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Musharraf Walks a Fine Line; Terrorist Threats Hit Close to Home for Californians; Hurricane Michelle Threatens Florida

Aired November 4, 2001 - 22:00   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.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: This is a CNN SPECIAL REPORT. I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. Ahead this hour: Power politics. He took power through a coup, now, the Pakistani president walks a fine line trying to support the U.S.-led coalition, while not losing support from his own people.

Inside the Taliban: A reporter's notebook from CNN's Nic Robertson.

Living on the edge, in the western U.S. We'll ask what Californians are saying after weeks of watching the East Coast deal with anthrax, now faced with their own apparent terrorist threats against bridges.

And the eye of the storm. Hurricane Michelle, battering Cuba, but not ignoring South Florida.

Thank you for joining us. We begin with some of the latest developments that we're following this hour. U.S. forces carried out what are being described as some of the heaviest attacks yet on Taliban front line troops today. Northern Alliance forces, who witnessed the strikes, say the casualties included a Taliban commander.

CNN has confirmed reports that the CIA had an undercover office in Seven World Trade Center, one of the buildings destroyed along with the Twin Towers September 11. A U.S. official tells CNN the office was involved in counterterrorism and counterintelligence. The official says no CIA employees were killed in the collapse.

And the head of the Centers for Disease Control says smallpox vaccinations have been given to the people who would be the first to respond to a smallpox attack. Doctor Jeffrey Koplan also told CNN's Wolf Blitzer the CDC is working to get enough vaccine to protect every American against smallpox.

More now on today's airstrikes in Afghanistan. They appeared to be concentrated on Taliban front lines in the northeastern part of the country, where Northern Alliance forces are poised to take advantage by moving deeper into Taliban territory. CNN's Satinder Bindra witnessed today's airstrikes near the town of Mazar-i-Sharif.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SATINDER BINDRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This carpet bombing continued for seven hours in what Northern Alliance or United Front troops near the Tajik-Afghan border describe as the most intense air strikes here. ABDUL RASOOL MIRZADA, UNITED FRONT COMMANDER (through translator): The U.S. planes bombarded this area four times. Every time the U.S. planes dropped different loads of bombs -- sometimes nine, sometimes 10 and 11.

BINDRA: All the bombs, according to eyewitnesses, fell on a front line Taliban position called Kolkata (ph) hill. Radio messages intercepted by the United Front suggest the Taliban suffered casualties in the bombing. With at least senior Arab commander, called Taboot (ph) , killed. But, say United Front commanders, hundreds of other Taliban troops remain dug in.

MIRZADA (through translator): They make trenches in the ground, and long trenches in the hills and use them if planes are coming.

BINDRA: U.S. planes are now flying in Taliban airspace with impunity. Their jet vapor clearly visible for miles around. But they attract only token anti-aircraft fire which appears ineffective because these planes fly so high.

In more than a week of bombing in this sector, it appears U.S. planes have almost wiped out any effective air defenses.

(on camera): On the ground, the situation is different. United Front commanders say thousands of Taliban fighters still man their front lines. And they're motivated, well armed, and experienced fighters. Such an opposition, say united front commanders, can inflict heavy casualties on any invading force.

(voice-over): If United Front troops do advance, they'll have to deal with thousands of mines planted by the Taliban. Still, at least two commanders in this area say they're ready to attack.

MIRZADA (through translator): There is a state of readiness right now. We are ready and we are waiting for orders. As soon as we get them we will attack the Taliban.

BINDRA: With winter approaching fast, these soldiers realize they have only a tiny window of opportunity. They also know they're short of supplies and ammunition. So they're appealing to Washington to arm them to help fight what is likely to be the toughest and bloodiest stage of this war.

Satinder Bindra, CNN, Ai Honam Hill, Northeastern Afghanistan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Back here in Washington, President Bush is back at the White House after a weekend at Camp David. This coming week he will make a series of high-profile speeches as the administration tries to assure the world that America's new war is progressing as planned.

CNN's MAJOR GARRETT is live at the White House with that, and reaction to the latest battlefront reports. Hello, Major.

MAJOR GARRETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Judy. As you mentioned, the administration has laid out a very well structured week of communication to the world. That not only is the military campaign going well, but they are standing and the coalition remains very important to the United States.

