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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
NYC on Alert; Spy at the White House
Aired October 6, 2005 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening.
A new terror threat. New York City is on alert. 360 stars now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: This is the first time that we have a threat with this level of specificity.
COOPER (voice-over): A heightened state of alert for New York City's subway system. A specific threat of an attack (INAUDIBLE) be on alert as well.
A former U.S. Marine who used to work in the White House accused of spying for the Philippines. Tonight, we take you on the alleged trail of deceit.
President Bush talks tough, saying Iraq is central to the war on terror.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will never back down, never give in, and never accept anything less than complete victory.
COOPER: But are Americans and the world convinced? We get feedback from the left and the right.
Nearly a thousand bodies recovered in Louisiana, but only 32 names made public. And only 61 bodies returned to family members. Tonight, looking for answers: Why is it taking so long to recover and identify the dead?
A breakthrough in cancer research. An experimental vaccine that could save thousand of lives.
ANNOUNCER: Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
COOPER: And welcome to 360. We have a lot to cover tonight.
First, let's take a look at the three biggest stories happening right now at this moment. Here in New York, the entire subway system is on heightened alert after the police received a specific threat that a possible terror attack may occur in the coming days. We'll have more on this developing story in just a moment.
In Washington, the president's right-hand man, Karl Rove, will reportedly testify again before the grand jury looking for the leak of a CIA agent's identity.
And new details emerging about the accused White House spy. A former U.S. marine, who worked in the vice president's office, is accused of sending classified documents to the Philippines. Today, his co-defendant, a former police official in the Philippines now in the U.S., was indicted in connection with the case.
More now on our developing story. Chilling words spoken this evening by the police commissioner of the city of New York. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMMISSIONER RAYMOND KELLY, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT: The New York City Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have received information which indicates that the city subway system may be the target of a terror attack in the coming days.
While the information has not been fully corroborated, it has been deemed of sufficient certain for the police department to enhance its counterterrorism coverage of the subway system and to advise the public of the threat and to ask its assistance in reporting immediately any suspicious individual or activities to police or transit personnel.
Because of the heightened concerns, the police department will be paying particular attention to briefcases, baby strollers, luggage, and other containers. The department asks the public to curtail the use of these items, if possible, in the transit system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. That, of course, is our top story. Fear on the streets of New York, or below them, actually, in the city's subway system, which carries 7 million commuters back and forth everyday.
Mr. Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed earlier today that authorities in the city have known for some days that something may happen in the coming days. CNN's Deborah Feyerick has more on the sobering news.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New York City subways have always been considered a target.
BLOOMBERG: This is the first time that we have had a threat with this level of specificity.
FEYERICK: This was the first threat, and it was very specific.
KELLY: The New York City Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have received information which indicates that the city's subway system may be the target of the terrorist attack in the coming days.
FEYERICK: There were more details than ever before. And it was the first time that the use of baby strollers to hide or carry a bomb was ever mentioned.
KELLY: Because of the heightened concerns, the police department will be paying particular attention to briefcases, baby strollers, luggage, and other containers.
FEYERICK: There is also the specter of two successful attacks overseas.
BLOOMBERG: As we have known since 9/11, and even more so since the Madrid and London attacks, our mass transit system is a potential terrorist target.
FEYERICK: So police say they will flood the subways and conduct even more bag searches. They're suggesting that the 4.5 million riders who take the subways everyday leave their bags and baby carriages at home, warning to be on alert but not afraid.
BLOOMBERG: Tonight, I'm going to take the subway going uptown. And tomorrow morning, I'm going to do what I always do, get on the train and go to work.
FEYERICK: Now, the threat originated overseas. It does not mention a specific subway station. There are no arrests in Manhattan. And there's no reason to believe that any of the terrorists are even in the city. The head of the FBI here in New York says there's a possibility that this whole threat will be resolved in the next couple of days -- Anderson?
COOPER: Let's hope so. Deborah Feyerick, thanks.
We turn now live to CNN's Jason Carroll, outside New York's Penn Station, one of the major hubs in New York's enormous subway system.
Jason, what's the sense of commuters -- how are they responding to this news?
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, unfortunately, we've been the bearer of bad news. A lot of these commuters just hearing about it for the first time. And these commuters telling us they feel like, despite the threat, they have no choice but to use the subway system, have no choice but to use places like Penn Station.
As you know, 4.5 million people take the subways on a daily basis, so imagine the task that the city has, in terms of trying to keep those type of people safe on a daily basis.
But ever since the bombings in London, a number of measures have been put into place, some of them that we've just been able to find through research. The division of the NYPD called the Emergency Services Unit has been patrolling 70 subway stops every single day.
