Saturday, November 29, 2008

This blog stood down, so that my other blog could stand up.

I'm really into military metaphors anymore.

Reconciling two very distinct and mutually contradictory timelines for when the Associated Press broke major news developments throughout the day of September 11th, 2001.

One timeline was posted to the web by the Irish company, Thomas Crosbie Media on an archive page dated, September 11th, 2001, organized under the topic "War on Terrorism." The context there is clear: it is the first of daily compendiums under the heading "War on Terror" that ran until at least the end of 2001. Its first appearance online as recorded at, was on March 16, 2004.

The second timeline I first encountered in a citation at the Complete 911 Timeline at The History Commons, where an entry:
9:43 a.m.-9:53 a.m. September 11, 2001: Associated Press First to Report a Plane Hit the Pentagon; CNN Still Unsure What Happened for Ten More Minutes

cites two references in determining the exceedingly important fact that the Associated Press was the first news organization to report a plane had impacted the Pentagon, at 9:43am.

One citation was an article in the industry magazine Broadcasting and Cable dated 8/26/2002, titled, Three hours that shook America: A chronology of chaos by Mark K. Miller, which makes reference to five bullet items from the timeline. The second citation is to the expanded timeline found on a pdf. page called, "Associated Press, 2001," which appears as a contextless page that looks graphically as if it came from the semi-annual in-house magazine, APWorld, which if true, can't be determined via Google. records this pdf. page as first appearing online on March 6, 2008.

Other than the citations in the History Commons project, there is very little else in the way of linkages online for these two references. Putting a more proper title for the pdf. page, "A Stunning 48 hours of News," into Google and only 10 hits are returned, while entering the title for the Broadcast and Cable article also returns only 10 hits in Google.

In fact, only a single original reference to the Broadcast and Cable article was ever made---at a blog named Shoestring911, on October 31, 2008, and it was not about the time of the announcement of a plane crash, but rather, about an errant report of fire in the USAToday building:
"Some early news reports even claimed that there was a fire at the USA Today building. At 9:46 a.m., local radio station WTOP reported, "We're hearing from a caller who says she is eyewitness to another hit here in town; the USA Today building may also be on fire in addition to the Pentagon."
Only a single original-source article references the AP pdf. page, and likewise, it is not about the breaking news of a plane crash at the Pentagon. In the Calgary Herald a piece by Kevin Brooker, published March 26, 2007, called The curious tale of the 'other' WTC tower, was about the AP timeline's failure to mention the collapse of Building 7 late in the day of the 11th.

  • The Associated Press 2001 pdf. timeline is a compendium that memorializes "two flashes, 25 APNewsAlerts and 18 bulletins in the first day," but the page is constructed without any context, or authorship, or linkages. first records this pdf page appearing online on March 6, 2008.
  • Graphically, this pdf page would appear to be from the semi-annual in-house magazine, APWorld, but that is unverifiable on Google. Graphically, it also appears the bulletins were intended to open in links for expanded reporting, but the links are dead. Whatever additional information originally in the AP reports is unknown.
  • According to Google, other than the History Commons citation, only one original-source article references the AP pdf. In the Calgary Herald, a piece by Kevin Brooker, published March 26, 2007, called The curious tale of the 'other' WTC tower, was about the AP timeline's failure to mention the collapse of Building 7.
  • According to Google, other than the History Commons citation, only one original reference to the Broadcast and Cable article was made---at a blog named Shoestring911, on October 31, 2008, but it was about an errant report of fire in the USAToday building.
  • The timeline is not a compendium recorded in its original form, having been edited with at least one prominent correction, in the 10:23am item: "Washington Car bomb explodes outside State Department, senior law enforcement officials say [Note: Officials’ version later proved unfounded]"

Interpolating Two Very Distinct AP Wires

Some of the significant differences between the two timelines:
  • AP's first report of plane crash into WTC is five minutes later than Crosbie,
  • The AP timeline further distances itself by attributing the news to "television reports"
  • AP's report of a plane crash into Pentagon is 22 minutes earlier than Crosbie.
  • AP's report of a car bomb at the State Department is 12 minutes earlier than Crosbie.
  • In two reports, AP first says "explosions" were occurring in the second tower, before reporting that a plane had crashed five minutes later.

  • AP says at 9:43 that the Pentagon was hit by an aircraft.
  • Crosbie says at 9:41 the Pentagon was evacuated due to fire.
  • Crosbie says at 9:52 an explosion at Pentagon. Paul Begala said, ‘‘It was a huge fireball, a huge, orange fireball,"
  • Crosbie says at 10:05 "Then an aircraft crashed into the Pentagon,"
  • Crosbie says at 10:11 AP reporter Dave Winslow also saw the crash. He said, "I saw the tail of a large airliner..... It plowed right into the Pentagon."
  • AP says at 10:23 a car bomb explodes outside the State Department.
  • Crosbie says at 10:35 a car bomb explodes outside the State Department.
  • Crosbie repeats the error three more times in the next 36 minutes: at 10:42am, at 11:03am, and again at 11:11am.
  • Crosbie says at 5:29 that Building 7 collapses
  • AP fails entirely to report Building 7 collapsing on 9/11.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Associated Press Wire Carried an Article on August 21, 2002

Compiled by AP researchers Justin Glanville, Julie Reed, Rhonda Shafner. "Related major developments in the year since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks," which included a timeline for the day of September 11th, 2001, "Chronology of some key events in U.S. relations with Islamic groups and with Osama bin Laden before Sept. 11, 2001, and of the Sept. 11 attacks and aftermath," which is only available online in an obscure reference at

This effort by the AP contains distinct differences from the "two flashes, 25 APNewsAlerts and 18 bulletins in the first day" that the AP claims constituted its total breaking news output on September 11th, which was posted to the web in a timeline pdf page, Associated Press, 2001, but according to not until March 8, 2008.

For instance, it does mention the "Empty 47-story Seven World Trade Center collapses" at 5:25 p.m, which would have made for a good third AP flash on 9/11.

The closing of bridges and tunnels into Manhattan is given at 9:21am instead of at 9:36am for what it's worth.

The FAA is given lots of extra attention, with three separate increments just to shut down the air space.

The FAA also specifically notifies NORAD three separate times of plane hijackings (but somehow Flight 93 never makes the cut.)

That, plus the four take-offs and the four crashes are timelined, although both Flights 93 and 77 are given gentle (approx.) crash times of 9:40am and 10:07am.

Instead of an "Explosion hits another building near World Trade Center" at 10:00am, we get a "South tower of World Trade Center collapses" coming not a moment too soon at 9:59am.

Supposedly, New York's mayor orders an evacuation of lower Manhattan at 11:00am, and I've never seen that before or since on any of the other timelines.

Likewise, the "Navy dispatches missile destroyers to New York, Washington," from 2:55pm is news to me, never having appeared before to my knowledge, although several other items relating to military deployments were issued.

More tangle to the web weave, I say.

8 a.m. AP2002 American Airlines Flight 11, Boeing 767 with 92 people on board, takes off from Boston's Logan International Airport for Los Angeles.
8:14 a.m. AP2002 United Air Lines Flight 175, Boeing 767 with 65 people on board, takes off from Boston's Logan airport for Los Angeles.
8:21 a.m. AP2002 American Airlines Flight 77, Boeing 757 with 64 people on board, takes off from Washington Dulles International Airport for Los Angeles.
8:40 a.m. AP2002 Federal Aviation Administration notifies North American Aerospace Defense Command's Northeast Air Defense Sector about suspected hijacking of American Flight 11.
8:41 a.m. AP2002 United Air Lines Flight 93, Boeing 757 with 44 people on board, takes off from Newark International Airport for San Francisco.
8:43 a.m. AP2002 FAA notifies NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector about suspected hijacking of United Flight 175.
8:46 a.m. AP2002 American Flight 11 crashes into north tower of World Trade Center.
9:03 a.m. AP2002 United Flight 175 crashes into south tower of World Trade Center.
9:08 a.m. AP2002 FAA bans all takeoffs nationwide for flights going to or through New York Center airspace.
9:21 a.m. AP2002 All bridges and tunnels into Manhattan closed.
9:24 a.m. AP2002 FAA notifies NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector about suspected hijacking of American Flight 77.
9:26 a.m. AP2002 FAA bans takeoffs of all civilian aircraft.
9:31 a.m. AP2002 In Sarasota, Fla., President Bush calls crashes an "apparent terrorist attack on our country."
9:40 a.m. (approx.) AP2002 American Flight 77 crashes into Pentagon.
9:45 a.m. AP2002 FAA orders all aircraft to land at nearest airport as soon as practical. More than 4,500 aircraft in air at the time.
9:48 a.m. AP2002 U.S. Capitol and White House's West Wing evacuated.
9:59 a.m. AP2002 South tower of World Trade Center collapses.
10:07 a.m. (approx.) AP2002 United Flight 93 crashes in Pennsylvania field.
10:28 a.m. AP2002 North tower of World Trade Center collapses.
11 a.m. AP2002 New York mayor orders evacuation of lower Manhattan.
1:04 p.m. AP2002 From Barksdale Air Force base in Louisiana, Bush announces U.S. military on high-alert worldwide.
2:51 p.m. AP2002 Navy dispatches missile destroyers to New York, Washington.
3:07 p.m. AP2002 Bush arrives at U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.
5:25 p.m. AP2002 Empty 47-story Seven World Trade Center collapses.
7 p.m. AP2002 Bush arrives at White House.
8:30 p.m. AP2002 Bush addresses nation and vows to "find those responsible and bring them to justice."

25 AP News Alerts, 18 Bulletins and Two 'Flashes'

8:53 New York Plane crashes into World Trade Center, according to television reports
8:56 New York Smoke poured out of a gaping hole in the upper floors of the World Trade Center on Tuesday and there were broadcast reports a plane had struck it.
9:01 New York An aircraft crashed into the upper floors of one of the World Trade Center towers Tuesday morning, and black smoke poured out of two gaping holes.
9:04 New York Explosion rocks second World Trade Center tower
9:05 New York An aircraft crashed into the upper floors of one of the World Trade Center towers Tuesday morning. Shortly afterward a second explosion rocked the other tower.
9:09 New York Plane crashes into second World Trade Center tower
9:11 New York An aircraft crashed into the upper floors of one of the WTC towers Tuesday morning. Shortly afterward a second plane hit the other tower.
9:12 Washington FBI investigating reports of plane hijacking before World Trade Center crashes
9:15 Washington The FBI is investigating reports that two plane crashes at the WTC are the result of foul play, the AP has learned.
9:18 New York Planes crashed into the upper floors of both WTC towers minutes apart Tuesday in a horrific scene of explosions and fire that left gaping holes in the 110 story buildings.
9:31 Sarasota, FL Bush calls World Trade Center crashes apparent terrorist attack
9:34 Washington President Bush said Tuesday that two plane crashes into the WTC were "an apparent terrorist attack on our country."
9:40 Washington First plane to hit World Trade Center was hijacked after takeoff from Boston, U.S. official says
9:42 Washington One of two planes that crashed into the WTC was hijacked after takeoff from Boston, a U.S. official said, citing a transmission from the plane.
9:43:07 Washington An aircraft has crashed into the Pentagon, witnesses say
9:43:59 Washington West Wing of White House evacuated amid terrorist threats
9:44 Washington An aircraft crashed near the Pentagon and the West Wing of the White House was evacuated amid threats of terrorism.
9:47 Washington White House threatened with terrorist attack, source says
9:49 Washington The Federal Aviation Administration has shut down all aircraft takeoffs nationwide
9:50 [Washington] The White House was evacuated after the Secret Service received credible threat of a terrorist act against the presidential mansion and residence.
9:53 Washington Aircraft crashed near Pentagon. White House evacuated after bomb threats. FAA shuts down all air traffic.
10:00 New York Explosion hits another building near World Trade Center
10:07 New York One World Trade Center tower collapses
10:11 New York Two planes crashed into WTC. Bush says "apparent terrorist attack." Witness saw people falling and jumping from towers.
10:19 Washington State Department evacuated due to a possible explosion.
10:23 Washington Car bomb explodes outside State Department, senior law enforcement officials say [Note: Officials’ version later proved unfounded]
10:29 New York Second World Trade Center tower collapses
10:30 New York In a horrific sequence of events, terrorists crashed planes into the WTC, and explosions rocked the Pentagon and the State Department, spreading fear through the country.
10:37 Pittsburgh Large plane crashes in western Pennsylvania, officials at Somerset County airport confirm
10:39 New York Fourth explosion at World Trade Center
10:46 Pittsburgh A large plane, believed to be a 767, crashed north of Somerset County Airport, near Pittsburgh.
11:15 New York Mayor Giuliani says: "I have a sense it's a horrendous number of lives lost."
11:16 New York Terrorists crashed planes into the WTC. Explosions also rocked the Pentagon. Mayor Giuliani: "I have a sense it's a horrendous number of lives lost."
11:17 New York Authorities had been trying to evacuate WTC. Expert: "I would name at the top of the list Osama Bin Laden." Aircraft crashed into Pentagon.
11:19 New York In Pennsylvania, a large plane believed to be a 747 crashed. Nation’s air traffic halted. New York "like a war zone."
11:23 Fort Worth, TX American Airlines says it "lost" two aircraft carrying 156 people
11:33 Pittsburgh United Airlines confirms flight from Newark, NJ, to San Francisco crashed near Pittsburgh
11:41 Pittsburgh San Francisco witness account of Pennsylvania crash.
11:52 Washington Federal Reserve reports it is prepared to provide additional money to nation's banking system as needed following terrorist attacks
12:03 Chicago United Airlines confirms second plane crashing, location not given
12:23 New York High-ranking city police official says the number of people killed or injured could be in the thousands
12:53 Barksdale AFB Bush says military on high-alert status
16:31 Washington President Bush is returning to the White House, spokesman says
16:54 Washington United States suspects Osama bin Laden in terrorist attacks, two U.S. officials say
20:33 Washington Bush says "thousands of lives were suddenly ended" in terrorist attacks
22:27 New York Mayor says some people alive in Trade Center Wednesday,

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

CNN Transcripts Index for September 11th, 2001

Terrorist Attack on United States 8:48am
Planes Crash Into WTC And Pentagon Also On Fire 9:31am
Terrorism Strikes In The United States in an Attack 9:42am
The White House Has Been Evacuated 9:52am
Timed Terrorist Attacks Against the United States 9:56am
Terrorists Attacks in Both Washington D.C. and NY 10:00am
America Under Attack 10:30am
America Under Attack 10:45am
America Under Attack 11:00am
Gen. Wesley Clark Discusses Ongoing Terrorist Situation 11:28am
White House Personnel and Officials Are Safe 12:00pm
New York State in State of Emergency 12:03pm
Secretary of State Powell's Reaction to Attack 12:07pm
How Washington Is Reacting To Terrorist Attack 12:09pm
Joint Chiefs of Staff Issue Statement Regarding Terrorist 12:11pm
Multiple Planes Crashing Around the Country, NY 12:13pm
Border Security Heightened, Airports Shut Down 12:17pm
Lt. Col. Alfred Van Cleef of Salvation Army Discusses 12:20pm
Mayor Talks Of Damage in New York City 12:26pm
Kabul Claims Osama Bin Laden Had Nothing To Do With 12:29pm
Terrorism Attack on New York City and Washington 12:35pm
America Under Attack: Members of Congress Speak 12:40pm
America Under Attack: Taliban Press Conference 12:50pm
U.S. Military On High Alert Following Terrorism 12:59pm
Ramifications of Planned Attack on the U.S. 13:03pm
Former National Security Adviser Richard Holbrooke.13:10pm
Airplanes Hit The World Trade Center 13:30pm
Witness Tells of Disaster At World Trade Center 13:33pm
Eyewitness Accounts Of Disaster in New York City 13:36pm
Eyewitness Pentagon Franken Timmerman Interview 13:46pm
Plane Goes Down in Pennsylvania Near Shanksville 13:50pm
Christopher Dodd Discusses the Terrorist Attack 13:53pm
Henry Kissinger Discusses Terrorist Attack 13:55pm
America Under Attack: Pentagon Official Holds Press 14:01pm
New York Authorities Wait for Area to be Secured 14:03pm
Terrorist Launch Successful Attacks Against Targets In 14:10pm
America Under Attack: Bush Holds Press Briefing 14:20pm
Followers of Osama Bin Laden Said They Would 14:34pm
New York's Governor NYC Address Concerns 14:35pm
Near-Simultaneous Terrorist Attacks Committed in 14:56pm
Cohen, Schultz, Baker on Today's Terrorist Act 15:00pm
America Under Attack: NYC Eyewitnesses Tell 15:18pm
Firefighters Watch Helplessly as the WTC 15:21pm
President Bush Stops at a Military Installation 15:25pm
Former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn Discusses 15:28pm
Former NATO Gen. Wesley Clark Discusses Strikes 15:31pm
America Under Attack: Key Players in Israel Respond 15:36pm
Terrorists Crash Hijacked Airliners Into WTC 15:41pm
Karen Hughes Delivers Remarks on Terrorist Attacks 15:47pm
Israeli Foreign Minister Address The Concerns 16:02pm
Amateur Video of Immediate Aftermath 16:20pm
Terrorists Crash Hijacked Airliners Into WTC 16:32pm
President Bush Addresses the Nation 16:32pm
Israeli Prime Minister, Offer Condolences 16:58pm
President Bush Will Speak to the Nation Later Tonight 17:30pm
FAA Shuts Down Airports Around the Country 17:32pm
Barbara Olson Dies in the Attack 17:36pm
What Has to Be Done to Prevent Similar Attacks? 17:39pm
Federal Emergency Management Agency 17:45pm
Eagleburger Discusses Terrorist Attacks on US 17:48pm
A Day of Terror 17:50pm
Senater Bob Graham Discuses Terrorist Attacks 18:09pm
Explosions in Kabul: Does Not Confirm Nor Deny U.S. 18:16pm
Bombs in Kabul 18:22pm
Terrorists Crash Hijacked Airliners Into WTC 18:32pm
Kabul, Afghanistan Bombed by Terrorist Attacks 19:00pm
Robert Gates Discusses Terrorist Attacks on U.S. 19:05pm
Rumsfeld Vows Pentagon will be Open Tomorrow 19:08pm
Terrorists Crash Hijacked Airliners Into WTC 19:12pm
Terrorists Crash Hijacked Airliners Into WTC 19:31pm
Cardinal Mahoney Speaks on Today's Terrorist Attack 20:40pm
Former Secretary of State Eagleburger Praises NY 20:43pm
Former FBI Agent Discusses the Attack President's 20:48pm
National Security Council to Convene 20:52pm
Larry King Live September 11th, 2001 9:00pm

Transcript CNN Broadcast: September 11th, 2001

Terrorist Attack on United States

Aired September 11, 2001 - 08:48am

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: This just in. You are looking at obviously a very disturbing live shot there. That is the World Trade Center, and have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. CNN Center right now is just beginning to work on this story, obviously calling our sources and trying to figure out exactly what happened. But clearly, something relatively devastating happening this morning there on the south end of the island Manhattan. That is, once again, a picture of one of the towers of the World Trade Center.

VINCE CELLINI, CNN ANCHOR: We could see these pictures. It's obviously something devastating that has happened. And again, there are unconfirmed reports that a plane has crashed into one of the towers there. We are efforting more information on the subject as it becomes available to you.

LIN: Right now we've got Sean Murtagh -- he is a CNN producer -- on the telephone. Sean, what can you tell us what about you know?

SEAN MURTAGH, CNN PRODUCER: This is Sean Murtagh. I just was standing on, the vice president of the vice president of finance for CNN.

CELLINI: Shaun, we're on the air right now. What you can tell us about the situation?


CELLINI: Yes, Sean, you are on the air right now. Go ahead. What you can tell us?

MURTAGH: I just witnessed a plane that appeared to be cruising at slightly lower-than-normal altitude over New York City, and it appears to have crashed into -- I don't know which tower it is -- but it hit directly in the middle of one of the World Trade Center towers.

LIN: Sean, what kind of plane was it? Was it a small plane, a jet?

MURTAGH: It was a jet. It looked like a two-engine jet, maybe a 737.

LIN: You are talking about a large passenger commercial jet.

MURTAGH: A large passenger commercial jet.

LIN: Where were you when you saw this?

MURTAGH: I am on the 21st floor of 5 Penn Plaza.

LIN: Did it appear that the plane was having any difficulty flying?

MURTAGH: Yes, it did. It was teetering back and forth, wingtip to wingtip, and it looks like it crashed into, probably, 20 stories from the top of the World Trade Center, maybe the 80th to 85th floor. There is smoke billowing out of the World Trade Center.

LIN: Sean, what happened next? Does it appear to you that the plane is still inside the World Trade Center?

MURTAGH: From my angle -- I'm viewing south towards the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center. It looks like it has embedded in the building. I can't see, from my vantage point whether it has come out the other side.

CELLINI: Sean, what about on the ground or any debris that has hit down there?

MURTAGH: My vantage point is too far from the World Trade Center to make any determination of that.

LIN: Did you see any smoke, any flames coming out of engines of that plane?

MURTAGH: No, I did not. The plane just was coming in low, and the wingtips tilted back and forth, and it flattened out. It looks like it hit at a slight angle into the World Trade Center. I can see flames coming out of the side of the building, and smoke continues to billow.

CELLINI: Generally, is that a trafficked area in New York for aircraft?

MURTAGH: It is not a normal flight pattern. I'm a frequent traveler between Atlanta and New York for business, and it is not a normal flight pattern to come directly over Manhattan. Usually, they come up either over the Hudson River, heading north, and pass alongside, beyond Manhattan, or if they are taking off from LaGuardia, they usually take off over Shea Stadium and gain altitude around the island of Manhattan. It is rare you have a jet crossing directly over the island of Manhattan.

LIN: For our viewers who are just tuning in right now, you are looking at live picture of the World Trade Center tower, where, according to eyewitness Sean Murtagh -- he is the vice president of finance and eyewitness to what he describes as a twin-engine plane -- or possibly a 737 passenger jet -- flying into the World Trade Center. It appears to be still embedded inside the building. Sean, are you in a position to hear whether any sirens are going, any ambulances, any response to this yet?

MURTAGH: Not from my vantage point. I am probably 1 1/2 to two miles from the World Trade Center.

LIN: It is a remarkable scene: flames still coming out of the windows, black smoke billowing from what appears to be all sides. Obviously, windows are shattered, and steel is jutting out from the structure right now.

CELLINI: Sean, we are looking at these pictures.

MURTAGH: I see them in my office. I have them on all my TVs.

CELLINI: And you are telling us you believe the plane remains embedded.

MURTAGH: I can't tell from my vantage point.

LIN: Sean , thank you so much for your eyewitness account there. Right now, we want to go to our affiliate WNYW, reporting on this as we speak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little girl in his arms?

JIM RYAN, WNYW REPORTER: Did you see what happened, sir? Did you see what happened? What happened?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was in the PATH train, and there was a huge explosion sound; everyone came out. A large section of the building had blown out around the 80th floor.

RYAN: Was it hit by something, or was it something inside.


RYAN: It was inside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looked like everything was coming out. All the windows and the papers.

RYAN: What is on the sidewalk?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't see anything. I just ran, and everyone on the passenger train just ran. I don't know if anyone was hurt, but I assume they were because the windows were all blown out.

RYAN: Thank you. You have to assume a very, very terrible situation if that is indeed the case, because I'm sure there were people up there. We have lost -- again, our transmitter is on top of the World Trade Center. So we, apparently, have lost contact with Dick Oliver. But we are on the phone with an eyewitness. Rosa, can you hear me. Is Rosa there?


RYAN: Rosa?


RYAN: This is Jim Ryan here in the studio. What is your last name, please?


CELLINI: Again, you are looking at pictures now. We understand from a CNN vice president, Sean Murtagh, who was an eyewitness to this, that a commercial jet has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. You can see the smoke billowing out. There are flames billowing out there, a commercial jet crashing into one of these towers. At this point, we do not have official injury updates to bring you. We are only now beginning to put together the pieces of this horrible incident.

LIN: Just a few second ago, we were tuning into one of our affiliates in New York, WNYW. We want to go to an eyewitness on the telephone right now. Jeanne, what can you tell us what you saw?

JEANNE YURMAN, WITNESS: I can tell you that I was watching TV, and there was this sonic boom, and the TV went out. And I thought maybe the Concorde was back in service, because I've heard about that sonic boom. And I went to the window -- I live in Battery Park City, right next to the twin towers -- and I looked up, and the side of the World Trade Center exploded. At that point, debris started falling. I couldn't believe what I was watching.

LIN: Can you hear anything from your position now, ambulances, sirens?

JEANNE YURMAN, WITNESS: Absolutely. Positively. There are crowds of people downstairs in Battery Park City. Everybody's come out from the buildings. This is the financial area in Manhattan. There are a lot of fire engines; I can see them from my window.

LIN: Jeanne -- I don't know if you can tell which tower it is that is on fire, or the kinds of services that are inside that tower.

JEANNE YURMAN, WITNESS: I can't tell what is inside. It's the northern tower versus the southern tower, and it seems to be all sides of the building, from what I can tell. The west side, the south side, and it looks like smoke's coming from the east side as well.

CELLINI: Jeanne, can you see any of the debris currently on the ground area?

YURMAN: Absolutely. It's continuing to flutter down like leaflets, and at first there was tons of debris, and it continues to fall out. And it looks like these uppermost floors are definitely on fire.

CELLINI: Can you see any actual people in that area who may have been may have been hit by any of this debris or were not able to get out of way? Can you see any crowds that are maybe too close to where they should be? Anything like that?

YURMAN: No, I don't think so. It's not a highly trafficked area at the base of the World Trade Center. So that is one fortunate thing.

LIN: Jeanne, we are continuing to look at pictures of this devastating scene, according to Sean Murtagh, vice president of finance, who witnessed what he described as a twin-engine plane, possibly a 737. e was almost absolutely sure it was a large passenger jet that went into that. Jeanne, you are saying you didn't see anything initially. You didn't see a plane approach the building?

YURMAN: I had no idea it was a plane. I just saw the entire top part of the World Trade Center explode. So I turned on the TV when I heard they said it was a plane. It was really strange.

LIN: Were you living in New York during the World Trade Center bombing?

YURMAN: No, I wasn't.

LIN: Fortunately so. When you say a sonic boom, did you feel anything? Were things shaking in your apartment?

YURMAN: Yes, you could feel it. It was a gigantic sonic boom. The TV went off for a second and went back on. And the windows -- you felt the vibrations on the windows.

CELLINI: You were saying it's not a highly trafficked area usually. You can guesstimate how many people may be in an area like that at this hour of the morning?

YURMAN: It would be hard to say. There is a huge courtyard between the two World Trade Center buildings, and the only issue might have been tourists or business people out in this courtyard area, and they possibly would have been hit. But the people that are immediately around the base of the World Trade Center, I would say, at any given time, you're talking about maybe 20 or 30 people at best.

CELLINI: We were talking with Sean Murtagh earlier, and he said this is not normally an area where you would see some sort of aircraft, certainly, obviously, that low. That is not a high-traffic area in terms of flights?

YURMAN: I don't know about flights. I have a balcony down here in Battery Park City, and they have that needle sticking out of the top of the World Trade Center, and I have always wondered if anyone would get too close to the building and accidentally bear into it.

CELLINI: Jeanne, tell us a little bit about that area and how emergency crews would be able to access that area. Would that be relatively difficult or easy to access for emergency people?

YURMAN: I would imagine it would be slightly difficult because to get around the base of the World Trade Center building there is really only the one street entrance. The other sides of the building are surrounded by other buildings in the court yard, and so it's just this Westside highway, this one major street that runs up the west side of Manhattan that makes it accessible for the fire engines. And you know, it's amazing to sit here and watch this building on fire and you've got this tiny little fire engine that I'm watching.

CELLINI: That's all you see right now, is the one fire engine?

YURMAN: Well, where the fire engines are it's a little bit obscured by other buildings.


LIN: Jeanne, let me ask -- I know I'm asking you to be a bit of an expert on the World Trade Center, but there's a famous viewing deck for tourists on one of the towers. When you say that this is the North Tower, is this the one that services a lot of the tourists to get to the view and get to the restaurant at the top.

YURMAN: As a matter of fact it is. And, as I'm sure you can see, there's a ton of smoke coming out right now. I'm just guessing, the fire seems to be worse on -- it looks like it's about 15 floors down from the top of the building.

LIN: Yes. One of the eyewitnesses, one of our affiliates I was talking to, said that she thought this was on the 80th floor. We know there is open-air deck 110 stories high and the glass-enclosed observatory is on the 107th floor. So there is the possibility that people may very well be trapped up there.


LIN: All right, thank you so much, Jeanne Yurman...

YURMAN: You're very welcome.

LIN: ... eyewitness here to a loud sonic boom, she described, as she was sitting inside her apartment, and she looked up and saw the side of the World Trade Center exploded into flames and black smoke. We are going to join another one of our New York affiliates, WABC for their live coverage.

WINSTON: ... plane overhead, and then all of a sudden -- I thought it sounded kind of loud, and then I looked up and all of a sudden it smashed right dead into the center of the World Trade Center. A big flash of flame, fire coming out from all over, then all the bricks -- it's a huge hole right now. It almost Looks like the plane probably went through. I'm not sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Winston, can you see -- are you on the north side there where the plane made contact?

WINSTON: Yes, I am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, when you say a huge hole, one of our earliest witnesses, Libby Clark (ph), said not much of the plane came down off the building, much of it went...

