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CNN BREAKING NEWS
An SUV Crashes into Terminal at Scotland's Glasgow International Airport
Aired June 30, 2007 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So you can see it now on the picture. Everyone's been seeing the canopy on the other side of the car that's on fire right now. When you look at that picture, that vehicle was on the other side of that canopy, one eyewitness said.
What that person did, who was driving the vehicle, apparently, was speed up very quickly on that outer -- on that other side of the canopy and spin around into the other laneway, where the taxis were waiting, and then swung around and aimed straight ahead towards the door. That was the description from the eyewitness.
Now, you can see where the vehicle was stopped. Apparently that vehicle would have been stopped by two steel barriers on either side of the door -- the door and the entry to the door only being wide enough for the actual door and passengers to get in with their carts and with their luggage.
It is designed specifically so that vehicles cannot drive through that door. And on a previous picture, it wasn't damaged. It was just a picture that was taken of that airport beforehand. You can clearly see the steel barrier. And that's an extra precaution, on top of the fact that, as you just said, that vehicle was not supposed to be in that laneway and had to really speed ahead and drive erratically to even get into that laneway.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: All right.
And we want to pass along to you information we're just getting coming across our wires now about a suspect, possibly. And, again, this report coming to us from the A.P. as well. You've probably seen it as well, Paula, that the hospital where one of the suspects is being treated has been evacuated or is being evacuated.
Again, this is coming to us from the A.P. reporting that a Scottish hospital was evacuated, where the car bomb suspect is being treated. So that's an interesting development right now coming to us from the A.P. Certainly we're trying to work to get more information on that. Our folks are working that to try to understand exactly what's happening.
So update us as well, the latest, Paula, we have on the -- on the other -- on the other bombings.
NEWTON:. Well --
HOLMES:. Oh, go ahead. I'm sorry.
You were about to jump in there before.
NEWTON:. So I know, just as I indicated, we were told that that suspect had to go to the hospital first because he was badly burned. And as you can see, they have now, for some reason, had to evacuate that hospital.
We are trying to get in contact with the hospital there to see if that is correct. But at this point in time we don't have any information.
As I was saying before, just in getting back to the investigation here in London, you can imagine that the pressure to actually come up with arrests in the cases in London has now been stepped up quite a bit. When these events start to happen, it puts a lot more pressure on the investigative team to really start to ramp up any leads that they have. And that may mean asking for some type of warrants to search premises, some type of OK to actually detain people here and arrest them without charge, which is allowed. They can hold people for up to 28 days now under new anti-terror legislation.
They will be under increasing pressure to do that. And very soon I'm sure you will see premises being searched, whether it's residences or businesses, and also some type of suspects being taken into custody, even if that means that they are released later on without charge. Police will be under more pressure to actually bring more people in on this.
HOLMES:. All right.
Our Paula Newton standing by for you.
Paula, once again, thank you so much.
ANNOUNCER:. This is CNN breaking news.
MELISSA LONG, CNN ANCHOR:. Two o'clock in the afternoon East Coast time.
We are continuing to follow a developing and breaking news story out of London and out of the Glasgow in Scotland.
Of course, yesterday we were talking at length about the thwarted bombings in London in the overnight hours, when so many were out and about. And today there has been a fiery crash at the airport in Glasgow, in Scotland. And this was during a time when a lot of people were there.
There you're looking at pictures of that SUV that witnesses say drove at a pretty high speed -- 30 miles an hour -- over barriers to try to ram into Terminal One at that airport. It is Scotland's busiest airport, servicing about eight million people a year.
HOLMES:. And certainly this comes at a time when, first, a lot of people are traveling. So certainly a lot of concern there. A lot of are at the airport. Also a major, major concern and what people immediately turned to was is this in any way possibly connected to what we saw in London, those two thwarted car bombs, two car bombs that were found, but did not go off. So everyone was on high alert anyway. And just here we are, the day after seeing this incident.
To set this scene for you, this is what happened a short time ago. We saw them, what -- apparently two men drove this vehicle into the terminal there and it burst into flames. We don't know injuries just yet.
We are following this story from a lot of different fronts, including from the U.S. where there are some stepped up security going on.
Our Jeanne Meserve has been keeping an eye on some of that for us -- hello to you again, Jeanne.
What do you have for us?
JEANNE MESERVE, HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT:. We are hearing that there are going to be some enhanced security measures at airports as a deterrent against potential terrorist attacks. But we are not getting the specifics of exactly what steps they're going to be taken. Officials at the White House and Elm Square still emphasizing that these are precautionary measures. They are doing due diligence here. They are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution. And they are on their toes because of what has happened in London and then what has happened today in Glasgow.
Even though we don't know definitively what it is, apparently U.S. Authorities taking it seriously enough today that they've decided airports is one -- one area where we should see some step up in the quality and quantity of security.
They are cautioning travelers that it's going to be slow going. This is a holiday weekend already. Airports were jammed around the country. This is going to jam them up further. We all know what it means when it's harder to park, when it's harder to drop people off, when it's harder to get through those secretary lines.
But, once again, no intelligence at this point in time of any attack here, but a step up in security at airports around the country.
Back to you.