As you heard in the press conference there from the city earlier, they've stepped up random bag checks, briefcases, baby strollers. And, in fact, they're asking people not to use those items if they don't have to.
National Guard is going to be helping out, in terms of trying to patrol the area, as well. But again, in terms of some of the subway riders that we spoke to today, they say tomorrow, for them, is going to be just like today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will, because nobody knows when, because I'm going to stay away, and then nothing happens today, nothing happens tomorrow, nothing happens the next week, then what? We live in a shell all the time, or we try taking the bus? That would take us three hours to get there. I don't think so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: A lot of folks there just feel like they just don't have a choice but to use the subway system. What the mayor and the police chief are asking people like the woman you just say there to do is to use their eyes and their ears, to be as vigilant as possible, especially in these times.
If you see anything, they say please report it immediately -- Anderson?
COOPER: Jason, thanks.
The question, of course, necessary to ask, hard to answer, is, how seriously ought we take this new threat? That's what analysts mean when they talk about credibility of information. CNN's homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve has been looking to that in Washington.
Jeanne, what have you found out?
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Department of Homeland Security officials say that they've received specific but not credible information about the subway threat within the last couple of days.
The information was developed in Iraq, according to sources of CNN's Kelli Arena. And as you've heard, it involved the use of explosives in baby carriages.
The DHS officials with whom I've spoken said that intelligence analysts lead to the conclusion that the information was of doubtful credibility. And that because of information again gathered overseas.
CNN's Jamie McIntyre reporting that there was a raid south of Baghdad last night carried out against suspected Al Qaeda operatives. Now, earlier today, administration officials with whom I spoke seemed somewhat surprised that New York officials were going forward and making this public pronouncements. But this evening, they're saying that there was a good flow of information both ways all the way along and that they understand that local officials took these steps out of an abundance of caution.
But it's notable that federal officials chose to take a different tact. They did not make a public announcement because the lack of credibility and lack of corroboration. And there will be no change in the nation's threat level -- Anderson?
COOPER: So when they say "lack of credibility," that's lack of credibility coming from the source? I mean, do you know? Is it just one source?
MESERVE: Well, it appears that they had an initial source and then there was this additional activity last night, that Jamie McIntyre reported, in Iraq, and that some of that information also went into their calculations that led then to their conclusion ultimately that it was of doubtful credibility.
COOPER: But, again, the information seems to come out from Iraq and specifically about some sort of devices in baby carriages?
MESERVE: That's correct. That's correct.
COOPER: Jeanne Meserve, thanks for the update from Washington.
MESERVE: You bet.
COOPER: Coming up next on 360, more terror talk, this time from President Bush, who spoke out today to rally support for the war on terror. His poll numbers are very low on the subject. We'll see if this speech makes any difference. He gave a stern message to his critics who say the war in Iraq created more radical terrorism. We'll look at all sides.
And a major medical breakthrough, a vaccine to prevent a certain type of cancer proven 100 percent effective. Great news, that. All that ahead. Stay with us.
COOPER: By strange coincidence, given these fresh worries about New York's subway we've just been covering, President Bush chose today to make a major address on the war on terror, linking the war on terror to the war in Iraq. CNN White House correspondent Dana Bash has more on what the president said today.
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With support for Iraq at an all-time low, the president cast his unmistakably familiar "stay the course" refrain in new stark terms. GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're facing a radical ideology with inalterable objectives, to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world.
BASH: In his latest of several speeches billed as "major," Mr. Bush slapped back at critics calling for withdrawal.
BUSH: There's always a temptation in the middle of a long struggle to seek the quiet life.
BASH: He tried to urge patience in Iraq by saying insurgents there and attackers in Bali and London are all part of one ideological struggle, a fight against terrorism he now compares to battles against communism and fascism.
BUSH: ... enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia.
BASH: And he chided Osama bin Laden as a hypocritical son of privilege, duping less fortunate Muslims into becoming suicide bombers.
BUSH: He assures them that his -- that this is the road to paradise, though he never offers to go along for the ride.
BASH: To critics who say war in Iraq created more radical terrorism, this rebuttal.
BUSH: I would remain them that we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001. And Al Qaeda attacked us anyway.
BASH: But Democrats, emboldened by Mr. Bush's political struggles, hit back.
SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I think the president is wrong about that. I think what's going on in Iraq has enormously fueled the war on terrorism.
BASH: Aside from the new rhetoric, the sole new nugget of hard information about the fight against terrorism was boasting of 10 thwarted attacks, three inside U.S.
BUSH: The enemy is wounded, but the enemy is still capable of global operations.
BASH: But he did not elaborate. And it was not on this fact sheet released with the speech. Aides pointed to a 2003 plot to blow up a New York bridge and one involving Jose Padilla, accused of planning a dirty bomb attack. They were not prepared to back up the rest.