WINSTON: No, it went totally into the building.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's in the building, from what you can see?

WINSTON: Right, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, can you see if there is a lot of debris downstairs, Winston?

WINSTON: No, because it looks like it's inverted. With the impact everything went inside the building.


WINSTON: The only thing that came out was a little bit of the outside awning. But I'd say the huge -- the hole is -- let me just get a better look right now.


WINSTON: I'd say the whole takes about -- It looks like six, seven floors were taken out. And there's more explosions right now -- hold on -- people are running, hold on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should hold on just a moment. We've got an explosion inside...

WINSTON: The building's exploding right now. You've got people running up the street. Hold on, I'll tell you what's going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, just put Winston on pause there for just a moment...

WINSTON: OK, the whole building exploded some more, the whole top part. The building's still intact, people are running up the street. Am I still connected?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Winston, this would support probably what Libby and you both said that perhaps the fuselage was in the building, that would cause a second explosion such as that.

WINSTON: Well, that's what just happened then.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That would -- certainly...

WINSTON: People are running up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are getting word that perhaps...

WINSTON: OK, hold on, there some people here -- everybody's panicking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, Winston -- you know, let me put Winston on hold for just a moment.

WINSTON: OK. How much longer are we staying on? I'm inside of a diner right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, Winston, you know what, if you could give us a call back. I just don't panic here on the air. Let's just take some of our pictures from News Chopper 7. Now, one of our producers said perhaps a second plane was involved, and let's not even speculate to the point, but at least put it out there that perhaps that may have happened. The second explosion would certainly back the theory from a couple of eyewitness that the plane fuselage perhaps stayed in those upper buildings. Now if you look at second building, there are two -- both twin towers now are on fire. Now, this was not the case, am I correct, a couple of moment ago. This is the second twin tower now on fire. And we're going to check on the second flight, if perhaps that had happened. This all began at about 8:48 this morning. Again, what we know in case you are just joining us, a small plane, not a Cessna-type or five or six seater, but instead, perhaps a passenger flight ran into the north side of the World Trade Center. As you can see, the second explosion that you are looking at now in the second twin tower has spread much debris, much more debris than the first explosion of the first accident. If there is --is Winston still on the line with us? OK, he's not there. But do we have -- I'll just talk to my producer. Do we have eyewitness that perhaps sees better than we do from the pictures? Again you can see that there is debris falling off. OK, we actually have an "Eyewitness News" reporter, Dr. J. Atlasberg who was downtown at the time and he is on the phone with us live. Dr. J., what can you tell us?

DR. J. ATLASBERG, REPORTER: Hello, Steve. I'm actually uptown at 86th and Riverside. I can see the World Trade Center from about half the building up to the top. And about five minutes ago, as I was watching the smoke, a small plane -- I did -- it looked like a propeller plane, came in from the west. And about 20 or 25 stories below the top of the center, disappeared for a second, and then explode behind a water tower, so I couldn't tell whether it hit the building or not. But it was very visible, that a plane had come in at a low altitude and appeared to crash into the World Trade Center.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. J, we're going to take a look at videotape just moment ago of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center. That is spectacular pictures. I don't know if you could see the plane, and that too was a passenger plane, if perhaps some type of navigating system or some type of electronics would have put two planes into the World Trade Center within it looks like about 18 minutes of each other. You want to go -- we have another copy. There is the second plane. Another passenger plane hitting the World Trade Center. These pictures are frightening indeed. These are just minutes between each other. So naturally, you will guess, and you will speculate, and perhaps ask the question: If some type of navigating equipment is awry, the two commuter planes would run into the World Trade Center's at the same time. Our director -- you are speaking in my ear at this point. You are looking at live pictures right now of the World Trade Centers. Again, we now have two passenger planes within 18 minutes of each other smashing into the World Trade Center. Dr. J., are you still with us on the phone?

ATLASBERG: I'm still with you, Steve.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. J, this is just frightening pictures indeed. And I would assume, or you would naturally think that...

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: You have been listening to some of the coverage provided by affiliate WABC out of New York City. Let's go now and check our other affiliate WNBC to get the latest -- I'm sorry, WNYW, WNYW, live coverage here of this amazing picture we're getting from lower Manhattan, two planes, one hitting each of the twin towers, at the World Trade Center.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:... very difficult too. They come by and they say, what happened, what happened? And you just got to say, something hit the building and then something hit both buildings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw clearly -- we didn't see the first one, but we saw clearly that a plane deliberately crashed into the -- one of the upper floors of the World Trade Center, that was the second plane. So two planes crashed into the upper floors of each of the World Trade Center towers. And I'm just -- I understand now that the Port Authority Headquarters are in one of those buildings somewhere near that location.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jim, I don't know whether we've confirmed that this was an aircraft, or to be more specific, some people said they thought they saw a missile. I don't know how people could differentiate, but we might keep open the possibility that this was a missile attack on these buildings. Ali (ph), I must say that we have an eyewitness who said it was a large plane that crashed first. And then as we were watching the live picture here in the studio, we saw a plane crash into the -- crash into the other tower of the World Trade Center. And again, let's to be sure, there it is. There it is, the plane went right through the other tower of the World Trade Center.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is a very hard thing to watch.

HARRIS: These are incredible pictures that we're watching this morning, thanks to our affiliate WNYW in New York. You are looking at this picture, it is the twin towers of the World Trade Center, both of them being damaged by impacts from planes. We saw one happen at about maybe nine minutes before the top of the hour, and just moment ago, so maybe 18 minutes after the first impact, the second tower was impacted with a-- by a another -- what appeared to be, another passenger plane. In fact, we've got some tape replay of that. Do we have the tape available right now? Here is the tape. You see the plane coming in from the east side and it goes into the building with the flames and the smoke billowing out the other side of the tower. It's hard for me to tell exactly which is the north side and which is the south side. But it appears it's coming out of south side there. Incredible pictures. These happened just moments ago, and I believe we have someone with us on the line, Ira Furman? We have IRA Firmer, former NTSB Spokesman. You are watching these pictures as well with us, are you not?


HARRIS: What can you make of what we have seen, particularly with this replay we just saw moments ago?

FURMAN: That's absolutely inexplicable. There shouldn't be any aircraft in that area, much less something heading what looked like deliberately for the World Trade Center tower.

HARRIS: You don't think there is any this could be any kind of an accident, no kind of a navigational equipment failure or some sort of a navigational quirk by beacons or whatever?

FURMAN: No, you've got incredibly good visibility at this point, and no pilot is going to be relying on navigational equipment in such a circumstance that would cause them to crash into the World Trade Center.

HARRIS: How far out of way from an approach to either La Guardia or Kennedy would a plane have to be to hit the World Trade Center?

FURMAN: There are approach these come up along the Hudson River, which to the west of the World Trade Center, and those aircraft usually wind up going into La Guardia. So you can come within a mile owe two of the World Trade Center. But it is such a visible object as you are approaching New York City, that it's just not possible for a pilot during the daytime to have taken a course that would put it right into the World Trade Center. The second occurrence within a few minutes is beyond belief.

HARRIS: As you could see, there definitely is no weather problem. So weather would definitely be ruled out as a factor in this case?

FURMAN: Yes, the course is a normal course for commercial pilots coming into New York. It certainly appeared from the video on CNN, that the second aircraft was heading for the tower, and that it was a commercial-size aircraft.

HARRIS: Could you tell, have a better idea what size of plane was? It was kind of hard for me to tell. You are expert in the matters. Could you look at the tape and tell me what size the plane was?

FURMAN: It would have to be slowed down, and you need more than one angle on it, because you want see how many imagine engines are on it? The shape of the tail.

HARRIS: Guys, could we replay the tape right now? Do we have the tape right now of the second plane impacting. We're going to put that tape on in just a second. Here we are about to roll it now. If you can, sir, I don't want you to speculate. But if you can, give us idea what you might think might be at play here, what kind of plane we're talking about, or at least what size, if we're talking about one that would hold say 100 people, one that would hold 300 people. From what you see -- back the tape up further than that, guys. Here we go.

FURMAN: It's very hard to get a perspective on it. I don't know how far away we are with this. But that looks to me like it could be certainly be a passenger jet and one of those aircraft that could hold 100 or more people. I caution you at this point to wonder whether or not that airplane was occupied by more than just a pilot or crew. We don't necessarily know that there were any passengers aboard that airplane.

HARRIS: Understood, understood.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Daryn Kagan joining the conversation here. Sir, but there is no indication there would be any air traffic on purpose in the area of the World Trade Center at this time of day, or any time of day for that matter?

FURMAN: Not directly into the world trade center?

KAGAN: No, but even close to it? you.

FURMAN: You would be clearing the World Trade Center by a few miles. Normal operations. And when you are looking at the pictures that you see, with all this smoke and fire and all of that, it's just absolutely unbelievable to think that a flight crew that wouldn't ordinarily see the World Trade Center, wouldn't ordinarily be on course would not see this as flaming beacon to avoid.

KAGAN: Let me ask you this about the airspace. Given that it appears two airplanes have flown into the World Trade Center in 18 minutes, is it possible to shut down the airspace and keep another plane from doing something just like it?

FURMAN: I don't think that this represents an accident. And so I don't think that we're talking about having to now keep other aircraft away. This picture that CNN is broadcasting live is probably from a range of a couple of miles away, and you can see that.

KAGAN: No, certainly that. But if there was somebody intentionally trying to do the same thing again, is there a way to shut down the airspace to keep things out?

FURMAN: You can't shut down the airspace. There is no gate, there is not fence in airspace. All you can do is broadcast that that airspace is closed. But if someone is intent on breaking through it, that happens with our military airspace all the time off the coast.

HARRIS: I want to bring up a couple points if I may. We have been told that President Bush has been informed of this incredible tragedy happening in New York. He did have an event scheduled at 9:00 this morning, which we were going to cover here, and he has just canceled that event. We expect he will have some comments fairly soon, and we will bring those to you live the moment that we understand he is available. But I'd like to ask you once again, Ira, if I can get to back asking you about this particular crash. Is it possible that those who are tracking planes, either at La Guardia, can give us some more information about exactly what happened here. Were these planes I guess using beacons to come in, or was there some sort of identification of these planes, as they approach the New York area?

FURMAN: Yes, there should be, if they were under air traffic control. You've got one eyewitness telling you that The first aircraft flew from Westchester and flew down through Manhattan, and directly into the World Trade Center, presumably the north tower. And now you've got--you're showing the other aircraft coming in, looks to me like it would be from the West, into the other tower. Those planes could be, should be, normally would be under air-traffic control. But it is also entirely possible for aircraft to fly into, through or over New York, or in this case into a building in New York, without being under the control, and we use that word advisedly. All that means is information is what air traffic control is. And just operate and do whatever they want, if they don't follow the rules of air traffic control.

HARRIS: Ira Furman, we thank you very, very much for your insight. And the longer we talk, the less convinced many will become that this was an accident. We thank you very much for your insight.

KAGAN: More information on that just ahead. Now we want to bring in Todd Harris. Todd on the scene, saw what happened. Todd are you with us?

TODD HARRIS: Yes, I had a perfect view, and the plane was coming in. I noticed it a second before it hit the building. It looked like it was moving slowly, and it lined itself up to hit the building directly.

KAGAN: Are you talking about the first plane or the second plane?

HARRIS: The first plane.

KAGAN: Now, Todd, tell us exactly where you are, where you had this great view.

HARRIS: I was on highway 278, like a dead-on view of the side that hit building.

KAGAN: All right, Todd, hang on, we're going to continue our conversation. Leon has something to jump in here with.

HARRIS: Yes, I'm checking the wires even as we speak. The Associated Press is reporting right now that the FBI in Washington is investigating reports that these two plane crashes the result of foul play. There is a report here by the Associated Press of a possible plane hijacking. They don't say two. But they say a possible plane hijacking. Let's go to Kelli Arena who's on the phone right now from Washington--Kelli. Kelli Arena, are you there? .


HARRIS: What have you learned?

ARENA: Hi there. Well, an FBI official has told CNN that they are investigating, but they have not yet determined whether or not this was indeed a terrorist act. The official that I spoke to said that so far, there has been no communication, no one claiming responsibility for either of those crashes. There is an investigation under way. If there is anything to be said officially, it will come out of the New York City field office of the FBI, which is right now involved in that investigation to find out whether or not it was. But I have to tell you, I repeat, right now the FBI has not determined whether or not this is a terrorist act, although they are investigating.

HARRIS: All right, thank you very much. Kelli Arena, we appreciate that. Daryn, back to you.

KAGAN: All right, let's go ahead and bring back in Todd Harris. Todd, are you still with us? We don't have Todd. OK, once again, if you're just joining us, the breaking story that we're following out of New York City. Within the span of 18 minutes, two separate planes crashing into the World Trade Center. The rescue operations under way, not clear -- we will show you -- this is second plane, after first tower already on fire. Let the pictures tell the story. You saw it live here on CNN as it happened the plane crashed right into the side of World Trade Center, causing a huge explosion. And we're showing you live pictures now. Smoke and fire taking place in both towers of the World Trade Center.

HARRIS: It appears that second plane that we actually did have on videotape actually turned. And I have to think, I'm not an expert in these things, so I don't know, but it would seem as though that move actually may have caused much more damage. These are incredible pictures, as you can see here.

KAGAN: Let's keep the pictures here. Joe Tractsonburg joining us on the phone. Joe, are you with us?


KAGAN: Can you tell us what your vantage point is and what you've seen so far?

TRACTSONBURG: Well, I heard on the radio that one of the towers was on fire. And we went to a high point in our building, which is on the 25th floor, and you had a clear view of the both World Trade Centers and the one that was smoking hard, and there was another plane that was flying low, and we just looked at it, and before we know it, it was just kamikaze, boom, right into the other tower, and mass explosion, windows flying. It was horrible. I'm still distraught looking at it.

KAGAN: Were you close enough to see or get a general idea of what kind of plane that was that flew in the second time?

TRACTSONBURG: Well, I'm not an expert on planes, but it didn't seem like a big passenger jet. It was smaller type plane, because it made some pretty radical turn, and flying low. And you're not used to seeing big planes flying over Manhattan, because I don't think you're allowed to. But it was pretty tough.

KAGAN: And explain to me again, what your vantage point is, where you are in the city looking at this?

TRACTSONBURG: We're in Chelsea. It's -- like 25th Street, 7th Avenue, it's clear looking all the way downtown, and you could see the building, you know, the whole downtown, because it's a clear day, and it's a disaster.

KAGAN: And once again, describe for us what you saw as that plane went into the second building.

TRACTSONBURG: That plane just flew straight into the second building on the downtown side it appears. It was just a huge explosion. And smoke just immediately, fire started immediately coming from the second tower as it hit, and there was glass flying everywhere.

KAGAN: Looks like we have a little bit of audio problems. So I'm going to say thanks to Joe Tractsonburg for talking to us and telling us what he saw. We are watching it right here, live on CNN, as that plane went it. He had a closer vantage point, and as you can see, as you heard, Leon, he doesn't think it was a big jet, but a smaller plane, from where he could see it.

HARRIS: Well, we do have the tape of a recounting by another eyewitness. We want to go to some tape we're getting from our affiliate WABC in New York, where they interviewed an eyewitness who saw the second crash as it happened.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I say the whole takes about -- we saw six, seven floors were taken out, and there's more explosions right now. Hold on, people are running! Hold on!

UNIDENTIFIED WABC REPORTER: Hold on just a moment. We've got an explosion inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The building is exploding right now. You've got people running up the street. Hold on, I'll tell you what's going on.

UNIDENTIFIED WABC REPORTER: OK, just put Winston on pause there for just a moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole building just exploded some more, the whole top part. The building's still intact people are running up the street. Am I still connected?

UNIDENTIFIED WABC REPORTER: Winston, this would support probably what Libby and you both said, that perhaps the fuselage was in the building that would cause a second explosion, such as that. That's what just happened then.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are running out.

UNIDENTIFIED WABC REPORTER: We are getting word that perhaps...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, hold the people here--everybody here is panicking.


KAGAN: Keep in mind the first plane hit about 8:48 a.m., so there had to already be a number of people at work inside the World Trade Center. We're going to go right now and bring in Rose Arce, one of our producers here at CNN. She's with us on the phone, and has with her a number of people who have escaped the building -- Rose.

ROSE ARCE, CNN PRODUCER: Yes, there's a huge crowd out. There are hundreds of people on the streets that come from south to north. I mean literally thousands of people that have been running from inside these building. It's a very heavily trafficked area in downtown. Many of them are inside the building when they felt the explosion. And they say there was just pandemonium. There was no warning, no alarms, no anything. Everyone just raced from their desks, ran downstairs and now there is a steady of stream of folks running away from the building. Some people fearing that there will be another explosion. And when they saw the second plane, convinced that this was dangerous. There is an actual flood of folks escaping downtown midtown Manhattan right now.

KAGAN: And, Rose, do you have anybody with you that could talk about being inside the World Trade Center when this happened?

ARCE: Right now, honestly, there scores of people literally running behind me. There is debris on the base of the building that has continued to fall. As you know, even as far as a block away from the building. And what's happened is everyone seems to have figured out that there's ongoing danger, and there's just a stream of folks running as quickly as they can uptown away from this.

KAGAN: Understandably. What about rescue efforts? I would imagine there is still a number of people inside those buildings.

ARCE: Right now. What you see right now, is there are trucks trying to get through. And people have actually jumped from the crowd and are trying to help direct traffic to try to get emergency vehicles there. There's no traffic going in the other direction, but because of the flow of people, it looks like some emergency vehicles are actually having trouble getting to the scene.

KAGAN: And from you are standing, is there any kind of command center, any place that people are being directed toward?

ARCE: Right now, what there is, is there is crush of emergency vehicles and rescue vehicles, but they don't seem to be quite organized in any direction. There's fire department vehicles on the one side, where you see the smoke coming out of the building. On the other hand, you see groups of police officers trying to organize the crowd, and in more orderly fashion. I think there seems to be some fear on their part that such a huge crowd of people might injure each other on the way out.

KAGAN: All right, Rose Arce, on the ground there, near the World Trade Center. We continue our coverage live, with the live pictures as we go.

HARRIS: And we're just now getting word again from the Associated Press now, saying that the crash of these two aircraft into the towers, the World Trade Center in New York, appeared to be an act of terrorism. This, they are quoting a U.S. official. They did not say which department of this -- this U.S. official was speaking from, or the authority this official was actually carrying at this particular point. But they are saying that a U.S. official is now saying to the Associated Press, it is -- he is saying at least that these two aircraft crashes that we have seen into each of the towers of the World Trade Center are the act of terrorism. We are just getting word now that President Bush is going to be coming out, and he's going to have comments momentarily, we understand. We are keeping an eye on the picture from Sarasota. He is going to be returning to Washington almost immediately, we understand--Daryn.

KAGAN: And as you mentioned, President Bush is in Florida today. We're supposed to have an education event just minutes from now. That has canceled. Our Major Garrett is traveling with the president. Major, maybe you can tell us a little bit more on the president's immediate plans.

MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Daryn. President Bush, as you said, will make a statement here at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota at the catastrophe in the twin towers in New York. Following that statement, the president will board Air Force One and return immediately to Washington. We are told by White House officials traveling with the president in Sarasota that he was notified either shortly before 9:00 or shortly after. We don't have an exact moment of the notification of the president. We believe his chief of staff Andrew Card told him of the events in New York City. The president has been monitoring them as best as he can. He was at one moment this morning sitting, reading a book to some of the elementary schoolchildren as scheduled. Reporters asked him if he was aware of the situation in New York. He nodded a bit gravely, and said he would have something to say about that shortly. We are expecting that statement any moment now. I can tell you here in Sarasota with those traveling with the president, they are trying to sift through all of the amazing and terrifying -- both pictures and details as they can get them from New York City. But no confirmation here from White House officials about what this in fact is, whether it's accident or terrorism. They are trying to gather information as best they can, give it to the president, and trying to keep thing on a very calm and even keel as possible.

KAGAN: And on that not, Major, it sounds like that exchange of questions with the president came at what would be a sensitive time if you were sitting in front of a bunch of schoolchildren and not wanting to scare the children.

GARRETT: Well, precisely. And the president has a way of letting reporters know that it's either an appropriate time or inappropriate time to take questions. He does that in many different environments, many different situations. Clearly this morning, with a crowd of children, he wanted to keep an even keel, keep the situation under control as best as possible. He just nodded and said -- we'll talk about this later.

KAGAN: So once again, we do expect to hear from the president soon. A time frame on that?

GARRETT: Within the next 10 minutes or so. Again, things are very much in flux, things a bit confused. The event here, which is scheduled to talk about education reform, talk about the importance of reading, that has been scrubbed. And the president trying to gather whatever information, all the information he can from various White House sources, make a statement, and then get aboard Air Force One, and get back to Washington just as soon as he can.

KAGAN: Major Garrett traveling with the president in Sarasota, Florida. Major, thank you very much. And of course, As soon as the president begins to speaks, you will see those comments live here on CNN -- Leon.

HARRIS: I want to inform you we've just gotten word according to Reuter's news service, trading on the markets in New York have been postponed indefinitely, and we will try to keep an eye on that. We can't expect that to get under way anytime soon. You just heard Major Garrett moments ago this investigation--we're just not getting reports from the Associated Press, saying that U.S. officials are saying this is an act of terrorism. Let's go now to our David Ensor, who's on the phone right now, and give us some more information on what may be at stake there -- David.

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Leon, I can just tell you that U.S. officials are also telling me that the -- this is clearly not an accident in their view, and they do believe that terrorism is at the root of this. They believe that this is a terrorist act. However, they have very little other information. Obviously, law enforcement agencies will be taking a lead on this, trying to find out who is -- who was flying the planes, whether they in fact had turned away from their regular flights and so on, so very little information.

HARRIS: David, we're going to have to cut you off. President Bush is speaking.

Planes Crash Into World Trade Center And Pentagon Also On Fire

Aired September 11, 2001 - 09:31am ET

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: David, we're going to have to cut you off.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Leon, on the heels of the president's remarks, CNN has learned that at least one of the planes involved in this hit on the World Trade Center was an American Airlines 767, a Boeing aircraft that took from Boston. What happened to that airplane as it took off from Boston and how it ended up at the World Trade Center are details we'll have to fill in as we go. But, let's go ahead and bring in our David Ensor. David, you were saying before we interrupted for you for the president's remarks?

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Unfortunately, the amount of detail that the officials are tracking this have is pretty sketchy at this point. But I was just saying that officials are calling this an act of terrorism. They're saying that's clearly what it, clearly not an accident. And law enforcement agencies, the FBI and others, will be taking the lead on this, officials say. And clearly, obviously, they will first try to ascertain who did this. What nationality are they. What's behind this? That's really all I can say. There are several places around the government -- there are groups of official gathering and setting up crisis centers to try and deal with the flow of information on this, which, as you can imagine, is going to be considerable as the day progresses.

KAGAN: And so far, as far as we know, no one has been taking responsibility for this?

ENSOR: There have been no claims of responsibility, and U.S. intelligence officials say they had no warning of anything like this coming along.

KAGAN: All right. David Ensor, thank you for joining us on the phone. Once again, you can see that information at the bottom of your screen. Two different planes have flown into the World Trade Center within the last hour. One plane was an American Airlines Boeing 767 from Boston. In terms of how many people were onboard that plane and if it was forcibly taken from Boston into New York, we still have yet to learn.

HARRIS: We're joined now on the telephone by the former Federal Emergency Management Agency director, James Lee Witt. Director Witt, you are watching these pictures with us this morning. Your comments?

JAMES LEE WITT, FORMER DIRECTOR, FEMA: Well, it's just horrible. There's no doubt. I did see the one plane flying into the building. Just unbelievable, something like this. But, you know, we've been -- for several years now we've been working on terrorist type events, and this is apparently one of those events, do not know yet, but apparently it could be. And right now I know I really feel for those families. And but--Ritchie and the New York Emergency Management in the state of New York, and I know they're very busy right now, and the FBI and the law enforcement. But, this is one of those crisis management as well as consequence management situations that they're going to have to be dealing with.

HARRIS: The first thing this calls to mind to many of us, who have been here to cover these events, was the World Trade Center bombing back in -- was it '96 when that bombing act occurred?

WITT: Yes.

HARRIS: And you were director of FEMA at that particular time. Since then, has there been a plan put in place for something like this to recover from this, or to actually to go through the exercises necessary to get people out and to recover from it?

WITT: Well, they have a very good plan in place. For even events not as--I don't if they put a plan in place for an airline crashing into it. But I know they take every scenario they can think of and try to deal with a plan that will help them respond in the most effective way. And you know, we even practiced airplanes flying into igloos at some of the arsenals around the United States. So you try to practice for everything you can think of, and hope for the best that you can be able to respond and hope none of this happens but --

HARRIS: On that note then, did you run -- how many -- did you run any kinds of tests at all, or any kinds of theoretical tests or computer tests or anything on something like this?

WITT: We didn't, I'm not sure if New York City did. I'm sure they did. But, you can't --- you know, how can you stop something like this without having anti-aircraft guns sitting on top of buildings, you know? You just can't. You can prepare the best you can be, and that's all you can do. But I'm sure that they've got everything in place, and doing -- they are always do an excellent job up there in New York.

HARRIS: Director Witt, Director James Lee Witt, former director of FEMA, we thank you very much for your time this morning. We'll be talking with you later on.

KAGAN: As we continue our coverage, our Aaron Brown in New York City joining now. Aaron we see over your left shoulder there, the building still smoldering of the World Trade Center.

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a grotesque site to look at from about 30 blocks away, from where we are. For those of you just joining us, let's just briefly recap what we know. About an hour ago, about 8:45 eastern time, one plane crashed into the tower -- the World Trade Center tower on the right, the first of those towers that you can see behind me. And then about a half hour later, a second plane crashed into the tower number two, that's the one to the left, where the darker smoke is billowing out right now. We have reports -- CNN has been told that one of the planes was an American Airlines 767, that had been hijacked from Boston. We don't know if that was the first or the second plane that hit the tower. But, we do know that it was a 767 American Airlines jet, at least that's what CNN has been told by sources so far this morning. We also have reports of 1,000 injuries, that is unconfirmed. We always remind you in moments like these, that as these initial reports come in, it is very early. I can tell you driving in, it is extraordinarily chaotic on the west side of New York. It is the kind of situation where numbers change, where situations change. But this is the information we have now, that there are at least 1,000 injuries, and we're working on that. As you can see the smoke billowing out of the Trade Center. In Sarasota, Florida, now Major Garrett joins us. Major, what are you being told?

MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hello. President Bush has notified--or talked, rather, to Vice President Cheney. He has talked to the FBI director Robert Mueller, and he has also spoken with the governor of New York, Governor Pataki about this catastrophe. The president will convene a national security meeting upon his arrival back at Washington. Those are the four pieces of information we have gathered here in moments since I just spoke to you on the telephone. The president, as we just saw a few moments ago, identifying this as an apparent act of terrorism against the United States. Said there will be full investigation. The entire apparatus of the United States government, FBI, national security, CIA, the vice president, who you may remember was placed in charge of a domestic terrorism study group within the White House, to monitor and develop plans to deal with a catastrophe of just this kind. All those parts of the government have been mobilized. The president is heading back to Washington very soon. Here's what the president said about this catastrophe of the Twin Towers in New York just a few moments ago here at a Sarasota elementary school.


BUSH: Today we've had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country. I have spoken to the vice president, to the governor of New York, to the director of the FBI, and have ordered that the full resources of the federal government go to help the victims and their families, and to conduct a full scale investigation to hunt down and to find those folks who committed this act. Terrorism against our nation will not stand. And now if you join me in a moment of silence. May god bless the victims, their families and America. Thank you very much.


GARRETT: The president was first notified about the situation in New York by National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice. Then, the second notification updating him with more details on the situation came from his chief of staff Andrew Card, who's traveling with the president here in Sarasota. The day was supposed to talk about education reform. But the president is scrubbing all of those plans, marshaling all the resources of the federal government, talking with his aides as he can and preparing to fly back to Washington to again, as we said, convene a National Security Council meeting. Back to you.

BROWN: Major, before you get away, and I apologize if you - if I'm asking you to repeat something, I'm having a little trouble hearing you. Do we know exactly where the president was when he was told?

GARRETT: He was just arriving here in Sarasota at Emma E. Booker (ph) Elementary School. He had taken an early morning jog this morning in Sarasota. Had just arrived here with the presidential motorcade. Then the spectacular, horrific pictures began appearing on television sets here at the elementary school. The president received a telephone call from Condoleeza Rice, national security advisor. Then he received an update from his chief of staff, Andrew Card, traveling with him. Then it was made clear to the press traveling with the president he would make a statement. Shortly before that statement he was actually sitting down with some children here at the elementary school reading them a book. Reporters asked him if he knew about the situation of the Twin Towers. He nodded and said he would talk about it momentarily, in fact he did. We just heard the president's statement, declaring this an apparent act of terrorism. Yes, Aaron.

BROWN: Let me interrupt you here, Senator Ted Kennedy - Senator Kennedy is speaking in Washington.

Terrorism Strikes In The United States in a Massive Attack

Aired September 11, 2001 - 09:42am ET

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris Plante, a CNN producer, is at the Pentagon, where there is a significant fire. Chris, you're on the phone, can you hear me OK?

CHRIS PLANT, CNN PRODUCER: Yes, I can hear you just fine.

BROWN: Tell me what you know.