HOLMES:. All right, Jeanne.
Jeanne Meserve following things, keeping an eye on it for us.
Jeanne, once again, thank you so much.
LONG:. Let's turn now to John Pike from GlobalSecurity.com, joining us now from Washington, D.C. To offer his perspective.
John, thanks so much for your time. JOHN PIKE, GLOBALSECURITY.ORG:. Thank you.
That's GlobalSecurity.org, not dot-com.
Sorry about that.
LONG:. Oh, dot-com -- dot-organization. Got it. All right. Noted. Thank you so much.
PIKE:. Thank you.
LONG:. John, let's tie -- see if we can tie together the thwarted bomb attacks yesterday and the fiery crash here in Glasgow today.
What will authorities be looking for to try to link the two?
PIKE:. Well, I think that the first thing that's noteworthy is that this vehicle that's on fire now has not detonated the way you would have expected those car bombs in London to have detonated. We have a fire here. We don't have an explosion. You didn't have that shower of nails spreading out as a shrapnel attack. And so you do have to wonder whether there's a connection.
It would seem to me, though, that the next day or two will be critical in deciding what we're looking at here, because if you had two car bombs in London, the people who did those are still out there. It's more than one person. You have to be concerned about the possibility that we're going to be facing a series of attacks to destroy public confidence and the security of public spaces.
LONG:. We're going to talk about a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. And that's what everybody keeps talking about today in regards to yesterday's, again, thwarted bombings in London.
And yesterday, a lot of people were saying it had the -- the mark of al Qaeda.
Today, has that changed with what has happened in Glasgow?
PIKE:. Well, I think that there's a couple of things that you were looking at yesterday in London, where the use of propane tanks that had been studied by some previous Al Qaeda attacks that had been foiled. Certainly, you have been seeing some propane tanks used in vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attacks in Iraq. Again, something that Al Qaeda might have its fingerprints on.
The difference, of course, is that apparently there's no propane tank to explode in this vehicle today, leading to the outside possibility that this was simply an accident and that we're being safe rather than sorry, but it's going to turn out this thing just caught on fire accidentally.
LONG:. What is it that you're hearing, that you're seeing, that you're saying that today looks more like an accident. Because there are so many people saying today that this was not an accident. PIKE:. Well, I think that if you're looking at the reports about where the vehicle was going, where it was driving, the acceleration, that would suggest it's part of an attack. The absence of an explosion, the absence of the propellant tanks would -- is something that would be inconsistent with being directly linked to those car bombs that were disarmed yesterday, because those would have produced not simply a fire, but also an explosion and shrapnel all over the place. And we don't seem to be seeing that here.
LONG:. John Pike from GlobalSecurity.org.
PIKE:. Thank you.
LONG:. John, thank you.
HOLMES:. And, again, as we continue to keep an eye on this video, continue to show you and setting the scene here for what's happening there in Scotland right now.
Again, this is a terminal of the Glasgow Airport, where two men have been arrested after authorities say they drove that vehicle into the terminal. That vehicle then burst into flames, as you're seeing it there, report that -- and from eyewitnesses -- that one of the men got out of the vehicle and was actually on fire, but still went to the back of the vehicle to try to open it up or get something out.
Another gentleman also taken into custody, and that is what we know right now. Don't know and again, no injuries. That is what we know right now. We don't know -- and, again, no injuries, which is key to -- key to say right now. And luckily no injuries that we heard about. And from none of the video we've seen today have we seen ambulances around this area.
And, again, this area, as we've been talking to our Paula Newton, who we're going to bring in once again, is a spot where you are not supposed to be a civilian vehicle. There are certainly areas, as folks in the U.S. Know, that you only can pick up and drop off and be there for a short time close to the -- close to the terminals. Here, going to an airport.
That is -- is the case there in Glasgow, as well. But it's even -- they take it to another step even beyond that, don't they -- Paula?
NEWTON:. I can tell you, just from having been in Heathrow on Wednesday, that the surveillance around that -- that inner perimeter, I would say, close to the terminal, it really is incredible. And that was with no credible threat against the airport on Wednesday. You can imagine the increased
security right now.
Further to that point, we have reports that we can't confirm that three other airports in Scotland are now closed to traffic. That doesn't mean that the airports are closed. It just means that authorities are trying to really look at the cars going in and out. We are not told there are any incidents there. So that would be Blackpool, which a very small airport; Newcastle and Edinburgh. All those airports right now are having traffic checked going in and out. That could be just a precaution. We have no information right now that that is based on any incident or any kind of credible threat.
To that, we're also trying to figure out from police in Scotland as to whether or not they can confirm that the hospital that was treating one of the suspects who was arrested, who we were told by witnesses was badly burned -- he was on fire -- that the hospital where he was being treated has been evacuated. We can't confirm that. We don't know what that's about yet. And we're trying to get more information to you on that.
But, again, airports in Blackpool -- which would be England, not Scotland -- Newcastle and Edinborough, all traffic being stopped in and around those airports. We don't know if it's a precaution or if it's attached to any specific incident.
You know, it's fair to point out right now that this is really turning into a significant national emergency here in Britain. And I'll tell you why.
