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CNN PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

Profiles of Lance Armstrong, Tony Blair, Osama bin Laden

Aired July 16, 2005 - 17:00   ET

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


GERRI WILLIS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Gerri Willis. PEOPLE IN THE NEWS begins in a moment. But first, here's what's happening now in the news.
Hurricane Emily gaining more strength. It's now an extremely dangerous storm. Emily's winds are nearing 155 miles an hour, making it capable of doing catastrophic damage. Right now, the storm is focused on Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, but it could be headed for the U.S. by Tuesday.

And in Iraq, a massive explosion south of Baghdad today. At least 60 people were killed, some 100 were wounded. Fuel tanker detonated near a Shiite mosque and market. Police are calling it an attack. They say the blast destroyed a nearby apartment complex.

And Scotland Yard has confirmed the identities of the remaining two suspects in the London terrorist bombings. They are 30-year-old Mohammad Sidique Kahn and 19-year-old Germaine Lindsay. People believe the men carried out two of the train bombings. Police, British police that is, tell CNN the death toll from those attacks has risen to 55 after an injured victim died overnight.

And Harry Potter books are flying off store shelves. JK Rowling's sixth installment about the boy wizard went on sale at midnight. Fans worldwide packed stores to get a copy of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince." The publisher predicts 10 million copies will sell by the end of today.

I'll be back with more headlines at the half hour. PEOPLE IN THE NEWS starts right now.

PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Hi, Welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. Lance Armstrong is hoping to race his way into history, again. He's going for his seventh straight Tour de France championship. But Armstrong is more than just an athlete. He's a survivor. And his will to win and to live have inspired those far beyond the world of sports. What does it take to spend three weeks in agony, enduring hour after hour of pain, racing more than 2,000 miles with a bull's- eye on your back?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SALLY JENKINS, THE WASHINGTON POST: He's got an absolute willpower to do anything he puts his mind to.

ZAHN (voice-over): What does it take to battle a disease that is conspiring to kill you? Then ride with the hopes and dreams of so many cancer survivors on your shoulders?

DOUG ULMAN, LANCE ARMSTRONG FOUNDATION: It's the way he lives his life. You know. Don't dwell on the negatives, you've got this disease, what are we going to do to get past this?

ZAHN: What does it take to work harder, train harder, race harder, live harder than anyone else?

BILL STAPLETON, ARMSTRONG'S AGENT: Lance is constantly in search of excellence and being better.

ZAHN: What does it take to be Lance Armstrong?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lance was a high energy young man. Definitely like a little tornado coming into a room.

ZAHN: Lance Armstrong was born in 1971 and raised in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas. His mother Linda gave birth to him when she was just 17 years old.

LINDA ARMSTRONG KELLY, MOTHER: I had every excuse in the world to fail, having a child at 17. And I was determined that this would not be failure for me. And the fact that I had a child and I was a child, was the greatest thing that I could have ever wished for. And I'm proud that that happened.

ZAHN: Armstrong's parents divorced when he was a toddler. His mother remarried when Lance was three.

JENKINS: The father issue in Lance's life is more about the absence of one. His real father evaporated before Lance was even a conscious human being. And then his stepfather terry Armstrong and he had a pretty fractious relationship. Lance is not fond of him. They had some real tension when Lance was growing up.

ZAHN: The bond between mother and son, however, was unbreakable. An independent young woman teaching her child, as she herself learned about life.

KELLY: Many a time we would sit down and talk at the end of the day over dinner. And you know, I would have a bad day. And he'd say, "mom, why don't you just quit?" and I'd say, "son, you never quit."

LANCE ARMSTRONG: She taught me a lot growing up, of course. Normal things that parents teach their kids, but a lot of it just more mentality and attitude.

ZAHN: The Armstrongs lived in Plano, Texas, a mostly upscale area just outside of Dallas. Lance didn't fit in.