And that effort began in earnest today when the administration sent just one spokesman to the Sunday talk shows. That was the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Richard Myers. And he left no doubt the U.S. military is making steady and important progress in Afghanistan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GENERAL RICHARD MYERS, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS: I think it is going exactly according our plan. We have taken down the Taliban air defenses. We have disrupted their ability to resupply their own forces. We took their transports, most of their helicopters. Most of their communications have been taken down. In fact, some of them are communicating now with runners, which is obviously -- in Afghanistan -- not the most efficient way to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GARRETT: Judy, let me try to explain just a little bit more in depth what the general was referring to. About a week ago, there were a lot of questions here at the White House and at the Pentagon -- you don't seem to be bombing, the U.S. doesn't seem to be bombing the front lines of the Taliban. Are you are waiting? Are you under some diplomatic pressure not to?

The White House does not like to get into any operational details, but what we have been able to pick up the last few days here at the White House is, there was a means to the Pentagon's approach. That is, by bombing areas behind the front lines, the Pentagon was hoping to make it difficult if not impossible for the Taliban to resupply the front lines once those front lines were hit.

They thought it was crucial to knock out whatever supplies could come up the roads and all the material that would come back up to the front lines once those front lines were bombed. They believe they were successful in achieving that goal, now they are bombing the front lines trying to soften those up for what looks to be, somewhat in the near future, some type of ground operations against those front-line forces.

WOODRUFF: Major, we know that there are people on the National Security Council staff who have military, defense backgrounds. Are you suggesting, or are you saying that none of them have any questions or there is any dissatisfaction there with the way this campaign is going?

GARRETT: Judy, as you well know, this is one very disciplined White House. I am not going to stand here and tell you that there is somebody at the NSC or the Pentagon that doesn't, at times, wonder aloud if something might be done tactically a bit differently. But if they are doing so, they are doing so with the utmost privacy and certainly not sharing that with us here in the press corps covering the White House.

The very solid feeling you get here at the White House, is A, the president is not going to interfere with the strategic operational decisions the Pentagon makes. He went out of his way on Friday answering a question about whether or not the military campaign would occur during Ramadan and continue during Ramadan, which begins on November 17.

He said look, this is not a political war. I respect the chain of command. Operational decisions are in the hands of the Pentagon and there is no second-guessing or finger-pointing or anything even approaching that here at the White House -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Major, what about the president's week ahead? We mentioned that he is going to be talking about trying to keep the international coalition together. He has got a diplomatic mission. He is also going to be talking about the homeland security picture. It seems to me there is a lot of planning and thinking that has gone into this.

GARRETT: For those of you at home, if you want to circle some dates on your day planner, sort of chart what the president is going to be doing and what he is going to be saying, let's start now: Tuesday, a major speech delivered to a terrorism conference in Warsaw, Poland. That will be video conference hookup talking to Central European leaders talking about the importance to Europe of sticking with this coalition.

On Wednesday the president will deliver a speech or give an update on the financial war against terrorism. On Thursday he leaves Washington and goes out to a location we have not been told about quite yet to deliver what is described as a major speech talking about homeland security, trying to ease the anxiety not only about anthrax, chemical, biological warfare, but also about the general level of threat and anxiety most people feel as the FBI and the federal government continue to issue these warnings to be on a maximum state- of-alert.

And the last important date on your day planner: Saturday, the president travels to New York to deliver a major speech to the United Nations general assembly talking about the importance of the global coalition against terror, the stakes in the war against terror and how it all is going -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Major Garrett, I certainly have them all in my day planner. Thanks.

GARRETT: So do I.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

The president's man in charge of the Pentagon is also busy, trying to keep that international coalition supporting the military battle against the Taliban. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is wrapping up a five-nation tour that included stops in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and India.

In Pakistan, Secretary Rumsfeld met with that country's president, Pervez Musharraf. The army general who came to power in a coup two years ago is turning out to be one of the key U.S. allies in the war on terror.

CNN's Bill Delaney reports, Musharraf's stance comes at some risk to his own power.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL DELANEY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): When Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf met Sunday in Islamabad with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the Pakistani leader brought up his hope for a suspension U.S.-led bombing in Afghanistan during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: It is an important question, and certainly an issue that all of us are sensitive to. The reality is that the threats of additional terror acts are there.

DELANEY: Which in diplomatic speak indicated the bombing will go on. And as Pakistani power politics indicates, Pervez Musharraf, by not pressing the issue, feels secure enough to live with continued bombing, risking intensified protests during Ramadan.

But increasingly, Pervez Musharraf seems to be masterfully balancing his support for the U.S.-led coalition and support from most Pakistanis.