Beyond the obvious of what you can see on the air right now, there are significant floods occurring in Britain, with more rain on the way. Anyone who's seen our reporting in the last 24 hours has seen the downpours coming down. There are people right now, absolutely thousands of them, in shelters, flooded out of their homes in Britain. We've been reporting that at CNN.
There is more rain on the way, and that is something that is going to land in the lap of this government. And that is also a national emergency. They have had some deaths related to that, as well.
When you take it all together, this kind of incredible terror alert and the floods, it really is quite a new challenge for a very new government.
HOLMES:. Oh my goodness.
Paula Newton, you're certainly still standing by with us here.
We want to let folks know that we are going to continue to monitor this situation and cover what's happening there in Glasgow at the airport, in Scotland.
Peter Bergen, our terrorism analyst, we're going to be talking to him coming up right after we take a short break.
And, also, we're going to have new pictures that we are just now getting from the scene there.
So we're going to take a quick breather here and continue to gather some information and have more for you right on the other side of this break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANNOUNCER:. This is CNN breaking news.
LONG:. 2:15 in the afternoon here at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Of course, a developing story we're following for you today is out of Glasgow. We want to give you the very latest if you just happen to be turning on the television.
You're looking at video right now of a car -- it's an SUV, possibly a Land Rover, described as a Jeep Grand Cherokee, as well, that witnesses say traveled at a relatively high speed, about 30 miles an hour, into that terminal.
Now, two people came stumbling out of the vehicle. One person, according to witnesses, was on fire, as well. Now, that person had been rushed to hospital for care and for an arrest. And there are late reports out today that the hospital where that suspect is being cared for has now been evacuated. Now, this, again, is video from Glasgow, one of the major cities in Scotland, servicing some eight million passengers a year, one of the other big cities in Scotland is Edinburgh. And we've just received word there that the roads around that airport have been closed to traffic.
So we're continuing to follow this latest development out of Scotland today.
HOLMES:. And, again, we don't know yet -- the Edinburgh airport, how that is possibly connected to this, if that's been done as a precaution or if there is some kind of threat to that airport. We do not know right now. We also don't know if this is in any way, form or fashion connected to what we saw in London yesterday, the discovery of two car bombs that did not explode. But two car bombs that were left in pretty populated and pretty busy areas of London.
That investigation is underway fast and furious right now. And then we have this on the heels of that.
So no idea just yet, as the investigation continues, whether or not this -- these I could see are at all connected.
LONG:. Now, of course, millions of people are traveling within Europe. It is the summer vacation season. People are getting ready to travel here in the U.S. Ahead of the 4th of July holiday. The president himself is traveling. He is vacationing in Kennebunkport, Maine. But that doesn't mean he is not staying up to date.
Ed Henry, our White House correspondent, is there with the president, traveling in Kennebunkport, and joins us now live with the latest -- hi, Ed.
ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT:. Hello, Melissa.
That's right. In fact, White House Spokesman Tony Snow is saying that travelers in the United States are now going to start experiencing some inconveniences because of new measures put in place today by the Transportation Security Administration within the United States.
In particular, these measures are essentially going to try to raise the police presence outside various U.S. Airports all around the country, mostly large airports -- New York, New Jersey, etc. But Tony Snow said that essentially what the TSA is doing is sending out what he called "alertness raising packages." These are essentially packets of information sent to all airports, whether small or large, advising them of the potential for terror threats and terror attacks, and just saying, look, you may want to raise your police presence.
Again, Tony Snow expecting that's going to be in the larger airports, where you're going to have with a larger volume of people, mostly be an enhanced police presence on the outside of airports.
But Tony Snow being very careful to point out that the U.S. Is not raising the overall threat level from the Department of Homeland Security. And that is because, Snow says, based on all the briefings the president has gotten today, as well as yesterday, there is "no specific or credible threat of any sort of attack within the United States."
But, obviously, given the events happening around the world, the traveling White House trying to keep an eye on it. You've mentioned the president trying to keep on top of all of these events. The way he does that is he had one briefing this morning, very early, before he headed out for a bike ride.
But Tony Snow says he also got a little bit of an updated brief during that bike ride.
How does he do that?
Well, a National Security Council staffer contacts a military aide who's traveling with the president all the time, whether he's on a bike ride, he's on a boat or what have you. And then after the president was finished with the bike ride, he got another briefing.
Those briefings in the early morning, though, were focused on what happened in London -- the very latest on what the U.S.
Is hearing about those two incidents in London yesterday.
Then the president went out for a boat ride late morning. And after he left for that boat ride, the White House finally started getting information trickling in about this situation today in Scotland. So when the president returned to Walker's Point, his family compound, he got an update of that situation.
But, again, Tony Snow saying based on all the information the White House has right now, there is no credible, specific threat against the United States, so these enhanced measures at airports are just a way to have more vigilance and preventative measures, really -- Melissa, T.J.
LONG:. Ed Henry, live from Maine, where, again, the president is on vacation, but staying up to date. And also there on official business, as he'll be meeting with Vladimir Putin, both tomorrow and Monday.
Ed, thanks so much.
HOLMES:. We now want to get more from -- from a former -- the former head of Britain's Joint Intelligence Committee.