JENKINS: He was a kid who didn't have the kind of money the kids around him had. He didn't come from the right kind of parents. He didn't have a country club membership. He didn't play football in Texas which was the thing to do. He was always on the outs. He's an outsider. And I think that in some ways it was the making of him.

ZAHN: To escape, Armstrong would turn to his bike.

JENKINS: A bike is a great instrument for a runaway boy and that's a bit of what Lance was. He was trying to run away from some problems, maybe, trying to run away from Plano, Texas, maybe. He got on that bicycle, he was free.

ZAHN: As a teenager, Armstrong competed in triathlons running, swimming, biking and beating competitors years older than he was.

ARMSTRONG: That's what gave me the biggest hesitation about entering cycling. You can't make a living doing that. I'm making a living now doing triathlons. I don't want to do that. I can't make a living. I was wrong, I mean, obviously.

ZAHN: Armstrong was invited to train with the junior U.S. national cycling team and moved into the sport full-time. He was a brash young rider who knew only one speed -- all out, who seemed to ride with a chip on his shoulder the size of his home state.

CHRIS CARMICHAEL, ARMSTRONG'S COACH: Early in his career, he was very kind of -- had a sort of a cocky attitude and headstrong about the way he wanted to do things. But you know, the interesting thing is, is most of the time he could back it up with some excellent results.

ARMSTRONG: I didn't really know a lot about traditional tactics. It's a very traditional sport. And I came in with all this -- sort of this American attitude that, well, I don't care about your tradition.

ZAHN: By age 21, Armstrong became the youngest man ever to win a stage of the Tour de France and would later capture a cycling world championship as well. He was young, rich, and appeared destined for greatness.

JENKINS: Eddy Merckx, the world's greatest cyclist ever, predicted for years that Lance would be a Tour de France winner when he lost some weight and settled down and focused. The real question mark was whether he was ever going to work hard enough to fulfill his potential.

ZAHN: But when our story continues...

ARMSTRONG: On Wednesday, October 2nd, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

ZAHN: Lance Armstrong comes face to face with death.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Imagine being an elite athlete, capable of pushing a bicycle, pushing your body to nearly super human levels. Then imagine finding out you're very human indeed.

ARMSTRONG: Naturally, my first question was, to myself and to the doctors, when am I going to die? ZAHN: Twenty-five-year-old Lance Armstrong was entering the prime of his career when he was diagnosed with cancer. Surgery removed his cancerous testicle. Armstrong vowed to beat the disease.

ARMSTRONG: I'm entering this battle in probably the best shape of my life. This isn't going to stop me. And I might have a bald head and I might not be as fast as I used to go. But I'm going to be out there.

ZAHN: However, doctors soon discovered Armstrong's battle was bigger than he previously thought.

DR. CRAIG NICHOLS, ARMSTRONG'S ONCOLOGIST: He had presented with a mass in his testis. And at that time when it was discovered, he had had -- had spread to his abdomen, to his lungs, and to two small areas in his brain. Literally, this is something that untreated or undetected would have swept over him in a matter of weeks.

ZAHN: In fact, Armstrong's chances of surviving were at best 50/50.

KELLY: What I said to Lance was that I love you and we're going to beat this. There's nothing worse than someone getting sick and to have it be your only child. That wasn't going to happen. That just wasn't going to happen.

ZAHN: Armstrong underwent additional surgery to remove the tumors in his brain and began intense chemotherapy. The hours of pain he had experienced on a bike paled in comparison to the ravages of the disease.

ARMSTRONG: It doesn't compare to cancer, to the anguish, to the depression, to the confusion, to the torture of 12 weeks of chemotherapy. It's small.

KELLY: He had lost all of his hair. He had big, dark circles under his eyes.

STAPLETON: He never lost his fighting spirit, his attitude. But his voice would shake. He lost a lot of weight. He was bald. He had scars on his head. He looked like a cancer patient that was going to die.