(on camera): Two years ago, President Musharraf seized power here from the democratically elected civilian Nawaz Sharif who'd appointed him head of the military. Here in Pakistan, though, Musharraf's coup was seen by most Pakistanis not so much as a radical move, but as a return to moderation.

(voice-over): Restoring, above all, a degree of trust, squandered by successive corrupt civilian governments.

IFFAT MALIK, ANALYST: At the highest levels of government, particularly his own person, there is no corruption. People realize that even if this government has not delivered as much as they would have liked, it's still far, far better than the civilian governments that went before them.

DELANEY: Cleaning up corruption, part of Musharraf's critical efforts to breathe life into the Pakistani economy. Already now with the prospect of breathing more freely, since Pakistan's stance on the terror campaign let to the end of international economic sanctions.

Still, Musharraf walking a political razor's edge, reaching out to some opposition political parties, while throwing leaders of others calling for his ouster under house arrest. Last week, he banned any demonstrations calling for an end to his government. He detained without charge elderly nuclear scientists apparently suspected of possible collusion with the Taliban.

Toughness, edge, along the lines of ceasing years of Pakistani support for the Taliban, in the wake of the thousands of deaths from the terror attacks in the United States, while swiftly reshuffling intelligence chiefs and officers he considered too sympathetic to the Taliban.

Musharraf's resilient also though because he is simply gifted at getting his message across to most mainstream Pakistanis.

MALIK: He's a great communicator. He regularly comes on television, he comes across as very open, very honest. And therefore, people, while they might not think he's been, you know, very good at his job, they accept that he's sincere.

DELANEY: Musharraf said he expects intensified unrest if bombing continues during Ramadan, though few expect that to seriously rattle his government or isolate it in the Islamic world.

RASUL BAKHSH RAIS, POLITICAL ANALYST: It's not going to stir up a major trouble in the Muslim countries. Many of the policy makers understand the dilemma that Muslim countries are in, the United States is in.

DELANEY: In changing times then, a man who insists he hasn't.

GEN. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PRESIDENT OF PAKISTAN: I don't change with circumstances. I remain the same.

DELANEY: Though with nothing in the world quite what it was less than two months ago, tens of millions in Musharraf's own country and in the world now wait to see just who Pervez Musharraf becomes.

Bill Delaney, CNN, Islamabad, Pakistan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: How is the war in Afghanistan going? Up next, we will talk about that with former NATO Commander General Wesley Clark.

And as a major hurricane slams into Cuba tonight, Floridians fear they may be next. The latest on the storm called Michelle ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Heavy bombing today in northeastern Afghanistan increases the pressure on Taliban and al Qaeda forces. More U.S. troops are said to be on the ground to help anti-Taliban efforts, and two top U.S. generals said the war campaign is proceeding as planned.

To assess the situation, we are joined by former NATO supreme commander and CNN military analyst, General Wesley Clark. General Clark, first of all, we do hear from Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Myers and from Tommy Franks, who is the CENTCOM commander, things are going as planned, but then we see in the report from our own Satinder Bindra earlier in this hour the casualties on the other side are very low, the Taliban forces seem to be still up in the tens of thousands.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), FORMER NATO SUPREME COMMANDER: That's not surprising. An air campaign takes a while to build, even when you are bringing several B-52s over each day and dropping 50 or so bombs from each B-52. It is going to take pounding day after day for the impact of this to sink in psychologically, and repetitive runs for the actual strikes from these heavy bombs to really make a dent in the defenses.

The troops on the other side are probably pretty well dug-in. They are pretty well hardened. They have been told to anticipate this. And it will take time before they realize there is no escape. If they are not hit the first day, they will be hit the second, if not the second, the third. And they'll see, first the Taliban (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a few people, the next there will be a few more, the next day there will be a few more.

It will erode their confidence, their morale, their staying power, and it will generate casualties, but we have got to be patient.

WOODRUFF: And does this -- but does this indicate the inevitability of ground forces, that you can't do it by air power alone?

CLARK: Not necessarily. I mean, we have always said that there were going to be ground forces involved, but we've said that they were going to be principally forces of the Northern Alliance, augmented or supplemented by some Americans who could help spot, and we might use Ranger raids and commando strikes and other things in the Taliban rear areas. Not necessarily that we are going to put in main force U.S. units.

WOODRUFF: Now, there was another report today, General Clark, that the Taliban recaptured some territory close to the border with Uzbekistan. I think it's near Mazar-e Sharif. And again, if we are weakening them -- and I remember reading today General Myers saying, "they are weakened, they are on their heels," he used that term. If they are on their heels, how can they continue to bounce back like this?