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Those are two off the top of my head. I'll be glad to see what additional information we can get you.
BASH: But Anderson, just about within the last hour, we got a new fact sheet that does have a list -- you can't read it from there -- but it does have about 10 of the plots to back up, they say here at the White House, the president's claim. They vary from a West Coast airliner plot in mid-2002, an East Coast airliner plot in mid-2003, but it's unclear from looking at this at this point -- it's a little bit vague on what is new or how substantial these threats were to the American people and around the world -- Anderson?
COOPER: I mean, how does this White House work, in terms of -- I mean, how much of this speech is a reaction to the poll numbers, which are very low for President Bush and the war in Iraq?
BASH: Well, this is actually a speech that the White House had planned to have the president give around the September 11th anniversary, about September 12th. But as you know, the president was consumed with dealing with Katrina at that point. In fact, he was down in Louisiana on that day.
When it comes to Iraq, Anderson, there's not question that -- you know, you remember, we've heard before from this White House that he was going to give a major speech. And that has directly been responding to low poll numbers on Iraq. This is no different from that.
The White House understands very well that Iraq and the skittishness, not only among American people but among fellow Republicans, is a big problem for this president.
COOPER: All right, Dana Bash, thanks very much.
Not long after the president's speech, word came out that Mr. Bush's top adviser, White House Deputy Chief the Staff Karl Rove, is going to make another appearance -- his fourth, in case you're counting -- before a grand jury investigating the disclosure of a CIA officer's name.
Now, there's no indication whether or not Karl Rove will be indicted, but the request for more testimony is certainly raising some eyebrows. Today in Washington, details now from national correspondent Bob Franken.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Karl Rove, one of the central figures in this investigation and a central figure in the political career of George W. Bush, will be testifying for at least the fourth time between this grand jury.
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, according to sources, has not given Rove any assurance that he will not face indictment as this probe continues into the public disclosure of Valerie Plame's identity.
Plame, who was an undercover operative for the CIA, is the wife of Joseph Wilson, who had become a harsh critic of the administration's claims about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.
After an uproar following the disclosure of Plame's identity in July 2003, Fitzgerald began his investigation. Under pressure, including in one celebrated case jail time, several reporters testified. Some, including "Time" magazine's Matthew Cooper, said they had discussed the matter with Rove.
Rove's lawyer has repeatedly insisted that his client did not identify Plame as a secret agent, did not know she was one. He also contends Rove is appearing voluntarily, that he's not received a so- called target letter, which would identify him as a person the grand jury was likely to indict.
Also named as source for reporters is the vice president's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
As Fitzgerald's prolonged investigation seems to be entering its final phases, the president continues to dodge questions about whether he will remove anyone from his administration who might be indicted.
BUSH: We're not going to talk about it until the investigation is complete. And it's important that the investigation run its course.
FRANKEN: Well, according to Rove's lawyer, he has been assured by the prosecutor that no decision has been made about charges, who or whether -- Anderson?
COOPER: All right, Bob, thanks for that.
Coming up next on 360, we're going to look more at this Karl Rove matter, what it means for President Bush and for his top adviser. We're going to talk it over with Paul Begala and Joe Watkins, as well.
Also ahead, New York City. A top terrorist target facing a new subway threat. CNN gets exclusive access inside the city's own CIA. We'll see what is being done to make New York an unattractive for terrorists.
Did I say Carl Watkins? I meant Joe Watkins. I'm sorry.
Plus, we're going to talk to New York City commuters and what they make of the latest terror threat. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Well, we've heard a lot tonight about the president's speech and Karl Rove's upcoming testimony about the CIA leak, matters that mean different things, of course, to different people, depending on your political persuasion.
At 360, we don't take sides. We try to get all the angles on a story. So joining me now from Washington, former Clinton adviser and CNN political analyst Paul Begala and in Philadelphia, Republican strategist Joe Watkins.
Joe, good to see you.
And, Paul, as well. Paul, let me start off with you. Karl Rove is now going to appear in front of the grand jury, apparently for the fourth time. He has been warned by Fitzgerald that he can't be guaranteed that he's going to escape indictment this time. What do you make of it?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, let me begin by proving my mastery of the obvious: Not good news for Karl, Anderson. I've known him a long time. And he and I have always gotten along well. So, unlike most Democrats, I don't hate Karl at all.
But this is not good for him. Frankly, it's not good for the president or the country, either, because Karl Rove, remember, is the guy the president has asked to be in charge of the Katrina recovery effort. I thought it was nuts to do that when he did it, but now Karl's distracted, enormously distracted, believe me, by having to go in front of that grand jury.