ZAHN: But Armstrong didn't give up. In February 1997, after undergoing four rounds of chemotherapy and months of anguish, Armstrong's cancer was declared to be in remission.

JENKINS: Lance didn't beat cancer, he kicked it to death. He didn't just survive it, he stomped that bastard into the ground. He has no idea why he survived, nor does anyone else really. What part was science? What part was something bigger than science? What part was self-will and self-determination? He can't tell you what that mysterious calculus was. Not only that, he doesn't want to. He enjoys the mystery of it.

ARMSTRONG: I feel vulnerable now, more vulnerable. ZAHN: Just a few months after finishing chemotherapy, Lance Armstrong could be found relaxing at his waterfront home in Austin, Texas.

ARMSTRONG: He survives cancer and dies from pneumonia.

ZAHN: He was healthy and strong enough to water ski, uncertain about his future as an athlete.

ARMSTRONG: I don't think I can win the Tour de France. I thought I could. A year ago, I certainly thought I could win the Tour de France, not that year but in years to come, not now.

ZAHN: But Armstrong's attitude would change. After a year off, he began a comeback.

JENKINS: What cancer did for Lance was give him a reason and an excuse to finally settle down and really become everything he should have been.

ARMSTRONG: Psychologically, it was a good thing for me to be so scared and so fearful, to be given another chance.

ZAHN: After months of rigorous training, Armstrong entered the 1999 Tour de France. He was considered to be beyond a long shot. But those who knew what he had been through knew better.

KELLY: I said, you know, you're so sick in that bed, there is nothing that will keep you from going up that mountain. When you think about how sick you were.

ZAHN: Over three weeks, Armstrong rode more than 2,200 miles over grueling terrain, overpowering competitors like he had overpowered cancer. At the race's end, Lance Armstrong wore a yellow jersey. He had won the tour de France.

CARMICHAEL: I remember watching them come down the Champs d'Elysees and crying and just being like, man, this is -- I mean, this is just a miracle.

KELLY: Lance Armstrong puts his mind to something, and it's -- that's all it takes.

ZAHN: Five more yellow jerseys would follow, making Armstrong the first person to win six Tour de France titles. But for Armstrong, those victories meant more than one man beating the competition or one man overcoming cancer. They were victories for an entire community of which he was now a lifetime member.

ARMSTRONG: If the people can see one of their own that was given not such a good chance of survival, see him return and thrive and be better than he was before, I think that's the most powerful message and perhaps the one that they can get the most hope from.

ZAHN: After the tour de France, Lance Armstrong intends to take a well-deserved vacation with his children and his girlfriend, rocker Sheryl Crow. As for life after racing, Armstrong plans to do endorsements and work for the Discovery Channel, his cycling team's new sponsor.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: When suicide bombers struck London last week, Britain became the latest battleground in the war on terror. The devastating attacks couldn't have come at a worse time. Britain had just won the 2012 Olympics and Prime Minister Tony Blair was hosting the G-8 summit. Now Mr. Blair must reassure an uneasy nation and faces the daunting task of preventing another nightmare. Here's Michael Holmes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): July 7th, four explosions ripped through London. Prime Minister Tony Blair rushes back to the capital from the G-8 summit in nearby Scotland.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: There are obviously casualties. Both people that have died and people seriously injured and our thoughts and prayers of course are with the victims and their families.

HOLMES: A solemn address to a nation stunned and outraged.

BLAIR: It's important, however, that those engaged in terrorism realize that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world.

HOLMES: Since 9/11, Blair has been a steadfast leader in the war on terror and a staunch ally of the United States.

BLAIR: This mass terrorism is the new evil in our world. And we the democracies of the world, must come together to defeat it and eradicate it.

ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN EUROPEAN POLITICAL EDITOR: He has a very strong belief that any British leader should work closely with the president of the United States, whatever the political complexion.

HOLMES: With tough language, he has relentlessly defended his prosecution of that war and his controversial decision to join the U.S. and send British troops into Iraq.