That's Dane Pauline Neville-Jones, again, the former head of Britain's Joint Intelligence Committee.
Thank you for your time.
I'm sure when you heard about the thwarted bombs -- two car bombs in London yesterday -- a lot of things probably went through your mind, given your former role as the head of that Joint Intelligence Committee.
Tell us what you were thinking then and now that we see this incident to today how your thinking has kind of changed.
DAME PAULINE NEVILLE-JONES, FORMER HEAD, BRITAIN'S JOINT INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE:. Well, yesterday when I had heard about the first bomb -- and my immediate reaction was to be anxious about the possibility of subsequent episodes and incidents, the kind of terrorism that we face from Al Qaeda. And one has, I think, to assume that -- until you hear better news -- that it's likely to come from, or be inspired, at least, by that source.
One of their hallmarks is more than one incident. They go in for the multiple event. And so I wasn't at all surprised. Then so there -- then to discover -- the police then to discover a second car -- they haven't -- the police have not yet confirmed that the car that was driven into the front of Glasgow Airport in Scotland has -- is linked and a part of the same campaign, though I personally think that it has many of the same hallmarks and should be, I think, surprised if in due course the police don't confirm that it is, indeed, part of a -- of a general -- a more generally organized conspiracy.
HOLMES:. What can we expect, and what do you expect -- I mean, we're short of definitively linking these two -- but are you concerned that we might just be getting started, we might go through a little -- a little time period here where we see several attacks like this?
NEVILLE-JONES:. Yes. I think that's -- I think one can't rule that out. I think that one must assume, at any given moment, conspiracies are underway, that people are planning things. We know in the United Kingdom, after all, that the police have actually intercepted more than one episode which hasn't actually got anywhere.
But I don't have any doubt in my mind that when they have taken such action that it has been in respect to something serious that would have otherwise developed.
So we already have had several attempts. Now, these incidents haven't really succeeded in their -- in their objectives, partly through good luck, which we certainly deserve, in that the car in the West End of London yesterday was intercepted before it could actually explode. And that was the same -- true of the second vehicle. And the vehicle in Glasgow, if it is linked, (INAUDIBLE) has burnt out, we've been extremely fortunate that there hasn't been a loss of life of any of the passengers in the terminal.
HOLMES:. All right, and, ma'am, I'm going to stop you right there.
HOLMES:. We're going to take a quick break.
And hopefully you can stick around here for just a second.
But we've got to get a quick break in.
Again, Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, the former head of Britain's Joint Intelligence Committee, with some -- with some great insights here for us.
So, hopefully, just stick around here with us for just one second.
ANNOUNCER:. This is CNN breaking news.
HOLMES:. And, again, we continue to follow the situation at the Glasgow Airport in Scotland, where it appears some kind of attack has taken place, where two men drove a vehicle into the terminal there at the airport. This was the result. A fire happened. It did not explode on impact, according to witnesses. But this fire happened afterwards. It burst into flames. It certainly looks like this is not something that just happens to a vehicle, to catch on fire like this.
But two people are now under arrest, in police custody. We have word that one of the individuals who was arrested was taken to the hospital to be treated, because there were reports that person was on fire after stumbling out of the vehicle. And word from the A.P. Is that the hospital where that suspect was taken has been evacuated, for whatever reason.
So many facets to this story we are trying to follow.
Before we took that break, we were talking to Dane Pauline Neville-Jones, the former head of Britain's Joint Intelligence Committee.
Thank you for staying here with us.
One more -- one more thing we certainly want to get into is when we see this -- and it appears no injuries in this attack. Don't know how successful of an attack a terrorist might call this, but, also, the failed car bombings in London, when you see these and they don't go off maybe, in the spectacular or as big or as deadly of a fashion as maybe a terrorist would like, what does that tell you about the possible terrorists that we're dealing with? NEVILLE-JONES: I think that what it shows is that I mean, at some levels, they're competent and at others -- and certainly in this instance -- whoever was doing their -- their explosives doesn't seem to have done a very good job.
I think politically the whole thing was quite well organized and sophisticated. The actual -- the actual attack does not seem to have been well engineered. So that may tell you something about the given individual who was in charge of that part of the conspiracy.
Some people have suggested that it was organized in such a way that it wasn't intended to go off. I don't myself believe that.
One of the things, of course, that emerges from this particular situation, where you have an incident which has been attempted, and fortunately hasn't actually succeeded, there is going to be a tremendous trail of evidence, which the police are going to be able to pick up and will pick up very fast. So they will uncover a great deal of information. And I think it very probable that they will get to the bottom of the people who are responsible.
So this will enlarge their knowledge. It may, of course, enlarge, you know, their -- the number of people that they have to watch, which is one of the things that is happening at the moment. The -- the increase in competent of our forces, our police force and our security service, actually to be vigilant and informed, has uncovered more extensive radicalization of the Muslim youth in this country than we had previously understood.
But over time, one does actually fill in the picture and get a much better grasp of the nature of the problem.
This is a much -- obviously a much, much bigger issue that we have to tackle in our society, to bring people together and to draw support away from the men of violence.