It suggests that the prosecutor is winding up. Beyond that, I don't want to draw any inferences, good or bad, in terms of the legalities of this, because I'm, I think, the worst lawyer ever to appear on cable television, so I don't want to project about the legality.
COOPER: Well, Joe, how about you? Karl Rove, I mean -- he has apparently not received a target letter, which, I guess, is one of the final steps before actually getting indicted. Does this indicate to you that Fitzgerald has some new information?
JOE WATKINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think that, first of all, we shouldn't make a rush to judgment. I think Paul was wise to say that he's not a good lawyer when it comes to these kinds of matters. Nor am I. As a matter of fact, I'm not a lawyer at all, so I can't speculate on these kinds of legal matters.
This is one for the courts right now. My sense is that Karl will be cleared, that he's not in grave trouble. The grand jury doesn't want to hear from him again, but I think he'll tell them everything that he knows. And he's told them what he knows in the past, that he didn't know that she was a CIA operative, and he didn't call her by name. And I think that, ultimately, he'll be fine.
COOPER: Paul, I assume you heard the president's speech today. You've obviously seen his poll numbers. I think it was the latest CNN-"USA Today"-Gallup poll, president's approval numbers for Iraq at 32 percent, which is down from 49 percent just in July. That is a remarkable drop.
Did he improve anything today?
BEGALA: No, Anderson. Support for the war is collapsing and a speech can't reverse that. In fact, I think what the president did today -- although it was a well-crafted speech -- I think, over the long term, it's going to hurt him a lot, and here's why: One of the points he made, the one piece of news that he made -- and we saw earlier in Dana's piece -- is that he said, "We foiled three Al Qaeda attempts to attack America here at home, seven others in others places."
You combined that fact with today's news out of New York that perhaps there's some sort of vague threat to the New York City subway system. And it really blows a hole in the president's central rationale for Iraq, that is, if we fight them there, we won't have to fight them here. Well, of course, that's nonsense. We are, in fact, fighting them here. He told us that today.
So why is he continuing to tell us that, if we fight them in Baghdad, we won't have to fight them in Boston? The truth is, we're fighting them in both.
COOPER: Joe, somehow I think you heard his speech differently.
WATKINS: Well, I think it was a very timely speech, very, very well done. And, you know, the truth of the matter is, Anderson, that great leaders don't rule by polls. They aren't concerned so much with the polls. They're concerned with doing what they've been elected by the American people to do, which is to lead. And that's what this president's doing.
And the speech was so very timely. He laid out a clear timetable -- a clear plan of attack to go after the terrorists. And really, when it comes to terrorism and the threat of terror, all of us are at stake. We're not Democrats. We're not Republicans. We're Americans. And we're the targets of the terrorists.
COOPER: Joe Watkins, Paul Begala, thanks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER (voice-over): A heightened state of alert for New York City's subway system. A specific threat of an attack within the coming days. Tonight, what you need to know. And should other cities be on alert as well?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't think of most vaccines as being 100 percent effective. But I think that's good news overall.
COOPER: A breakthrough in cancer research. An experimental vaccine that could save thousands of lives. 360 continues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And welcome back to 360. It is about half past the hour. Let's check what's happening right now at this moment.
We continue to follow our top story, a credible threat against the New York City subway system. The police commissioner of New York said there was reason to believe that it may be the target of a terrorist attack in, quote, "coming days." We're going to live to one subway station in just a moment.
The boat that capsized Sunday was brought back to Lake George, New York, for further testing. Twenty elderly passengers died when the boat turned upside down on Sunday. Today, officials called the boat water-tight with no leaks found.
And in Louisiana, the hundreds of nameless victims of Hurricane Katrina. State officials say the total number of people killed in the storm in that state is 976, but only some 60 bodies have been released to family members and only 32 have had their names publicly identified. The question, of course, is, why haven't more people been identified? We'll look at that in the coming days.
Coming back to the top story this night, the announcement by New York City authorities that a terrorist threat has been leveled at the city's subway system. Now, for the latest, let's turn to CNN's Jason Carroll who's outside New York's Penn Station, one of the major hubs here in the city.
Jason, how are commuters responding?
CARROLL: Well, the commuters we have spoken to basically feel as though they have no other choice than to take the subway, simply because of the status of their lives. Even if there is a threat, what else are they supposed to do?
Even though that they know there have been security measures -- additional security measures put in place ever since the London bombing. Some of those include the random bag searches. That's actually going to be stepped up now that we have this new threat. Police officers who are down in the subways will be checking backpacks, purses, baby strollers. In fact, they're asking people not to bring those items in if they don't have to.