BLAIR: I believe in this alliance and I will fight long and hard to maintain it because it's in the interests of this country.

HOLMES: Language and actions that have often jeopardized his own political career.

PROFESSOR AMITAL ETZIONI, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: He supported the war in Iraq. He thought that democratizing the Middle East was and is an important mission. And whatever came, he was not swayed. HOLMES: Now, Great Britain is again on the front line of the war on terror. And Tony Blair faces his latest challenge in a career as prime minister that has spanned more than a decade.

Tony Blair was born in Edinburgh Scotland on May 6, 1953. His father Leo, an active communist who later turned to conservative politics and the law. When Tony was one, his family left Scotland for Adelaide, south Australia. Three years later, the Blairs moved to Durham in northern England. Leo Blair was doing well enough by then to send Tony and his brother to the Chorister School, where Tony excelled academically skipping a grade.

BLAIR: We had a perfectly good, average, middle class standard of living. I was very lucky in my background.

HOLMES: At the age of 40, Leo Blair was nearing his dream of landing a conservative parliamentary seat. But his political career came to a sudden end on July 4th, 1964 when he had a stroke. Eleven- year-old Tony was devastated. Leo Blair lost his ability to speak for three years. It was during this period that Tony was sent to Fettes College, an elite boarding school in Scotland. He did not like being away from home and rebelled against some of the traditions that were still being upheld in British schools.

JOHN RENTOUL, BIOGRAPHER: He got into trouble with the authorities at school a lot. That posture of being a sort of rebel drove him to the left in politics, I think.

HOLMES: Tony was not a straight A student. But he did well enough to be accepted as a law student at St. Johns College in Oxford. Tony wasn't ready to go back to school. Instead, he decided to take a year off and move to London, where he managed rock bands. This eventually landed him a gig as a singer in a group called Ugly Rumors. Band mate Mark Allan remembers Tony's audition.

MARK ALLAN: He actually did this kind of Mick Jagger impression actually sitting in an armchair, sticking the old chin out, stabbing the finger in the air. We'd given him a microphone which he plugged into a record player and we thought, if this guy can dance so well sitting down, he's going to be sensational standing up, so get him in, this is our man.

HOLMES: Oxford was still recovering from the politically charged student revolts that had swept across Europe and the U.S. when Blair arrived there in 1972. But as a student, Blair wasn't active in politics. Instead, he chose a spiritual path.

RENTOUL: He met this renegade priest called (ph) Thompson, who sort of had these chats about putting the world to rights in his room late into the night. And that sort of got the young Tony Blair going on a sort of crusade to change the world.

BLAIR: Basic motivation, the belief in social justice, the notion that a fairer, more decent society helps the individual. To me, that is a Christian as well as a socialist idea or ideal. But I don't preach God at people and I don't like politicians that do. And it's something I -- it's a part of me.

HOLMES: Tony Blair had just graduated from Oxford in June of 1975 when his mother Hazel died of throat cancer at the age of 52. Later that summer, he joined the Labor party, a party formed by trade unions to fight for workers' rights. In the fall of 1975, Tony Blair started preparing for his bar exam. While applying for a scholarship to sponsor his law residency program, he found himself alphabetically seated next to another contender. Her name was Sherry Booth.

RENTOUL: I don't think she had much time for him to start off with because she thought he was too posh. She didn't have a lot of time for white, middle class men who'd been to elite universities. But he's got charm.

HOLMES: Tony and Sherry were married in Oxford on March 29, 1980. Then in 1983, at the age of 30, Tony became the youngest member of labor in parliament.

PETER MANDELSON, FMR. BLAIR CAMPAIGN MANAGER: The party was in a state of civil war. We were tearing ourselves apart and heading for many successive electoral disasters. And into that situation, Tony Blair was elected to parliament and started his ascent up the political greasy pole.

HOLMES: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns, Tony Blair climbs the greasy pole of British politics and confronts the war on terror head- on.