HOLMES:. And, ma'am, you mentioned there might be a lot of evidence left over, maybe -- you've got the suspects here. It might lead to other things. And, also, the attempted car bombings in London -- a treasure trove of evidence there, since those vehicles didn't go off.
But when you're dealing with what you say are maybe not be very competent people, also, not very sophisticated, it also might mean they're not very well organized and it means that maybe you can't, ahead of time, track these people as well, because they're just splinter groups here and there, really, just a couple of -- of guys that possibly get together on the weekend and decide, hey, we're going to go attack something.
Is it that much more difficult to trace those people, to track those people and to stop an attack when it's not a huge network that's planning massive attacks?
NEVILLE-JONES: Well, I think -- I think that one of the things about this kind of terrorism is that it's cheap and the people who carry it out can be fairly atomized, and therefore, small groups of people with very few -- leaving very few traces, and any trail of evidence that you can track, you know, s they're planning. That is one of the characteristics.
I think that this particular episode, I would say is unusual in the degree of incompetence that's been shown, actually, in the explosives area. We have seen quite sophisticated use of explosives or attempt to use explosives on other occasions, so I'm -- I wouldn't myself take much comfort in that.
But I think that the key to all of this is actually understanding the political motivation, and through that I think, we're going to be able, over time, to track down and know about the activities of people who are going to resort to violence.
And the -- what we know about their techniques is very important, obviously, in our ability to put up necessarily preventative measures, but our ability to -- through intelligence and intelligence-learned activity, to track them down is going to be much more related, I think, to their political connections and their political motivations.
HOLMES: Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, a former head of Britain's Joint Intelligence Committee. Ma'am, thank you so much for taking time out and lending us your expertise.
NEVILLE-JONES: A pleasure.
LONG: About four hours now since this was the scene at Glasgow International Airport, GIA in Scotland. We're getting the very latest and bringing it to you as soon as it comes in, and ITN's Lisa Manning is there on the scene with the very latest.
LISA MANNING, ITN (voice-over): Flames shooting up by the doors of Glasgow Airport's terminal building. Was this another attempt to attack the U.K.?
This vehicle, described by witnesses as a Jeep Cherokee, crashed into the airport driven by two men, who those at the scene said were of Asian appearance. Passengers told how one of the men brought out a petrol canister, and poured it onto the car, and that one of them was then himself on fire.
VOICE OF UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was really odd was that one of the guys was on fire, but he was trying to sort of open up the back of the Range Rover. And it was very, very dramatic, I have to say. It started out with some flames coming up from the front of the car, but then -- it was almost as if there was kind of a mini-explosion, as if there had been a petrol canister or something, and the flames were shooting right up to the top of the terminal building, which was quite dramatic, and then the general building seemed to catch fire.
The front of the terminal building seemed to catch fire. There was smoke and flames, obviously going inside the building, and outside as well. Everyone just ran, I mean, they were absolutely terrified, as you can imagine because we -- the first thing in all our minds was, you know, is it an accident, is it a terrorist -- is it a terrorist attack?
MANNING: With fire engines and the police quickly on the scene, one of the men was wrestled to the ground, and Strathclyde police tonight confirmed they had made two arrests. The police say at the moment they don't know if this is linked to yesterday's foiled car bomb attacks in London, but with witnesses talking of the car trying to ram the entrance and the men holding things that looked like petrol bombs, those at the airport are in little doubt, this was a car bomb attack.
While police in Scotland continue their investigations, in London, the new prime minister will chair his second emergency meeting of top security officials today. COBRA will meet within the hour to discuss the situation in Glasgow. On his third full day in the job, Mr. Brown is now faced with having to deal with his second potential terrorist attack.
And this apparent car bomb at Glasgow Airport has had immediate repercussions across the Atlantic, America announcing tonight it was boosting the presence of security officials at all of its airports. And in Glasgow, there was surprise that recent security improvements hadn't prevented the car from hitting the terminal building.
VOICE OF UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, there -- there's just been recent changes to the front of Glasgow Airport terminal, which allows taxis only to get in that area. So, I don't know how this has happened, I don't know why it's happened, but certainly I will be asking for the fullest (ph) possible inquiry into why they were able to crash, and as I understand it, enter the front of the airport terminal.
MANNING: Also, London's foiled attacks yesterday, government officials said all parts of the U.K. were potentially under threat. They had no idea how quickly that could tonight become a reality.
LONG: That was ITN's Lisa Manning reporting.
Let's bring in Peter Bergen, a terrorism analyst, joins us live from Washington, D.C. to offer his perspective.
Peter, thanks so much for your time.
PETER BERGEN, TERRORISM ANALYST: Good afternoon.
LONG: Well, let's first talk about the moment you heard today's news about the fiery crash at Glasgow. What was your immediate reaction to that, following the news yesterday of the thwarted (ph) bombings?
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I mean, I think as Dame Neville-Jones said, I mean -- it's not really that surprising, and there's probably maybe one or two other ones in the pipeline. After all, the London attacks of July 7th, 2005, involved four separate attacks. The July 21st attacks, two weeks later, which luckily didn't work out, also involved four attacks.
The 9/11 attacks on the United States involved four attacks, so we're up to three now, so the expectation there might be another one I think is a very reasonable one, unfortunately.
