in the phone calls that they have been making. QUESTION: Have they been hearing it privately?

FLEISCHER: They've been receiving that message, yes. And so...

QUESTION: Is there any concern that's not been expressed publicly?

FLEISCHER: No, there's no concern about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: And in another development, CNN has learned that President Bush got very, very angry after information from classified briefings given to members of Congress last week made its way to reporters. Well, the president called the four leaders of the United States Congress Friday to complain and then he announced a new policy that from now on intelligence briefings will only be given to the four leaders and to the chair and vice chair of the intelligence committees.

In a memo to the president's top department heads, Mr. Bush writes -- quote -- "This approach will best serve our shared goals of protecting American lives, maintaining the proper level of confidentiality for the success of our military, intelligence and law enforcement operations and keeping the leadership of the Congress appropriately informed about important developments."

Now Democrats are supporting the move, even though it means fewer members of the United States Congress will have access to these briefings. Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle said -- quote -- "It's unfortunate, but there's no choice, some people just can't resist talking."

So, Carol, an angry president and a new policy now about classified briefings about this campaign -- Carol.

LIN: Well the ways of Washington have to change during these troubled times.

All right, thank you very much. Kelly Wallace reporting at the White House.

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