BLAIR: This is a very sad day for the British people. But we will hold true to the British way of life. Thank you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIS: I'm Gerri Willis. PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns in a moment. But first, here's what's happening now in the news.

Iraqi police say a suicide bomber caused a huge explosion today that has destroyed an entire apartment complex south of Baghdad. People say 60 people were killed when the bomber detonated himself near a propane fuel tanker that was parked near a gas station. As many as 100 people were wounded.

And a blast rocked a resort town in western Turkey today, killing five people, more than a dozen others wounded. The bomb was on a mini bus. A British woman and an Irish woman are among the dead.

Hurricane Emily is now an extremely dangerous category four storm with winds of 155 miles an hour. That's almost a category five. It's south of Jamaica moving west towards the Cayman Islands. Emily could threaten the Mexican mainland and the gulf coast of Texas late Tuesday.

And at the top of the hour, we'll have Rob Marciano live with the latest update from the National Hurricane Center. You'll want to make sure to stay tuned in for that. More headlines in half an hour. Now back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I therefore declare that Tony Blair is elected leader of the Labour Party.

HOLMES: In 1994, Tony Blair now the voice of his Labour Party was on a mission to redefine it and take back power. He renamed the party New Labour and borrowed some ideas from a new friend.

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN ANALYST: The third way. That's what Bill Clinton and Tony Blair supposedly had in common. Neither left nor right but a third way that borrows some things from the left and some things from the right.

HOLMES: On the campaign trail in the spring of 1997, Blair was riding high on the wave of a new generation of young and trendy pop groups, fashion designers and restaurants. The press called it "Cool Britannia" and Blair's youthful image fit right in.

(MUSIC)

PETER MANDELSON, BLAIR CAMPAIGN MANAGER: We started from the experience of Clinton in '92.

HOLMES: In 1996, his campaign manager, Peter Mandelson visited the U.S. to see what he could learn from the success of the Clinton campaign.

MANDELSON: Gave me a lot of confidence, gave me a lot of insight. We tailored it to British circumstances and British needs. It taught us about modern communications.

JOHN MAJOR, FORMER BRITISH P.M.: This is beginning to sound as though there may be an election.

HOLMES: A sluggish economy and the repeated discovery of corruption among senior ministers left Tory Prime Minister John Major on shaky ground. Blair took to the offensive.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH P.M.: Isn't it extraordinary that the prime minister of our country can't even urge his party to support his own position. Yeah. Weak, weak, weak.

HOLMES: Eighteen years of conservative rule in Britain ended with a whimper on May 1st, 1997. Britons looking elsewhere for leadership voted overwhelmingly in favor of Tony Blair.

(MUSIC)

HOLMES: At 43, he became the youngest prime minister since 1812.

BLAIR: A new dawn has broken, has it not?

HOLMES: Now in office, Blair continued preaching and practicing his old mantra, family values.

BLAIR: If you don't make the time for your family, then I think your politics actually becomes much less effective.

HOLMES: Tony and Cheri had three children when he became prime minister. But moving into number 10 Downing Street didn't seem to disrupt his personal life as much as one might expect. On May 20, 2000, Leo Blair was born making Tony Blair the first British prime minister to have a child in office in more than 150 years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's been a lot said about how different you are.

HOLMES: When George Bush became president in 2001, there seemed to be little common ground between the two leaders.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We both use Colgate toothpaste. I don't know if you've found any common ground or not.

BLAIR: I think that's enough to be going on with.

HOLMES: However, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 would bring the two closer.

BLAIR: Your loss we count as our loss. Your struggle we take as our struggle.

BUSH: America has no truer friend than Great Britain. Thank you for coming, friend.

HOLMES: Blair emerged as one of the most vocal supporters of President Bush's war on terror. He also became one of the United States' biggest allies in waging the war in Iraq.

ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN EDITOR: On the level of policy, they needed each other. Because there weren't many other people around who were prepared to support the war in Iraq.