And I think that Lisa Manning's report from ITN just now, I think had two rather interesting points. One, that these guys in the vehicle were carrying some sort of petrol bombs, it appears. So, that seems a link them rather strongly with the two attacks -- the two planned attacks in London.
The second thing that was interesting is that witnesses described these men as being of Asian appearance, meaning that they're probably British Pakistanis, and we've seen again and again that second generation British Pakistanis, alienated for what -- or alienated and not integrated into British society, turning to al Qaeda or al Qaeda- like ideas.
That was true with a group of people who attacked in London on July 7th, 2005. It was true of the planes blog (ph), you may recall, in the summer of 2006, there was a plan to bring down as many as 10 American airliners, that would involve suicide operations, guys with liquid explosives. Luckily, that plan didn't work. If it had worked, it would have been a 9/11-style event, but that plan was largely British-Pakistani, so we see this pattern again and again.
As yet, we don't know who the perpetrators of this attack that we're watching now, or of yesterday's, but it would be extremely surprising if it -- if it's not largely second generation British- Pakistanis who turned to al Qaeda-like ideas, and may even have trained with al Qaeda in one or two cases.
LONG: If it is in fact the people you speak of and they are, in fact, feeling alienated, do you therefore connect this to the underground attacks two years ago on July 7th, or do you tie it in more with the new government that's in place, the new prime minister, or even both?
BERGEN: Well, I think both. I mean -- the attacks on London's transportation system two years ago -- the four people involved, three of them were British citizens, Pakistani descent, one was a Jamaican, a British citizen. So, you know, that is, you know -- the South Asian population in Britain is -- has quite high unemployment rate, relative to the British population, it tends to, particularly for younger men.
There is a rather militant form of Islam, which -- surprisingly, a year after the attacks in London, a significant minority of British Muslims said the attacks were justifiable because of British foreign policy in Iraq.
This sort of thing you could not -- you can't -- in the United States, the American Muslim population by contrast is very well- integrated, it's better educated than the average American, has higher incomes, does not subscribe to these militant ideas. I think it's very unlikely that we'll see these kinds of attacks in the United States -- I'm not ruling them out, but the threat level here in the United States is much, much lower. There was an attempt by al Qaeda in December of 1999 to launch an attack on Los Angeles International Airport. You may recall that around that time of the New Year's -- an Algerian was arrested at the U.S./Canadian borde who was on his way to go and launch an attack on that Los Angeles International Airport.
Luckily, that didn't happen, but I think it's -- the United States government is doing the right thing by certainly airports, which are particularly high-value targets for the terrorists like JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, Los Angeles International Airport. These airports, I think, are certainly the kinds of targets that al Qaeda would like to attack, and so I think it's reasonable to put more precautions in place in those particular airports.
LONG: Live from Washington, Terrorism Analyst Peter Bergen. Peter, thank you so much for your perspective.
BERGEN: Thank you.
HOLMES: All right, we have been keeping track of this story for the past couple hours now, and helping us through that has been our Paula Newton who's been in London for us, who has some new information now, Paula.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: T.J., sources close to this investigation tell CNN that in fact, authorities are now calling this a terrorist incident, and that they do believe it is linked to the two car bombs here in London. What they don't now is that if it's linked in quite a substantial way, or it is just an attempted copycat event, but again, they are treating this as a terrorist incident, and one that is, in some way, linked to the two car bombs that were diffused here in London yesterday.
More to that, CNN has also learned that as the government meets right now, and they are in what they call an emergency response meeting that is chaired by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, it's code named COBRA Meeting, that right now, they are considering elevating the threat level in those country to the highest level, which would make it critical. Previously, it was at the second-highest threat level, and that was severe. Severe means that an attack is highly likely. It's been there for quite some time.
Moving it to critical actually indicates, from the government's own kind of policy on this, that an attack is expected imminently. That'll give the government significant leeway to do what it has to do in terms of tightening security, no matter what that means at airports or in terms of inconveniencing people in Britain's cities or at transport centers.
Also, it does give them significant leeway to cancel events if they need to, keeping in mind there are significant events under way right now in London. We had the Gay Pride Parade today, we have a lot of other seemingly small events, but in London, that means significant. I mean, thousands -- Wimbledon is ongoing. And tomorrow, we have scheduled the memorial concert for Princess Diana at a very large stadium, the new one, Wembley Stadium. That's supposed to go on tomorrow.
As of yet, we don't have any word that any of those events are canceled, but again, that may change. We understand that cabinet meeting, that COBRA emergency response meeting's still ongoing at this hour -- T.J..
HOLMES: And again, Paula, want to be clear -- when you say linked, or when they say linked, excuse me, these are linked to the others, this incident today linked to the others. That doesn't necessarily mean these groups are working together, or these individuals working together. It could possibly simply mean that whoever did this today was inspired by what they saw happened yesterday.
NEWTON: Inspired, certainly a cell was perhaps activated in the same way one was activated yesterday. It can mean a lot of different things. What it does not mean necessarily is that there is one person coordinating all of these events.