CLARK: Well, I think it's a matter of interpretation. Now, of course, I'm not seeing the specific indicators that General Meyers is seeing, but what we would expect in an operation like this is that the Northern Alliance is trying to mass forces. It is outnumbered. It is going to have to depend on U.S. firepower, air-delivered firepower, to make the breakthroughs and to do the mopping up, and that's going to take time.

And when it tries to consolidate its forces and pull them together so that it can then launch an attack in a specific direction, it's going to leave other areas relatively less protected. The Taliban, who have greater forces, therefore likely to take the initiative if they can get away with it. This may be why the Pentagon is determined to put more U.S. special forces in to help call in air precisely where it's needed to support the Northern Alliance. WOODRUFF: Well, speaking of special forces, there was a report today in the "New Yorker" magazine by investigative reporter Sy Hersh, talking about an operation on October the 20th when there were several insurance of special operation forces going in. In one instance, they went into a place where they thought Mullah Omar, who is the head of the Taliban, was supposed to be. He was not there. But in leaving that place, they encountered, according to Sy Hersh, much stiffer resistance from the Taliban than they had expected, and he reported that 12 of them were wounded.

Now, today, General Myers said that's not the case. Twelve -- more people may have been hurt a little, but it didn't have anything to do with the Taliban returning fire. In a situation like this, General Clark, how do we know what the truth is?

CLARK: Well, I think in this case, as Secretary Rumsfeld said, the military is not going to tell us everything that is going on. But they are also not going to deceive us or lie to the press. So, I accept at face value whatever it is that General Myers said. He is not going to tell us everything, he is going to tell us the truth.

Now, in this case it's not surprising to me that there was resistance to the Rangers. And this was -- this was our first real raid. It's a tactic we had used before, we practiced it a long time. It does require surprise, the shock effect of light infantry who are striking at night can be strong, but we are going up against experienced fighters, and after that first shock affect and surprise wears off, they can come back in -- and bullets are bullets, and when they're coming at you, they can have an impact, even if they are fired by the Taliban.

So, I'm sure that whatever happened here, we are learning some lessons from it, and you can expect that tactics in the future are going to be modified appropriately if there was anything found in this operation that needs to be corrected.

WOODRUFF: Why do you think there have been, or what appeared to be so few operations like this, where the U.S. has dropped in special operations or Rangers into the southern parts of the country where we know the Taliban is dominant?

CLARK: Well, this is the only operation we know of. We don't know that others didn't occur, perhaps smaller-sized parties or raids that haven't been made public.

But on the other hand, it's also important to know that to do a raid like this, you have to have intelligence. And what I'm sure the Rangers are looking for is that critical intelligence that justifies taking the risks to go in there on the ground and do an operation like this. We have proved it could be done. That's what the first one was about. Now, it's a matter of getting the specific intelligence to make the second, and third, and fourth worthwhile to do.

And as the campaign continues, when we develop our information sources, I think you'll see those raids. WOODRUFF: All right. Former supreme NATO commander, now CNN military analyst General Wesley Clark. Thank you very much, general. We appreciate it. Good to see you.

CLARK: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: An unwanted visitor lashes out at Cuba with brutal force. Hurricane Michelle barrels onto the island and hunkers down for a while. We'll track her path.

And tracking the path of war, in a "Reporter's Notebook."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Hurricane Michelle has lost a bit of her punch after making landfall in Cuba today. But the slightly downgraded category- three storm is still creating winds of 125 miles an hour, and still whipping up worry for people bracing for a night of powerful winds and heavy rains.

CNN's Lucia Newman is in Havana, Cuba, and she joins us now by telephone. Lucia, tell us what you have seen there so far, what you know.

LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Judy.

Well, Hurricane Michelle is still pounding Cuba's central provinces of Matanzas, Santa Clara and Ciego de Avila at this moment, destroying a lot of property and crops as it makes its way fairly quickly toward the Florida Strait.

So far, there have been no reports of human casualties, although it is still much too early to know, since electricity and communications have been severed in many parts of the effected areas, especially in the countryside.

Now, here in Havana Michelle has been less severe than expected, although civil defense teams have had to evacuate many people from crumbling buildings in Old Havana. Authorities warn that the danger here is far from over, because forceful winds continue to knock down trees and send other objects flying, including power lines, Judy.

Now, huge waves, between three and four meters high along Havana's seashore, especially (UNINTELLIGIBLE) are at this moment penetrating into the (AUDIO GAP) and raising fears of serious flooding in residential neighborhoods.