PLANT: Well, arriving at the Pentagon a short time ago, there was a huge plume of smoke which continues to rise from the west side of the Pentagon over in the area where there is a helicopter landing zone. It's along route 27 if you're looking at maps of the area. The building is currently being evacuated and police and emergency units are, of course, responding from all around the building and from the local Arlington County Fire Department. The plume of smoke is enormous, it's a couple of hundreds yards across at its base. It is billowing into the sky, hundreds of yards. It's impossible for me to say from this side of the building whether the building itself is on fire or up in flames or exactly what caused this. I did not hear an explosion but there is certainly a very, very significant fire in this enormous office building on the West Front. The building is being evacuated. The Defense Protective Service officers, the police force for the Pentagon, are on a very tight string right now. As I arrived I was held at gunpoint.

BROWN: OK, Chris, Chris, Chris, let me interrupt you for a second, just hang on. Don't go anywhere. We're getting reports now that the White House is being evacuated as well. We don't know precisely what is - caused that decision to be made, whether that is precautionary, whether something has happened at the White House. Again the president is in Florida this morning. So the president is not in any danger, but the White House, of course, is fully operational, whether the president is there or not. And we have reports that the White House is being evacuated. Getting back to Chris in a moment, we also have reports now from Chris Plant on the scene that the Pentagon is being evacuated as well. All of this coming on the heels of a large fire at the Pentagon. And we can't tell you at this moment whether that fire is inside the Pentagon building itself or on the grounds of the Pentagon. And these two planes that you can see behind us that hit the World Trade Center, That's Washington, the Old Executive Office Building, I believe. And you can see the plume of smoke behind it, which we will assume until we are told otherwise that's the fire at the Pentagon. I believe that's correct, as you look now at Washington. So we've got a major fire at the Pentagon, and the Pentagon being evacuated, the White House being evacuated. And we don't know precisely the circumstances there, what caused that decision. And we have these two enormous explosions at the World Trade Center here in New York, where two planes slammed into the buildings. We are also getting reports now that there is a fire on the Mall in Washington, that part of the Capitol that runs essentially from the Capitol to the White House in kind of a straight line going up Washington, D.C. And we have reports of a fire there. What you are looking at now is Washington, at least if I can see the monitor in front of me, it's a little tricky from where we are. But that looks to me like the Old Executive Office Building, and then in back of it you see the large plume of smoke. Here in New York, sirens everywhere, people out in the streets staring at this grotesque scene of the World Trade Center buildings. It was in February of '93, if memory serves me correctly, that there was an attack, a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. A bomb exploded in the garage of the Trade Center on that day in February of '93. Now here we are in the year 2001, and what appears to be deliberate attacks on the World Trade Center. And then we have these two reports out of Washington, the fire at the Pentagon. Chris Plant is still on the phone, I do believe - all right, we'll get to him in a second. Greta Van Susteren is at National Airport in Washington. Greta, what are you hearing?

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I just got off my plane, I was headed to New York, planes were stalled. I'm at National Airport on the parking lot. I heard a huge the noise. I looked over in the direction of the Pentagon, there is a huge plume of smoke coming from that area. I can't verify it's the Pentagon because there are these buildings in the way. You see particles coming down in the air. Some sort of white particles. I can't tell what that is. I'd heard a noise slightly before I'd seen the smoke. I didn't know if it was an airplane or it was a bomb, but it was certainly something. And obviously there's a terrific fire going on. The skies are clear here except for the tremendous amount of smoke that's coming from there, lots of sirens, from all different directions, and of course, a lot of uncertainty here at National Airport.

BROWN: Greta, thank you. I want to just, again, recap as we pick up small pieces of information along the way. Associated Press is reporting that a plane, it was a plane that crashed at the Pentagon. And the Pentagon is being evacuated. There's a large fire there, and that is the smoke you see in the shot that you are looking at now. Whether that fire is in the building itself or outside we have not yet confirmed. There is a fire on the Mall in Washington. The cause of the fire on the Mall in Washington we cannot yet tell you. We can tell you that the White House has been evacuated. And we can tell you that two planes have crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, all of this began just a little more than an hour ago, at about 8:45 Eastern time. Chris Plant, tell me what you've learned since we last talked.

PLANT: Well, and speaking to people here at the Pentagon, as they're being evacuated from the building. I'm told by several people that there was, in fact, an explosion. I was told by one witness, an Air Force enlisted - senior enlisted man, that he was outside when it occurred. He said that he saw a helicopter circle the building. He said it appeared to be a U.S. military helicopter, and that it disappeared behind the building where the helicopter landing zone is - excuse me - and he then saw fireball go into the sky. I'm attempting to make my way around to that side of the building in my car right now to see if I can get a better visual perspective on the scene on that side of the building. But I can tell you that security has certainly clamped down. The U.S. Park Police another federal law enforcement department, has arrived in force on the scene. There is a Park Police helicopter overhead, every car arrives at the gates where I was located was being stopped by officers at gun point, everyone is being forced out of their vehicles as they arrive at the Pentagon. It's a very tense situation obviously, but initial reports from witnesses indicate that there was in fact a helicopter circling the building, contrary to what the AP reported, according to the witnesses I've spoken to anyway, and that this helicopter disappeared behind the building, and that there was then an explosion. That's about all I have from here.

BROWN: OK. Let's do this, Chris, why don't you continue reporting, and we will pass along a couple of other things that we're picking up along the way. Trading at the New York Stock Exchange, the stock exchange, as many of you probably know, but some of don't, is in that part of Lower Manhattan, not quite as far down as the Trade Center, but is in that part of Lower Manhattan, and trading has been suspended there. Bridges and tunnels coming into New York have been closed. That will create a whole different set of problems. We are also being told that the FAA has suspended takeoffs and landings, and I want to make sure I get this right, guys, that in all - at all airports around the country. So air travel in this country has come to a halt this morning as clearly people are trying, people in government, people, police forces, fire departments are trying to figure out what exactly is going on. There are several, now, incidents that look for all that we can tell to be a major terrorist attack here in the United States. So all airports, all across the country are closed, all bridges and tunnels coming into Manhattan are closed, the Pentagon has been evacuated or is being evacuated, the White House is being evacuated. The president, who is in Sarasota today to make a speech on education has spoken briefly to cameras and is - will shortly make his way back to Washington. They are checking out Air Force One now. Let's go to Atlanta, Chad Myers can talk to us a bit about the air traffic problems. Chad, are you there?

CHAD MYERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, yes, all of the airports across the country have been shut down. We started with zone New York, which includes Islip, Newark, JFK, La Guardia, all the way down to Philadelphia, and then IAH, Houston, and then San Francisco, and then L.A. They were just falling like a deck of cards. And then all of a sudden, the FAA just said we're shutting down everything, all flights have canceled for another seven hours, which is about 5:00 Eastern time. And then we'll reignite there, we'll take a look what's going on after that. The probability of extension, as they call that, is high, which means even after 5:00, the airports may still be shut down. We'll keep watching it for you here from Atlanta.

BROWN: Chad, just - and if you don't know, just say you don't know. Can you recall a situation where every airport in the country had been shut down?

MYERS: Absolutely not, except in wartime, of course, Aaron, and obviously this is not that. But with all the airports that - as they were going down from west to east, we could see them, and then we could eventually see from New York. And then they canceled Boston as we got the report that the first flight, or one of the possible hijacked flights did come out of Boston, and then it just started going down from there. But never ever before have we ever seen all of the airports shut down like this, not this quickly.

BROWN: Chad, thank you. Stay on this for awhile, we'll get back to you. We know that many people are just joining us. We want to get everyone on the same page before we move on. So, one more time let's go through the sequence of events. At about 8:45 eastern time, a plane crashed into the foremost of those towers that are the World Trade Center. That's Air Force One you see in Florida, the president onboard. Obviously, extraordinary security around the plane before the president got on, and the president is heading back to Washington. A short time ago, the president made a statement. He said terrorism against our nation will not stand. The government will hunt down those responsible. Mr. Bush said today we've had a national tragedy. Two planes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on the country.

The White House Has Been Evacuated

Aired September 11, 2001 - 09:52am ET

We also have a report now that it was a plane that crashed into the Pentagon, and we have a large fire at the Pentagon. The Pentagon is being evacuated as we speak now. The White House had been evacuated as well.

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: CNN's John King joins us on the phone. John?

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT.: Aaron, I'm standing in Lafayette Park, directly across the White House, perhaps about 200 yards away from the White House residence itself. The Secret Service has pushed most people all the way back to the other side of the park. I'm trying to avoid having that done to me at the moment. Just moments ago they started slowing evacuating the White House about 30 minutes ago. Then, in the last five minute people have come running out of the White House and the old executive office building, which is the office building right directly across from the White House. About 10 minutes ago, there was a white jet circling overhead. Now, you generally don't see planes in the area over the White House. That is restricted air space. No reason to believe that this jet was there for any nefarious purposes, but the Secret Service was very concerned, pointing up at the jet in the sky. It is out of sight now, best we can tell. They've evacuated the entire White House staff and the old executive office, as well as some townhouses that are government offices. Many of our viewers might know Blair House, where other international leaders say when they are in Washington. That block of townhouses has been evacuated as well. They are pushing us now back towards 8th Street, which is the next main street to the north from Pennsylvania Avenue, across from the White House.

BROWN: John, hang on one second. We are getting reports that the Capitol, the Treasury building also being evacuated. John, is this evacuation from the White House, was it orderly? Did it seem panicky? How would you characterize it?

KING: It started off as orderly, much like we get when there are occasional bomb scares near the White House. But then, again in the last 10 minutes or so, the people who came out -- the last several hundred I saw leaving the grounds, were told and ordered by the Secret Service to run. They were running through the gates. These were of course professionals in business suits. I'm also told that prior to that, and we don't know the current situation that the vice president and other administration officials on the scene very meeting in the White House situation room, which is in the basement of the White House. Whether they have stayed on the complex or not is unknown to us at this moment. I spoke to an administration official shortly after the president delivered his statement. He said obviously the operating assumption here is terrorism. The initial assumption, this official said, was that this had something to do, or at least they were looking into any possible connection with Osama Bin Laden. The administration recently released a warning that they thought Osama Bin Laden might strike out against U.S. targets.

BROWN: Just to add at bit, John, to what you've been saying. We're getting a report from the Associated Press now that the White House was evacuated after the Secret Service received what the AP is describing as a credible threat of a terrorist attack against the White House itself. I expect you'll be checking that out. We'll try and confirm that. But that is what AP is reporting right now.

Timed Terrorist Attacks Against the United States

Aired September 11, 2001 - 09:56am ET

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Again, this all began about an hour and 15 minutes ago here in lower Manhattan, when the first of two planes crashed into the first of the two towers behind me, at the World Trade Center. You can see the smoke billowing out of the front tower now. Then about a half hour later, just as emergency crews were converging on the scene, as eyewitnesses were gathering on the street corners, a second plane drove into -- and you can see that plane coming around the building right now in this tape, and there you can see the hit as it come through what looked to me at least, and this is first time I've seen that tape -- come through the backside of the tower. I guess that would be the south side of the tower. And then the smoke and flame coming out the front side. Again, that was about a half hour after the first attack, which was at about 8:45. Look, you want to be careful here. We don't want to get too far ahead of this, but obviously this has all the appearances of an extraordinarily well coordinated and devastating terrorist attack here in the United States. Certainly, nothing like it since Oklahoma City, and nothing like it here in New York since the terrorist attack on the same World trade Center buildings in February of 1993. At the Pentagon, a plane or a helicopter has crashed, apparently as part of whatever this operation has been. And Jamie McIntyre is there. Jamie, what are you hearing?

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Aaron, there is a lot of confusion here at the Pentagon. It appears that something hit the Pentagon on the outside of the fifth corridor on the Army corridor. Several Army officers I talked to reported hearing a big explosion, seeing shards of metal coming past their window. The Pentagon has been evacuated. The emergency services personnel were rushing to reports of several people trapped in the building. Most of the building's 24,000 people are outside of the building or in the center courtyard. As emergency teams try to sort out what has happened here. There is, of course, thick black smoke billowing from the scene. There was a lot of confusion. The Defense Protective Service, which is the police force here in the Pentagon, has been urging people to get out of the building and move away from the scene, so they can handle the emergency situation. Again, it appears that an aircraft of some sort did hit the side of the Pentagon, the west front which faces sort of toward Arlington National Cemetery. It's a corridor where a lot of Army officers are located.

BROWN: Wow! Jamie, Jamie, I need you to stop for a second. There has just been a huge explosion we can see a billowing smoke rising. And I can't -- I tell you that I can't see that second tower. But there was a cascade of sparks, and fire, and now this -- it looks almost like a mushroom cloud explosion. This huge billowing smoke in the second tower. This was the second of two towers hit. And -- you know I cannot see behind that smoke, obviously, as you can't either. The first tower in front has not changed. And we see this extraordinarily and frightening scene behind us of this second tower now just encased in smoke. What is behind it, I can not tell you. But just look at that. That is just as frightening a scene as you'll ever see.

America Under Attack: Terrorists Attacks in Both Washington D.C. and New York

Aired September 11, 2001 - 10:00am ET

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: That's as frighten a scene as you will ever see. Again, this is going on now in two cities. We have a report that there's a fire at the State Department as well and that is being evacuated. So we've got fires at the Pentagon, evacuated, the State Department, evacuated, the White House evacuated, on the basis of what the Secret Service describes as a terrorist threat. We have two explosions, two planes hitting the World Trade Center here in New York. And what this second explosion was, it took place about -- part of the south -- that would be the south tower has apparently collapsed. We don't know if that was from the impact of this first plane that hit it or whether something else has happened there. We'll work on that. Our Washington bureau chief Frank Sesno is on the phone. Frank, what are you hearing?.

FRANK SESNO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, I just drove past the Pentagon across the 14th Street Bridge which is now choked with traffic. We're beginning to hear emergency sirens and rescue personnel standing out across Washington. There is a gigantic black billowing cloud of smoke that is rising over the Pentagon. You heard Jamie McIntyre a moment ago describe where that was coming from. I can also tell you that local radio and addition to talking about evacuations as we've heard at the Pentagon, the White House is reporting that the Capitol building has been evacuated and the Treasury Department has been evacuated. Washington, DC, the nation's capital is exceptionally tense and clearly taking steps as if it is virtually under siege here. We don't know specifically, as you said, what has taken place at the Pentagon, but this is very serious, striking at heart of the national government. And as John King was explaining...

AARON BROWN: Frank, it's Aaron, I need to interrupt you for a second. Again, there has been a second explosion here in Manhattan at the Trade Center. We are getting reports that a part of the tower -- the second tower, the one a bit further to the south of us has collapsed. We are checking on that. We are also told that the Sears Tower in Chicago has been evacuated, and what I can't tell you on that is whether there was something specific that happened there, whether there was an attack on that building, yet, or whether there was a warning or whether there was a threat of some sort or whether that's simply precautionary. What we can tell you is that just in the last several minutes here, two or three minutes, a second or a third -- I guess, technically, extraordinary event has happened here in lower Manhattan. You can see this extraordinary plume of smoke that is -- or was at least the second tower the World Trade Center. Or perhaps three, four minutes ago you could from where we were standing see the second building that is just a bit to the south of the first building, but you can't see it anymore, it is covered with smoke. A large plume of smoke also coming still from the first tower, where the first plane hit at about 8:45. We can, by the way, if we can cue the tape, we can show you the second attack, or at least the second explosion in the Trade Center that occurred at about 9:15 Eastern time. As you can imagine -- there you can see to the right of your screen a plane coming in. We do have a report of a hijacked American Airlines plane. It comes into the south side and then boom. You can see the fire coming out the front or the north side of the building, I guess that would be the northeast side of the building. And then just in the last several minutes there has been a second explosion or at least -- perhaps not an explosion perhaps part of building simply collapsed, and that's what we saw and that's what we're look at as smoke now just covers lower Manhattan. Almost as far to the end of Manhattan island as you can get is where the Trade Centers are. The Sears Tower in Chicago has been evacuated and we continue to check on the circumstances there. The Pentagon, the State Department, and the White House have been evacuated in Washington as well. The president has -- we can show you now what happened just a few moments ago at Trade Center. Watch the building to the left, to the back of those two building. This is just a few minutes ago. We don't know if something happened, another explosion, or if the building was so weakened it just collapsed. But -- we have a -- one of our producers on the phone, and I didn't get the name, so why don't we just go ahead. Are you there?

ROSE ARCE, REPORTER: Yes. This is Rose Arce calling from New York.

AARON BROWN: Rose, tell me what you know.

ARCE: Just a few minutes ago we saw--there's a portion of the building where the first plane struck and it seemed to be buckling inside itself, almost as if the top of the building was going to fall. Shortly after that, to people, it's hard to tell whether they were being pushed or they physically approached themselves, the sort of the river side of the building, would be the west side of the building, and appeared to jump from the top floors, just under where you see the smoke and fire.

AARON BROWN: That is extraordinary. The South Tower, the World Trade Center has collapsed. Again, tell me how long ago was it that you saw this?

ARCE: This must have been about five minutes ago, and prior to that, you could see heads popping out of windows right beneath where that big, gaping whole is, so there appeared to be people alive right below where the crash point was and were trying to find some way out of there. And just as the thing started buckle you saw them plummeting from that top floor.

BROWN: Right, and perhaps this is stating the obvious, we apologize for that, but obviously people were already at work here at the Trade Center when this happened. We don't know how many people have been hurt in all of this. We have no idea at this point, as you look at an aerial shot coming from -- I guess that would be coming from the south of the Trade Center, or what is at least the Trade Center behind those huge plumes of smoke. All airports across the country, every airports in the United States has been shut down as the FAA and the government tries to figure out exactly what has happened, what is at risk, what is not, who is behind it, are there more explosions, more attacks yet to come. Here in New York, trading on the New York Stock Exchange has been suspended, at least for now. All bridges and tunnels coming into the city have been shut down as the police try to clear the way. We can tell you, as we were coming in, perhaps an hour ago, there was a convoy -- I can't think of a better word -- a convoy of fire and police trucks racing down the west side highway, and this is in the middle of rush hour. Obviously, every available fire unit here in Manhattan has been brought to the Trade Center. Outside of the White House, John King, our senior White House correspondent -- John?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Aaron. They have pushed us even further back away from the White House now and there are more than a half dozen fire trucks. Some of the Secret Service now patrolling the perimeter in Lafayette Park, which is directly across from the White House have automatic rifles drawn to keep people away from the park, and they're policing back and forth. You can probably here additional fire apparatus arriving on the scene. Senior White House staffers who were evacuated, all they could tell us is that they were told that there was a credible threat on the White House as well, and that they were told to evacuate the premises. What we do not know is whether or not the vice president and the national security team have stayed inside of the White House situation room. We know that they were directing and monitoring operations from there, as of just about 15 minutes--15, 20 minutes ago. But the White House staff, the executive office building staff, and all of the office buildings around, including the Treasury Department and some government and some non-government office buildings, people have been evacuated out into the street, and again, the secret service now putting up yellow police line tape, and some of them patrolling Lafayette Park with automatic rifles, which is a scene quite extraordinary here across from the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John, tell us as best as you can, what the government's national security apparatus will do right now? I mean, what do you guess is happening and where is it happening?

KING: Well, I don't want to guess at all, but from the White House situation room, a president or a vice president can direct a war, can direct a full scale world war. The White House situation room is where all information, it's acceptable to all information from the United States military, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, from the Federal Aviation Administration in this case. The White House situation room is prepared just for situation like this, unfortunately, to be prepared in a time of crisis for the president to monitor incoming information and to direct any U.S. military or nonmilitary emergency response. The White House situation room is a bomb shelter for that matter. That part of the White House is a bomb shelter. Whether or not they have stayed in there is unclear. We know in the past that would be the routine. We just do not have the direct answer as yet because most of the staff, if not all of the staff, has been evacuated from the premises.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I gather you're just not being able to get any calls into the building right now, or at least not getting them answered at this point?

KING: Calls you get into the building are not answered at this point. And more fire apparatus showing up now as we speak. We saw most of the senior staff come out. We have not seen the national security staff that we would recognize, anyway, but I should note there are other gates from the White House. We are on the north side...


BROWN: John, you are being drawn out by the sirens. Allan Dodds Frank of our bureau here in New York joins us on the phone. Allan, where are you?

ALLAN DODDS FRANK: Hi, Aaron. Our colleague Jennifer Westhoven also arrived. She was closer to the building. I am just south of Canal Street, about 10 blocks north of the World Trade Center. Just Before 10:00, parts of the building began peeling away. People started screaming -- Jennifer tells me, because she was a little closer to the building -- that the police began yelling, run, run, and thousands of people started running away from the buildings as they were falling. That was, of course, followed by an onrush of ambulances and special police vehicles. Some people have told us -- though I can't confirm this -- that dozens of stories of the building have fallen away, maybe down as low as the 30th floor.

AARON: And again, just because we lost a little bit of the beginning, where are you physically now.

FRANKS: I am just out of the Holland Tunnel in downtown Manhattan, perhaps 10 to or 15 blocks north of the World Trade Center.

AARON: Got it. The pictures that our viewers are looking at was that collapse of the south tower a few minutes ago.

FRANKS: Correct.

AARON: Here in New York.

FRANKS: Yes, and moments after that, people began running towards us. Jennifer Westhoven, who is normally at the stock exchange, was only about five blocks away, and she saw the same thing.

AARON: Allan, thank you. Let me go to one of New York's deputy mayors.


AARON: What are you hearing, Randy.

MASTRO: I only know what I have seen on television. I have tried to talk to some friends...

AARON: Hand me -- there we go. Hand me the microphone. There we go.

MASTRO: I only know what I have heard on television and tried to speak to some friends, and obviously, phone lines, communication is difficult. You know, nothing prepares you in life for a senseless tragedy like this one. But there is no city better prepared to deal with such emergency situations than New York City.

AARON: Tell me, based on the plan, what is happening 30 blocks away.

MASTRO: Sure. Mayor Giuliani established early on an Office of Emergency Management to coordinate all of the government agencies involved, so you have coordinated leadership of police, fire, health, all of the city agencies responding to that emergency. They have planned for this kind of event. Unfortunately, this is not a unique concerns in the life of New York City or our country. Tragedies like this...

AARON: It may not be a unique occurrence, but it is a very rare and extraordinary one.

MASTRO: It is extraordinary, and therefore, in New York City, we have coordinated response, and they're responding now and providing every help that they can under these extraordinary circumstances.

AARON: Hang on one second. We have a report now of an explosion on Capitol Hill, and we are checking that out. We have a report of a plane crashing at the Pentagon, the Pentagon being evacuated. Fire on the Mall in Washington, the State Department evacuated, and we have all flights shut down across the county as officials sort out what is happening here. Randy, back to you for a second. If I recall this correctly, there is what was called a bunker, the mayor's bunker, for these sorts of events, in the Trade Center, correct?

MASTRO: There is an Emergency Management Center at the Trade Center.

AARON: Clearly, the mayor is not there.

MASTRO: I have not spoken with the mayor, so I don't know his physical location, but I do know that that coordinated emergency response started immediately. It's something that the city prepares for, and it's something that under these tragic circumstances, the city is doing everything it can do to respond.

AARON: How much of the plan changed after the World Trade Center bombing, in '93.

MASTRO: There was no coordinated city response. There was no Mayor's Office of Emergency Management. Rudy Giuliani established that. It's been one of the hallmarks of his tenure. And unfortunately, there are circumstances like this one where that coordinated effort has to come into play and is coming into play now.

AARON: If you can, stay with us for a little bit.


AARON: I suspect other questions are going to come up. I want to go through again what we know here at this point and also point some things that are not insignificant that we don't know. And one of the things we don't know is we do not now know how many fatalities there have been, and how many injuries there are. We can only surmise that this has been catastrophic, a catastrophic event here in New York, both Trade Center towers hit. One of them appears to have collapsed. How much of it collapsed? These are very large--in any case, we cannot tell you how many injuries, how many fatalities there have been. This is one of those situations that is extraordinary chaotic. Even in the best of planning, I think it's fair to say that it is chaotic. And officials are trying to do many things at one time. We have on the phone a pilot who witnessed these planes crashing into the World Trade Center. Sir, can you tell me your name? John, can you hear me?

PILOT: Yes, I can.

AARON: John, tell me what you saw.

PILOT: This morning, we were at midtown Manhattan in a 31st floor of a building facing south. We saw a 767 flying low down the center of Manhattan Island, heading towards downtown Manhattan. At about maybe 20 blocks north of the World Trade Center, we saw the plane veer to the left and fly directly into the north side of the south tower.

AARON: So, this was the second plane that hit the tower, correct?

PILOT: No, this was the first plane.

AARON: Got it.

PILOT: This was the 767.

AARON: John -- got it -- hang on. Kate Snow's on Capitol Hill. Kate, what can you tell us about the events there.

KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I am a couple blocks away from the Capitol right now. I can tell you about a half hour ago, the Capitol building itself was evacuated. It was a little bit chaotic. Everyone was running out of the building. People ran a couple of blocks away. Now have now been pushed back by security. We're within two blocks of the Capitol. I did see a plane, about a half hour ago, circling over the Capitol. Now whether that may have been a Air Force plane, it's unclear. But that seemed to be the reason, according to security guards that I talked with, towards the evacuation of the Capitol. They had seen something or heard something suspicious. They evacuated the Capitol and surrounding buildings, the office buildings -- at least on the House side, where I am standing. There are three office buildings. Those have also been evacuated. We're seeing members of Congress who are walking by us here on the sidewalk.

AARON: Kate.

SNOW: Go ahead.

AARON: Kate, I am sorry, and if you said this, I apologize, and I apologize to viewers too-- was there, to your knowledge, an explosion at the Capitol?

SNOW: No, sir, there was not. I can see the Capitol from here, and everything looks to be fine. There was, however, Aaron, a sound about five minutes ago that sounded like some sort of explosion, and everything is in close proximity here in Washington. It could be that that may have been something that happened at the Pentagon. We're not very clear on that. But we did hear a sound. We heard something that sounded like a loud boom about five minutes ago.

AARON: And Kate, you are, again, about how far away from the Capitol building itself?

SNOW: I am standing on Pennsylvania Avenue, which is the main artery in Washington, D.C., and I'm about two blocks away from the Capitol. I did just see a spokesperson, by the way, for the speaker of the House, Mr. Dennis Hastert, who tells me that Mr. Hastert and others leaders have been evacuated into what he called the secure location. It's not clear where exactly they are, but they have been put somewhere secure.

AARON: Because we can't see it at this point, give me a sense of what is looks like there? Are there many, many people on the street?

SNOW: Yes, the sidewalks--people are calm. I think most people really don't really know what is going on. Most people haven't been watching the news. But the sidewalks are definitely full of people, where, normally, at this time of the morning, there wouldn't be that many people out here. And as I say, I have been passed by numerous members of Congress and staff who I know well have been coming past me, asking me what has been going to.

AARON: Kate, why don't you hang around here and continue to report on that. For those viewers who are joining us, at about 10:20 Eastern Daylight Time -- let me just briefly recap -- attacks on two American cities: New York and the capitol, in Washington. It began at about 8:45 Eastern time, when a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. That building -- that was the building hit first -- and then about a half an hour later, a second plane -- and I a not sure if we have the tape available -- if we do, we will show it to you---you can see the second plane coming in from the right side of your screen going into the tower itself. This is an extraordinary and troubling piece of tape. The Justice Department is now being evacuated. The second attack on the Trade Center occurred about a half an hour or so after the first one. We have a report, CNN has been told, that an American Airlines 767 jet was hijacked out of Boston today. We don't know which of those two planes hit the tower the second time. Within the last 10 minutes or so, the south tower, or at least a portion of the south tower, has collapsed.

CNN's David Ensor joins us from Washington. David, where in the Capitol are you now?

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Aaron, I'm in our bureau, but I have on the telephone with me Barbara, who is the wife a friend of mine and who is an eyewitness to exactly what happened at the Pentagon. Barbara, can you hear me all right?

BARBARA: Yes, I can hear you.

ENSOR: Well, what exactly did you see? Let's look at the Pentagon now, as you describe what exactly happened at the Pentagon this morning?

BARBARA: As we were driving into town on 395, there was an exit. We were trying to get off of the exit for the Memorial Bridge. On the left-hand side, there was a commercial plane coming in, and was coming in too fast and the too low, and the next thing we saw was a go-down below the side of the road, and we just saw the fire that came up after that.

ENSOR: How large was the explosion.

BARBARA: It was large.

ENSOR: Was there a sound as well.

BARBARA: We -- that I can't verify, because the windows were up in the vehicle.

ENSOR: Was it clear to you what had happened?

BARBARA: Yes, definitely.

ENSOR: So you believe it was a commercial airliner that was hitting the Pentagon?

BARBARA: Yes, and I'm not sure exactly where the Pentagon, where it was in relationship top where the plane went down. You know, but it was relatively close to one another. Whether it hit any of the Pentagon, I am not sure.

ENSOR: How low was the plane?

BARBARA: When it was coming down?


BARBARA: It was coming on less than a 45 degree angle, and coming down towards the side of the -- of 395. And when it came down, it just missed 395 and went down below us, and then you saw the boom -- the fire come up from it.

ENSOR: Were you able to see what kind of plane, or what airline it belonged to?

BARBARA: No, I did not see what kind of an airline. I just assumed because we were so close to the airport, that it was coming in to land.

ENSOR: But it seemed awfully low to you?

BARBARA: Yes, and fast.

ENSOR: How big was the fireball?

BARBARA: I'm spatially challenged at times, and it was pretty big.

ENSOR: What did you think was happening?