Also, we still have some kind of dispute as to whether or not what happened with the transit attacks, as to whether or not that was a copycat event at the time. Suffice it to say that the information that authorities have, that are close (ph) to this investigation now, from this burning vehicle, what they know from what investigators are telling them on the scene, it looks pretty similar.
HOLMES: All right, Paula Newton with the new and disturbing information, but certainly an important distinction to make, that authorities there are in fact, calling this a terrorist incident there at the Glasgow Airport.
LONG: Several hours now since this news broke in Glasgow, and we've learned that there will be more security at U.S. airports, but there is no change in the terror alert level. However, there is news about Los Angeles International Airport, LAX.
Jeanne Meserve, our homeland security correspondent, joins us now live from Washington with more -- Jeanne.
JEANNE MESERVE, HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, we heard the White House announce a little while ago that they would be sending out alertness-raising packets to airports throughout the country, giving them some suggestions on how they might improve their security, particularly on the outside of the airports.
According to an official at Los Angeles International Airport, out of an abundance of caution, they have increased their deployment of uniformed patrol officers and also canine officers within and around the airport at LAX and some other airports in the area, which is run by the same airport authority.
And they continue their random checkpoints for their screening vehicles entering the airport for contraband and also for explosive materials. I will say LAX of particular interest, because it has been threatened before. In 2002, you may recall almost exactly on this date, it was July 4th, a gunman opened fire at the El Al (ph) Counter in that airport and killed two people.
Also, Amad Rosam (ph), the millennium bomber was caught coming across the border from Canada. In his trunk were explosives. His target was LAX. So at LAX in particular, they're taking this seriously.
We've spoken to a few other airports. They are saying at this point no big uptick in security, but one official I talked to said they had yet to receive their guidance from the TSA. They haven't got in hand yet.
The sorts of things they're likely to be doing at all airports that choose to increase their security level is focus on large vehicles, both coming in front of the terminal and also into the parking garage, and as you have seen in LAX, you probably will see increases in canine units, uniformed patrols and also, probably undercover patrols.
LONG: Jeanne Meserve, our homeland security correspondent, keeping you up to date on security precautions in the U.S., and that means a long day for Jeanne. Jeanne, thanks so much. We appreciate it.
We have new pictures in now from LaGuardia, the stepped-up security measures there. Jeanne was talking about the efforts to bring in more security, canine units, into LAX. And these are pictures from the New York area, from LaGuardia.
HOLMES: We're seeing there on the right -- actually LaGuardia, and that stepped-up police presence, and that's certainly what they said you're going to see, which can serve as a deterrent and certainly, several more eyes and ears there at the airports. On the left there, I believe we're still looking at LAX there from a distance.
We do have with us now -- we're going to go back to Glasgow now, the airport there where this incident we're seeing happening today. We want to go to Stewart Paterson is with the "Glasgow Herald" who is on scene at the airport now.
Stewart, thank you for your time. We've been watching pictures of the incident right after it happened, tell us what it looks like now?
VOICE OF STEWART PATERSON, GLASGOW HERALD: Just now, the airport has been evacuated, the building is completely empty, and the police are carrying out their -- it seems as though they're carrying out their search of the area, just to make sure that all the other cars in the car parks are actually safe and all the passengers are in nearby hotels, awaiting for word from their travel plans, whether they can continue or not, whether the airport will open again today.
HOLMES: What -- where did all the, those -- I mean, the airport is busy, a lot of folks there, are there still some around trying to find places to go? Or has everybody pretty much cleared out, and the whole airport and the complex is empty?
PATERSON: Well, everyone is actually out of the terminal building and the surrounding area. There are a few airport hotels nearby, and passengers are gathered there while they're awaiting further word about flights later this evening, and there are maybe a few hundred passengers still around. Some people have left, some people have gone home, but many are still waiting in the hotels in the surrounding area.
It's the summer that is the busiest time for Glasgow Airport, so there are thousands of passengers here today.
HOLMES: Stewart, what have you been able to collect as far as the story from eyewitnesses? We've heard several different accounts, but you're on the scene there and certainly been talking to people, what have you been able to piece together about exactly what happened when that vehicle rammed into the terminal?
PATERSON: Yes, yes, as soon as all that -- the car seemed to be a Jeep Cherokee, has crashed into the doors of the main terminal building at the airport. And I came to get into the building where people would have been queuing to checking their baggage and to check in for the flights. I didn't manage to get through the doors. Some of it did (ph), and then the car caught fire and the front of the terminal building caught fire as well.
There seems to be two people in the car, and the driver left the car, he was also on fire and struggled with police, and possibly a member of the public ensued before he was apprehended and taken away, and everybody's now (INAUDIBLE) taken by hospital.
HOLMES: OK, Stewart Paterson, we appreciate you giving us a minute and telling us what you're seeing, again there on scene right now with what's happening at the Glasgow Airport, pretty much emptied out from all passengers after this incident, a couple hours ago where two men drove this into -- or drove this -- smashed into the terminal there.
And it is now being called a terrorist incident by officials there. So it appears that a terrorist attack of some kind has taken place, but still no word on injuries or casualties at all, and no ambulances we ever saw in any of the video coming to the scene. So, that can certainly be a good thing, but details still coming into us.