In the meantime, authorities have evacuated more than 600,000 people throughout the country, some to shelters, others to homes in less dangerous areas. At this moment, Havana is in darkness, and although most international telephone communications have been severed, we will do our best, Judy, to update you on the situation here as it evolves.

WOODRUFF: Lucia, how well prepared would you say the country was for this storm? NEWMAN: In terms of organization, Cuba is extremely well prepared for catastrophes of this kind. In terms of material preparation, it simply is not. Resources here are absolutely stretched to the limit. There isn't enough plywood, enough tape to keep windows from breaking. This is a very poor country, but they are very, very well organized.

So, when a hurricane hits a island like Cuba -- and I must say this country is used to hurricanes -- there is usually a low death toll. At least human life is protected -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And Lucia, you tell me that the telephones, international phone lines are down, your satellite phone was down, you are borrowing one from the Red Cross, is that right?

NEWMAN: That's right. We have had a very, very difficult time, as has almost everyone here. We understand that the satellite station, which is used not only for television but also for the telephone communications and the cellular phones was almost knocked off and it had to be turned away from the satellite, and we don't know when it is going to be restored.

Normal telephones, though, curiously enough, are at least still functioning in Havana, but not so in many of the provinces -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. CNN's Lucia Newman. Stay safe. She was telling us she was on the 20th floor of a building not long ago, but the winds got too strong, she came down, which we're glad to know.

To further track the course of this storm, let's go to CNN's Jacqui Jeras. She is at the weather center at CNN center in Atlanta. Hi, Jacqui.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Judy, and hello, everyone.

Well, Cuba still in the thick of it at this hour, but we will be watching for improving conditions as we ahead toward tomorrow morning. The center of the hurricane is just about on the shoreline now, and will be heading back over the open waters. When it does that, there is the potential that it could strengthen again. Right now, it has been dropped down to a category two hurricane. It was a four earlier in the day today, now down a two, but a very strong two, packing winds at 110 miles per hour, and some gusts beyond that.

The center is 200 miles south of Miami, Florida now, and it is heading up to the north and to the east, at 13 miles per hour. We are expecting the speed, the movement of the hurricane to pick up a little bit as well once it gets back over the open wears.

Now, rainfall amounts in Cuba, 10 to 20 inches. In the Florida Keys, maybe one to three is what we'll be expecting by tomorrow morning. Isolated amounts could be a little bit heavier than that. You can see the heaviest of bands still south of the Keys at this time.

Doppler radar has been estimating about two inches in the Keys, and you can see Miami just kind of on the edge here. You've only had about two-tenths today, but south of there some of you have seen as much as an inch of rainfall.

Now, hurricane warning remain in effect for the Keys and western Cuba and the Bahamas, a few tropical storm warnings here left on the coast of South Florida. We will likely see some changes with this overnight for tonight.

By tomorrow morning 7:00 a.m., you can see it is going to be just about ready to bear down on the Bahamas. By 7:00 p.m. tomorrow, east of the Bahamas and Tuesday this thing is going to be out of here. But tomorrow is going to be a rough day, especially the Bahamas. That will be our next focus -- Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jacqui Jeras, thank you very much.

As Jacqui tells us, the storm's force is already being felt in South Florida. CNN's John Zarrella has more on that from Hollywood Beach.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hurricane Michelle came perilously close to dealing a direct hit on the Florida Keys and southeast Florida.

CRAIG FUGATE, STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIR.: It's just too close to risk, that with any track there is a little bit of uncertainty and just a jog to the north of maybe 50 miles could put part of the upper middle Keys into hurricane force winds sustained and we don't want to put people out there and not give them time to get out.

ZARRELLA: As the monstrous storm pounded Cuba, it's reach extended far enough north to lash the Florida Keys with tropical storm force winds.

But despite an order to evacuate, officials say less than 20 percent of Key West residents left for shelters on the mainland.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was born and raised here. You just wait them out and see what happens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We live here and we are not leaving. We never leave.

ZARRELLA: Further north in the middle Keys, special needs patients at Marathon's Fisherman's Hospital were evacuated as a precaution to a hospital in central Florida just in case Michelle changed course. For the same reason, Florida's governor canceled a planned trip.

GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: My thoughts also go to the people of Cuba who are going to be directly hit by this and the Bahamas. These are our neighbors and we certainly are concerned for them. ZARRELLA: By late Sunday afternoon, Michelle's effects were already being felt as far north as Broward County. Already seriously eroded beaches were being further washed away by pounding waves.