BARBARA: I know that that hit the ground and exploded.

ENSOR: Were you frightened yourself?

BARBARA: Yes, everybody stopped the cars, and we all got (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and so forth.

ENSOR: All right, well, thank you very much. I appreciate you talking to us. Aaron, back to you.

AARON BROWN: David, thank you. CNN's David Ensor in Washington. CNN's Brian Palmer joins us on the phone from here in Manhattan. Brian, why don't you begin by telling me where you are.

BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are in front of the criminal courthouse after being pushed north slightly. We watched one of the towers of the World Trade Center disappear from the skyline. It basically folded into itself into a plume of gray smoke. A crowd of thousands of people dashed up Broadway, followed by emergency services personnel. That's what we know. We are watching the plume of smoke and debris just sort of lost across lower Manhattan, and people are lining up at this pay phone behind me, trying to find out whether their relatives are safe.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let me just briefly go to Randy. Randy, just look out there and tell me what you are thinking, when you see what now appears that at least part of one of the landmark buildings in this city, one of the most recognizable buildings in the country is gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the kind of moment you hope will never come. When you have been in government, when you care as much about this city and this country, as a mayor like Rudy Giuliani does, it's a moment you pray will never come, and you pray for the families of anyone affected by this tragedy. But as a city, you know, we come together, and our emergency services provide every support they can in the face of such a senseless tragedy.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's -- it is an unbelievable scene as you...


UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: ... look down. I mean, we stand here at some point every day looking out at this city this time of year. It's extraordinarily pretty, and we see those two buildings high above lower Manhattan, and you look out there today, and you see this gaping hole in one of them. This plumes of smoke that continue to pore from the scene, and you know, that there is nothing behind, that second tower, or at least parts of it gone. We are joined now, one of our affiliates, WYNW, in their coverage here in New York. Well, we will -- we'll try and make that connection again. In two cities now, and there are a lot of pieces of information floating around. We need to try to button up some of this. We had a report earlier that we now---we believe that we can tell you it was not correct, that there was an explosion at capitol. There was none as we now believe. There was no explosion at the Capitol. There -- air travel routed to Canada has been -- international flights going into the United States or into Canada, guys, into the United States, international flights headed for the United States are being sent to Canada now to airports there, as all air traffic in the United States has come to a halt. The FAA has shut down every airport in the country. And to our knowledge, and we're-- this is to the best of our memory, that has never happened before. We're starting to get some pictures of the scene from the ground here in Manhattan. Again, this all started almost about an hour and a half ago, I guess, a little more than that. This is a live picture of the scene now. We have crews on the ground, and they've been trying to get tape back, so we can show you the situation on the ground. As you can imagine, literally, thousands of police, fire, rescue officials have converged on the scene. There are, and we don't know how many injured to be tended to, to be taken to hospitals, and we continue to check hospitals to find out how many, the extend of injuries. We do not yet know how many fatalities. There is the scene. This is taped now from WABC here in New York. Their crews shot this picture, as you see, fire trucks, and firefighters, rescue personnel at the Trade Center about 30 blocks from where we are right now. And you can see these huge columns of smoke coming off of the front tower, and then a bit from the back. As you see, again, the crews working their way towards the tower themselves. It was 1993 that I suspect many of these same firefighters converged on these very same towers after the bombing in the garage level. Help me with this. But I am pretty sure it was in the garage, right, when a Ryder truck came in and blew up in the garage. I am not sure if it was a Ryder truck, but a truck came in and blew up in the garage and that was in 1993.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We heard a big bang, and then we saw smoke coming out, everybody started running out, and we saw the plane on the other side of the building, and there was smoke everywhere, and people are jumping out of the windows over there. They're jumping out of the windows, I guess, because they are trying to save themselves. I don't know. And -- I don't know. Everybody just doesn't know where to go. They won't let -- everything is blocked out. They are telling us to get out, but there is nowhere to go, and then I heard another plane was hit. And if you go by there, you can see the people jumping out of the window. They are jumping out of the window right now. Oh, my God.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: All right. Ma'am, thank you.


AARON BROWN: That is one of the witnesses to this extraordinary. These extraordinary events this morning here in New York. Again, and I know that for many of you, you have heard this a lot. But I think it's important, as people join us, as they do, in moments like this. They are coming in all of the time, that there had been attacks in two American cities, New York and in Washington. The trade centers here in New York have been hit by airplanes. In Washington, there is a large fire at the Pentagon. The Pentagon has been evacuated. And there as you can see, perhaps the second tower, the front tower, the top portion of which is collapsing. Good Lord. There are no words. You can see large pieces of the building falling. You can see the smoke rising. You can see a portion of this -- the side of the building now just being covered on the right side as I look at it, covered in smoke. This is just a horrific scene and a horrific moment. The president, who is in Florida today, is en route back to the White House. He took off a short time ago. The White house itself has been evacuated on the basis of what the Secret Service says was a credible threat on the mansion itself. We believe now that we can say that both -- that portions of both towers of the World Trade Center have collapsed. Whether there were second explosions, that is to say, explosions other than the planes hitting them that caused this to happen, we cannot tell you. Rose Arce, one of our CNN producers, is on the phone with us. Rose, what do you got.

ROSE ARCE, CNN PRODUCER: I'm about a block away, and there were several people that were hanging out of the windows right below where the plane crashed, when suddenly you saw the top of the building start to shake, and people began leaping from the windows in the north side of the window. You saw two people at first plummet, and then a third one, and then the entire top of the building just blew up, and splinters of debris are falling on the street. Where I am right now there's a thick plume of smoke and you can see crowds of people, including emergency workers and police officers. running from the scene screaming. And there's a school nearby, where there were kids in the school yard. That has been emptied out and they're running up the street now too. The whole sort of the neighborhood, I would say, several blocks up, is covered by this almost powdery smoke, little tiny pieces of building you can see just floating in the wind around it. It's almost like a huge cloud had kind of enveloped that part of lower Manhattan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. It is just one of those awful moments that you need to look at for a minute or two to absorb exactly what has happened. Two of the most recognizable buildings in the city of New York have been attacked and both of them appear to have collapsed, at least in part. The second of the two collapses taking place just a moment or so ago, perhaps two or three minutes ago. There are also, apparently, coordinated attacks that have taken place in Washington on the Pentagon, the State Department has been evacuated. Just a few moments ago, as we said, and perhaps 20 minutes after the first tower collapsed, we turned around and saw what looked like sparks falling, and then the top part of tower number one collapsing. These are shots from the ground of that scene.

America Under Attack

Aired September 11, 2001 - 10:30am ET

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There have been frantic efforts to get people out of the tower. Now, this was, again, this is tape, and you can see now whether that was an explosion or exactly what happened that caused that second tower to collapse. We cannot tell you. CNN's Kelly Wallace is on the phone with us. Kelly, where are you? What can you tell us?.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, I am just about four blocks north of the location of the World Trade Center was standing. I was actually en route to the command center. People really starring in disbelief, and then, as you saw, of course, the pictures, watching that tower come down, people just couldn't believe their eyes. Police have been pushing people immediately, people turning around and started running ways -- blocks away from the site. There is black smoke and this covering the air. You see people covering their mouths with some handkerchiefs and their coats, and basically, you know, it's an unbelievable scene. Most of the people are gone. The police are really pushing people away. There are a lot of people, as I was make my way down, here, Aaron, people just starring, getting on the cell phone, crying, recounting stories where they (UNINTELLIGIBLE), you know, basically had seen what happened earlier today, trying to get in touch with loved ones, very concerned. And then, of course, some people watching the other tower come down earlier, and then a group of people, then, watching this other tower coming down. A woman passing me covered in soot. Basically, the sky is just black, you can't even see down to lower Manhattan from the vantage point right now. The police have cleared off all these streets, pushing people away. Police telling us if you have to get out of here to get out of here, pushing people away in garages. It's an unbelievable scene -- Aaron.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can see in this shot, our viewers can, a helicopter shot coming across the harbor, the Statue of Liberty prominent in the foreground and smoke and devastation and tragedy in the background. A tragedy that continues to unfold and one that still has many, many unanswered questions. We have a report now that a car bomb, a car bomb has exploded at the State Department. We are working to confirm that as well. Howard Safer is a former New York City Police commissioner, the top police job here in the city, and he joins us for a few moments. Mr. Safer, what do you see?

SAFER: I see...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you look at that what do you see?

SAFER: I see something that is unimaginable. I see what is a police commissioner's worst nightmare. This is the situation that, obviously, was well-planned, well- coordinated and, you know, the loss of life that is take place down there is just incredible and is going to go strain the emergency service of this city to the hilt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you---are you hearing any specific information? Are you hearing anything about the number of injuries, the number of fatalities, the number of people in that building, those buildings, are you getting any information from your colleagues?

SAFER: Well, I know there are 50 thousand people who work in the World Trade Center. I know that every ambulance and fire company in the city and -- has been called in and dispatched there. It's unimaginable, but the loss of life is going to be huge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are as familiar with the city's plan or plans for these kinds of incidences as anyone in the city. In all honesty, does the plan cover the scope of what appears to have happened here?

SAFER: No. We have an office up in emergency management. The plans for responding to a disaster are probably as good as any in the world, but nobody ever would contemplate that we would lose the two world trade centers and in this manner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me (UNINTELLIGIBLE) what is happening there, would you guess, in the sense that, what are police doing? What is the first thing that has to happen? Triage?

SAFER: The first thing is triage. The first thing is to identify who can be treated, who cannot be treated, to get those ambulances to hospitals, every hospital's emergency room is open and I'm sure working right now. And this is just a situation -- it's like a war zone, and you have to logistically treat it like a war zone. You have to have your front lines, you have to have your support, and you have to have people who are constantly in there doing something. You know, I was also fire commissioner before I was the police commissioner, and it's no longer an initial, unfortunately, but a high- rise fire like that is almost impossible to fight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point, has -- would you say that every police officer, and there are what, 40 thousand?

SAFER: There are 41 thousand police officers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forty-one thousand police officers in the city have been called in?

SAFER: Every one of them. I know every firefighters has been called in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how many firefighters?

SAFER: There are 14 thousand firefighters, and I am sure we'll be getting help with equipment from our adjoining communities as well. I mean, this is a logistical exercise that makes the first attack on the World Trade Center, you know, relatively small.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of its scope?

SAFER: Because of its scope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's placed in the building itself, that it was high up in the building, does that complicate things?

SAFER: It does. Once you get up in the 10th floor in a fire -- it's almost impossible to fight a high-rise fire above the 10th floor, except by sending firefighters up there and using hose stands, and then you run into the water pressure problems. I was just thinking about this not long after the World Trade Center bombing, the engineer who designed the World Trade Center told me that the World Trade Center was designed to withstand a 707 direct impact. Well, obviously, that wasn't the case.


AARON BROWN: We are getting reports and we are getting lots of reports and we want to be careful to tell you when we have confirmed them and not, but we have a report that a 747 is down in Pennsylvania, and that remains unconfirmed at this point. And so we will check on that. I want to get back to the former commissioner in a moment, but, again, to briefly recap: You have buildings in Washington now evacuated, the White House, the Pentagon. We have a report that there has been a collapse, a collapse of part of the Pentagon itself; there was an explosion, you can see the Pentagon on the right side of your screen, and that is a live picture as well. And the left side of your screen, you see the situation here in lower Manhattan, in New York, where both of the World Trade Center towers have collapsed. This morning, as people were coming to work -- all airports in the country have been shut down. International flights that were heading this way are being diverted to Canada. The White House has been evacuated. The president was in Florida this morning, and he spoke briefly. And said, in truth, the kinds of things and about the only kinds of things that you can say in moments like this; that the government will do everything it can to hunt down whoever is responsible. This is, obviously, an extraordinary crisis for the president, and the first crisis, major crisis like it, that he has had to face -- compared to the plane that was --the forced down in China, that seems small right now compared to what's going on here in New York and in Washington. And the president headed back on Air Force One from Florida to the White House. The White House itself has been evacuated. We are trying, now, to figure out where the relevant players in Washington are. Where the vice president is, the national security team, where they are meeting. We are working very hard right now to find out what, both the FBI, what the CIA, what the Secret Service knows. It is chaotic now in two cities. You have major buildings that have been evacuated. It's very difficult, obviously, to get phone calls through. As you look at the Pentagon, and I suspect, we are also getting a report, as you look at these pictures of the Pentagon, and in all honesty, suspect, you see them a little more clearly than I do, but part of the building appears to me, as a look at it, to have collapsed. That's the Pentagon. And those pictures are live at 10:40 Eastern Time this morning. Though, we have a report now of a fourth explosion at the Trade Center. And, Brian Palmer, our CNN Correspondent, is as close as he can get to the area. Brian, what can you tell us?

BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are in fact as close says we can get. I'm not going to give you an exact time frame. But several moments ago, we were standing in front of the United States courthouse, when we saw the second World Trade Center disappear from the skyline. It collapsed before our eyes, and again, in a plume of ash and debris. People rushed north. We had a New York City police department officer who witnessed the first collapse. But he actually had to dash off to duty. We have been watching people crying. Some people had relatives in the buildings. They are not sure whether they are being---whether they've been evacuated, removed from the buildings or not.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: Was there -- Brian, did it sound like there was an explosion before the second collapse, or was the noise the collapse itself.

PALMER: Well, from our distance, what -- I was not able to distinguish between an explosion and the collapse. We were several hundred yards away. But we clearly saw the building come down. I heard your report of a fourth explosion. I can't that. But we heard some boom, and then the building fold in on itself.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: We are told, Brian -- hang on. We are told that the secretary of defense is being evacuated from the Pentagon. The Pentagon portion of the Pentagon has collapsed, after -- I am not precisely sure on this, and I want to tell you when I am not precisely sure, but apparently, a plane or pentagon hit part of the pentagon itself, as you take a look at the pictures there. I must say every time we hear a plane coming up overhead, it gets a little nervous where we are. Whatever is happening and whoever is responsible, we have no way of knowing if it is played out yet, or if it is just going on. So every time we hear a plane go by, we wonder what situation is and where it is -- headed. We are told by officials here. They believe that is a fighter jet. Federal office buildings around the country, is that correct, all over the country, have been closed, or just in Washington?

PALMER: Well, we are -- we were not allowed in to the federal courthouse here, where CNN maintains a workspace. The officers just said, we are now allowing you in. I think that's a security precaution.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: Got it. Stay with me a little bit. All federal office buildings now, all federal office buildings in Washington, D.C. are being evacuated as we speak to you now. There are a variety of reports, and it's important to try and put this in some kind of order, but the most important things to tell if you are just joined in is that what has all makings of an extraordinarily well planned terrorist attack on both Washington and New York has taken place this morning. The Trade Centers here in New York, the two World Trade Center towers, have collapsed, after being hit by a plane. Maria Hinojosa joins us on the phone. She is in New York, down near the building. Maria, what can you tell us?

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm actually at St. Vincent's Hospital right now, where at about 45 minutes, 40 to 45 minutes after the first explosion, they started seeing patients here. What I am hearing, and I have not been in the ER yet, is that they have at least 1--patients or more, that several of those people were dealing with issues of smoke inhalation, many of them throwing up, that there were several people who went directly to the operating room, who were in very critical condition. Outside the hospital, people are coming in, trying to help, to donate blood. Essentially, everybody here at this hospital is in a state of shock. I mean, I walked into the testing area, and the women who usually just draw blood are extraordinarily moved and shocked. They're moving in and out of the emergency room to try to help as many people as possible. Now outside, about a block away from here, where you really had a bird eye's view of the two twin towers, which are the landmarks of New York City. People stopped, entire traffic has stopped. People have poured out of buildings and were watching, in fact, as one of the towers collapsed. And then, you are really seeing lot of trying to move north, away from any place downtown, near the World Trade Center area. People are just walking. The subways are stopped entirely, all around the area of the World Trade Center. You can't get below 14th Street, and there it just feels like a massive exodus of people walking north to get a far away from the area as they possibly can.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: Maria, I know Kitty Pilgrim is with you as well. Tell us what you have been able to report on.

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm actually reporting from Kennedy Airport at the United terminal, and I was here this morning flying out, when they made an announcement about 20 of 10:00 that all flights were grounded. People just thought it was the normal course of airport business these days, and so not much reaction, and then the news started to trickle through. It was not official announcement, made over intercom.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: Kitty, let me interrupt for just a second. The Associated Press is reporting that federal officials fear that a second hijacked plane or another hijacked plane is headed towards the Pentagon, and I'm looking for the time on this. We will continue to check that out. Kitty, I apologize for interrupting. Why don't you continue? Did we lose her?

PILGRIM: Everyone didn't react, but then the news came through. I have never seen Kennedy in this condition. I have been here many times. People are in absolute shock. No one is talking. They were just staring at each other with their arms dropped to sides. A pin could drop in United terminal. There were a couple hundred people there, and no one was saying anything. After about 20 minutes, people rushed to phones. You cannot phone out. There is no real access back to city. People are trying to get back. They have unloaded the baggage from the planes. They have asked that everyone pick up their bag and take it, and take it out of the terminal, and take it home, and they are asking everyone to please leave. People are just finding it difficult to leave. They are not officially evacuating Kennedy Airport at this point, at least at the United terminal. The attendants have been asked to stay. Again, there are still several hundred people standing around, not knowing what to do. No one is even speaking.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: And again for people -- Kitty, thank you -- not familiar with New York, Kennedy is the major airport handling international flights into the city. It is also an enormous complex of seven, or eight or nine terminals.

PILGRIM: That is exactly right. And in fact, the baggage has been unloaded into a separate terminal from where I am, and they are asking people to walk over, pick up their bags, and take them out. It is virtually impossible to get from place to place at Kennedy, and of course bridges and tunnels into Manhattan are virtually inaccessible at this point. No one has anywhere to go.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: Kitty, thank you. We'll get back to you. Chris Plante at the Pentagon has more. He joins us on the phone. Chris, what you can tell us?

CHRIS PLANTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, this is Chris Plante at the Pentagon.


PLANTE: Can you hear me?

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: Yes, Chris, we hear you, go ahead.

PLANTE: All right, the area to the west of the Pentagon has been evacuated further back by law enforcement and military officials as they anticipate a second aircraft arriving at the Pentagon. It has been deemed to be threatening enough where I saw at least one F-16 fighter jet in the air over the Pentagon, headed to the west, where the plane was reportedly coming in from. Again, they are saying here a second aircraft is expected to arrive at the Pentagon sometime soon. They take it seriously enough that they have scrambled at least one fighter jet that I saw, probably either from D.C. Air National Guard or the Maryland Air National Guard, both of which fly F-16s. The west front of the building of the Pentagon along Route 27 has now partially collapsed. About a 60-foot section of the building laterally has collapsed, the entire five stories. The building has obviously -- the fire has is scrambling inward in the building toward the courtyard, and this wedge, as they call it, of the Pentagon, the westernmost wedge, was just refurbished, and was in fact reinforced for terrorist attack, and for just this sort of thing. I know that there were a significant number of injuries. I'm unaware of any numbers on fatalities at this point. People here who came from the building are suggest that surely there were fatalities, but I can not confirm any. I have spoken to a number of people that I know who've pulled people out of rubble. There were severe injuries, a number of helicopters here evacuating, injured people, and I'm told by one senior military source, that the plane in the side of the building has been tentatively identified as a Boeing 767, a full-sized airliner, Boeing 767. But that at this point, they are waiting for arrival of a possible second plane, which has been deemed to be a threat, and as I said, fighter jets have been scrambled to address that matter.

America Under Attack

Aired September 11, 2001 - 10:45am ET

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: Chris, stay with us. It's extraordinary bit of information coming out of Washington now. Let me add to something that we said earlier. We have a report now that a large plane crashed this morning, north of the Somerset County Airport, which is in western Pennsylvania, not too terribly far from Pittsburgh, about 80 miles or so, a Boeing 767 jet. Don't know whose airline it was, whose airplane it was, and we don't have any details beyond that which I have just given you. We don't know -- we don't know -- if this is somehow connected to what has gone on in New York and Washington, but we do know that another plane has crashed, this one about 80 miles south of Pittsburgh, or at least to southeast of Pittsburgh. Rose Arcy, one of our producers here in New York joins us on the phone. Rose, what do you have that is new?

ROSE ARCY, CNN PRODUCER: Yes, just a while ago, I think you saw that collapse of a top of the World Trade Center. Well, looks like a large chunk of that debris has hit a building very close by, about two blocks away, next to an elementary school, causing another explosion. So for the last few minutes, I have been watching people running from that direction. There was one man (TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES) I've seen several emergency service workers carrying other emergency service workers from the scene. There is a haze everywhere. It's very, very difficult to see, but that there a whole area has been covered by an ash. It looks almost like snow. People are coming up the street, running from the scene of this new explosion. You can see them slipping on the ash and literally having to drag each other up the street. There is an incredible amount of panic down here in downtown Manhattan as people are realizing they really need to leave the area entirely, after spending the last hour or so watching this from afar.

AARON: Rose, stay with us. Terrific work. Let me throw another couple of pieces of information out, as we continue to put this altogether into a straight line, if we can. The United Nations has been evacuated; the United Nations building, on the East Side of Manhattan, has been evacuated. The city --this is Election Day, a primary election for mayor and city council races in New York. That election has been postponed until further notice. Obviously, we are we are in the middle of on extraordinary catastrophe that started about 8:45 Eastern time here in New York, when one plane crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. About a half an hour after that, as people were converging, as fire and police and rescue teams, were converging on the scene, a second plane appeared to the west of the Trade Center buildings and slammed into the second tower. That is what you just saw. Fires were shooting out the north and east side of the tower. Shortly after that, we began to get reports of events taking place in Washington, an explosion which first came to us as a fire at the Pentagon. Now there are reports of a second hijacked plane heading towards the Pentagon. It is believed that one of the planes -- perhaps both, but one them, we have been told -- was an American Airlines 767 that hit one of the Trade Center towers. About a half hour after that -- perhaps a little bit longer -- you lose track of time a little bit in these situations -- the south tower, the second tower -- the one to the left collapsed -- it collapsed in a cascade of smoke and spark. And what we cannot tell you is if there was a second explosion that caused that collapse, or if it was simply -- that is the first one, that is the south tower collapsing, and that was about a half hour, give or take, after the planes hit the tower. Then shortly after that, just as the smoke was starting to clear away, the second tower -- that is what you are looking at now -- again this is not very long ago, 10 or 15 minutes ago -- the second tower -- it almost looks like one of those implosions of buildings that you see, except there is nothing controlled about this. This is devastation. How many people? There are 50,000 people who normally go to work in the Trade Center buildings. How many of those people had arrived already, how many of those people were trapped in the upper stories, how many of those people have been hurt, how many of those people died we cannot tell you now. We can tell you that hospitals throughout the New York area are receiving literally hundreds of patients, and they are performing triage. They are trying to figure out who can be treated, who needs help first. This is sort of standard operating procedure. We are just being told now that Israel has evacuated all its diplomatic missions around the world. Israel has evacuated its missions. We are told now that Yasser Arafat has condemned these attacks. We don't know yet who is behind them. Britain has condemned these attacks. Germany has convened its national security council, and we will check and see if events are going on in those places, or if that is simply a reaction to what has gone on here in Washington and in New York. CNN's Jeanne Meserve joins us on the phone from Washington -- Jeanne.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: K Street, which is one of the major thoroughfares in Washington is at absolute gridlock. It takes about 15 minutes to drive one block. Ordinarily, at this time of day, there would be nothing near this kind of traffic. You see pedestrians filling the sidewalks, many of the businesses and offices having closed. You see cars absolutely pouring out of the parking lots, which is contributing to the absolutely horrendous traffic situation. Many people are trying to use their cell phones; however, cell phone service has become very difficult in this town because of the crush on circuits. For the most part, people appear to be very calm and collected. I will tell you, though, that as I drove, I looked at the car next me, full of some young women who I would guess were in their 20s. Several of them were crying their eyes out, obviously very upset as they listened to the radio and heard the news of what is happening in this city and in New York, also. Aaron, back to you.

AARON: Jeanne Meserve in Washington this morning, thanks -- as she and the rest of the organization continue to gather what facts we can, what facts are available in the wake of the extraordinary chaos that has followed this extraordinarily horrendous terrorist attack. We are told one of the planes involved in this was a hijacked American Airlines 767 out of Logan Airport, in Boston. American Airlines will say what is known. As you look at the White House being evacuated a short time ago. Or is that live. I'm not sure on my monitor which it is. I believe it is tape from a short time ago. In any case, American Airlines will talk to reporters in about a half hour or so, at 11:30 Eastern time. One of its planes was involved in this. We will bring that press conference to you live when it happens. Here in New York, hospitals are being overwhelmed as hundred of patients are being brought in and being treated. We cannot tell you -- we would not even begin to guess -- what the numbers in this will be, how many people will have died by the time this day is over, how many injuries have taken place in both Washington and New York. But, as former Police Commissioner Howard Safir told us a few minutes ago, obviously, the numbers are going to be extraordinary. Who do we have on the phone, guys? Help me out here. Patty are you there?


AARON: What have you got?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About an hour ago, I was on the corner of Broadway and Par Place -- that's about a thousand yards from the World Trade Center when the first tower collapsed. It was a massive explosion. At the time, the police were trying desperately to evacuate people from the area. When that explosion occurred, it was a scene out of a horror film: People started stampeding away from it.

America Under Attack

Aired September 11, 2001 - 11:00am ET

AARON: Patty, Patty, I'm going to interrupt you for a second. We told you there was a second plane that went down, this one around 80 miles or so southeast of Pittsburgh. We will try to connect with KDKA TV, in Pittsburgh. So much for planning. We tried. We will try again. Again, we have reports that a plane has crashed in the Pittsburgh area, southeast of Pittsburgh about 80 miles, and at varying times we have heard this was a 767 or a 747; I'm not sure it matters which it is. What matters is that a plane has crashed in Pittsburgh area.The Pentagon continues to monitor reports that another plane, a hijacked plane, is headed for that area. All flights have been canceled around the country, international flights heading towards United States are being diverted into Canada this morning. Patty, let me go back to you as we look at some tape from the ground. Patty, why don't you go ahead and continue.

PATTY: Aaron, I'm now in the main building of Pace University, which is inside the fallout zone of all the debris from the two building collapses. At the time of the first building collapse, I was at Broadway and Park Place. It was a huge cloud of smoke, and it overcame the crowd. People were stampeding. Literally, the debris was so thick you could you not see your hand in front of your face. I ducked around into a building that was on Park Place and Beekman Street. When I was in there, people were coming in; they were crying, they were wailing. You couldn't see anything outside. After the smoke had cleared a little bit, I came outside. The scene was like a ghost town in the financial district -- very eerie. You saw people being wheeled on guernseys away from the site of the explosion. People coming out with masks over their face, anything they can put over their face because the air was still very thick with debris. The ash on the ground is at least two inches thick, it's more like snow cover, a very eerie snow cover blanketing downtown Manhattan right now. Now, at the time I was back on the corner again of Broadway and Park Place, at that time, the police started running toward us telling everybody to move, who was left on the street. I looked up, and that's when I heard the explosion, that's when the second tower came down. Again, whoever was left on street started stampeding. I'm in the office -- right now, I'm in the main building of Pace University; people are crying, they have gas masks on their face. Authorities are make people go towards the basement. They're just doing anything that they can to move people away from the financial district. But, again, it is a very horrifying scene down here, very eerie like...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Patty -- Patty, let me interrupt you. Mayor Giuliani is on the telephone, is part of New York 1's coverage. We join our affiliate for that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayor Giuliani, since we have New Yorkers listening, and obviously their thoughts with people who are down there.

MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI, NEW YORK CITY: Again, I would urge them to remain calm, to remain at home or to remain at their place of business, unless they're in lower Manhattan. By that I mean south of Canal Street. If you're south of Canal Street, get out, walk, and walk slowly, carefully, there are plenty of police around, but just walk directly -- if you can't figure out what else to do just walk directly north; that will get you out of the dangerous smoke area; it will also do us a big favor, it will open up those streets, because we're going to moving a large number of ambulances and emergency personnel in and out of there all day. I've talked to the governor, he is putting the National Guard on alert so that they can relieve our police officers and our firefighters later this afternoon. And we have asked the federal government for help, from the -- Urban Search and Rescue Team. So, right now, we are using all of or police and firefighters and emergency personnel to help the people down there. Later on we're probably going to need reinforcement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mayor Giuliani, I realize that it must be more than a chaotic situation, particularly since the bunker has been compromised and cordoned off, but can you give us any sense, there are so many people watching now who must have loved ones down in that area and are concerned of the systematic...

GIULIANI: My heart goes out to them. I've never seen anything like this. I was there from shortly after it happened and saw people jumping out of the World Trade Center. it's a horrible, horrible situation. And all that I can tell them is that every resource that we have is attempting to rescue as many people as possible. And the end result is going to be some horrendous number of lives lost. I don't think we know yet, but right now we have to just focus on saving as many people as possible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you giving as you sense of, if there is in fact some system implemented, what that system is and what where people are being taken?

GIULIANI: People --we're triaging. People are being taken to every area hospital possible, even virtually within minutes of -- I drove down right past Saint Vincent's hospital, and I could see them actually on street ready to take people, and that was within minutes of the first airplane hitting the World Trade Center. So the hospitals are ready. We'll be moving them to all different area hospitals, triaging them. The main thing is having those streets open so we can get people in and out of the southern part of Manhattan as quickly as possible so that we can move them, you know, to the hospitals all over city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Mayor Giuliani, we'll let you...