HOLMES: However, Blair's ties to President Bush and the United States would hurt him at home. Heading into elections this May, Blair's political future was in doubt.

OAKLEY: People have been rather disillusioned with Tony Blair on the question of Iraq. After all, it brought out biggest protests on the streets of Britain than anything we've ever seen in British history.

HOLMES: Throughout, he's remained a steadfast supporter of Bush. But some in Britain feel Blair hasn't received anything for his loyalty.

SCHNEIDER: That's what a lot of British commentators and politicians and voters say. What have we gotten from this? We've gotten trouble in Iraq. We've gotten a huge expense. We have been isolated from Europe just as the United States has. What have we really gotten?

HOLMES: Blair would win a third term as prime minister, despite his party's disappointing performance. Labour managed to hold on to power but with a considerably smaller majority of seats in Parliament than before.

SCHNEIDER: He keeps going to the brink and when his own survival is at stake, he always knows what buttons to push, how to play the press, how to spin the story so that he survives. It's been a politically amazing tightrope walk his entire career.

HOLMES: Now Blair faces yet another challenge. Leading a distraught nation after the war on terror has hit home.

BLAIR: They're trying to use the slaughter of innocent people to cow us. To frighten us. Out of doing the things that we want to do. And they should not and they must not succeed.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: In the wake of the London terror attacks, Prime Minister Tony Blair is vowing to tighten Britain's anti-terror laws. He also wants to speed up the deportation of radical Muslim clerics to prevent them as spreading what he describes as their evil and extreme ideology.

ANNOUNCER: Coming up -- he's the world's most wanted man whose terrorist network is suspected of carrying out the attacks on London. What's behind Osama bin Laden's trail of terror? Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Now back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

ZAHN: If there's a face of international terror, it is that of Osama bin Laden's. But nearly four years after September 11th, the world's most wanted man remains unaccounted for. With a look at al Qaeda's elusive leader, here's Jonathan Mann.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is America's most wanted man. The man behind the 9/11 attacks.

OSAMA BIN LADEN, AL QAEDA LEADER (through translator): They were overjoyed when the first plane hit the building. So I said to them, "Be patient."

MANN: The horror of 9/11 was to Osama bin Laden a triumph of planning and engineering. To him and al Qaeda, a great victory against an enemy, America, that they had been at war with for years.

Osama bin Laden's journey towards jihad and global terrorism began in Saudi Arabia in 1957. He was the 17th of more than 50 children of a self-made billionaire, his father was from Yemen. But by the time Osama was born, he was head of what would be the largest construction firm in Saudi Arabia, a friend of the royal family, Mohammad bin Laden would die in a plane crash would die in a plane crash when Osama was 10.

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: As a teenager, Osama bin Laden was religiously quite devout according to both family members and people who knew him.

MANN: It was in his late teens that Osama bin Laden married the first of his four wives, a Syrian born cousin.

Then in 1979, Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden, like many young Muslim men of his generation, found his calling. Joining the mujahideen, the holy warriors who were helping the Afghans fight against the communists. Influenced in part by one of his professors, Sheik Abdullah Azzam, who would become his mentor during the Afghan struggle.

Bin Laden helped with money using it to set up a series of guest houses for the mujahideen coming to Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan from around the Arab world. He also obtained construction equipment from Saudi Arabia and used skills he had learned working in the family business.

BERGEN: He applied the lessons he learned from the demolition side of the business to building crude shelters in the mountains of Afghanistan.

MANN: But then, bin Laden took up arms. By the late '80s, he was a hero and a leader to the men known as the Afghan Arabs who had made their way to Afghanistan to be part of the struggle. Then, as the war was winding down, bin Laden and his mentor, Sheik Abdullah Ahzan, founded a group called al Qaeda, "the Base."