(on camera): Hurricane Michelle's closest approach to southeast Florida should come sometime Monday morning, and even then its hurricane force winds will be well off shore with only tropical storm force winds brushing the coast.

And for the people here, that's just fine.

John Zarrella, CNN, Hollywood Beach, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: And a programming note. Tonight at 11:00 Eastern, watch for a special presentation of CNN presents: Hurricanes. That's tonight at 11:00 Eastern, 8:00 Pacific.

Coming up next the threat of terrorism reaches the West Coast. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Let's take a moment to review the latest developments. Some of that notoriously rugged Afghanistan terrain is more rugged than it used to be, thanks to relentless bombing by U.S. forces. Heavy assaults in the northeast near Mazar-i-Sharif today targeted trenches and tunnels where Taliban forces are dug in. Radio exchanges, monitored by the Northern Alliance, indicated there were Taliban casualties.

In the U.S., it appears no one is ill who handled an anthrax contaminated videotape sent by NBC News to New York's city hall. Mayor Rudy Giuliani confirmed today that anthrax bacteria were on the tape. It arrived at city hall in early October, before an NBC News employee tested positive for skin anthrax.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have vaccinated their smallpox response teams against that vicious disease. And the CDC says the federal government is moving as swiftly as it can to acquire enough vaccine for all Americans in case of a smallpox bioterrorism attack.

A native of Nepal is free after being arrested last night while allegedly trying carry nine knives, a can of mace, and a stun gun onto a flight at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. CNN has learned that he listed the same apartment address as a material witness in the September 11 attacks.

Police charged the man with unlawful use of a weapon and attempting to board an aircraft with weapons, both misdemeanors. They questioned him and released him early this morning. A police spokesman says they apparently, quote, "didn't have reason to keep him." Anxiety is high and bridge traffic is low, we are told, in California, because of warnings that suspension spans could be targets for terrorist attacks. Some San Francisco merchants are complaining that their customers are not crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to get to them.

On Thursday Governor Gray Davis disclosed FBI warnings that terrorists might attack West Coast suspension bridges some time over the next several days.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GRAY DAVIS (D), CALIFORNIA: We believe there is a credible threat that there will be an effort made between November 2 and November 7 to destroy one of those bridges. Well before we received that threat, we had taken elaborate security measures with the Highway Patrol, the Coast Guard and other local law enforcement officials to protect the bridges.

We have tightened security even more since the receipt of those threats and I am authorizing General Monroe (ph) of the National Guard to assign additional National Guard personnel to those bridges in whatever numbers he feels is appropriate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Here in Washington, some Bush administration officials responded coolly to the governor's judgment call in going public with the threat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM RIDGE, DIR., HOMELAND SECURITY: Each governor, and each county executive in each region makes assessments as to the best way they can harden those targets and the best way they can interdict or prevent a terrorist attack.

Obviously Governor Davis thought one thing that he could do to enhance the security of people using those bridges was to make be public announcement. We did not encourage him to do so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: So how are Californians reacting to this specter of terror hanging over them? And how does it feel to have a threat close to home? Joining us this evening are, Frank Del Olmo, associate editor of the "Los Angeles Times," and Phil Bronstein, executive editor of the "San Francisco Chronicle."

Gentlemen, good to see both of you. Phil Bronstein, to you first. How are people in the Bay Area reacting to these threats?

PHIL BRONSTEIN, "SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE": Judy, you know, the bridge traffic was off on the first day, on Friday, between six and eight percent. That is the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge, so people are not really reacting that extremely to this threat. I think the threat itself is something they felt a little distant from because they have been distant from the events of September 11, the but threat of those events, starting with anthrax and now, apparently, a threat to the specific bridges in the Bay Area and in California has brought that home and that level of uncertainty.

WOODRUFF: So, would you say, this woke them up or got their attention in a way that what was going on before hadn't?

BRONSTEIN: Well, I think, you know, before, Judy, people had gone back to New York and it was a pilgrimage just to see this place and this event and the destruction, to get a sense of the reality of it. I think there is still sort of distance between here in the East Coast, in that sense.

On the other hand, you know, California is a place of great innovation, of great change, of great creativity. Living here is a bit of a psychological and lifestyle crap shoot. You can have a great weather one day and a cataclysmic earthquake the next. So, I think that kind of threat the West Coast has never really been exempt from that kind of cataclysmic threat, but to have, to face it on a day-by- day basis, I think really it's not so much the threat itself as the uncertainty that those threats have created and those actions on the East Coast.