Also, a division of the New York City Police Department called the Emergency Services Unit, will be patrolling 70 subway stops each and every day. In addition to that, you got the National Guard, some of us who have been down at Penn Station or Grand Central, you may see members of National Guard helping out in terms of patrol. You are going to be seeing more of that as well.
In addition, another note, something else that we found out in terms of some research, there are closed circuit TV cameras at 276 out of the 468 subway stations. The problem is, only 76 of those cameras, is the way we understand it, only 76 of those cameras can actually record images. And I think that's part of the reason why you got the mayor and the police chief asking the public to be eyes, and the ears and to be as vigilant as possible -- Anderson.
COOPER: Jason, thanks. Joining us now on the phone, CNN's Adaora Udoji. She at the Atlantic Avenue subway stop out in Brooklyn. Adaora, what's the scene there?
ADAORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Anderson.
We have just actually come from the mobile command center that is set up at the Brooklyn Navy ship yard. Since about 5:00 tonight, it's been a staging point where they've been dispatching officers.
It's not clear how many officers. They would only tell us that they have sent out adequate numbers. We saw about three to four dozen unmarked cars. About 75 officers,many of them have been diverted from their usual duties of organized crime, narcotics or warrants divisions. Just about everyone we saw, Anderson, had bulletproof vests. They're working in teams.
And they got orders to go to specific areas. Some of them to specific subway stations like the Atlantic station where we are now. And we have also seen at least two police helicopters patrolling the skies.
Some of these folks are just coming on their usual shift. And Anderson, some have been on the job since at least noon and telling us they have no idea when they're going to be punching out tonight -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Adaora Udoji, thanks.
Joining us now to talk more about the possibility of a terrorist attack on the New York City subway system, CNN's security analyst. pat D'Amuro, former assistant director of the FBI in New York. Pat, thanks very much for being with us.
First of all, why would they be mobilizing out of the Brooklyn Naval Yards?
PAT D'AMURO, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Well, that's one of the facilities the NYPD uses to mobilize large numbers of police officers. That's not unusual for them to use that facility.
COOPER: Is the fact that's it's outside Manhattan, is that of any significance?
D'AMURO: No. It isn't.
What do you make of this threat?
D'AMURO: Well, you know, we have to remember that there's been numerous threats on New York City subway system since 9/11, even prior to 9/11. This is a situation, if I'm interpreting the information correctly, it's a situation where they just could not vet this information out totally before they had to go to the public. The information started leaking out this afternoon about a potential threat. So, I think they felt they had to let the public know about the potential threat to the subway system.
What it is, I'm not sure they really know. The federal government gets these threats, the NYPD gets these threats all the time. It's about having enough time to vet it out. Having the right people to vet that information out, source information, whatever it may be.
We now know from earlier broadcasts that this was coming out of the Department of Defense in Iraq. So they probably have not had enough time to vet that information out.
COOPER: Because Jeanne Meserve, homeland security correspondent out of Washington was saying that some of her sources were kind of surprised that the New York authorities decided to come forward with this, because they kind of deemed it as not so credible, or you know, from one source, or not necessarily a credible source.
D'AMURO: That's quite possible. But when you're in New York City. And you're the mayor and you're the New York City Police Commissioner or the assistant director of the FBI and you have this information floating around, it reaches a point where you have to get to the public and let them know what's going on.
COOPER: The key on stopping something like this is really the public's vigilance. It's not -- I mean, there's only so much -- I mean, New York City has one of the greatest police forces in the world. There's only so much they can do to check bags, check baby strollers. It's really up to the public to keep their eyes open and look around.
D'AMURO: That's true. And we can't forget the investigative end of what goes on in this city every day. The Joint Terrorism Task Force constantly vetting out threat information, constantly vetting out source information. And when information comes in like this, they try to validate that information as quickly as possible. In this particular situation, it's overseas.
COOPER: The fact that it comes from foreign source, does that make it somehow more significant?
D'AMURO: Well, sometimes, it takes more time. It takes a little bit more of a process to vet out a foreign source. Obviously, authorities here are not going to be able to do that, so they have to pass information back and forth. And we rely upon foreign services and other intelligence services across the globe to help us vet that information out.
COOPER: Pat. Thanks. Appreciate it. Good information. Thank you.
A lot of ahead tonight, though, on 360. Still to come, some perspective from CNN's terrorism analyst, Peter Bergen. We're going to talk about the subway threat. And also, some of President Bush's comments today. Some contradictory remarks the president actually made in his speech. We'll try to take a close look at the president's words and what they may mean.