GIULIANI: ... they're doing it. We just need the cooperation of people in getting out of there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll let you get back to the operations there, and we do appreciate you taking the time for us here.

GIULIANI: Once again, the only thing to do now is to remain calm and try to assist in the rescue effort.


GIULIANI: Let's pray all of us.


AARON: That is New York's mayor, Rudy Giuliani, talking to a CNN affiliate New York 1 here, saying that clearly there's going to be tremendous number of lives lost on these attackings here in New York, urging people to stay calm and to leave the area calmly. The area is in the southern part of Manhattan, way down on tip of Manhattan island. The mayor urging people to calmly move north. CNN's Jamie McIntyre is at the Pentagon. Jamie, why don't you start, if you can, at the beginning here as we try and put some order to all of this. What happened?

MCINTYRE: Well, let me just describe the scene that we have here and I will back up a little bit, but right now, I'm looking at the charred facade of the Pentagon, a huge gaping hole on the side where the Pentagon heliport is located, the side that faces Arlington Cemetery. In front of me is a long line of rescue personnel with backboards; they're just waiting for victims to be brought out so they can rush them to nearby medical facilities. I see a few victims being treated on the grass outside the Pentagon. Firefighters continue to pour streams of water on to side of the building and a huge black cloud of smoke continues to billow out. It is a scene of utter destruction here. I'm sure it pales in comparison to the World Trade Center, but I have never seen anything like this myself in the history of the Pentagon. There's been nothing like this. Again, a huge gaping hole. You can see exposed five floors of the Pentagon offices just ripped apart. Our report is that an aircraft of some kind, and at least in one witness identified it as a civilian aircraft, hit the side of the building, shortly after those -- the incident at the World Trade Center this morning. People who were in their offices nearby reported hearing huge explosions, seeing charred shrapnel come by their window. The entire Pentagon has been evacuated. A short time after this attack there were urgent announcements made over the loudspeakers telling people to quickly get away from the building because they had reports of a second plane heading this way just two minutes away. F-16 jets were scrambled over the Pentagon. I saw several of them go by, but no second plane ever materialized. And the building remains completely evacuated as firefighters continue to pour columns of water on the devastated side of the Pentagon and rescue personnel continue to whisk victims away. We have no report at this time of how many casualties. Clearly, dozens and dozens of people have been hurt and we presume that there have been some deaths as well. It's hard to imagine otherwise considering the extent of the damage to that side of the building. And I can see just some of the windows -- a stretch of the building perhaps, about perhaps 40 or 50 feed wide, it just looks like it has collapsed under the weight of the impact -- Aaron.

AARON BROWN: Jamie, thank you. So we have planes hitting the Pentagon or a plane hitting the Pentagon, two planes hitting the World Trade Center towers in New York. Alan Dodds Frank joins on the phone in lower Manhattan -- Alan?

FRANK: Aaron, just two or three minutes ago there was yet another collapse or explosion. I'm now out of sight, Good Samaritan has taken me in on Duane Street. But at a quarter to 11:00 there was another collapse or explosion following the 10:30 collapse of the second tower. And a firefighter who rushed by us estimated that 50 stories went down. The street filled with smoke. It was like a forest fire roaring down a canyon. Now, as I think Patty (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and others have told you, all of Manhattan is covered -- downtown Manhattan is covered with thick white ash and building material. The ambulances have been coming now from as far as Long Island. All the rescue workers are being equipped with gas or face-filter masks. And firefighter have been arriving even by pick-up truck. Otherwise the streets are now deserted.

AARON: Alan, thank you. Alan Dodds Frank in Manhattan. A little more on this plane crash which is the fourth incident, if you will. There was the plane crash at the Pentagon, crashing into the Pentagon. There were the two planes that hit the World Trade Center here in New York. And we don't know whether this fourth one is related or not. But the report is that a 747 en route from Chicago to New York City crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, about 80 miles to the southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That's the incident. That's what we are hearing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm standing next to a fireman and he said, yes, they just bombed the Pentagon too.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: Our colleague Jeff -- well, we have a little more sound here from witnesses.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). The doorman goes to me, wow, I never seen a plane flying so low. And we looked out it, all of a sudden, boom, it seemed like it wasn't even real. And we came running over here closer to the place, and all of a sudden we saw the other explosion. I don't know. I don't know.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in B Tower -- A Tower.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What floor were you on?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened? Tell me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A big explosion happened. Some guy came out, his skin was all off. I helped him out, (UNINTELLIGIBLE). There's people jumping out of windows. I seen at least 14 people jumping out of windows. It's horrific. I can't believe this is happening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything else that you saw? Where you there for the second hit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. After -- about 10 minutes later the second building went off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I saw it. It just blew up, a big explosion, people started running. It was just chaos everywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where you there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I was right there. I was in the -- I was down in the basement, came down, all of a sudden the elevator blew up, smoke. I dragged a guy out. His skin was hanging off, and I helped him into the ambulance.


UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: The words of some of the witnesses here in Manhattan this morning, and the pictures of what will I suspect before this is over go down as one of the most horrific days in our lifetime. We're joined by our colleague, CNN's Jeff Greenfield.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, you know, in 1993, when terrorist bombed the World Trade Center, their plan was to knock one of the towers into the other, bringing them both down. That disaster was averted, and bad as that was, in a sense, America has been lucky. Another terrorist attack in the planning was interrupted to blow up the Lincoln Tunnel and submerge dozens, maybe hundreds of people. At the eve of the millennium, a suspected terrorist was intercepted at the Canadian border on his way to Seattle. And I know that not so long ago that former President Clinton in a private talk to a group ruminated how lucky the United States has been over the years, to -- with the combination of luck and the skill of anti-terrorist people, to avoid such thing. What we see now is nothing less than the worst nightmare that one could imagine come to life, probably worse than anyone could have imagined. You may remember that Tom Clancy wrote a novel that ends with a terrorist hijacker crashing into the Capitol. The worst act of terrorist on American soil, the Oklahoma City Bombing, killed fewer than 200 people. All we know today is that tens of thousand of people work in that complex that has been destroyed, and I hate to say it this way, but this may be the day that America's luck ran out.

AARON: It hard, isn't it? When you look out here, and see the Statue of Liberty to the right, the buildings off to the left, the attacks on Washington. We don't know a lot about who is behind this or what this is all about. But the symbolism of these attacks is extraordinary. It's extraordinary. CNN's David Ensor is in Washington and he joins us -- David.

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, I'm talking to U.S. officials who are obviously working on who is responsible for this. They're working thesis is that this is overseas terrorism, not domestic. They cannot rule out additional attacks yet to come. In terms of claims of responsibility so far, there is an [Agence] France press report, in which a group with a word Palestine in the name claims responsibility. There is a also a report quoting personnel close to Osama bin Laden. The fugitive Saudi accused terrorist denying that that group was involved. But again, U.S. officials say they can't add -- shed any light on whether these reports are correct or incorrect. Usually when this kind of attack occurs, you have claims of responsibility from all sorts of people who have nothing to do with it. So it's a very fluid situation at this point. But the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States has been evacuated from its headquarters in Langley, Virginia. There are some key personnel in the headquarters, but the operations center has been moved elsewhere. U.S. officials say they don't want to talk about where exactly the headquarters staff and operations staff has been moved to. But staff now has been focusing on trying to find any shred of information that could help the U.S. government figure out who is doing this and how to put a stop to it -- Aaron.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: David, as a -- tell me if I'm right or wrong here. As a practical matter, there are not a whole lot of groups that the United States government knows about that are sophisticated enough and the kind of money and resources to pull off something like this, fair enough?

ENSOR: That's absolutely true. And, obviously, despite the denial, attention will quickly turn to the bin Laden group, because it has long tentacles, has connections with all sorts of other groups. We saw at the millennium, a group of Algerians apparently involved in trying to arrange bombing in the United States, and now there is evidence being produced in court sessions that those Algerians were working for the bin Laden group. So that group certainly will come under immediate suspicion. There are very few others that could have pulled this off.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: All right, just because of the enormity of it all, and the sophistication required to stage these multiple attacks, this is not something some small cell can pull off. This is obviously a group or groups well-financed and extraordinarily well organized...

ENSOR: That's correct. Now another thing you will notice is that the you remember the attack on USS Cole in the Yemen harbor. That's the first time that kind of attack with small boats and bombs has been used against an American warship. It worked once. Now the U.S. Navy has taken steps to make that much more difficult to do. Officials saying this may work once, they will now have to take measures to make sure this can't be done again. But these are apparently hijacking of civilian aircraft. So it was a sort of modus operandi that was dreamed up in some evil terrorists mind and done on a massive scale here today -- Aaron.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: David, thank you. CNN's David Ensor, our national security correspondent, on what he is hearing, what he knows, what the reports are, as we approach 11:20 Eastern Time. For those of you just joining us, and as you can see on your screen, the Taliban, the government in Afghanistan, expected to make a statement soon, and we will monitor that for you. For those of you just joining us, let me try to put as many of these pieces together as I can as we stand here in New York. At about 8:45 Eastern Standard Daylight Time this morning, the first of the trade center towers was hit by a plane. It crashed into the south side of the tower. About a half an hour later, a second plane came from the right, and you can see it coming behind the first tower, and then it hits the tower, and you will see the flame and smoke coming out, I guess three-quarters maybe a little bit more up the tower. That's where this all began. About a half hour after that, the first of that tower that is now you see inflamed in that shot, collapsed. The top collapsed. And there was an enormous -- I don't want to say explosion, but there was an enormous plume of smoke, sparks as we looked over from where we are standing. And then a little bit after that, and I want to be careful on time, because it seemed perhaps 10 or so minutes, but I'm not sure, the second tower, which in fact was the first one hit, collapsed as well, and that's what you are about to see. Our reporters in the area say they heard loud noises when that happened. It is unclear to them and to us whether those were explosions going on in the building, or if it was simply the sound of the collapse of the buildings as they collapsed, making these huge noises as they came down. But as we look back, the smoke now, which has gone from white to kind of gray clearing away, we are -- I guess Jeff -- as -- I don't -- I want to know what's behind the smoke. But I have the worst feeling is that very little.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And the fact is that we've already been hearing from even the fragmentary reports from people on the ground stories beyond horror, people jumping out of windows, because of the flames. The fact that this happened shortly before 9:00, and then the second hit shortly after 9:00, means that most of the people were either right in the vicinity or actually at their desks. So one doesn't want to be overly grim, but the fact is, there were large -- thousands of people were in these buildings.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: You get 50,000 people come to work in those buildings. Many thousands more pass through those buildings every day. There are retail shops on the lower floors of the trade center.

GREENFIELD: It's where the packed trains from New Jersey come in.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: Correct. It is where the commuter trains come in from the other side of river, from New Jersey, come in and drop off, and pick up their passengers. So it is an extraordinarily busy area. It is also an area, for a number of reasons, rich in symbolism to this city and to the country. You can see from where we are the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor in the pictures. So that's what happened in New York. At about the same time -- and again, I don't want to put times on much of this yet -- after one of the hijacked planes hit the Trade Center in New York, events started to unfold in Washington. A plane hit the Pentagon. And then there was a major fire at the Pentagon and the Pentagon has now been evacuated. The State Department has been evacuated. The president who was in Florida, went before cameras to denounce, as you would expect, and as we would expect, this terrorist attack, promising to hunt down those responsible. It was the president himself who first used, at least as I heard the story, the word "terrorism." There was no doubt in his mind, at least. The president now has -- is heading back. We are now getting a report that American Airlines say one of its flights, a flight from Boston to, I believe, Los Angeles -- correct me if I'm wrong -- is down. Or at least they've lost contact with it -- 81 people on board. This would be the second of American Airlines' flights involved, presumably, in this event. Another flight, this one from Dulles to Los Angeles is down, with 54 passengers on board. So again, there are two American airlines: one Dulles, Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, the other Boston to Los Angeles. Both American Airlines planes are reported by the airline to be down. It is also believed that an American Airlines plane, a 767, was involved in one of the hits on the Trade Center as well. We don't know if there's a reason why it's American and not any other. We won't speculate as to whether there is or not. We will tell you what the facts are as we get them, and that's what we have. American says two of its planes are down. And I assume that is two other than the one that hit the Trade Center -- and you guys check that out to make sure I'm right.

GREENFIELD: We have a report of a crash in Somerset county, outside of Pittsburgh.

AARON: Right, I believe, a 767, though we are getting reports it's perhaps a 747, which doesn't quite fit into what we believe flies Chicago to New York, is also down, and I do not know the airline involved there. Let me go back -- OK, I do now: It's a United Airlines plane. So we have a number of planes down, a number of planes involved in these attacks. The Boston to Atlanta, if I'm reading the notes correctly, had an American 767, with 81 passengers on board, and nine fights attendants and two pilots.

GREENFIELD: Flight 11.

AARON: That's American Airlines Flight 11. And American Airlines Flight 7, which is a 757 jetliner, from Dulles Airport, outside of Washington, to Los Angeles International, with 58 passengers on board, four flight attendants, two pilots; it's also reported down. And then there is this united airlines jet, which crashed about 80 miles to the southeast of Pittsburgh.

GREENFIELD: We should also mention, I think, Aaron, that, inevitably, some of these early fragmentary reports are going to be needing correction, and that will be done as soon as possible. We had a report of a second hijacked plane on the way to Washington. Capitol police were reporting there have been no signs of that plane. We simply, at this point in this awful story, have just to tell our viewers we will do everything we can to report this accurately. If fragmentary reports need amending or correcting, that will be done immediately.

AARON: I think in fairness, there is, in a number of places right now-- perhaps four or five -- chaos, and numbers that come out are not necessarily going to hold up, and in our reporting, we will be a bit conservative on some of this until we track it down. There is no point in allowing this thing to seem worse than it is; it is already horrendous, and we don't need to make it worse by misstating numbers, and we want you to keep that in mind. CNN Medical Unit reports that the Centers for Disease Control, in Atlanta, is preparing bioterrorism teams to respond to the incidents. This, we are told, is simply precautionary. We have absolutely no reports and no evidence that there is any bioterrorism going on. Clearly, what is happening in every department of the United States government -- and I suspect in every department of most major cities right now -- the plan, the plan that they hope they never have to implement, the plan that they spent years preparing, is now in effect -- not just here, not just in Washington, but around the country, because no one knows precisely where this is going.

America Under Attack: Gen. Wesley Clark Discusses Ongoing Terrorist Situation

Aired September 11, 2001 - 11:28am ET

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Former commander of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is joining us from -- is it? -- from Little Rock, Arkansas. General Clark, from your knowledge of the military you know the Pentagon, what are you thinking right now?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK, FORMER. NATO SUPREME COMMANDER: Well, good morning, Judy. First of all, we've got to try to assess what's really happening. And as all of the new reports indicate, this is -- it's clearly a coordinated effort. It wasn't announced. It hasn't been announced that it's over. We don't know how it will finally conclude. So there's likely to be more trouble before all of this concludes. So we've got to protect the American people first. We've got to look after those who are injured. We've got to take precautionary measures to deal with future incidents. And I think all of that's under way with a lot of responsible action by people everywhere. The damage at the Pentagon is unclear from all the news reports that I've seen. The one report that said it crashed into the Army- side of the building. There are command centers in various places of the Pentagon and there are many other alternate command centers. So I don't think there's really any issue about the command and control of the United States armed forces. I'm sure that's very solid right now.

WOODRUFF: General Clark, why do you say there are likely to be -- there's likely to be more trouble?

CLARK: Well, we're hearing, still, reports of aircraft that are out there. There's no way of knowing when all of the possible incidents have either taken place or been aborted by whoever it is that's behind this. And so, we have to -- we have to be ready for whatever might happen next.

WOODRUFF: General, can you give us some sense of-- clearly the United States has never experienced anything of this magnitude, but what is the -- what are the leaders of our military, the Joint Chiefs, the secretary of defense and others, what presumably are they doing right now, in order to be on top of the situation, where you have the Pentagon on fire, New York City in a state of chaos, and every federal building in Washington evacuated?

CLARK: Well, first of all, we'll be trying to -- we'll be trying to assess what happened. We'll be making sure that the protection posture of our bases worldwide and all of our units out there is raised so that we're able to protect our forces and our family members. And then we'll be looking to provide assistance to wherever such incidents might occur, whatever military capabilities there will be that could be of use will be certainly made available to the other agencies of state, local and federal government who are involved in trying to deal with these tragedies right now. Then, beyond that, we'll be waiting for the information to come in about who may have been behind this, and we'll be looking at what measures can be taken to strike and prevent further actions or in punitive retaliation.

WOODRUFF: Well, speaking of that, General Clark, wouldn't you agree there are very few of the terrorist groups, at least that we're familiar with, who would have the capability to pull off something this coordinated, on this scale?

CLARK: I think that's exactly right. There is only one group that has ever indicated that it has this kind of ability, and that's Osama bin Laden's. So obviously, that will be the first suspicion.

WOODRUFF: Are you --clearly, we are all in a state of shock, General Clark. But is it fair to say that you're not truly surprised by this given what we've heard from that particular group? And again, we don't know who is behind this, but given what we do know.

CLARK: Well, there have been many threats made against the United States, and threats of terrorism. And we know that the World Trade Center has been a target. We know that aircraft have been hijacked, and we know that car bombings are used in many places in the world. And there is no doubt that for a long time there have been groups who have tried to target the United States. Normally, many times, we've gotten indications, we've been able to take actions that the American public never knows about that have broken up these attempts. In this case, for whatever reason, we didn't have the information. We weren't able to take the actions to break it up.

WOODRUFF: And General, what do you say to those Americans who are looking at these horrific pictures that they've been watching now for almost three hours on television, who are thinking, "Will I ever feel safe again in an airplane, in a tall building in this country?

CLARK: I think that that will be one of the primary issues that has to be addressed by government leaders is how restore ever a sense of normalcy to the country. Will it ever be the same? And that's a question everybody will be asking. But I think it's too soon to expect any answers to that. I think we've got to assess this. We've got to track this down. I think one thing that come through very clearly now is, if this is terrorism and international terrorism, then clearly there has to be a much greater degree of cooperation between nations to deal with this. Whoever did this lives somewhere. He's supported by someone, and people know him. And someone knew that these events were being planned. And if we didn't have that information, we should have. And I think that's one resolve that will come out of this from nations all over the world that more has to be done collectively together.

WOODRUFF: But in a large sense, General Clark, whoever was behind this has clearly succeeded in the most horrific and devastating way.

CLARK: Well, it's been a tragedy for America, there's no doubt about that. And for so many people and their families, our hearts go out to them.

WOODRUFF: General, we're looking -- as I'm talking with General Wesley Clark who is a former NATO commander, he's talking to us from Arkansas. We're looking at helicopter patrolling, I believe, it's the area around the Pentagon, although, I can't tell by the banner across the lower part of the screen. We do know that President Bush was in Florida this morning. He abruptly cut his trip short in order, we think, to fly back to Washington. And, General Clark, while you are with us, what would the plans be for the president in this situation, without giving away secure information, would the president necessarily return to Washington? Is there always a plan in place in these situations?

CLARK: Well, there would have to be a plan always in place to take the president to where he can best control what's going on and monitor it and make decisions and also where he will be safe. And you can be sure that there are plans and backup plans and alternate plans to the backup plans. There'll be no shortage of efforts under way to assure his safety and his ability to maintain the continuity of government.

WOODRUFF: And once again, just finally, General Clark, as we look at these live pictures of the Pentagon, describe for us what you know of the section of the building that evidently was hit by the commercial jet liner?

CLARK: Well, that picture seems to be from the area of the bridges, the 14th Street bridge, looking at the corner of the Pentagon that is opposite from where the strike was. So it looks like the strike hit between the fourth, fifth, maybe sixth corridors of the Pentagon, perhaps on the Army side of the building. There are a number of offices there, administrative offices, where Army leaders and staff officers work on a daily basis. They deal with things like planning and logistics and congressional relations and public affairs in that area. And the Army leadership is probably close to where that may have impacted. There are a number of other facilities below ground, some of which have been relocated and it's impossible to see from that picture what the condition might be there.

WOODRUFF: General Clark, any final word before we let you go?

CLARK: Well, I think that we've known for some time that there were groups planning this. And I think that the American people should know that the men and women in government and all the agencies have worked very hard and very diligently against this. Obviously, we didn't do enough. We didn't either have the tools or the cooperation or somehow get the information that we needed to have prevented it. And you can be sure that those men and women are right now resolved to do more and to be more effective. This is a national challenge and I'm confident that we'll meet it.

WOODRUFF: All right, General Wesley Clark joining us now from Little Rock, Arkansas. He is, of course, the former commander of NATO.

White House Personnel and Officials Are Safe

Aired September 11, 2001 - 12:00pm ET


JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT.: I am standing across from the White House. I am told by Secret Service and administration sources that all of the principles, all of the protectees, meaning the President, the Vice President, and the first lady and Mrs. Cheney, are safe. They do not want us disclosing their locations, but I am told by a senior administration official that the plan and the priority is to get President Bush back to the White House as soon as they believe it is safe. Now, there are both operational and political reasons for wanting to do that. The White House situation room in the view of White House officials is the best place from which to monitor events and direct any operations. And that is a fortified structure within the White House compound where we know that the vice president was when everyone else was evacuated from the premises earlier. Again, the secret service does not want to confirm for us for security reasons, or administration officials the same, tell us where those people are now. Although, I was told a short time ago, the Vice-President is still in a position to be monitoring and directing the response to these developments. And the President who is en route back to Washington, we are told Andrews Air Force Base is on full alert. I was also told that there are extra precautions that were taken to ensure the President's flight back to Washington was a safe one. You can read into that that additional fighter jet escorts. Air Force I always has some escorts with it. That additional fighter jet escorts were put up for that. Now the political reason, they want to get the President back to the White House is rather obvious. The White House believes this has been a tragic terrorist attack and they want to send the signal that the president is back on the job back at the White House. Priority one, though officials say is to guarantee that he can be safely brought back safely brought back to the White House. And in the past half-hour or so, we have seen security precautions on the street, checks being taken out on the street on the grounds around the White House. There are snipers up on the roofs of the White House itself including buildings around it. And a military helicopter gunship flew over the premises not that long ago, about 15 minutes or now. And then it circled back over toward the Pentagon, where from my location you can still see smoke coming in to the sky in from there. But we are told the Vice-President is still in the position to monitor all of this as the president makes its way back (AUDIO GAP)

BROWN: John, thank you. Our senior White House correspondent John King. As John mentioned, the President was in Sarasota Florida, making his way back to Washington. Whether he'll be taken directly to the White House or not is a little bit unclear. The Secret Service wants to make sure that the building is safe. It is, I would add, one other symbolic reason why you would want to get the president back into the White House. And that's to send a message to whoever is responsible for this, that yes you have caused extraordinary damage and a great deal of tragedy here. But what you haven't done is shut down the American government. The President will want to get home.

New York State in State of Emergency

Aired September 11, 2001 - 12:03pm ET

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Governor George Pataki from New York joins us on the telephone. Governor, are you there, you can hear me?


BROWN: What are you hearing from the trade center area itself

PATAKI: Well, we are still hearing that it's a horrific situation. We are in desperate need of people to help out with the emergency services. The city team is there but we have evacuated our National Guard and our statewide fire and emergency services and we're going to be bringing those in to relieve the city forces as the afternoon goes on. I have been in touch with the Mayor. I've been in touch with White House, and everything that we can do and everything that can be done, is being done at this point.

BROWN: Has anyone given you any idea of how many injured we are dealing with down in --

PATAKI: Not at this point. At this point, the sole goal is to try to help as many people as possible, to get them to the emergency services, to get them the care that they need, to help people who want to leave the area, to leave in an orderly way. And to make sure that we do everything that we can to provide security throughout the city and throughout the state.

BROWN: Governor Pataki, can you tell me the degree to which the state's planning for these sorts of tragedies, and there's obviously a plan in place. New York is, because of its place in the world, is obviously a place that you have to consider a target. Whether that plan envisioned something of the magnitude of what has taken place this morning?

PATAKI: Well, you plan for any eventuality but you never actually expect to see something of this magnitude. But we have coordinated well with the city. We're going to continue to make sure we provide all of the support that we can. We do have emergency services and emergency transportation running. I know the reports have been inaccurate. We do have limited rail service out of Grand Central, to the northern suburbs, limited railroad service out of Brooklyn and Queens to Long Island. We are working to make sure that the bus service, to the extent possible continues and we're trying to get subway service back on track. It's not there yet. But the coordination has been excellent. It's just in a -- an attack of this magnitude, we just have to focus on responding and helping people at this point.

BROWN: And -- and do you have any idea how many people have been hospitalized or how many hospitals are involved, whether they extend beyond the city

PATAKI: Not at this point. But every emergency service, every hospital that can provide assistance is providing assistance. The people have been just terrific in their response, and we're going to continue to make sure that that response is as strong as it can be.

BROWN: Governor, take a moment and tell me, not as the governor necessarily, but as a resident of this state, an important player in a the affairs of this state, what you are thinking today.

PATAKI: This is an enormous tragedy. I have friends in those towers. I have friends who were there this morning that we haven't heard from. And our thoughts go to the people who are there, to the families, to all of those who are suffering at this, at this time, and we'll be there to help. And we'll be there to do everything that we can to make sure that the support and the services necessary are provided

BROWN: Okay. Governor, thank you. Governor George Pataki joining us here.

Secretary of State Powell's Reaction to Attack

Aired September 11, 2001 - 12:07pm ET

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The National Guard has been activated to support New York City police. Andrea Koppel is onboard the flight with the Secretary of State. Andrea, what are you hearing from officials there?

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Aaron, Secretary Powell has been in Peru since last night. He was here to attend the Organization of American States General Assembly. Obviously, when he got the news of the attacks in the United States, his aides scrambled to prepare things for him to leave. And we are now, as you say, onboard his plane. We are about to take off from Lima to head back to Washington. While at the OAS, General Assembly, Secretary Powell said that it was a terrible tragedy that had fallen on all who believe in democracy. But he said that that will never kill the spirit of the American people. He also said that America will bring those responsible to justice, Aaron. It was also a minute of silence at the Organization of American States, and Secretary Powell, obviously, had to abruptly change his plans. He was supposed to be leaving Peru later this afternoon to head on to Colombia for his first trip there. But, obviously, the attacks in the United States have changed that. And he's headed back to -- to Washington. Aaron?

BROWN: Andrea, give me a sense of the secretary's demeanor. I mean, we know that this is a man who has been through a lot in his life, has seen a lot in his life. Did he appear shaken to you?

KOPPEL: I would say that Secretary Powell is someone who doesn't show his emotions in that way. This is a man with 35 years of military experience, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, former National Security Adviser himself. He has seen a lot in his day. And so I would say that, obviously, he appeared somber. Very serious, but in terms of any other emotion, I would say that he's able to -- to keep that very close to his chest.

BROWN: Andrea, thank you. Andrea Koppel, flying back with the Secretary of State, from South America.

How Washington Is Reacting To Terrorist Attack Aired September 11, 2001 - 12:09pm ET

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Our colleague Judy Woodruff in Washington. Judy?

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, we have joining us now on the phone from the pentagon, our Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre. Jamie, I understand you are inside the perimeter of where the commercial jetliner came down at the Pentagon? Well, it appears that we may have lost the phone connection with Jamie McIntyre. We're going to try to get that restored, immediately. Jamie -- Jamie, are you there? Now we have Bob Franken, our Washington correspondent joining us from the Pentagon. Bob, tell us what you are seeing there.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are seeing, of course, in back of me is the smoke coming from the west side of the pentagon where as we now know, a plane which is believed to have been a jumbo jet, crashed into the Pentagon. It has left a hole that was a collapse of that side of the building. You are seeing the smoke of course to my rear, reporting from an east side vantage point, along a highway that is a major artery here. It is also a place that there has been a constant alert looking skyward. Concerns, repeated concerns that another plane was heading this way up towards the Potomac. These have been concerns that have been out there for a couple of hours. None of them have been realized yet, of course. The tragedy was that about 9:20 this morning, Eastern Time, the plane crashed into the west side of the Pentagon. You can see overhead frequently, helicopters, helicopters that are circling the area. Of course, looking to provide some visual sighting in case anybody, any sort of invader, anything like that, wants to take to the air. It's interesting these helicopters will also hover on the ground. There are any number of highways here, and they would be looking for suspicious vehicles, that type of thing. We are told that there are casualties at the Pentagon. We have not been able to get an accurate figure. We are not exactly sure at the moment of the whereabouts of the Secretary of Defense. But the building has virtually been evacuated, if not totally evacuated. There is heavy security there. Investigation is going on as they try and find out what happened. We constantly see sirens and hear sirens and see ambulances go by, many of them from Walter Reed Military Hospital on the other side of Washington, clearly going in there to help with whatever casualties there are. We also have seen a couple of times, F-16s, at least one F-16 flying overhead a couple of times. That was reported to be the case of the Pentagon scrambling fighter jets in case another plane was heading this way. But as I said right now, there has been no evidence of another plane coming this way. They're on full alert, of course, and trying to now recover from the severe damage that hit the other side of the building. Judy?