WOODRUFF: Frank Del Olmo, what about in the Los Angeles area?

FRANK DEL OLMO, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": I'd have to agree with Phil. This city has a bicoastal relationship with New York, of course, because of the entertainment industry, and we have a lot of people going back and forth. And so, to that extent, some folks did have a sense of the anxiety of travel, of going through airports with National Guardsmen and increased security and all of that, but by and large, it had been sort of distant.

One rather unique element we noticed in Southern California, when the anthrax scare began, you know, there was this run on a lot of drug stores, looking for the various antibiotics that could presumably protect one from anthrax, or at least cure one if one has been exposed. We have this phenomenon, especially in San Diego, which to a lesser extent appeared in Los Angeles, of folks crossing the border sometimes to drug stores in Baja California, Mexico to get drugs either at cheaper prices or drugs that might not be readily available in California, because the Mexican drugs are regulated somewhat differently, obviously, it's a separate country.

And for a couple of days, our correspondents down there indicated that there was a run on drug stores, people looking for the various drugs to be used against anthrax, or protect against it. Well, that's completely run off, because the most recent report we had a couple of days ago indicated that all these drug stores down in Tijuana that had stocked up on this stuff now don't know what to do with it, because nobody is going down to buy it.

So, I think the initial anxiety does seem to have worn off. Perhaps the scare about the bridges may have enhanced it again for a brief period.

WOODRUFF: Phil Bronstein, what's the sense there, as far as you can tell, of Governor Gray Davis handling this? I mean, do people generally -- and I realize that everybody's limited to have you have a chance to talk to -- but do people feel that he was right to make it public and to handle it as he did?

BRONSTEIN: Well, Charles Plumber (ph), who is a local sheriff, said that he was flabbergasted and appalled by Governor Davis coming out and making these kinds of specific announcements. And in reality, "The San Francisco Chronicle" received, as I suspect other media outlets did, Thursday morning a copy of this alert, which just talked about West Coast suspension bridges. And one of the four bridges that Governor Davis named with specificity is not a suspension bridge.

So, there was a little confusion as to why he did it. We were told when we called his office that morning to try and verify this alert, the security alert, that, well, you know, you are going to write about it, so the governor should probably talk about it. So, it's a little unclear, especially with an election coming up next year, Governor Davis is running for reelection -- not to suggest that this was his motivation, of course, but I think that it was a little odd.

Now, Governor Davis' people say we did this because the governor needs to use his best judgment to protect the citizens of California. And this is not a time where you can really question that a great deal as a citizen. We can certainly question that in the press, but I think in San Francisco, for instance, where George Bush got 16 percent of the vote last year in the presidential election, "The Chronicle" ran a poll that, A, where he has something like 56 percent support in the bombing of Afghanistan has support in that range, which is pretty high for San Francisco.

WOODRUFF: Frank Del Olmo, just to be sort of up to the minute on this, there has been no evidence of anything happening around any of the bridges that causes people concern? I saw -- I mean, I did see a report of some people who were taking pictures or something, but I don't know whether anything came of that?

DEL OLMO: No. There has been such a heavy police presence in the case of some of the bridges, highway patrol, certainly down to one bridge in the Los Angeles area, the Vincent Thomas Bridge over the Los Angeles Harbor is patrolled by National Guardsmen and everyone -- the Los Angeles police have been watching it very closely. So, there has been absolutely no indication of anything.

WOODRUFF: And to Phil Bronstein again, this question of feeling distant, not just from the anthrax threat, but let me ask you about the war. I mean, we, CNN, other news organizations, are reporting nonstop about the war in Afghanistan against the Taliban, is it your sense that people in -- again, on the West Coast -- and I hate to ask you to generalize like this -- but do they feel that this is their war as well?

BRONSTEIN: Well, again, I think that while you had the only member of Congress from the Bay Area to vote against giving President Bush the powers that he wanted to wage this war, nonetheless I think the support has been high here.

That doesn't prevent us from questioning. I think that's something we also do very well here. And understanding that while this -- President Bush has said that this is not a religious war, that there is a culture aspect to this and a lack of understanding of a lot of things. And I think that's what we on the West Coast tend to do, which is provide some perspective.

We are in the most diverse part of the country. So I think we ought to have an understanding that we convey to the people who live there and to people around the rest of the country about what it means to have that diversity of culture and that sense of understanding of other cultures -- and people can understand the war in their own terms.