Plus, hope in a vaccine. A breakthrough, some very good news to report tonight. A breakthrough in the fight against cancer. That story coming up as well. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Before the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD had maybe a couple dozen officers assigned to the terrorism beat. Now there are more than a thousand. Part of really a sweeping change in America's biggest police force, designed to make this city an unattractive target for terror. CNN's national security correspondent David Ensor was granted exclusive access to a department that now has its eyes and ears overseas.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outside the Empire State Building, a police S.W.A.T. arrives without warning. Heavily armed officers move in to sweep the rooftop observation deck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: High visibility today, huh?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unbelievable.
ENSOR: High above the same building, an unmarked police helicopter surveys Manhattan, looking for anything suspicious.
(on camera): How good are the optics?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very good. This is -- the camera consists of three lenses...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bronx on the air. Deployed eastbound on 42nd at this time.
ENSOR (voice-over): Down on 42nd Street, a police commander orders 75 squad cars out on surprise patrols throughout the city. New, unconventional ways of doing business, ordered by police commissioner Ray Kelly.
RAY KELLY, NYPD COMMISSIONER: I think we're doing things here certainly that we haven't done before. But I don't think any municipal police agency has ever done. And the reason we do it, we believe that we're a top of the terrorist target list.
ENSOR: And Commissioner Kelly has hired a top 35 year CIA veteran to set up New York's own CIA, complete with officers overseas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When is our guy going to Jordan?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He should be there sometime during the first week or two of October.
ENSOR: Each day, Kelly is briefed by his top deputies handling counterterrorism and intelligence gathering.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm in the business of establishing trip wires or listening posts that involve informants of sorts. We won't go into that, but I don't get my intelligence from reading the newspapers.
ENSOR (voice-over): NYPD has detectives based in Britain, Israel, Singapore, Canada, France, the Dominican Republic and soon, Jordan. They're gathering and sharing firsthand intelligence on potential terror threats to New York City.
ENSOR (on camera): Why can't New York rely on the CIA and the FBI to protect it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, neither CIA nor the FBI are in the subway systems protecting it. You know, it's cops that go down there and do that.
ENSOR (voice-over): And based on what it heard about the July 7th London attacks, the NYPD tightened its security tactics in the subway that very same day.
KELLY: We were able to act quickly because we had that detective in London.
ENSOR (on camera): Before the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD had no more than a couple of dozen officers working full-time on the terrorism beat. These days it's a thousand and sometimes more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the last visit. Did you come across anything unusual, anything out of the ordinary?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not right now.
ENSOR (voice-over): Another new weapon for the police, Project Nexus, which in the past three-and-a-half years has enlisted more than 25,000 businesses to help in tracking suspicious activities. Many intelligence professionals say NYPD could be a model, more nimble, better equipped and motivated, more likely than the federal government to stop the next attack against this city. David Ensor, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Well, coming up next on 360, the real terror threat. Some perspective from CNN's terror analyst, Peter Bergen.
Plus an accused spy who used to work for the White House. We'll take you inside the investigation.
COOPER: Well, the New York City transit warning tonight is a reminder of how real the threat of terrorism is, a point President Bush emphasized in his speech earlier today. But how much of what he said jives with what's really happening in the war on terror. Joining me now from Washington is CNN terrorism analyst, Peter Bergen.
Peter, good to see you again. You know, the thing that jumped out at me from this speech is a quote I just want to read you. He started off by saying "the terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity, and we must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war on terror." He then went on to say that the hatred of the radicals that existing before Iraq was an issue, and it's going to exist after Iraq. Those two items seem to be contradictory.
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: I think there are some good, objective benchmarks we can introduce into all this about what affect Iraq has had. And as you know, anti-Americanism is at record levels around the world, and that's something to do with the Iraq war. And we're also seeing record levels of terrorism. 2003 was the worst year for significant terrorist attacks since 1982.
And then those numbers tripled in 2004. And when the 2005 figures come out, I think we're going to see the same kind of, you know -- large numbers of significant terrorist attacks. And of course they're related to the Iraq war.
Whatever rhetoric we employ -- you know, Tony Blair said the London attacks had nothing to do with Iraq, but then, of course, when we got the suicide tape of the guy who did the attack, he mentioned Iraq as being one of his motivations. I'm not saying, of course, that if you do the thought experiment where we, you know -- we weren't in Iraq, of course, al Qaeda would still be around. But I think the Iraq war by any standard has energized the larger al Qaeda movement.
COOPER: So, OK. You said it has energized. It is -- and allowed it to become a rallying point? Is that what you're saying?
BERGEN: Yes, both. I mean, it's -- people are getting training there. It's energized them. I mean, in my view, if we had, you know, stopped with Afghanistan and taken al Qaeda out completely and not done the Iraq war we'd be in a rather different situation on the war on terrorism.