ROHAN GUNARATNA, AUTHOR, "INSIDE AL QAEDA": According to the founding charter of al Qaeda, published in March 1988 when al Qaeda was founded, it states that al Qaeda is the pioneering vanguard of the Islamic movements. It is the spearhead of Islam.

MANN: And this so-called pioneering vanguard which wanted to continue holy war around the war began to view another country as the enemy -- a country which, ironically, had spent billions funding the Afghan resistance to the Soviets through the CIA.

Then in August 1990, Saddam Hussein sends Iraqi forces into Kuwait. Within days, Iraqi troops are poised on Saudi Arabia's border. They're in striking distance of Islam's holiest sites, in Mecca and Medina. By this time, Osama bin Laden has returned to Saudi Arabia, and he makes a proposal to a member of the Saudi royal family. His men, the battle-hardened huge mujahideen who had fought in Afghanistan, will help protect Mecca and Medina from Saddam Hussein, a man he despised as a bad Muslim.

But instead, the Saudi government agreed to let American troops into the country, rejecting bin Laden's proposal. DR. SAAD AL FAGIH, SAUDI DISSIDENT: He thought since then, there is an American-Saudi conspiracy to control the land of Arabia. And that made a surge in his opinion against the U.S.

MANN: Bin Laden was forced to leave Saudi Arabia in 1991. He moved to Sudan which had a fundamentalist Islamic government. It's not clear how much money bin Laden had at his disposal from his share of the family business. Estimates range from $1 million to more than $250 million. But he had enough money to be an honored guest of the Sudanese government.

BERGEN: During that period, bin Laden was probably the largest businessman in Sudan. He had literally thousands of people working for him on his farms. He had banks. He had leather tanneries. He had a very wide range of businesses including construction, which of course is the family business.

MANN: Bin Laden was busy building up al Qaeda as a terrorist organization. He set up training camps and began to build up al Qaeda cells and alliances in the Middle East and East Africa. By 1996, bin Laden was wearing out his welcome in Sudan. The U.S. was pressuring the Sudanese government to kick him out and Bin Laden returned to Afghanistan. That's where the CNN interview took place. Peter Bergen was the producer. Bergen and the CNN crew spent more than an hour with bin Laden.

BERGEN: We didn't know what to expect because this was his first television interview. But he appeared to be somebody who was very subdued. He didn't raise his voice above a whisper. He's very tall, 6'5. So my main impression of him was despite the fact that he was attacking the United States very strongly in this interview, was that he delivered the whole tirade in a very low key, subdued kind of way.

MANN: In 1998, bin Laden would leave no doubt that he was at war with America. He invited journalists to hear him issue a fatwa, a proclamation, calling on Muslims to kill Americans everywhere and announced what was essentially a coalition of Islamic terrorist groups. Bin Laden made it clear he wanted the U.S. out of Saudi Arabia, an end to Israel, and an end to the U.N. boycott against Iraq.

BIN LADEN (through translator): By God's grace, thanks to Him we declared, as many scholars did, that it is mandatory we struggle and do jihad to get the Americans out of the Arabian Peninsula. And jihad as mentioned here is to mean, carrying the weapon and kill those Americans.

MANN: At that 1998 meeting with journalists, Osama bin Laden was asked how he and al Qaeda hoped to take on the United States. Bin Laden reminded journalists that his men had already helped defeat one superpower, the Soviet Union, forcing it out of Afghanistan. Now, they were ready to declare war on America.

BIN LADEN (through translator): If it is clear to you what our strength is, the Americans and Jews know what our strength and is they will withdraw from the Arabian Peninsula.

MANN: Bin Laden hinted there would be more news in the near future.

Coming up -- the terrifying realization of exactly what that news was.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

MANN: Less than 11 weeks after Osama bin Laden issued his declaration of war against America, al Qaeda made good on its threat, launching simultaneous suicide bomb attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The date was August 7th, 1998, eight years to the day that the first U.S. troops were sent to Saudi Arabia. A few weeks later, the U.S. would retaliate, launching cruise missiles at what it said were al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The United States launched an attack this morning on one of the most active terrorist bases in the world. It is located in Afghanistan and operated by groups affiliated with Osama bin Laden.