WOODRUFF: Frank Del Olmo, just quickly, is there something else the administration can do to bring this war more closer, to make it seem more immediate to people, to your readers, do you think?

DEL OLMO: Well, I think when troops go into Afghanistan, as one suspects they will have to at some point, it will really come home. Southern California, again, has -- to the extent the state has much of the military defense infrastructure left, it's in San Diego, Camp Pendleton Marine Base, just north of there, the 29 Palms Marine Base in the desert, where the Marines are currently undergoing training for in Afghanistan-like conditions.

That's when I think it will really come home to folks here. It already is. The families in San Diego, you have had ships steaming out of there to join the task forces in Central Asia. So, it's beginning to, but when -- I think when ground troops go in is probably when it will really come home to people that this is the kind of war it's going to be, not just another one of these quicky bombing campaigns that is -- is forgotten within a couple of weeks.

WOODRUFF: All right. Frank Del Olmo, associate editor of "The Los Angeles Times," Phil Bronstein, the executive editor of "San Francisco Chronicle." Gentlemen, good to see you both. We appreciate it. Thank you.

He is -- we are going to be right back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: At about 10:50 Eastern time, those are live pictures from Ground Zero in New York City.

If residents of that city have discovered a new feeling of unity since September the 11th, you couldn't tell it from the race for mayor.

CNN's Brian Palmer reports on the rough-and-tumble campaign that comes to an end Tuesday.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A campaign that before September 11 was fairly routine, some say dull became subdued, almost gentlemanly in the days following the attacks. But now, during its final days, the mayor's race has become a gloves-off brawl between Democrat Mark Green and political newcomer Republican Mike Bloomberg.

Although the candidates do talk about issues, education, redevelopment of the World Trade Center area, transportation, the campaign has become personal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR: My opponent has not have any experience in managing a large organization, in leading a large number of people, in setting large budgets, in actually doing things.

MARK GREEN, NEW YORK CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR: My rival hasn't spent one minute in public life. Managing a budget, I ran an agency of 350 people, $17 million.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PALMER: Mike Bloomberg's campaign accuses Green of playing the race card, referring to Green's bitter primary contest against one of the city's senior Latino politicians.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: It's sad. That's what Congressman Charles Rangel said about Mark Green's sleazy attacks against Fernando Ferrer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PALMER: The Green campaign fires back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: Repeatedly sued for sexual harassment, he belonged to exclusive clubs that banned minorities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PALMER: Both are fighting for endorsements, particularly in communities of color, and aligning themselves with prominent black and Latino leaders. The bitterness may have something to do with how close the race is.

JOSEPH MERCURIO, POLITICAL ANALYST: This is a very unusual election. Just a week ago Mark Green had a 16-point lead. He looked like he was on the road to a landslide victory, but he didn't really have a lot of money against a gigantic budget from the Bloomberg campaign.

PALMER: Bloomberg, head of a financial news empire, has already spent more than $40 million, four times as much as Green, much of that on TV spots, direct mail and phone calls, a barrage of ads aimed at swing voters. A strategy that seems to be paying off.

According to a poll of registered voters by the "New York Times" and CBS, 42 percent back Green, 37 percent back Bloomberg, and nearly 20 percent are undecided. In other words, a dead heat statistically, with a whopping number of voters on the fence.

So both candidates are hitting the pavement, as well as the airwaves.

(on camera): Whoever wins will need that luck, a lot of skill, and a tremendous amount of cooperation from former opponents to heal wounds opened during the campaign, and on September 11.

Brian Palmer, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: In that other New York City race, the marathon, an Ethiopian man and a woman from Kenya broke the men's and women's course records today. Security was tight for the race. Armed Coast Guard officers patrolled New York Harbor, and runners were warned not to take water from bystanders.

We'll be right back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: We know some of you watching us are interested in baseball, so we will tell you: In the final game of the World Series, New York is leading Arizona two to one in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Yankees and the Diamonbacks are tied at three apiece in the fall classic. Tonight's game, as you know, decides the Series winner.

In Los Angeles, television's Emmy Awards are finally going to their eager winners after two postponements because of the September 11 attacks and the start of the war in Afghanistan. "The West Wing" picks up one of the night's biggest awards, winning Best Drama, along with several other categories. Other winners include James Gandolfini and Edie Falco of "The Sopranos" -- Best Actor and Actress in a Drama. Judy Davis of "Life With Judy Garland," Best Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. And "Anne Frank," Best Miniseries.

A check of latest developments up next, and then CNN PRESENTS: "Hurricane."

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


 
 
 
 


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