Now, of course, there's a large strategic view which is let's try and bring democratization to the Middle East, and, you know, who can disagree with that? The question is, is the project in Iraq doing that right now?
My personal jury is out. I think we have to wait to see how the vote on the constitution goes, the vote in December. And I think any fair-minded person has to sort of withhold judgment. If those go somewhat OK, you know, then the president looks a lot better. If they don't well, things are not going to look better.
COOPER: Let's talk about some of the other things the president said. He pointed to some success on the war on terror. Let's play that tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Overall, the and our partners have disrupted at least ten serious al Qaeda terrorist plots since September the 11th, including three al Qaeda plots to attack inside the United States. We've stopped at least five more al Qaeda efforts to case targets in the United States or infiltrate operatives into our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: How substantial do you think those threats were?
BERGEN: Well, there's no doubt we haven't had a significant terrorist attack in the United States. And, of course, the president didn't say that directly because you don't want to say that and then have one happen. But, I mean, that is a sort of success.
The three plots he mentioned in the United States -- one of them I think was kind of not that serious. It was a plot by a guy who wanted to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge by cutting through the cables. Well, you know the cables on the Brooklyn Bridge are the size of a large -- I mean, you can't cut through them, so that wasn't a particularly serious plot, although the guy involved was certainly a bad guy.
There's also this allegation that Jose Padilla was going to do a, you know, radiological bomb attack inside the United States. He is yet to be charged in that, so we don't really know how serious those things were, that case against Padilla is because he's still in that kind of weird enemy combatant status.
But, you know, the president went on to say that 10 serious plots around the world have been disrupted, and Dana Bash showed you the piece of paper and I've got it here too. And those -- there are some serious plots that have been disrupted.
So there have been some successes, but that doesn't leave this -- you know, the Iraq war is still something that's energized this al Qaeda social movement by any standard, whether you look at the terrorism figures, the anti-Americanism figures, or what's actually going on in Iraq as we speak, which is, you know, huge amounts of terrorism, people learning, foreign fighters pouring in there exchanging business cards.
And, you know, one day when the war is over, these people, unfortunately, are not going to go home and open coffee shops. They are going to be the -- sort of the next movement of the Jihadist movement. That is something we've got to prepare ourselves for.
COOPER: Yes, or they'll open up Internet cafes and do God knows what. Peter, thanks for that. Appreciate it.
A former Philippines National Police official was indicted today, charged with conspiring with a former FBI analyst in passing classified information to current and former officials in the Philippines. Tonight, there are concerns he may have stolen some information directly from the White House when he worked there. Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena has been investigating.
KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michael Ray Aquino, a Filipino national who was in the United States on an expired visa, was arrested last month.
ALBERTO GONZALES, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We take all investigations of course very, very seriously, and particularly investigations that might involve jeopardizing very sensitive information related to the actions of our government.
ARENA: His lawyer says he didn't know the information he was receiving was classified.
He faces up to 15 years in prison.
The FBI analyst who allegedly passed the information to Aquino is also in custody. His name is Leandro Aragoncillo. In a criminal complaint, the government charged he allegedly stole classified information from FBI computers, but the accusations against Aragoncillo go even further. Government officials say he also allegedly stole documents from the White House, when he was assigned there as a Marine.
Aragoncillo, who lives in New Jersey, remains in custody without bail. Government officials say he's cooperating with the investigation, but his lawyer won't comment. Neither will the White House.
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's an ongoing investigation, and when there's an ongoing investigation like this, we defer comments to the proper authorities, and the proper authorities would be the Department of Justice. We will continue to operate fully.
ARENA: Sources say while the accusations are serious, the information they believe was stolen does not pose a major threat to national security.
Kelli Arena, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Erica Hill from HEADLINE NEWS joins us with some of the other stories we're following right now. Hey, Erica.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hey, Anderson.
We start off tonight with a massive landslide in Guatemala. A frantic search is under way now to find the estimated 200 people buried in the mud and other debris. The landslide hit after Hurricane Stan, which has now killed at least 170 people across Central America.
Meantime, in Riverside County, California, firefighters battling a 6,000-acre wildfire. The blaze is now 40 percent contained, and that's up from 5 percent just last night.
Further south, a wildfire that has crossed over the U.S./Mexican border has now destroyed more than 2,600 acres.
At the Pentagon, it is payback time. U.S. troops forced to buy their own body armor for combat can now get a refund from the military, under certain guidelines. Each item must be less than $11,000 and it must have been bought between September 10th of 2001 and August 1st of 2004. The reimbursement policy took effect this week, months after a February deadline set by Congress.
And across the northern plains, winter arriving a little early. Residents in parts of Montana and North Dakota dig out of a nasty snow storm. Up to 2 feet of snow fell. Wind gusts up to 50 miles an hour. I just -- this early in October, I don't think I could do it, Anderson.