WOODRUFF: All right, Bob Franken. I just want to remind our viewers that the section of the Pentagon that was hit between the fourth, fifth and sixth corridors. This confirmed apparently a little earlier by Wesley Clark, General Clark, the former NATO chief. He said from what he could tell, it appears that this was the army section of the Pentagon, planning and logistics area, where certainly army leaders would have been working in their offices.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Issue Statement Regarding Terrorist Attacks

Aired September 11, 2001 - 12:11 ET

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I want to read for you now a statement from the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- quoting -- "We are outraged at this cowardly attack on the people of the United States. Our heartfelt prayers are with the victims and their families, and we stand strongly united behind the president as our commander in chief." And I want to clarify that this a statement by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It's actually -- I want to clarify that -- this is from the leadership of the Congress. I misunderstood when I was handed this just a moment ago. And continuing, Congressional leaders: "We will work with the president to ensure that the full resources of the United States government are brought to bear to protect the American people and to punish the perpetrators of these unconscionable acts. May God bless America." And just quickly before I go back to Aaron Brown in New York, hospitals in Washington dealing with the casualties from the Pentagon. Washington Hospital Center, 29 patients, a blood shortage, we are being told in Washington. So any of you who are able to get to a hospital anywhere in the Washington area, it is very possible that there is a need for blood to be donated. So we will just put that information out there as well. Aaron, now back to you in New York.


Multiple Planes Crashing Around the Country, New York in Disarray

Aired September 11, 2001 - 12:13 ET

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are now being told that Los Angeles International Airport, LAX, has been evacuated. Again, this is another one of those multi terminal airports. It's an enormous airport and that that is being evacuated. At least one of the flights -- and perhaps two if memory serves me -- that has gone down today was headed towards Los Angeles, one toward San Francisco. We also have a report that Disney World in Orlando has been evacuated. Someone said to me a moment ago, before the day is over, every thing's going to be shut down. That seems to be where we are headed. CNN's Richard Ross is on -- Richard Roth, rather, is on the streets of New York and he can join us now. Richard, what can you tell us?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, New Yorkers think that they have seen everything, but they'll never -- they will say -- they are amazed at what has happened. Stunned. Right now behind me what normally would be the world trade center is no more. A huge cloud of white smoke. And right now it's like a war zone. Thousands of New Yorkers streaming north. The mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, has told everyone to get north of Canal Street. We are several miles north of it right now. New Yorkers are trying to get out of Manhattan. There is a ferry on the west side going to New Jersey. It's really the only access out. The mayor advising that people should take the subways. We have seen dozens of emergency vehicles. Hundreds. Firemen being bused in, decontamination vans coming in, calls for blood donations. New Yorkers, their faces, their expressions, stunned, amazed right now. With us several of those people who witnessed this carnage today. Tell us what you saw when you exited the subway station due to a lack of smoke. Eileen (ph).

EILEEN: It was very smoky. And then we exited on church Street out of the PATH train station. I crossed over to church and Fulton, and I was trying to get a cell phone. I was trying to get out up the block, and I turned around and saw this tremendous fire. Actually, I thought that it was a bomb. I couldn't see a plane. And I saw people jumping out of -- off the building. Many, many people just jumping. And in a panic, I had my bag and my cell phone and everything, and I was trying to find a phone because the cell phone wasn't working. Everybody was screaming, everybody was running. The cops were trying to maintain the calm. And in that haste, people were stampeding. People started screaming that there was another plane coming. I didn't see the plane but I turned around and just -- the second building just exploded. And again, all of the debris was flying towards us. There was a woman on the ground with her baby. People were stampeding the baby. Myself and another man threw ourselves over the the baby and pushed into the building. I got up and I just ran. And I ran towards City Hall and I said, "My God, why am I running there? And then I started to run towards the water. And then I was by probably Spring Street -- I'm sorry, Prince Street. I was at a pay phone and I heard the rumbling. I thought it was another bomb. I thought it was another building close to me. And then I just ran from the pay phone. This man was grabbing me back telling me, "Stay here. You're safe." And I was like, "No way. I am getting out of here. Go north." And then I ran into a shoe store because I wanted to call my husband. That's all I wanted to do was let him know I was alive, because he knew I was in the World Trade. And I got my office and they connected me to my husband. And then we heard the second fall of the World Trade Center. And I am astonished by the bombing. I just want to make a statement that these New York policemen and firemen, God bless them. They kept us calm. They tried so hard to keep us moving north. And it was just absolute, absolute horror. It was horror.

ROTH: And when you look back there at what would be the World Trade Center?

EILEEN: It's devastating. I can't even look back. My six-year- old just last week asked my husband and I to take him to the observation deck. And it's gone. And you know what? Americans will persevere and I don't think that we'll stoop to the level of these zealot terrorist pigs. We won't kill children, I hope, and mothers. But you know what? Whatever we have to do to eradicate the country or the world of this vermin. I just hope bush will do whatever is necessary to get rid of them. And I don't know what the root or what the answer is.

ROTH: All right. Thank you very much. A lot of other New Yorkers here continuing the evacuation from lower Manhattan. Back to you, Aaron.

BROWN: Thank you, Richard, very much.

Border Security Heightened, Airports Shut Down Throughout Country

Aired September 11, 2001 - 12:17 ET

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We told you a bit ago that the border, the U.S.- Mexican border was at a high state of alert and that it has been essentially closed down, shut down. And we are now told that the U.S.-Canada border is also at a high state of alert. So essentially what officials are trying to do is seal off the country. So if anyone is trying to get in or get out, it's going to be a whole lot harder to do. But what is possible and what is imaginable, I guess, changes somehow on a day like this. Jerry Howard is the former head of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency here in New York. And he joins us. As you look out, what do you see?

JERRY HOWARD, FORMER HEAD, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY: Well, this is absolutely devastating. An incident like this, will -- will tax every bit of resource in New York City, particularly since so many of the police officers and firefighters on the scene were injured.

BROWN: Let me stop you for a second. I want to talk to you specifically about what you expect is happening. But I want to go to L.A. Frank Buckley is in Los Angeles with us. Frank, what can you tell us what is going on there?

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, we just saw what appeared to be the worst possible situation. The last thing that we want to show you in fact, people arriving here at the airport appear -- apparently friends or family members of some of the victims of at least one of the flights. Three flights were bound for Los Angeles, and they are now arriving here, obviously. Now, friends and family are beginning -- beginning to trickle in. We haven't seen any until this moment. Two people just arriving here at airport. We can tell you that just within the last 15 minutes, also, this terminal has -- they have begun a process of evacuating this terminal. And in fact all of Los Angeles airport is being evacuated. Now, we are told by Airport Police, who we just spoke to -- just a -- just a few minutes ago. I would like to let you hear from Lieutenant Howard Whitehead of the Los Angeles Airport Police as to the status here at LAX.


HOWARD WHITEHEAD, LOS ANGELES AIRPORT POLICE: Because we are working with other agency who are conducting closures, outside of the airport, I can't give you the information right now.

BUCKLEY: Three flights were bound for Los Angeles that appeared to have been involved here today. What accommodations are being made for the friends and family of the passengers?

WHITEHEAD: That's being handled by the airlines. They're having a meeting now concerning that. So that information you have to get from the airlines.

QUESTION: So officially, what are you starting at this point?

WHITEHEAD: We are starting a total evacuation of the airport.

QUESTION: Will that include both workers and passengers?

WHITEHEAD: Only key employees will remain at the airport.

QUESTION: Is the the entire airport that will be evacuated?

WHITEHEAD: Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: Why the evacuation?

WHITEHEAD: Because the evacuation has been ordered. I can't tell you why. But that's what---how it stands now.

QUESTION: Is there a security threat to the airport?

WHITEHEAD: It's precautionary at this point.

QUESTION: Have you ever seen anything like this before in Los Angeles?

WHITEHEAD: Not to my knowledge, no.

QUESTION: And what is going to be your role, the police department's role in this? What are you doing?

WHITEHEAD: We are protecting the public. That's what our job is.

QUESTION: Will the roads in and out of the airport be closed as well? Will people be able to get into the airport?

WHITEHEAD: Right now this thing is fluid. We are working as we go. There are changes. So I couldn't give you a definite on anything right now.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) here at the airport on a regular day?

WHITEHEAD: Thanks very much. There are other agencies involved. I can't give you the exact figure.

QUESTION: Right now there are other agencies involved?

WHITEHEAD: Working as we go. There are changes. I can't give you a definite on anything right now.

QUESTION: How many police officers are more or less...


QUESTION: ... on a regular day?

WHITEHEAD: Other agencies are involved. I couldn't give you an exact figure.

QUESTION: Right now there are other agencies?

WHITEHEAD: Yes, ma'am. That's all that I have for right now.

QUESTION: What is your name?

WHITEHEAD: My name is Lt. Whitehead.

QUESTION: So this is what you are saying.


BUCKLEY: That was Lt. Howard Whitehead of the LAX Police, telling us that just within the last 15 or 20 minutes, a command decision has come down to evacuate the terminals at LAX. Up until this point, of course, flights were not being allowed in or out. Now they are evacuating all of the terminals, except for key personnel.

America Under Attack: Lt. Col. Alfred Van Cleef of Salvation Army Discusses Counseling of Victims' Families

Aired September 11, 2001 - 12:20pm ET

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Also with me now is Lt. Col. Alfred Van Cleef of the Salvation Army. You have the very difficult task of helping to coordinate the grief counseling. Can you tell me about the accommodations that are being made for family members of Flights 11, 77, and 175?

LT. COL. ALFRED VAN CLEEF, SALVATION ARMY: We have six grief counselors on site now. Two of the teams are ready. We're waiting word now from American Airlines. They are diligently working on the plans as far as their private location, where the family will be received. As soon as we are aware of that, then they will make contact with us so our counselors can proceed to where our family members will be arriving. We've done the same thing here in Los Angeles, as well as San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

BUCKLEY: A very difficult day for you, sir.

VAN CLEEF: Very painful.

BUCKLEY: Thanks so much for joining us.

Mayor Talks Of Damage in New York City

Aired September 11, 2001 - 12:26pm

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We have on the phone with us New York's mayor, Rudy Giuliani. Mr. Mayor, give us your best piece of information, as the situation right now.

RUDY GIULIANI, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: The situation right now is a massive rescue effort that's going right now. We are trying to evacuate thousands and thousands of people. We have as many of our police and fire personnel, as we have down in the southern part of Manhattan evacuating people, trying to save as many lives as possible. We've been in communication with Governor Pataki, who's gotten the national guard ready, and they're going to come in and relieve us a little bit later in the day. And we have spoken to the White House, and the urban search and rescue teams will come here also to assist us. But right now, the New York City police and fire, EMS, that are down there trying to evacuate as many people as we possibly can. And we have asked everyone to leave lower Manhattan if they can, on their own, so that it relieves our efforts. This will be going on all day. It's a horrible, horrible tragedy.

BROWN: It is that. Mr. Mayor, can you tell me, is it is a---are people panicking down there?

GIULIANI: No, people---I was there right under---right in a building that got hit by the debris when the first tower collapsed. So I had to evacuate with people. We were trapped in the building for a while. And we were finally able to get out. And we all walked to---we all walked north.

And people, everything that I have observed, even though it was hundreds, maybe in some cases, thousands of people that were walking on the streets. They were orderly, they were calm. They handled themselves really -- probably better than anybody had any right to expect.

BROWN: And Mr. Mayor, we were told one of the problems, and lord knows there are hundreds of problems, one of the problems was that a number -- a large number of police, fire, EMS personnel have also been injured in this. Can you shed any light that?

GIULIANI: I -- I don't even want to contemplate what the number will be. But when the building collapsed, we had a lot of our police officers and firefighters in the building. And I am -- and I know many of them, because I saw some of them go, because I was there, and I am praying for them. I just hope they are able to get out.

BROWN: I think we all --

GIULIANI: The losses to our police department and fire department...

BROWN: Sir, do...

GIULIANI: ...are going to be severe.

BROWN: Do you believe that---was there another set of explosions that caused the buildings to collapse, or was it the structural damage caused by the planes?

GIULIANI: I don't know. I saw -- I saw the first collapse and heard the second because I was in a building when the second took place. I think that it was structural, but I can't be sure.

BROWN: Can you tell us how many hospitals in the city, and perhaps outside of the city, too. All of them.

GIULIANI: Right now, at last count, we were utilizing over 50. I think it will be over 100 by the -- and that was as of a half hour ago. Utilizing all of the hospitals in New York City, we're utilizing the hospitals in Westchester and Rockland, Nassau County, northern New Jersey. The main thing we have to urge people to do is to be calm, and evacuate lower Manhattan. And as far as the rest of the city is concerned, just to go about their lives as, you know, as best as possible. This is a -- I never thought I would see something like this happen. I got there after the first plane hit and before the second. And watching people jump from the top of the World Trade Center, is -- unbelievable sight.

BROWN: Mr. Mayor, my colleague Jeff Greenfield is with us also. Jeff?

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Mayor, in terms of -- you've already said that you want lower Manhattan evacuated, you want everybody else to go about their business. Are there specific instructions that you want to communicate right now to police, fire, everybody else?

GIULIANI: Police and fire are there, and they're there in large numbers. They are first of all trying to get into the rubble and the debris to save as many people as possible. We also have thousands of police officers in lower Manhattan. And what we want people to do is to leave lower Manhattan, if they can, on their own, to walk...


GIULIANI: I just talked to Dick Grasso who runs the stock exchange, and we have a lot of people there, we have 3,000 people there. We're going to walk them out. We're walking them east and then north, which is essentially the way I walked out. I walked -- I was right below the World Trade Center when it collapsed, and then we walked up to Greenwich Village. People should walk out of lower Manhattan. Get above Canal Street, for safety reasons, but for a second reason. We need people out of there so we can get thousands of ambulances in and out over the course of the next couple of hours. The fewer people we have there, the more lives we're going to be able to save.

BROWN: Mr. Mayor, are the subways operating?

GIULIANI: The subways are operating outside of Manhattan. Outside of Manhattan, the subways are operating. A couple of delays here and there, but other four boroughs, the subways are operating. In Manhattan there are significant delays. We thought we had the Lexington Avenue open, but it is not. I'm just checking right now. The Lexington Avenue is not open. The A train is working, and people will just have to test and see. The best thing to do right now is to walk. It's the safest and the best thing to do, is to walk to your destination. Schools have remained open. We've worked with the chancellor to try to make certain that the schools will remain open for as long as they have to, help parents with the kids that would be coming home starting at around 1:00 or 2:00.

BROWN: Mr. Mayor, as you know better than anyone, and certainly New Yorkers know, but people around the country perhaps do not. This was election day here. What is the status of the election?

GIULIANI: We canceled it. The governor and I decided about an hour, and hour and a half ago that it made no sense to have an election today. We needed all of those police officers who were at the election sites. And we need to focus on rescue. So, we'll find another day for the election. The governor and I made that decision about an hour, an hour and a half ago.

BROWN: Mr. Mayor, you are a very focused guy in moments like this. Is it hard, given the magnitude of what's happened here and around the country, to focus on what you have to do and not just be angry?

GIULIANI: It's very hard, and it's very because I know some of the people that are there. They are personal friends and close friends who were in the building. I haven't been able to find out if they are safe yet.

GREENFIELD: Your emergency command center, what some people have called a bunker, was located, was it not, in one of the World Trade Center buildings?

GIULIANI: It was located close enough to it so that it was affected by it, it's not in one of the buildings. But it was located right in that area, as is city hall, the police department, and all of them had to be evacuated. So that area of Manhattan, once the -- I was in a building at the time that we were using as command center, and we were trapped in the building for a while, for about 20 minutes, not able to get out, different exits that were overcome with smoke and debris.

BROWN: Mr. Mayor, this is a practical question. Do hospitals need help, do they need -- ?

GIULIANI: Hospitals need all the help they can get. We're getting a great deal of help from the surrounding areas. The governor has mobilized the state in order to make hospitals available to us outside of Manhattan. Any hospital personnel or emergency personnel we want to come in and volunteer, that'd be enormously helpful. But the best thing for us to do right now, we're trying to coordinate, is to move people out of the city to hospitals in surrounding areas which we're actually doing. So far, though, our hospital system is -- we are very fortunate to have a gigantic system.

BROWN: Do they have enough blood, do they need blood, do they need people to come in and help them out?

GIULIANI: I'm sure they will. We are getting the national guard to relieve our people by early to late this afternoon. They are being mobilized now. And three urban search and rescue teams are going to come to New York City to help us. Then anyone that wants to volunteer from surrounding areas, volunteer fire departments and others, we're working with them now to do that, to try to relieve our fire department.

BROWN: It's a horrific day, Mr. Mayor.

GIULIANI: There's no possible way to begin to describe it.

BROWN: No, there is not.

GIULIANI: To see what happened there is---of course it makes you very, very angry. It's almost impossible to describe the level of anger that you have, that somebody or someone would do something like this. And all of the good and wonderful people that were affected by this. There's no reason for this, there's no excuse for this. Something like this is just something that you never thought you would live to see.

BROWN: I couldn't agree more, sir. Thank you for joining us.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

BROWN: New York's Mayor Rudy Giuliani, on what was to be an election day, the mayor not up for reelection because of term limits, but the election has been postponed.

Kabul Claims Osama Bin Laden Had Nothing To Do With Attack

Aired September 11, 2001 - 12:29pm

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: So we are just, again, trying to get our minds around the magnitude of what these people have gotten away with. Nic Robertson, a correspondent, joining us now on the telephone. Nic, you are in Kabul. Is that correct? Nic, are you hearing me right now?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's correct, Judy. And we just had -- yes, Judy, I hear you fine. We are here in Mulla Omar, in the spiritual capital of Afghanistan, about 300 miles south. Mulla Omar is the spiritual leader of the Taliban here, and he's recently issued a short statement. In that statement he criticizes what he called an act of terrorism. He was very explicit, he said that Osama Bin Laden was not responsible for it. He said that all he wanted for his country was peace, and peace for other countries in the world. But he went on to say that he believes Osama Bin Laden could not have been responsible for such a complex act of terrorism. He also said that if Afghanistan is a poor country, and therefore he believes that there's no way Afghanistan could be involved in such a complicated act of terrorism. Judy.

WOODRUFF: Nic, help us understand who is Mulla Omar, the gentleman you are quoting?

ROBERTSON: He is the spiritual leader of the Taliban. The Taliban runs 95 percent of Afghanistan. They control the capital Kabul, they control most of Afghanistan, the south of Afghanistan. Mulla Omar lives in the south of Afghanistan, in the spiritual capital, which is the ethic area that he comes from, the Pashtun area around Kandahar. There are ministries of the Taliban here in Kabul. The foreign minister is here in Kabul at the moment. He is often based in Kandahar as well. And there are other ministry officials also based in Kabul. But the direction for Afghanistan, the direction for the ministry, the key decisions are all made in Kandahar, and Mulla Omar is the focal point of all of those decisions. It is to him that a key group of ministers would go with a problem, with an issue, and it is he that would decide on any given issue. He is the final arbiter here of law and of justice. Judy.

WOODRUFF: Nic, where is it believed that Osama Bin Laden is in Afghanistan?

ROBERTSON: That is a very difficult question to answer. Osama Bin Laden, his location is kept extremely secret. As far as media traveling around Afghanistan, one is often watched, and an eye is kept on us by various ministries to ensure that we don't go searching around the country. Our movements around the country are generally restricted to main cities that are agreed in advance by the authorities. So, it's very difficult to gauge where Osama Bin Laden is. It is understood that he travels around at night. It is understood that he has operated out of various training camps that were built to help train Mujahedeen fighters to fight the Soviet occupation in 1980s. Those were based, some of them, towards the border with Pakistan in an area called Host. Those were the training camps that were hit in 1998 cruise missile attack on Afghanistan. It's also rumored that Osama Bin Laden spent some time close to Kandahar, close to the spiritual leader of the Taliban, Mulla Omar. But to exactly put a fix on his location is a very, very difficult thing to do. He works by extreme secrecy, there are very few journalists that are able or have been able to meet with him over the last few years, are always held at a location, and taken blindfold to another location where they can interview him. So people generally when they meet him, they don't know exactly where they are. They wait there, he arrives, he departs, then they are free to leave. He lives by extreme secrecy here.

WOODRUFF: All right. CNN's Nic Robertson joining us, as you could see, from Kabul, Afghanistan. The country run by the religious group the Taliban, the group that has been suspected, believed for some time of harboring Osama Bin Laden. Thank you very much, Nic. Again, we apologize for the delay in the audio there. It is because Nic is on this videophone, which is a new device that we are using, and there is always a delay, tends to be a delay in audio.

Terrorism Attack on New York City and Washington

Aired September 11, 2001 - 12:35pm

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jeff, just step back for a second. You know, you talk about anger, and we stand up here and we look at this, and we've all listened to what's been going on now as we've been on the air for three hours or so. And there was a woman that Richard Roth interviewed about a half an hour ago, who said what I suspect that most Americans are feeling right now, and some would like to say it can't, how angry she was, how cowardly this all seemed to her. Quickly we go back to Washington, and Judy Woodruff. Judy?

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, government sources telling CNN that President Bush, who had been in Florida for a two day trip, and who broke that trip off this morning to head back to Washington, will now not return to Washington. Repeating, President Bush will not return to Washington. We do not know where the president will land or where his aircraft will go, Air Force One. But, we just are passing along this information just as soon as we have it. Again, as we were talking to former NATO head Wesley Clark, General Wesley Clark a little while ago, he pointed out there are contingency plans that the military and security people have for the president in a situation like this. So, we're not going to do any speculating right here about where the president might be going. Joining us now on the telephone we want -- there is some information we want to share with you about aircraft in the sky that is, we're told is safe right now. We're told by the FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration. They're telling us 50 aircrafts are safely in the sky right now, all within about 50 miles of their destination. But in the meantime we want to talk to Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, who's joining us on the telephone. Senator Hatch, are you there?


WOODRUFF: And I know my colleague Wolf Blitzer, who is here with me in the studio in Washington, had also talked with you. Senator, you've been briefed by what authorities?

HATCH: I'm on both the Judiciary Committee and also the Intelligence Committee, and I've been briefed by the highest levels of the FBI and of the intelligence community. I just have to say, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this terrible tragedy caused by a bunch of cowards. And there is no justification for what these cowards have done to purely innocent Americans. But I do have some information.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Senator Hatch, this is Wolf Blitzer. Tell us -- I spoke with you earlier on the telephone, but tell us precisely what you are now being told in these high-level briefings about those who may -- and I repeat the word may -- have been responsible for these attacks.

HATCH: You're right, they've come to the conclusion that this looks like the signature of Osama bin Laden, and that he may be the one behind this. I think most authorities agree that this is something that we doubt seriously if Iran, Iraq or Libya would try and do, because they know of the massive response that we'd have to bring down on them. But there was no advance notice at all. They had no way of knowing that this was going to happen. It was carefully planned. And what it means is, it seems to me that if that turns out to be true, we're going to have to revitalize Shah Masood and the other people in Afghanistan who basically are fighting to get rid of this type of terrorism. And I think we're going to have to ask our friends in Pakistan to get, in turn, to be more cooperative than they have in the past. And then, we'd have to work with our allies, have an international strategy to combat this type of international jihad against the West.

WOODRUFF: We're listening to Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. We also have joining us on the telephone Senator John McCain, from his home in Arizona. Senator McCain, I assume you've been talking to authorities as well.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Yes, Judy, and I'm on Capitol Hill, in Washington.

WOODRUFF: Oh, I'm sorry.

MCCAIN: Yes, no problem. The situation is so serious that words don't describe it. I think that it's clear that the organization and magnitude of the attacks required more than a few people to perpetrate it. And it will take some time to determine who they are and who supported these attacks. But I think we'll find them out, and they will suffer the full measure of our justice. This is obviously an act of war that has been committed on the United States of America.

WOODRUFF: What do you mean "obviously an act of war," Senator McCain?

MCCAIN: These attacks clearly constitute an act of war. I mean, unwarranted, unprovoked attacks against innocent American citizens is clearly an act of war, and one that requires that kind of national response and international response.

WOODRUFF: Senator Orrin Hatch, I believe, is also still with us.


WOODRUFF: And, Senator Hatch, you mentioned the bin Laden organization. Former NATO head General Wesley Clark also said to us about an hour ago in an interview that he believes that it's only the bin Laden that is capable of carrying out attacks this coordinated and on this massive a scale. What are you basing your information on?

HATCH: Well, keep in mind, there are nations that also could carry out these attacks, but they, I don't think, would dare do that, knowing that their signature's going to be figured out; we're going to find out who did this, and then we're going after the bastards. It's that simple. And I just have to say that both the FBI and our intelligence community believe that this is bin Laden's signature. And I believe it is. I was the first to point out bin Laden to the Clinton administration and said they're going to kill Americans, and we've got to get on top of that. And I think we've going to have to get on top of it, because this is a cowardly bunch; it will stop at nothing to -- like you say, have a jihad or a war against the United States, and to do it in the most cowardly fashion.

WOODRUFF: But, Senator McCain, I mean, there will be those who are saying the United States was taking all reasonable precautions; we have security at airports, metal detectors, and so forth and so on. How much more is going to have to be done to prevent something like these things from happening again?

MCCAIN: Judy, I don't think our life styles will be the same for a long time, since it was before these attacks, as far as use of transportation, particularly airports, are concerned. You know, there have been warnings about whether our security was good enough, and whether the proper measures were being taken. I'm sure that will all be reviewed. By the way, I have no information as to who caused this, and I hesitate to speculate.

MCCAIN: But I am confident that the president of the United States will lead us, and we will find out who has carried these acts. And I think it's a little premature to make that determination until we have the hard facts, but I'm sure that we'll get them. The other aspect of this is that it may highlight over time the need for more human intelligence. We have very good technical intelligence capabilities -- satellites, et cetera -- but we, for many years, we haven't had the kind of human intelligence which determines motivations before actions are taken.

WOODRUFF: I'm going to interrupt you, Senator McCain

America Under Attack: Members of Congress Speak Out Aired September 11, 2001 - 12:40pm

WOODRUFF: ... Senator McCain?

MCCAIN: These attacks clearly constitute an act of war. Unwarranted, unprovoked attacks against innocent American citizens is clearly an act of war and one that requires that kind of national response and international response.

WOODRUFF: Senator Orrin Hatch, I believe, is also still with us. And Senator Hatch, you mention the bin Laden organization. Former NATO head General Wesley Clark also said to us about an hour ago in an interview that he believes that it's only the bin Laden organization that is capable of carrying out attacks this coordinated and on this massive scale. What are you basing your information on?

HATCH: Well, keep in mind, there are nations that also could carry out these attacks, but they I don't think would dare do that, knowing that their signature's is going to be figured, we're going to find out who did this and we're going after the bastards, it is that simple. And I just have to say that both the FBI and our intelligence community believe that this is a bin Laden signature. And I believe it is. I was the first to point out bin Laden to Clinton administration and said they're going to kill Americans and we've got to get on top of that. And I think we're going to have to get on top of it because this is a cowardly bunch that will stop at nothing to, like you say, have a jihad or a war against the United States, and to do it in the most cowardly fashion.

WOODRUFF: But Senator McCain, I mean, there will those who are saying the United States was taking all reasonable precautions, we have security at airports, metal detectioners, and so forth and so on. How much more is going to have to be done to prevent something like these things from happening again?

MCCAIN: Judy, I don't think our lifestyles will be the same for a long time since it was before these attacks as far as use of transportation, particularly airports, are concerned. You know, there have been warnings about whether our security was good enough and whether the proper measures were taken. I'm sure that will all be reviewed. By the way, I have no information as who caused this and I hesitate to speculate, but I am confident that the president of the United States will lead us and we will find out who has carried out these acts. And I think it's a little premature to make that determination until we have the hard facts, but I'm sure that we'll get them. The other aspect of this is that it may highlight over time the need for more human intelligence. We have very good technical intelligence capability, satellite, et cetera, but we -- for many years we haven't had the kind of human intelligence which determines motivation before actions are taken.

WOODRUFF: I'm going to interrupt you Senator McCain. These are the first pictures we have in, this is from Somerset, County, Pennsylvania. This is where the United Airline flight, I believe it is 176, went down. I'm sorry, I'm correcting, United Airlines 93; this was a Boeing 757 bound from Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco. It crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, near the town of Shanksville, south of Pittsburgh, we are told about 80 miles outside of Pittsburgh in western Pennsylvania. It is not known how many passengers or crew were onboard, although initial reports indicated no survivors. Again, these the first pictures we have coming in from WTAJ there in the Pittsburgh area. United Airlines telling us earlier they had lost this flight and they knew it had crashed near Pittsburgh. There is a second United Airlines flight, the Boeing 767, flight 175, bound from Boston to Los Angeles has crashed. The airlines still telling us at this point that they do not know where -- we don't have information on the number of people aboard. It is possible -- it is possible, but not confirmed, that this would have been the second plane to hit the World Trade Center. Now, again, two United Airlines flights, and in addition to American Airlines flights, the flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles, this was a Boeing 767 with 81 passengers onboard, nine crew members, two pilots, this is believed to be one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center. All four of these planes that we're describing to you now, these flights, all headed to California. The second American Airlines flight 77, this is a Boeing 757, left Dulles Airport near Washington on its way to Los Angeles, it had 58 passengers onboard, four crew, two pilots; this plane unaccounted for. However, a commercial jet was seen crashing into the Pentagon few hours ago and it is believed that this could have been the one, but again, not confirmed. So two commercial airliners, American airliners -- American Airlines, two United Airlines, and I would just add at this point, because to be reassuring to some extent those who are watching, we've been reporting all flights within the United States have been canceled. There's been a complete hold down on all commercial travel. However, there were planes that were already in the air when these terrible incidences took place this morning. And as of a few moments ago, the Federal Aviation Administration, the FAA, was reported that there were still 50 aircraft in the skies. Now some of those may have landed in the last few minutes, but that was the information as of a few minutes ago. All of them were said to be within 50 or so miles of their destination. Now, I'm getting new information in my ear. Now, reporting our congressional correspondent, Kate Snow. You're looking at a picture of the Pentagon live, this still smoke billowing out of our military command center in the United States. As we look at these pictures, I'm going to turn it over right now to our congressional correspondent Kate Snow, who has with her two members of Congress -- Kate.

KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, it's been a bit difficult to get in touch with members of Congress. As we've been reporting the Capitol has been shut down. you can see it behind me here, you can see that everything is fine there, but it is in a state of lockdown. They've evacuated the Capitol. Joining me here on the roof of a church, I might add, we've managed to get up on the roof here to get a vantage point, is Congressman Curt Weldon, a Republican from Pennsylvania, around the Philadelphia area, not exactly where that video that we just saw, the other end of the state. And also Congressman Ed Schrock from Virginia Beach -- from the Virginia -- state of Virginia, also a Republican. You both served on the Arm Services Committee. In fact, you were in the middle of a briefing. You were about to talk to reporters about the need for more money for our military. Let me start with you, Congressman Weldon. You've been talking to me up here, you've been expressing outrage at all of this. You've been saying this is a failure of the U.S. Intelligence system.

REP. CURT WELDON, (R) PENNSYLVANIA: It's a failure of our intelligence system. I asked the sergeant of arms of the Capitol just 45 minutes ago in a meeting with 70 senators and house members, how much advantage notice did you have. He said, none. There was no intelligence. Our FBI and our CIA are there to intercept raw data. This is a massive operation, and it's a failure that was caused by a lack of resources and by a compliancy that set in America over the past 10 years, a compliancy that convinced all of us that with the demise of the Soviet Union there were no more threats. It's a tragedy that it took the loss of thousands of lives to wake this country up and realize that our number one responsibility is not education -- and I'm a teacher -- and it's not health care -- I'm married to a nurse -- it is in fact the security and the safety of the American people. And today our government failed the American people.

SNOW: Congressman Schrock, how much information have you as a member of Congress been able to get? I know that members have been milling around trying to get information. Have you been able to get information?

REP. ED SCHROCK, (R) VIRGINIA: Not a whole lot. The most information we got was when we went to the U.S. Capitol police headquarters, and they were piecing together what had happened and trying to feed us as they got that, but nothing substantive. It seems like there's no game plan in operations.

SNOW: Do the two of you know why you were evacuated from the U.S. Capitol?

WELDON: Absolutely. I talked to Bill Livengood (ph), the sergeant of arms in the Capitol, and he said, Curt, we've been told that a plane has taken off from Reagan and we think it may be heading toward the Capitol. i mean, they've hit our economic center, the World Trade Center. They hit our Pentagon. They hit our State Department. So the obvious next item you would like to hit is the U.S. Capitol and perhaps the Supreme Court.

SNOW: And obviously, those are unconfirmed reports that any plane -- but there were rumors here for a good two hours that there were potentially planes headed this direction.

WELDON: Right. Now we're in total lockdown, as you said, and members are basically scattered around the city, but we're going to get back to work because we're going to convince these cowards that America doesn't back down, that our government will continue to operation in spite of these terrorist activities.

SNOW: You think we're -- you said we're at war.

WELDON: We're at war. We're absolutely at war. This is 21st century war. These are the kinds of activities that we expect from cowards and terrorists group.

SNOW: I need to go back to Judy Woodruff now in Washington.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kate, thank you. And I want to tell our viewers that we do know now that President Bush has landed near Shreveport, Louisiana, at Barksdale Air Force Base. We're told that he is talking to reporters. There may be a statement from the president, from the White House there on the ground. And one other item here from Washington before I turn it back over to Aaron Brown in New York, 34 Pentagon victims at least being treated at three Washington hospitals. No word on fatalities -- Aaron.

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, in the area, I guess, of practical information, and we talked to mayor about this a little bit ago, there's now in New York and in northern New Jersey a critical shortage of blood, a desperate need for blood. We would remind people that giving blood is perfectly safe, and on a dale like today absolutely necessary. And so if that is something you can do to help out in the midst of this extraordinary tragedy, you might consider doing that. On the phone with us, James Sanders, who's with Bellevue Hospital, one of the major hospitals here in New York. Mr. Sanders, what can you tell us about the situation there?

HILLARY LANE, REPORTER: Hi. It is Hillary Lane reporting. Mr. Sanders was called back into the command center. But I can fill you in on the briefing that he just gave us. This is the largest emergency and trauma unit in New York City and second largest emergency unit in the country. They say they are under-utilized right now while the hospitals downtown, closer to the Trade Center, are absolutely overwhelmed. So they have put out a call to EMS saying, bring people in here, it is an emergency call. What I have seen at this point are some patients staggering and being helped in, nobody in apparently critical condition. The hospital tell us that they've had 65 minor injuries, those are broken bones, internal injuries, smoke inhalation cases.

America Under Attack: Taliban Press Conference

Aired September 11, 2001 - 12:50pm ET

BROWN: Hillary, I need to interrupt you...This is a Taliban spokesman talking now in Kabul, I believe. This is coming to us by videophone from Afghanistan. And I am not hearing, perhaps you guys are, but I am not hearing him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we should remind our viewers that Afghanistan was one of the sites that was hit three years ago by the United States.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Islamic (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of Afghanistan has already explicitly said its position about terrorism.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have criticized (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of criticism as Afghanistan has (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and has become the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of the terrorism, and we -- you are now criticizing (UNINTELLIGIBLE).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terrorism is terrifying and hateful -- hatred or hateful manner.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this incident is from the humanitarian point of view should be (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and very terrifying incident.

Any questions?

QUESTION: Have you received any kind of information, any kind of communication from the United States government?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No contact up till now They might be busy or they'll surely be busy in their rescue operation. So they (UNINTELLIGIBLE), but up till now no communication from them. QUESTION: Does the Taliban categorically condemn these attacks on the United States?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our policy was very clear from the beginning, and we have criticized and even now we criticize terrorism in (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

QUESTION: Can you rule out any involvement by Osama bin Laden?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Up till now, no one has blamed or accused him.

QUESTION: The Taliban have said that they will maintain Mr. bin Laden without communications, unable to communicate. Can you be convinced that this time that your policy of keeping him without communication has been effective in the recent months?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No change in our policy in that regard.

QUESTION: Do you think the policy is working?



QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) turn to Osama bin Laden, and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) has been mentioned as possibly having a hand in this. Are you concerned that Afghanistan could be on the receiving end of incrimination (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of the attacks?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that even if someone has taken his name in the media might just because he name -- his name was repeatedly mentioned in the past in the comments (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

QUESTION: But the second half of the question, are you concerned that Afghanistan could receive reprise attacks?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't see or foresee any difficulty in this regard because there is no reason for it.

QUESTION: If it were to happen, if there were to be attacks, what would be the implication of being of such a situation?


QUESTION: As Jonathan said, if there were to be reprisals against Afghanistan, what would the implications of that be?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a little bit early to say at this stage, but as we said that we criticize all forms of criticism for these attacks. And we can call it (UNINTELLIGIBLE) terrorism.

QUESTION: You have also -- there's also been concern expressed about Arabs, mercenaries, fighters in Afghanistan, and Arab allegations that there may be an Arab connection to these act of terrorism (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Can you talk to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- can you rule out any Arab links?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a very big and enormous incident, so just connected to some people that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) logic cannot even accept it. So in my opinion it might not be justified.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), are you surprised that the United States has received this sort of attack?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Initially (ph), because this might be the only and the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) kind of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the history of the United States (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

QUESTION: What I'm getting at, do you think the United States has to had invited this given its policy around the world and the growing resentment (UNINTELLIGIBLE) United States? What I'm saying -- suggesting is that -- and the United States...

U.S. Military On High Alert Following Terrorism Attacks Aired September 11, 2001 - 12:59pm

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Taliban official in Kabul, the relevance here, of course, is that United States government has blamed the Afghani government for harboring Osama Bin Laden, who may or may not be responsible for these events that have happened here in the country today, and therefore the Taliban response. The president, who was in Sarasota, Florida when -- President Bush -- when the first attack on trade center took place, issued a statement then. He has left Sarasota. He is not going back to White House, at least not yet. But he has told reporters, quote, "We have taken all appropriate security precautions to protect the American people. Make no mistake," said the president "the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts." The president said the U.S. military has been put on a high-alert status, and said he had taken security precautions to ensure that the government continues to function. And as we said, the president at this moment is not going back to Washington. He has been taken elsewhere for his own safety. There's no reason, by the way at this point, to believe there are continuing threats, but that doesn't mean there are not any. The secret service is taking no chances. We can't recall anything even approaching that. We also have a report coming out London from the associated press that followers of Osama Bin Laden had warned three weeks ago that they would carry out a huge and unprecedented attack on U.S. interests. That according to London-based Arab journalist. He adds, they said it would be huge and unprecedented, but did not specify what it was. We will not assume that this is what it was. But obviously, a lot of people are wondering.

Ramifications of Planned Attack on the U.S.

Aired September 11, 2001 - 13:03pm ET

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joining us on the phone: Richard Holbrooke, former American Ambassador to the United Nations, Robert Gates, former head of the CIA. Mr. Gates, let me start with you, because I suspect -- I suspect that millions of Americans right now are asking, "How could something like this happen? How could it happen?"

ROBERT GATES, FORMER HEAD OF C.I.A.: I think that we have to start by acknowledging that we've been both fortunate and capable in the past. This is not the first major attack like this that has been planned. Several years ago there was a plot to bring down 11 American jumbo jets in Asia that the FBI and U.S. intelligence thwarted. And there have been some other major attacks . And I think that when you have free and open country as we do, we are vulnerable to this sort of thing. And it is the face of this term that people have been talking about for several years, of asymmetric warfare. And it is a way of getting at us, the most powerful military nation in the world in ways in which we're vulnerable.

BROWN: So we heard -- and perhaps given the proximity to events it's a little bit unseemly. We heard a member of Congress not but a few minutes ago essentially say that the American government failed its people. Is it fair to say that this is a failure or are we just can't -- can't know it all?

GATES: Well, personally, I believe that for people to start blaming people and organizations at this point is highly premature. And I think that we need to find out just exactly how bad this situation is and deal with it. The idea of starting to cast blame within hours of having happened is in fact unseemly.

BROWN: Ambassador Holbrooke, does the United States in a situation like this go it alone or does it gather the international community together as one -- or as much of one as it can -- and try and respond in that form?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Well, first of all let me say that at this moment, we have to find out what happened down there. I used to work in that building and was there when the -- when it was attacked a few years ago. I know that area. My assistant has a cousin who now missing in the building. My thoughts are first for the enormous unbelievable loss of life and tragedy that's going on in Lower Manhattan. Beyond that, on your question, this requires a unified, international response by all the key member states of the world community---including very importantly Russia---and as for the interview you just broadcast by the foreign minister from the Taliban, let's be clear on his attempts to disassociate himself from the Osama Bin Laden. We don't know at this point who did this. But it was well coordinated, and done with a degree of skill which exceeds anything. I think Bob Gates will know better than me, but I think, Bob, this is the most skillful murderous attack ever in terms of coordination. And I want to be very clear on this. Bin Laden himself, as you just suggested---Bin Laden has said that the Taliban leader Omar Mohammed Omar, is the true spiritual leader of the Muslim world. He said that Afghanistan is the purified Islamic state, equivalent to Mecca and Medina. And in a tape that the "New York Times" wrote about two days ago, he urged Muslims everywhere---and I'm quoting the "New York Times"---to migrate to Afghanistan to support the Taliban, saying it's their duty to God, and saying there's now finally a Muslim state that destroys falsehood and does not succumb to the American infidel and is led by a true believer, Mullah Mohammed Omar, and so on and so forth. What I want to stress here is that any nation -- and this goes for the Taliban and their henchmen in Afghanistan -- any nation in the world that harbored anyone associated with this must be treated as though they were part of what is effectively an act of war against the United States. And they cannot hide behind the traditional definitions of difficulty. In the past we've tried to get Osama Bin Laden. He's evaded capture. He almost got killed by a bombing raid two or three years ago. I think starting with Afghanistan, we're going to have to hold everyone, everyone accountable on the -- who might have sheltered anyone associated with this act.

GATES: We don't simply in this conversation -- we don't simply hold the group itself -- whoever it is -- the group itself accountable. We hold anyone accountable -- any country, any government accountable if they did nothing to stop it.

HOLBROOKE: Any country which shelters, obeys or helps these people and their cohorts evade, capture and the retribution they deserve is in my view functionally culpable of the events that took place in New York and Washington and elsewhere today. And must be so warned. I am not accusing the Taliban specifically at this point because we don't know who did it. All of the evidence points to a connection between Osama Bin Laden and Taliban leaders, and an attempt on the Taliban's part to -- as the "New York Times" put it two days before this attack -- call as a ploy. That is a quote from the "New York Times" before this happened. I just want to underscore again, we are going to need the support of all our allies in Europe, the Russians, the Chinese and any other country that might have in the past flirted with playing both sides of the street. Nothing like this has happened in American history. The full dimensions of it are still not clear to anyone. I think we all can imagine it's going to heart wrenching in its dimensions as it becomes fully apparent. We are not going to be able to leave it -- leave countries playing two sides here. I'm sure my friend Bob Gates wouldn't disagree with that.

BROWN: Let me, Mr. Gates -- I want to come back to you. Mr. Holbrooke, stay with us for a minute. I believe, now, we have the president -- this the president on tape a few moments ago.




BROWN: Well, obviously, we're having technical problem. Let me just tell you what again the president said in what has been second statement. His first statement came after the first attacks here in New York. Short time ago the president said "We have taken all appropriate security precautions to protect the American people." He added, "Make no mistake," said the president, "the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible." I think we're going to try and hear the president again. Here we go.




BROWN: This is coming to us from the broadcast pool. It's traveling with the president. Obviously we're getting -- it's a very chaotic day, as you can imagine. A horrible tragedy has taken place. People are working very hard to get stuff done and get it down right. Obviously the pool is having trouble feeding the tape. But again, the president said, "Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts."

America Under Attack: Former National Security Adviser Richard Holbrooke and former U.N. Ambassador Discuss Terrorist Situation

Aired September 11, 2001 - 13:10pm ET


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to reassure the American people that the full resources of the federal government are working to assist local authorities to save lives and to help the victims of these attacks. Make no mistake: The United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts. I've been in regular contact with the vice president, the secretary of defense, the national security team and my Cabinet. We have taken all appropriate security precautions to protect the American people. Our military at home and around the world is on high alert status, and we have taken the necessary security precautions to continue the functions of your government. We have been in touch with the leaders of Congress and with world leaders to assure them that we will do whatever is necessary to protect America and Americans. I ask the American people to join me in saying a thanks for all the folks who have been fighting hard to rescue our fellow citizens and to join me in saying a prayer for the victims and their families. The resolve of our great nation is being tested. But make no mistake, we will show the world that we will pass this test. God bless.


AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: President Bush a short time ago in his second remarks of the day. The president initially was headed back to the White House and a decision was made, a security decision was made to divert the flight, and so the president will not go back to Washington, at least not yet. When he will return, perhaps John King can tell us, our senior White House correspondent joins us now - John. John, are you there?

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I am, Aaron, can you hear me?

BROWN: Yes, I do, I hear you fine. Do you have any word on when the president will come back?

KING: No, we do not. As you reported, we were told early in the day the number one priority was the president's safety. The number two priority was to get him back to the White House because they believe that would send a powerful political statement. But as the president was on his way back from Florida, we were told by sources a security decision was made that at this time not to bring him back to Washington. So he was brought and we won't disclose his exact location for security reasons, he was brought to one of several military installations in the United States that is equipped, we were told, with a very sophisticated command and control bunker, very much like the equipment that would be available to the president here at the White House, in the White House Situation Room. We are also told that national security team members are still in the White House Situation Room. And earlier today, at least, as of a little more than an hour ago, Vice President Cheney, as well, directing operations and monitoring things from there. But the president obviously deciding not to come directly back to Washington. We are told that is for security reasons, delivering the statement you just heard. He has been in touch with Congressional leaders, and we are told leadership members of the U.S. Congress are also being taken to undisclosed location for their security. So we're trying to get more information on that. And we will bring that to you as soon as we have it - Aaron.

BROWN: John, thanks, senior White House correspondent John King. To Peter Bergen - CNN's Peter Bergen has been tracking the government of Afghanistan for some time and he was listening in a few moments ago when the Taliban spokesman was speaking. Peter, first of all, what did you hear, was there anything that perhaps the rest of us might not have heard any nuance in what you heard, why don't you start there?

PETER BERGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we just heard from the foreign minister Wakil Mutawakel who's, relatively speaking, a moderate of the Taliban movement. He basically repeated what I think is a standard Taliban line. We've heard it for the past, at least, couple of years, which is that Osama bin Laden isn't a terrorist and that he's being contained by the Taliban and that he's not able to conduct political or military missions. This unfortunately, is really a false statement since Osama bin Laden has been fingered by both Yemeni and U.S. authorities for the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000. There isn't an indictment is there yet. The FBI continues to investigate. But senior Yemeni officials and senior U.S. officials have said that he is the primary suspect. So we've seen that bin Laden was able to bomb two U.S. embassies in Africa in '98 within nine minutes of each other. We've seen that bin Laden was able to blow a huge hole in the side of one of the most sophisticated warships in the U.S. Navy, the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen in October of last year. And unfortunately, he must be the top of the list of the persons sophisticated enough in terms of operations to bring off these kinds of terrible disasters we've seen today. If you're looking for who is the most likely suspect, he has to be it. You've got operation which several people appear to commit suicide. You've also got an operation in which people have obviously had some skill in piloting planes. These are clearly attributes of his organization. We know that he has pilots in his organization. We've seen in several instances that his members of his organization commit suicide in attacks. We've also seen a pattern of warnings in previous bin Laden attacks in which this fits. Nine weeks before the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, in August of '98, bin Laden held a press conference in Afghanistan, talking about quote, "good news in coming weeks." A few months before the U.S.S. Cole was bombed in Yemen, a videotape circulated around the Middle East in which bin Laden was wearing a Yemeni dagger, which he's never done in previous photographs. And one of his number two call for attacks U.S. targets in Yemen, just recently there's been a videotape floating around the Middle East in which bin Laden, a very confident bin Laden, calls for attacks on the United States. Says that the victory of Yemen, referring to the U.S.S. Cole attack, will continue. People that I've talked to are familiar with the bin Laden organization, said that the threats on this tape were very serious; that there was an imminent attack in the works. I spoke to somebody who was familiar with the organization a few weeks ago who made those statements to me: I have been very concerned about a potential attack as a result of this tape. It fits with the modus operandi, which is to talk about potential attacks coming up relatively soon without being particularly specific -- Aaron.

BROWN: Peter, let me just interrupt you for a second. Our senior analyst Jeff Greenfield is here. And Jeff, has a question, Jeff, go ahead.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: Hi, Peter, if I'm not mistaken, you actually interviewed Osama bin Laden some years ago; correct?

BERGEN: Yes, in '97, for CNN.

GREENFIELD: Right, now, at that time, what did he say about the notion of targeting civilians? I mean, what is the rationale behind targeting civilians for death and destruction?

BERGEN: Well, at that time, Jeff, he told us that because of the American military presence in the Middle East, that he was calling for attacks on U.S. soldiers. Now, he said if American civilians got in the way, that was sort of their problem. So at that time, in '97, he was really only calling for attacks on American military targets. Later that position evolved, by '98, he was calling for attacks on all Americans, whether civilian or military. I think the rationale behind that thinking is that in his view if you are an American taxpayer, you are subsidizing the "anti-Islamic," quote activities that he's against, whether that's in Saudi Arabia with the American military presence there, or with America support for Israel in the ongoing Intifada -- Jeff.

BROWN: Peter, thank you for work today. I suspect we'll get back to you. But we appreciate the background which I think gives it some context for why the focus is again on bin Laden. But we should add that as we talk to you now, we can't be certain. We do not know that that's who is behind what has happened. What we do know is extraordinary national tragedy has taken place, that someone is responsible, and that the American government has promised to "hunt down and punish," the president's words a short time ago, hunt down and punish whoever is responsible.

GREENFIELD: Do we have Director Gates still on the phone?

BROWN: No, I don't believe we do. I guess we do not. Because the question, obviously, we've already heard it with General Clark and at least one of the Congressman, asking the question, how could an agency with an estimated budget of $26 1/2 billion a year not have known this. I think that's the first of many such questions we're going to be hearing.

CORRESPONDENT: Sandy Berger, who worked national security in the Clinton administration and Richard Holbrooke, the former U.N. ambassador, back on the phone with us. Mr. Berger, give me a sense of what is going on in Washington right now? Who are the players at the table? Where is the table? And what are they doing?

SAMUEL BERGER, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, obviously the president of the United States is at the head of the table no matter where he is. But others around that table include the secretary of defense and attorney general, the head of the FBI and the national security adviser, the secretary of state, because this may obviously involve international matters. I think we, in the midst of our outrage and indignation, we have to stay focused and stay determined here. The first job in this situation is rescue and to deal with what must be thousands of people here who are in peril. This is in the first instance a massive rescue operation. In the second instance, it's a security operation. We don't know what else may be part of this multi-faceted operation. A number of precautions have been taken in the last few hours, and we have to obviously lock down as much as we can. And then the focus becomes detection. And I think that, given the magnitude of this, given the fact that this has obviously involved multiple points of origin in the United States, it is inconceivable to me that we will not know relatively quickly when the dust settles, who was responsible for this.

QUESTION: Now, Mr. Holbrooke, Ambassador Holbrooke -- what has happened today is extraordinary. Give it a kind of historical context, the enormity of what's taken place.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, FORMER U.N. AMBASSADOR: Well, your coverage has made it more clear than anything else, although despite the superb efforts you've made, it hasn't become yet fully evident to your viewers what would be evident to any of us like myself who worked in the World Trade Center. I was there at the last bombing, as I mentioned earlier. The number of people in that area, including the Chamber Street subway stop, which goes right under the World Trade Center, means that the dimensions of it exceed by a factor of probably 100 any previous incident, including Oklahoma City and the previous World Trade Center, in American history. And one must be ready for news that will be very, very grim indeed for all of us as individuals who will have friends and relatives there and for all Americans. And there will be additional consequences. This is the financial center of the world -- the buildings in that area, all of which have now been evacuated, whose infrastructures may be threatened by gas and electrical line degradation, could affect, at least temporarily, the financial markets as well, although I would leave that to Treasury, and Sandy Berger listed the -- I'm not sure if Sandy mentioned the Treasury secretary, but I'm sure the Treasury and the Fed are well aware of the implications of orderly movement on capital transfers. Now looking beyond that, and I think we have to go back to the fact that everyone has talked about the possibility of this kind of thing for a long time.

HOLBROOKE: And we have faced lesser, but similar, attempts. This exceeded, apparently, the expectations of the intelligence experts. And we will learn more about that in the weeks to come. But I need to underscore one point. To find the people responsible is going to take a unified international effort. No one nation, not even the United States, can do it on its own. And we must have the full cooperation of the Russians, of the states in the Middle East, because I think the assumption that that's the region where this was planned is pretty solid. And -- I repeat this again, any nation that is seen to have harbored or abetted or sheltered any of these people must be treated as co-equally responsible. They cannot hide behind the facade we just saw in the remarks of the Taliban foreign minister. And Peter Bergen's extraordinarily insightful explanation a few minutes ago on CNN, I think is the first real glimpse into -- that the viewers have had into how dangerous this is. If the Taliban shelters Osama bin Laden, as they do, and if Osama bin Laden is responsible for this, as I think almost everyone is going to suspect, then the Taliban must be held equally responsible for what has happened today.

QUESTION: Ambassador Holbrooke, what -- I would like you to be specific. What does that mean? Are you talking about a retaliatory strike against Afghanistan?

HOLBROOKE: Is this Jeff?

QUESTION: Yes, that's Jeff.

QUESTION: It's Jeff Greenfield. I'm sorry, Mr. Ambassador.

HOLBROOKE: Hi, Jeff. No.

QUESTION: Is that what you mean? That if -- put the leads together. If you find...

HOLBROOKE: No, I -- let me be -- Jeff, let me very frank. And I don't want to -- I don't want to lapse into bloody-minded verbal excesses at a moment of high emotion. But let's be very blunt about this. If a country or regime, the Taliban or some other regime to be determined by the intelligence community, has sheltered people who played a role in this, they cannot hide behind the attributes of, they didn't know it, they had nothing to do with it. They must cooperate in the pursuit of the people responsible.

HOLBROOKE: And since the Taliban leader has been publicly proclaimed by Osama bin Laden as the present spiritual leader of the Muslim world -- I'm referring to bin Laden's declaration that Mullah Mohammed Omar is the rightful spiritual leader of the Muslim world, something he said on tape, quoted by John Burns (ph) in the New York Times two days ago -- and if, in fact, these people are in some degree of collusion, I personally believe -- and I'm only speaking for myself here -- I personally believe that the Taliban should be regarded as co-equally responsible for this. And therefore, if and when we consider military action, it is fully justified and the Taliban should face the same consequences.

QUESTION: Ambassador, thank you. Just quickly, if we can, one last question to Sandy Berger. When you were at the table, in honesty, did you ever anticipate the magnitude, an attack of this magnitude, which has taken place, just to remind people, not just in this city, in New York, not just in the capital, Washington, but on a number of airliners flying across the country as well? Was the planning that broad with the fear that great?

BERGER: Well, I think for some time we have known that we are vulnerable to a serious attack. A multiple attack was thwarted, as you recall, during the millennium New Year. But I think this, you know, certainly exceeds in scope anything that intelligence community anticipated, and is a, as I said, an extraordinarily sophisticated operation to carry out something like this from various sites in the United States, relatively simultaneously without detection. And whoever has perpetrated this, has declared war on the United States, and we will have to respond accordingly. But I would also caution here that we should be careful about jumping to certitude about what happened here. We'll know this soon enough. And we'll also know -- be able to find out why this was not detected.

QUESTION: I think that's just an extraordinarily important point, that what is going on right now at this moment is more important than why it happened. And what is going on is, you have thousands of people, we presume, in a number of different places whose lives are at risk, who have been hurt, who need to be rescued, who need to be treated, who need to be taken to hospitals. In New York, in northern New Jersey where the bulk of the injured are being treated here, there is a critical shortage of blood. Hospital officials are desperately seeking help there. And as Mr. Berger said, time enough later to figure out who and how we deal with it. Ambassador Holbrooke, Sandy Berger, thank you both for joining us.

Airplanes Hit The World Trade Center

Aired September 11, 2001 - 13:30pm ET

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: William Rodriguez (ph) is a maintenance worker at the Trade Center, I believe. In any case, he's on the phone with us now. Mr. Rodriguez can you hear me?


BROWN: Tell me where you were when -- which of those two buildings were you in?

RODRIGUEZ: I work in building one. The one that got hit the first time.

BROWN: Tell me what happened.

RODRIGUEZ: I was in the basement, which is the support floor for the maintenance company, and we hear like a big rumble. Not like an impact, like a rumble, like moving furniture in a massive way. And all of sudden we hear another rumble, and a guy comes running, running into our office, and all of skin was off his body. All of the skin. We went crazy, we started screaming, we told him to get out. We took everybody out of the office outside to the loading dock area. Then I went back in, and when I went back in I saw people -- I heard people that were stuck on an the elevator, on a freight elevator because all of the elevators went down. And water was going in, and they were probably getting drowned. And we get a couple of pipes and opened the elevator and we got the people out. I went back up and saw one of the officers from the Port Authority Police, I been working there for 20 years so I knew him very well. My routine on the World Trade Center is in charge of the staircase, and since there was no elevator service, I have the master keys for all the staircase doors. So, I went up with the police officer and a group of firemen. As we went up, there was a lot of people coming up, and while we got -- it was very difficult to get up.

BROWN: Mr. Rodriguez, how many time has taken -- has elapsed here in this, as you recount the events? Did it seem like hours, minutes, seconds?

RODRIGUEZ: No, it wasn't hours.

BROWN: What did it seem like?

RODRIGUEZ: Well there was a big time, like a gap. There was a gap of time. I won't be able to tell you if it was 15 or 20 minutes.


RODRIGUEZ: But there was a gap of time. We heard, while we were on the 33rd floor, I'm sorry on the 23rd floor, because we stopped there with the fire department because their equipped was very heavy and they were breathing very hard. They took a break because they couldn't continue going up. So they wanted take a break. And we had a person on a wheelchair that we were going to bring down on a gurney, and a lady that was having problems with a heart attack, and some other guy that was bleeding hard. And we went a couple of floors up. While they were putting the person in the gurney, got up to the 39th floor, and we heard on the radio that the 65th floor collapsed. It collapsed.

BROWN: Mr. Rodriguez, let me stop you there at the 65th floor, and let me add you are a lucky man, it seems like, today. Thank you for joining us.

Witness Tells of Disaster At World Trade Center

Aired September 11, 2001 - 13:33pm ET

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Matt Cornelius, you were on the 64th floor, 65th floor?

MATT CORNELIUS, WORKER, WORLD TRADE CENTER: 65th floor. Yes, that's where I work.

BROWN: Tell me what happened.

CORNELIUS: Well, I arrived at work a little bit early today.

BROWN: What do you do?

CORNELIUS: I work for the Port Authority in the aviation department. I was just putting my stuff away, and all of a sudden we heard a loud crash and the building started shaking, kind of moving like a wave.