MANN: But the retaliation was a disaster. Neither bin Laden nor his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, were anywhere near the camps. But they turned up later to thumb their noses at the U.S. And across the Muslim world, Osama bin Laden became something of a cult hero.

But to the American government, he was the most wanted man in the world and bin Laden wasn't through. A series of attacks against America around the time of the millennium was averted. But in October 2000, al Qaeda struck again. A boat packed with explosives rammed the USS Cole while it was arriving at harbor in Yemen.

Seventeen American sailors died. Early the next year in January 2001, bin Laden appeared in a video showing the wedding of his son to the daughter of his military commander, Mohammed Atta. There was more video a few months later. In this, bin Laden seemed to hint of an attack but he didn't say where.

The plan, it turned out, had been in the offing for more than a year. Simultaneous attacks on New York and Washington. A cadre of young men, mostly from Saudi Arabia, recruited for the suicide mission.

BIN LADEN (through translator): Those young men said in deeds in New York and Washington, speeches that overshadowed all over speeches made everywhere else in the world.

GUNARATNA: Osama bin Laden's main reason to strike the United States was because Osama wanted to create Islamic states in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa. And the United States was protecting, was shielding those countries. The United States is the head of the snake preventing those states from becoming Islamic.

MANN: But this time, says Rohan Gunaratna, Osama bin Laden may have overreached himself. In the past, he says, bin Laden had been openly contemptuous of the U.S. and perhaps never believed it would mobilize and help rout the Taliban government that was providing his safe haven in Afghanistan.

This statement was released to al Jazeera the same day American planes began bombing Afghanistan.

BIN LADEN (through translator): There is America. Hit by God in one of its softest spots. Its greatest buildings were destroyed. Thank God for that. There is America, full of fear from its north to its south, from its west to its east. Thank God for that.

MANN: The Northern Alliance victory over the Taliban turned bin Laden into a man on the run. There were occasional video appearances, though the dates were unclear. His last known whereabouts were at the siege of Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan during late November and early December 2001.

According to one account from a member of al Qaeda, U.S. bombs falling on Tora Bora missed bin Laden by little more than 200 yards. And intelligence sources told CNN that bin Laden was injured at Tora Bora and later had an operation, that he disappeared over the border into Pakistan. There were rumors, sightings, intelligence reports. There were even letters said to be from him, posted on the Internet, warning of future attacks.

But finally, in November 2002, proof that bin Laden was still alive. A tape praising a string of recent attacks, some of them claimed by al Qaeda.

BIN LADEN (through translator): The killing of the British and Australians in the Bali explosions, the recent Moscow operation, and some dispersed operations here and there, are all reactions and treatment in kind dealt by the zealous sons of Islam in defense of their religion.

MANN: Over the next several years, bin Laden's voice and image would resurface in new video and audio recordings.

In these latest messages, a familiar theme: repeated warnings that more attacks from al Qaeda should be expected.

BIN LADEN (through translator): Just as you kill, you will get killed. And just as you shell, you will get shelled. Await them what will dismay you.

MANN: Providing an eerie echo of a statement he made in 1997 to CNN, when he was asked then about his plans for the future.

BIN LADEN (through translator): You'll see them and hear about them in the media. God willing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Though Osama bin Laden remains at large, there are increasing doubts about his direct control over al Qaeda. Many experts believe the terrorist organization has changed dramatically since 9/11, becoming broader and less structured, with small cells or individuals acting on their own with little or no instructions from the top.

That's it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Coming up next week from drug dealer to million dollar rapper, the rise of 50 Cent.

I'm Paula Zahn. Thanks so much for joining us. Hope you'll be back with us next week.

ANNOUNCER: And for more PEOPLE IN THE NEWS pick up a copy of "People" magazine.

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