COOPER: I'm not ready. I'm just not ready yet.
HILL: No, no.
COOPER: I can't even remember what happened to the end of summer. One minute it's summer, and the next, it's like cold now.
HILL: Did we have summer? It flew by.
COOPER: All right, Erica, thanks very much.
Let's take a look at what's coming up at the top of the hour on "PAULA ZAHN." Hey, Paula.
PAULA ZAHN, HOST, "PAULA ZAHN NOW": Hi, Anderson. Thanks.
Tonight, what you haven't heard about Ashley Smith's nightmare. I had a remarkable conversation with the young woman who held the Atlanta courthouse shooting suspect at bay for seven hours. And in the process, found new purpose for her own life. Where did she find the strength to survive and to confront her own drug addiction, which she had been battling for years? She says some remarkable things about why she thinks she lived, and what she sees down the road for her own future. Please join me at the top of the hour.
COOPER: All right, about seven minutes from now. Thanks, Paula.
Coming up next, though, on 360, a potential breakthrough in the fight against a common form of cancer. This is really good news. Some are calling the experimental vaccine 100 percent effective. We'll take a look.
COOPER: Well, there is a potential breakthrough in preventing the second most common cancer in women worldwide. It's an experimental vaccine. And while we hear a lot about medical studies, we hardly ever hear the claim 100 percent effective. Today we did, and that got our attention. 360 MD Dr. Sanjay Gupta investigates.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A few years ago, Rose Dennis, a 53-year-old healthy woman, went in for a routine pap smear, one of the most common procedures done in the world. As she felt fine, she really thought nothing of it until she got a life-altering call from her doctor. She had cervical cancer.
ROSE DENNIS, CERVICAL CANCER SURVIVOR: During that time, it was -- I don't want to really remember it. It was just horrible.
GUPTA: Dennis is one of thousands of women in this country to suffer from cervical cancer, which is actually caused by a virus called human papilloma virus, or HPV. It is often transmitted sexually.
Now, this cancer is curable if treated early. But now there may be a way to prevent the disease from ever occurring in the first place: a vaccine. It wasn't easy to develop such a vaccine, as there are more than 70 different types of HPV. But researchers honed in on two of them, numbers 16 and 18, because those are the most dangerous types.
DR. KEVIN AULT, EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: In this particular vaccine, there are four types of human papilloma virus that are covered. They're probably the four most common types. Sixteen and 18 are responsible for about 70 percent of cervical cancers.
GUPTA: Best news of all, the vaccine prevented 100 percent of those two strains.
AULT: We don't think of most vaccines as being 100 percent effective, so I think that's good news overall. And certainly a pleasant surprise for those of us who have been doing this research for a number of years.
GUPTA: The vaccine is called Gardasil, and Merck and Company, Inc., the manufacturer, says it plans to apply for a license before the end of the year. Now, if approved, this vaccine may become extremely common, recommended to all women in their teenage years before they become sexually active.
Rose Dennis had no such option. She had to endure a hysterectomy, chemotherapy and radiation to become cancer free. For her and possibly thousands of others, a vaccine would make all the difference.
GUPTA: And you know, Anderson, we don't typically talk about vaccines and cancer in the same sentence. There's vaccines for all sorts of different diseases out there, but actually to have a vaccine for cancer, if this gets approved -- it's being applied for approval by next year -- it would be the first vaccine to prevent cancer ever, Anderson. So a really big deal potentially here.
COOPER: So who should get it?
GUPTA: Well, you know, who should get it is probably all women out there, probably in their teenage years. The idea that this is a sexually transmitted virus, so any woman really who could potentially get this virus should get the vaccine, and they might be able to avoid getting cervical cancer for the rest of their life. COOPER: And again, how long is this going to take before the final studies are done?
GUPTA: The study has been going on for a long time. The FDA is applying for approval -- the company is applying for approval to the FDA right now, so hopefully, by the end of the year, maybe, we'll have an answer. Sometimes it takes a little longer than that. By sometime next year, I'd imagine, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, that sounds like amazing news.
Should we be as excited as it sounds like we should be?
GUPTA: You know, if we talk about vaccines, you know what I mean, this is preventing cancer. You -- look at so many different cancers. We don't know exactly what causes them. With cervical cancer, which is such a deadly cancer, they figured it out. It's a virus, and now they can prevent that virus from taking effect, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Sanjay, thanks.
GUPTA: Thank you.
COOPER: That's it for us tonight on 360. You can join me and Aaron Brown from 10:00 to midnight Eastern time for "NEWSNIGHT." CNN's prime-time coverage continues right now, however, with Paula Zahn.
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