LONG: It is 7:48 in the evening in London, in Scotland, and we're continuing to follow this story for you throughout the day as we get little nuggets of information, we're bringing them to you.
We have been hearing a lot from eyewitnesses describing the chaos and the confusion at that airport when that SUV careened into the terminal.
Coming up just after the break, more eyewitness accounts of what they experienced. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HOLMES: We're continuing to bring you developments out of Glasgow, Scotland where a terrorist attack now, it's being called by officials, a terrorist incident has taken place. That is what happened. Two men drove that vehicle into the Glasgow Airport, a terminal there. After it crashed, it burst into flames. Those two men got out of the vehicle.
One of them, at least, according to eyewitnesses, was on fire at the time, and tried to still go to the back of the vehicle and open it or get something out. Those two men now under arrest. One of them had to be taken to a hospital. That hospital, according to AP, now had to be evacuated where that suspect was taken.
So still trying to work details on this developing story, and of course, this all comes on the heels of the incident we saw yesterday in London where two car bombs were found that did not detonate. But two car bombs were found in very populated, busy areas.
Again, we are getting eyewitness accounts here. We have one more we want to bring to you from a witness who was there at the airport. Take a listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And joining us now from Glasgow, Jackie Kennedy, who was an eyewitness to this attack. Can you tell us what you saw?
JACKIE KENNEDY, EYEWITNESS: Basically a car, a Cherokee Jeep, a green one, actually tried to run the doors of the airport. They came in at an angle, and hit a concrete pillar and the doors. And then, I noticed -- that obviously, the man wasn't trying to get out of the car, and the front of the car actually had flames on it.
He then must have got a petrol container and poured over himself, and then stayed in the car, and then obviously came outside and was engulfed in flames.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there an explosion or was it just that a fire started when he got the petrol out?
KENNEDY: No, the car was actually on fire inside the front passenger and the driver's side, but there wasn't a great deal of flames, obviously, until he lifted up this petrol container.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And -- and tell us what happened as he got out? I mean, who stopped him?
KENNEDY: Basically, when he got out of the car, he was engulfed in the flames, and two of the airport staff tried to come out with fire extinguishers, which he didn't look very happy about. He then laid down on the ground and basically -- the whole thing was on fire. And then eventually they managed to put the fire out on him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what about the other man? What was he doing? Had people already grabbed him by that time?
KENNEDY: Yes, the passenger I believe got out of the car and tried to enter the building. And I think the police actually managed to get him quite quickly, but obviously the driver of the car was engulfed in flames, and police officers couldn't actually get to him because he was burning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you get a look at them? I mean, people have said that they were of Asian appearance.
KENNEDY: Yes, they were.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you saw them both?
KENNEDY: Yes, I did. They were both in about their 30s, and both of Asian appearance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, the other thing that people have said is that there may have been petrol containers inside the car or gas canisters, I don't know -- were you able to get a look at any of that?
KENNEDY: I couldn't see inside the car, I don't know whether the windows were tinted or whether it was because it was quite dark and raining at the time. The car did explode, obviously about three times. But I believe that there were petrol containers in the back of the jeep, it would have been a much bigger explosion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it clear to all of you looking on, what was going on at that stage? I mean, there was no doubt in your mind that this was an attack?
KENNEDY: At the beginning, I thought it was just somebody that had obviously, you know, just crashed a car into the building by mistake. But, as I continued to look and seeing the flames from inside of the car, I realized then that this was obviously deliberately done. And the fact that the guy was in flames and seemed to be enjoying himself, smiling and everything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How quickly were the police there?
KENNEDY: Well, the police were there I would say within a couple of seconds. Obviously, there was only a couple of the normal police that were on duty at the time outside the building. One of the policemen did try to arrest the man that was engulfed in flames and did actually spray some mace into his eyes. I think with the wind blowing, it blew back in his eyes, and he obviously couldn't restrain him too well, because he couldn't see.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what -- so he was able to -- because one man had talked about him trying to then get back to the car. Is that what happened?
KENNEDY: Yes, I believe he did try to get back to the car. A member of the public actually came out and actually punched the man in the face, and that enabled the police to actually get a hold of him and actually get handcuffs on him. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jackie, thanks very much indeed for telling us all that. Jackie Kennedy.
HOLMES: There's the latest eyewitness account of what's happening there in Glasgow. We are all over this story about what's happening there at the airport in Glasgow and the terror threat in London, but also information about what's happening here in the U.S., an increased at U.S. airports.
Stay here with us with CNN. We're going to take a quick break, we'll have the very latest and all the coverage, coming up.
SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN ANCHOR: Two days of terror in Great Britain. Who tried to blow up part of London? That answer could be in one of these images.
LONG: And who tried to blow up part of Scotland's busiest airport? The answers could be in a Glasgow hospital.
Hello, I'm Melissa Long.
ROESGEN: And I'm Susan Roesgen, and you're in the CNN NEWSROOM on a very busy Saturday.
LONG: Britain's second straight day of terrorism fears has inspired Washington to make some moves. The latest incident, another near miss, a flaming SUV crashing into Scotland's biggest international airport, Glasgow, and set part of that terminal on fire.
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