BROWN: What did you think was happening?

CORNELIUS: I had no idea. I mean we figured either an airplane had hit it or -- our first instinct was an airplane. And everyone started screaming and said, you know, "Move away from the windows, and let's get out of here." And we saw debris fall past the window on the north side.

BROWN: Just to help our viewers kind of orient themselves, you were on the 65th floor of a building that is how many stories?

CORNELIUS: I believe it's 110.

BROWN: So 50 stories above you, this is taking place?

CORNELIUS: I imagine so. We really had no idea at all what had happened until we exited the building. I mean I had no idea of the magnitude.

BROWN: How did you get out?

CORNELIUS: Just took the stairs. I believe I actually was in the stairs as that same man because I remember the...

BROWN: Mr. Rodriguez?

CORNELIUS: ... yes, I saw the person in the wheelchair. We made it pretty fast down to the 40th floor, and then from there the smoke got a little bit thick, and it was a lot slower. We maybe made a floor about every two minutes.

BROWN: And how many people are in this group with you?

CORNELIUS: Well, there was just one other person that I worked with us that was with us. It was packed. It was a virtual traffic jam in the stair case, up and down, I guess. It was very full.

BROWN: People screaming?

CORNELIUS: No, actually, everyone maintained calm really well. I was impressed with that. I think for some people it brought back memories of the bombing, people that had been there before when that happened. But I was amazed really. We got in the stairway. We were moving down when the fire department were coming up, saying "Move to the left, everyone move to the left." Everyone complied. A couple of people started crying a little bit, but you know, we said, "We're going to get out of here. We've just got to focus and take it one step at a time."

BROWN: Was it noisy or was there screaming?

CORNELIUS: No, it was...

BROWN: Was it quiet? Was it eerie?

CORNELIUS: No, it wasn't quiet. I mean, people were talking. In fact, someone was laughing. I kept hearing that. I thought that was strange. But it was pretty normal. And we didn't know what was going on. I mean, all we knew was something major had happened.

BROWN: Something had happened.

CORNELIUS: Exactly, but we didn't really understand the full severity of the situation, so people weren't panicking. Once we got down to the -- they put us on the plaza level, which was disturbing because there was a lot of debris on the plaza level and a lot of carnage basically. We then moved out the back towards Broadway. And when they said -- the police were saying "Don't look back, don't look back."

Eyewitness Accounts Of Disaster in New York City

Aired September 11, 2001 - 13:36pm ET

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In Washington, D.C. -- than you Matt -- they have declared a state of emergency. Do we have a guest there, or -- ? OK. Washington has declared -- Washington, D.C. -- a state of emergency. I believe I was just told that the Space Needle in Seattle has been closed down. Is that correct? Did I hear you guys? There are a couple of points that we might make there. Back in the year 2000, just before new year's eve, coming into Washington state a man was stopped with explosives, and as it turned out, that was part of a planned terrorist attack, and it caused the city of Seattle to shut down what had been an enormously elaborate millennium celebration. They are very much on edge in Seattle. We were just there last week, and it's not surprising to me that they would shut that building down. Luis Marcos is an official with New York City hospitals, and she joins us -- he, I'm sorry. He joins us now. Can you hear me OK?


BROWN: I apologize for the stuttered introduction. Tell me the situation in the hospitals.

MARCOS: Well, in Bellevue Hospital, which is the largest public hospital in the city, and is relatively near the incident, we have as of now received approximately 125, 30 patients. Two are dead, unfortunately. Some have brain injuries, very serious fractures, and we are now getting more patients from other hospitals that need microsurgery or implantation of limbs and plastic surgery. So it is a rather overwhelming situation here.

BROWN: Mr. Marcos?


BROWN: Mr. Marcos, you were outside of the buildings in that period between the planes hitting and the buildings collapsing. Can you tell me what you saw.

MARCOS: Well, as president of the public hospitals, I was asked immediately, within seconds, to join the crisis assistance unit, which is located across the street from the World Trade Center. So I drove there and as I was parking, a huge piece of rock hit the back of the car, broke the windshield where I was sitting. So I am very lucky to be alive. Then when I went to the center, the center was evacuated because they were afraid that a second plane may be coming. I joined the fire commissioner and then I needed to use the telephone, because telephones were not working. I went into, I think, American Express building, and as I was there, one of the buildings collapsed. We were unable to leave that building. And thanks to a very brave police officer, who was able to find an exit, we are here today.

BROWN: Mr. Marcos, we heard reports that people were jumping out of the buildings. Did you see that?

MARCOS: Unfortunately, I saw about five people jumping from up the building. I can tell you there is no other -- I've never had such an overwhelming and terrible experience in my life, though I have been in this job for a long time and have seen lot of things. It is something that is very hard to describe. But at the same time I have to say that the fire department, the police department, they were all there. They were so brave, all those men and women, that I feel that thanks to them, many people were saved.

WILLIAM RODRIGUEZ, WORLD TRADE CENTER EMPLOYEE: Can I interrupt there for a second? When I was coming down, just as I left the building, there was still firemen inside of the building, on those floors that I mentioned before, on the 34, 38, 39, and 27th floor. And they -- I'm 100 percent sure that they didn't make it. And the officer that told me to get out with the group that was taking the person on the gurney, was an officer from the Port Authority Police, officer Liem. I know he didn't make it, because as I came out of the building, I saw a lot of bodies on the floor. I saw a lady encrusted on the floor, that was probably one of the person that jumped from the building, if he jumped from the building. But it was like he melted on the floor, that's how bad he was. As I came out of the building, we hear the rumbling and I was told, run. When I look up, everything is coming down. And I start running as fast as I could, and we all jumped on the one of the fire trucks, right on time, because everything just came right on top of us. We could have been crushed, because the truck was coming down on us. And all of a sudden, it stopped. And we were pulled out from under the truck. But I know these officers didn't make it.

BROWN: Mr. Marcos, Mr. Rodriguez (sic), thank you for your extraordinary descriptions of what was going on in and around the buildings. Excuse me, around 9:00 this morning, a little bit before 9:00, and a little after 9:00 here in New York.

And of course, I made it about a half of block, and I looked back and I saw the other tower on fire, and I couldn't believe it.

BROWN: Were you terrified?

CORNELIUS: Yes, when we were stuck in that stairway -- we stopped every now and then -- I started to get nervous. But we never had any fear of the building collapsing. We had no idea what was going on. So once I got out -- and it's still sinking in, the real full severity of it -- I mean it's just an awful, awful thing.

BROWN: That's true of everybody. You're a lucky man.

CORNELIUS: I am very lucky. I thank God very much.

BROWN: As well you might. Thank you.


BROWN: Thank you.

America Under Attack: Eyewitness Discusses Pentagon Plane Crash

Aired September 11, 2001 - 13:46pm ET

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Now to our correspondent at the Pentagon, Bob Franken, who is, I believe, at a safe distance there from what's been going on. Bob, please bring us up to date.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are on the east side of the Pentagon, as can you see, Judy. And see, over my shoulder, that smoke continues to billow, smoke that is sometimes thick, sometimes a little dissipated. But we're talking about about 4 1/2 hours after a plane -- it's described as probably being a jumbo-jet-sided plane -- crashed into the Pentagon, at about 9:20 this morning. We now want to show you what it looks like on the west side. This is video that was shot by Vito Magiola, who is an assignment editor and producer for CNN. He was able to get video. You can see that firefighters there are fighting in an area, rings four, five, and six, on the west side of the Pentagon. Vito says that it was an area, in his estimation, that was about 30 yards wide and about 10 yards deep into the building. The firefighting was hampered, he says, because inside the building sprinklers, pipes, and other forms of hydrants were damaged. There's an estimate that several hundred firefighters and emergency workers at the Pentagon. We're also told, of course, that there has been evacuation efforts throughout the day. We can see those. We do not have an estimate on the number of casualties. I can tell you that, from our vantage point, we have seen a constant parade of casualty units -- military casualty units, civilian ambulances, fire engines, and the like -- going to the Pentagon. There have been casualties, but as we said, we don't have any sort of estimate about that now. We do also have somebody to talk with us who was an eyewitness to the actual crash. He was watch from Arlington, Virginia, which is a suburb. His name is Tim Timmerman.
Mr. Timmerman, are you with us right now?


FRANKEN: You are a pilot. Tell us what you saw.

TIMMERMAN: I was looking out the window; I live on the 16th floor, overlooking the Pentagon, in a corner apartment, so I have quite a panorama. And being next to National Airport, I hear jets all the time, but this jet engine was way too loud. I looked out to the southwest, and it came right down 395, right over Colombia Pike, and as is went by the Sheraton Hotel, the pilot added power to the engines. I heard it pull up a little bit more, and then I lost it behind a building. And then it came out, and I saw it hit right in front of -- it didn't appear to crash into the building; most of the energy was dissipated in hitting the ground, but I saw the nose break up, I saw the wings fly forward, and then the conflagration engulfed everything in flames. It was horrible.

FRANKEN: What can you tell us about the plane itself?

TIMMERMAN: It was a Boeing 757, American Airlines, no question.

FRANKEN: You say that it was a Boeing, and you say it was a 757 or 767?


FRANKEN: 757, which, of course...

TIMMERMAN: American Airlines.

FRANKEN: American Airlines, one of the new generation of jets.

TIMMERMAN: Right. It was so close to me it was like looking out my window and looking at a helicopter. It was just right there.

FRANKEN: We were told that it was flying so low that it clipped off a couple of light poles as it was coming in.

TIMMERMAN: That might have happened behind the apartments that occluded my view. And when it reappeared, it was right before impact, and like I said, it was right before impact, and I saw the airplane just disintegrate and blow up into a huge ball of flames.

FRANKEN: So there was a fireball that you saw?

TIMMERMAN: Absolutely. And the building shook, and it was quite a tremendous explosion.

FRANKEN: What did you see after that?

TIMMERMAN: Nothing but the flames. I sat here, and I took a few pictures out of my window, and I noticed the fire trucks and the responses was just wonderful. Fire trucks were there quickly. I saw the area; the building didn't look very damaged initially, but I do see now, looking out my window, there's quite a chunk in it. But I think the blessing here might have been that the airplane hit before it hit the building, it hit the ground, and a lot of energy might have gone that way. That's what it appeared like.

FRANKEN: There is, of course -- we heard some discussion about the fact that it could have been worse had it actually gone a little bit higher and gone into what is the called the ring, the center ring...


FRANKEN: This is a five-sided building.

TIMMERMAN: As you know, the rings are A, B, C, D, E. It is just across the E ring on the outside, and that's why I felt it didn't look as damaged as it could be. It looked like on the helipad, which is on that side.

FRANKEN: Did you see any people being removed, any injured being removed, that type of thing?

TIMMERMAN: No, sir. I am up about a quarter a mile -- it may be a little bit closer -- and at that point, I saw nothing like that.

FRANKEN: Tim Timmerman, thank you very much -- an eyewitness, Judy, to the crash. We still have no idea about the number of casualties. We know that there is a gaping hole on the west side of the Pentagon. As you can see, the smoke continues to billow -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Bob Franken. To our audience, no surprise. Hospitals in the Washington area are dealing with casualties from the plane crash at the Pentagon. We were told a few hours ago there's a blood shortage in the Washington area, hospitals wanting to people to know if you are in a position to donate blood, it would very much be needed and appreciated.

America Under Attack: Plane Goes Down in Pennsylvania Near Shanksville

Aired September 11, 2001 - 13:50pm ET

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: And I just want to quickly say here, before we go to the site of the Pennsylvania crash, that the D.C. National Guard was having difficulty getting through to people that it needs to mobilize, and this specifically, this is information specific to the Washington, D.C. area. The D.C. Guard wants to alert the 372 police battalion and its subordinate companies to report, as soon as possible to the D.C. Armory. And we got this information just about a half hour ago, and there have been so many other stories and pieces of information coming in. We haven't been able to get this out, but we do want to get it out now. Perhaps it will do some good. Joining us now, I mentioned to you a moment ago that we had -- we have a correspondent on the scene of the airplane crash into the -- the ground, we believe. I am going to go to David Mattingly, CNN correspondent there in Pennsylvania. This is near Shanksville, Somerset County in western Pennsylvania, about 80 miles outside of Pittsburgh. David Mattingly, are you with us now?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Judy, I am here. And we are outside of the town of Shanksville. And to give you an idea of what kind of a countryside this is -- to my left is a huge field, a field of corn, to my right is a rolling green pastoral hill here at the edge of the Allegheny Mountains, one of the last places that you probably would expect to be touched by the violence of an act of terrible terrorism like we have seen today. But people here in the area have reported that they saw the commercial airliner going overhead at about 2,000 to 3,000 feet with no landing gear down. They heard then a loud roar of an engine, at which point the jet climbed and then banked sharply to the left before going down straight, on a 45-degree angle. Now, it hit the ground at that 45-degree angle. People here at the scene say there are no large pieces of debris even left from the plane; no hope of, at this point, apparently seems to be no hope of survivors. There is just about every piece of emergency personnel here from miles around. The mood is considerably calmer, as you might imagine, than what you might see in Washington or New York, but there is a great deal of concern. Schools are being closed, businesses are being closed up in Pittsburgh and other parts of Pennsylvania. Prayer vigils are being reported, scheduled all across this part of Pennsylvania, as far as away as Altuna, it has been reported. Also, at this point, there has been an emergency staging area set up. We are a good ways away from the crash scene, and we will see what transpires here -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: David Mattingly on the scene, as you are seeing there, near Shanksville, a small town in Somerset County, about 80 miles south of Pittsburgh. This the site of one of the two United Airlines aircraft. This a Boeing 757, left Newark, New Jersey this morning on its way to San Francisco. This is the plane that we know crashed, and you just, with David Mattingly's report, looking at the site, where this plane came down. We don't know where -- we presume terrorists behind this -- what their destination was, what their target was. We can only presume, we can only guess that they were short of the target, that they were headed someplace farther -- some place else from where they landed.

Christopher Dodd Discusses the Terrorist Attack

Aired September 11, 2001 - 13:53pm ET

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: With me now here in the studio, Connecticut Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd. Senator Dodd, a long time member of not only the Senate, but of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Dodd, first of all, what can you say to the American people listening who want to know about the security of the leaders of our country, the president, and everyone else?

SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, I think they are taking the proper steps in here, and you haven't heard as much from some of the leaders as you might like at this point, but I think those responsible for their security are doing exactly what they should be doing. I am told that they are in very good shape, that they've -- are being isolated because we don't know the magnitude of this effort. It's beyond our imagination already what has occurred. And if someone or an organization clearly responsible for this, this sophisticated an effort, the potential for them doing more damage is obviously obvious. And so, making sure that our leaders are secure is the right step. And -- and for those who may be wondering abroad who are watching this program, Judy -- I am a Democrat, as you know. We stand completely and totally behind our president. We may have our differences from here from time to time, but in a day like this, which rivals if not exceeds the attack on Pearl Harbor almost 60 years ago -- three months from now. We stand totally united behind our president and our government. They are taking the proper steps. We are pulling together as a people. And we will overcome this. Initially, obviously, our prayers and thoughts go to those who have lost their lives, who have been injured in this -- this incredible, incredible attack and then we will...

WOODRUFF: Senator.

DODD: Yes, I am sorry?

WOODRUFF: Senator, I am just going to interrupt you now.

America Under Attack: Henry Kissinger Discusses Terrorist Attack on the U.S.

Aired September 11, 2001 - 13:55pm ET

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We are told President Bush just about to be wheels up from the Barksdale Air Force base in Louisiana, and now let's go back to Aaron Brown in New York.

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Judy, thank you. I believe we have former Secretary Henry Kissinger on the phone. The secretary is in Germany today, and he joins us on the phone from there. Mr. Kissinger, can you hear me OK?


BROWN: Just quickly, sir, your reactions to what is unfolding in the United States today?

KISSINGER: Well, it's obviously a shocking event. It was -- I was giving a speech when somebody came in and interrupted the question period to make that announcement, and nobody in the room believed it. They all thought it had to be a mistake. Well, it's, obviously -- it's an integrated attack and must be dealt with in an integrated way.

BROWN: Well, when you say an integrated attack and dealt with in an integrated way, tell me -- tell me what that means, sir?

KISSINGER: Well, it's obviously -- any organization that can plan such a coordinated attack within a very brief period of time must have substantial resources and must have very capable organizations. And must have a haven where it's planning these things. You can't do that in the back room.

BROWN: And -- and when you talk about an integrated response?

KISSINGER: Well, the integrated response is obviously -- first of all, I want to say, like every American right now, I am behind the president. And this -- the response right now has been exactly what is needed. And the first necessity has to be to go through the tragedy, to help the -- to help the families and to clean up the immediate situation. And then, the next step will have to be a program to attempt to eradicate the source of this and to bring pressure, and serious pressure, on governments that harbor this kind of an organization, and especially governments where we suspect that these organizations are located.

BROWN: Sir, for a long time, there's been a kind of cat-and- mouse game, and I don't -- I don't make light of this in any sense when I say game -- between the governments that harbor terrorists and our government and other Western governments. It's all changed today, hasn't it? I mean, the stakes have changed enormously, the response likely will change enormously. It's all different, isn't it?

KISSINGER: That's correct. When -- when these terrorists do attack the territory of the United States, it then becomes a question of the functioning of our society. And we have to protect ourselves, and I am sure we will. And I think it -- it's not an isolated attack, it's not just an attack on an embassy, which is bad enough. And it can't be dealt with with one retaliatory blow.

BROWN: It cannot be dealt with with one retaliatory blow?

KISSINGER: No. It has to be a systematic attack. I don't know what that means.

BROWN: I -- I understand...

KISSINGER: I am not sitting here with a great plan. I am saying this is what I would think our government will want to work toward.

BROWN: And would you expect that we, the United States government, will find enormous international support for whatever actions the United States government chooses to take, or will there be those important governments that resist here?

KISSINGER: Well, first thing is we have to protect ourselves. We will, of course, like to get as much support as we can. And we will be able to judge our friends by the degree of support that we get. But there will be some governments who say we have to understand the conditions that produced this. There will come a time to deal with these circumstances, but the immediate thing is, these organizations have to be put on the run. If they have to spend all of their time trying to survive, they have less time for terrorism.

BROWN: And Mr. Secretary, we heard -- and I am not sure you were able to -- but a few moments ago, Chris Dodd, Senator Dodd of Connecticut, compared this to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Can you give me any historical context for what has taken place today, or are we a bit too close to it all to understand it yet?

KISSINGER: Well, the attack was -- I guess it was -- it was certainly the first attack from across the seas on the territory of the United States, but it was not yet the mainland. And I agree with Senator Dodd, this is comparable to an attack like Pearl Harbor, and we must have the same response. And the people who did it must have the same as the people who attacked Pearl Harbor. But it isn't just the people who did it, it's the people who make it possible.

BROWN: These are the governments that harbor those that carry out these attacks?

KISSINGER: Harbor, or encourage them with their propaganda.

BROWN: Mr. Secretary, thank you. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who joins us from Germany where he was attending a conference. When he heard the news, he said it was silent, unbelievable, people simplify could not believe what they are hearing. I think that's a term, a phrase, you will hear a lot over the days and weeks to come, what has happened here in New York and in Washington and in other parts of the country -- unbelievable. A national tragedy -- Judy.

America Under Attack: Pentagon Official Holds Press Conference

Aired September 11, 2001 - 14:01pm ET

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go now to the Pentagon where Rear Admiral Quigley is briefing reporters. I believe we have that picture right now.

REAR ADMIRAL CRAIG QUIGLEY, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: ... to phone their families and loved ones immediately to let them know they are OK. And if they are among the injured or the casualties from this, then we will -- we will work our way through to identifying them and getting their names out to their loved ones. We will find a way.

QUESTION: Where are the injured going? Where are the injured being taken?

QUIGLEY: A variety of area hospitals.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) penetration of the plane itself, admiral? How many rings of the building?

QUIGLEY: I don't know.


QUIGLEY: I have not been over there to see it up close. I don't know. I think that's all for now, ladies and gentlemen. We will to try to be back out and give you some more information as we can.

WOODRUFF: You have been listening to Rear Admiral Quigley, one of the folks who works with reporters in the public information office there at the Pentagon. We basically -- we are just listening to the first few minutes of that briefing. Getting the word out to people who have friends, family members who work at the Pentagon, telling them if you have people who may be among the injured, we are going to try to find a way to get you that information, to get the word out which hospital they might be in. Of course, we are dealing with tragedies in untold numbers of families across the Eastern -- primarily the East Coast of the United States, but no doubt these people who work in the Pentagon are from everywhere. People who were on these airplanes are from -- commercial jets -- are from everywhere in the United States.

America Under Attack: New York Authorities Wait for Area to be Secured to Go In

Aired September 11, 2001 - 14:03pm ET

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: It is enormity that's a little bit hard to get our arms around right now. Still, some considerable number of hours since the first attack on the World Trade Center here in New York. And I want to show some pictures of the scene from the ground. First, let me just -- piece of information: United Airlines has now canceled all flights, grounded all flights, until 6:00 tomorrow morning. This is the scene that started to play out, this would be a little after 9:00 when the first of the Trade Centers collapsed after they were hit. People gathering, watching. You can see this -- the denseness, the denseness of the smoke. People leaving in very orderly, calm way, that's been the reports all morning and afternoon long. One witness who was in the building talked about coming down the stairwell, and the people were very quiet. There was no screaming, no crying. People shielding themselves against the smoke. We know that a number of New York City police and fire department personnel have been injured, perhaps some fatally, when the buildings collapsed. We know that hospitals here in New York are in desperate need of blood. We know the National Guard will be coming into the city to help and support the 40,000 members of the New York City police department. We know that subway service through -- in Manhattan has been shut down. People evacuating, streams of people through the streets. There are 50,000 people who go to work just in the Trade Center buildings, the two towers. How many of them were there at the time we do not know. Thousands, tens of thousands more pass through, getting on and off trains, going to the retail shops and restaurants. Everyone of those lives changed today, as perhaps in some way all of our lives have been changed today. It all began at 8:45 this morning. And behind us now, the smoke continues to pour out of the area where the Trade Center towers where. They are no more. They collapsed in the hour after the attack, but the smoke continues to pour through the area behind us, about 30 blocks away, in one of those scenes that none of us will ever forget. CNN correspondent Richard Roth has been on the streets here in Lower Manhattan -- Richard.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Aaron, not chaos here. It's almost eerily silent, although the march of thousands of New Yorkers, evacuating Southern Manhattan, looking to go to New Jersey to get off this island. Dazed, stunned, people concerned about loved ones. Cell phones not working. New Yorkers are used to coping with a lot of things here. There have been some bombings and hurricanes and calamities, but really nothing like this before. And of course, behind me are the clouds where the World Trade Center stood, two towers built in 1970. A short time ago, Port Authority police official -- the Port Authority is the state unit that runs, in effect, the World Trade Center, those building that formerly existed, and one of the police officials there, William Hall, said there's no search going on right now. He said until the fires go out, until it is safe for his people and others rescue workers to go in, they are not moving in there. He said on an average day the two World Trade Center towers get 10,000 people each, with 5,000 visitors. A New York City official told us a short time ago that another triage center is going to be set here, on the West Side of Manhattan, 33rd Street area, in the Jacob Javitz Convention Center -- this to handle additional overflow from New York hospitals, which New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani says have been their best in coping with it, but there have been calls for blood. People here walking by me -- someone will point to someone and say, "this person was in the World Trade Center, just got out." You can hear behind me there's the roar of military aircraft, the only aircraft you see in the sky. And usually, as New Yorkers will tell you, you can look up at any time and see a plane. They are up in the sky. Concerned look from people who gaze upward, shield their eyes, to see just what's going on. And an occasional police helicopter. But here in New York City, there is no search going on. William Hall of the Port Authority said we are going to have to wait until we get things all accounted for before we go in there -- Aaron.

BROWN: Richard, thank you. Richard Roth in Lower Manhattan. Again, just a quick recap for those of you who may just be getting home and hearing these events for the first time. 8:48 this morning, it's one of those moments that everyone will remember. The first plane, American Airlines flight 11, Boston to Los Angeles, hijacked, crashed into the first Trade Center tower. At 9:04, the second plane, the United Airlines, flight United 175, Boston to Los Angeles, hit the second tower. About a half-hour later, 9:38 Eastern Time, American Airlines flight 77, Washington-Dulles Airport to Los Angeles, crashed into the Pentagon, hitting just short of the Pentagon itself, and perhaps that was most fortunate, and at 10:20 a.m. Eastern Time, United flight 93, Newark to San Francisco, crashed about 80 miles outside Pittsburgh. Those are the times and the events. They don't begin to describe what has happened. What has happened is not simply not a series of moments,but something much larger.

America Under Attack: Terrorist Launch Successful Attacks Against Targets In New York And Washington

Aired September 11, 2001 - 14:10pm ET

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Phil Zepeda is with the American Red Cross and he is on the phone with us. Mr. Zepeda, this is Aaron Brown. Can you hear me, OK?


BROWN: Tell me what sort of strain is on the Red Cross's resources right now?

ZEPEDA: Well, the American Red Cross responded immediately to all areas of this disaster. Right now, our focus is really on disaster relief, providing blood assistance, and any disaster mental health assistance we can provide around the country to both the survivors and the families who have been involved in this tragedy.

BROWN: Tell me what that means exactly. I understand the need for blood. Are you setting up shelters for people?

ZEPEDA: Sure. We have shelters both in New York City and in Washington D.C. that are set up to help people. There we have disaster mental health counselors that are able to meet with people, and to register people as they come in, and are trying to get away from the situation. We are set up in New York and Penn Station and Grand Central Station and in Washington D.C. and Fort Belvoir. It is still chaos right now. We are in the process of ramping up our operations. While we did respond immediately. There is so much work to be done. And we're in the process of doing that right now. We have about 50,000 units of blood that are available for the effected areas, and the American Red Cross is looking at mobilizing that right now and putting that into place.

BROWN: And, Phil, as you were speaking, we were able to put up on the screen up numbers people can call if they can help. If you are sitting in Omaha, Nebraska today, is it helpful in this situation to be going to the blood bank and giving blood, or is too far away to with meaningful?

ZEPEDA: The message that the American Cross is putting out right now is to donate blood. Call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE -- G-I-V-E-L-I-F-E. or visit for more information. But giving blood is where our emphasis is right now. BROWN: No matter where you are in the country?

ZEPEDA: Yes, no matter where you are in the country, or you can, you know, Contact your local hospital. if you're not in a Red Cross area. But 1-800-GIVE-LIFE is the best number to call.

BROWN: OK. So even if you are far away from the events of today, you can still be helpful, as areas certainly in New York and Washington, from what Judy said, serious shortage of blood. The American Red Cross can be helpful, your local hospital, your local blood bank can be helpful. We suspect before the day is out, fire stations around the country will be involved in these efforts as well. Phil, thank you. Is there anything else, by the way, before I let you go that you want to say that would be helpful to our viewers or helpful to the Red Cross?

ZEPADA: Well, the Red Cross right now and our president, Dr. Bernadine Healy right now extend our heartfelt sorrows to all families and everyone that's been affected by this. We just urge people to donate blood.

BROWN: Thank you very much, Phil with the American Red Cross. Phil Zepeda with the American Red Cross. CNN's Miles O'Brien has been tracking the flight paths of these four planes that were involved. Miles, are you able to hear me in Atlanta?


BROWN: And tell me what you've been able to figure out to this point.

O'BRIEN: As you probably know, Aaron, there are various commercial Web sites that allow you to track commercial aircraft. Now If you go to many of them right now, you're not going to get very far, because they are being overwhelmed by interest in people. But even if you could get some of the data, we have just learned from the Federal Aviation Administration that every domestic airliner that was in the area is now on the ground. This is unprecedented in aviation history in this country. There's not a plane flying right now. At any given moment, typically, there are 4,000 aircraft. Now, let's take a look at what happened on American Airlines flight 11. It began in Boston, and it took off on time, 81 people aboard, nine crew members, two flight attendant and two pilots. And let's sort of track what happened with this flight. As it went across Massachusetts and went down into the Albany area, actually up in the Adirondacks, it took a sharp dog leg. Now what's interesting about this flight is everything seemed to be normal. The altitude was about 29,000 feet. It was Gaining speed at about 450 knots. It took that sharp dogleg down across the Adirondacks, straight for New York. Now what will be interesting about this as this story unfolds will be, number one, listening to any air traffic control conversations, to get a sense of what, if anything, air traffic controllers were saying to this aircraft. Undoubtedly this was spotted on the radar screens of course. They had quite a bit of time to watch this plane as it went toward New York. That's probably at least a 30-minute run there. And during the course of that time there, those air traffic controllers and those radar installations, New York Center, as it is called, would have been trying to contact American airlines flight 11 to indicate it's intentions. It must have a been horrifying scene for them. They were probably trying to clear air traffic out of the area. Clearly, once those tapes become available, we'll have a little bit more knowledge. And if it is possible to locate any of the so- called black boxes, the flight data recorders, cockpit voice recorders, out of this particular aircraft, they'll obviously know more about what was going on very dramatic flight indeed. Now this is the first flight, this is flight that first impacted the first tower of the World Trade Center. And this is the first of four that we know about. Of course, four air hijackings which led to crashes and a tremendous amount of damage. I'm getting this information from company called They are compiling their archival radar information from this morning, and as it becomes available, we'll be able to show the flight paths of the other three aircraft that are suspected in all of this, and we'll bring those to you as soon as we get that -- Aaron.

BROWN: All right, just a quick parenthetical questions, these tapes of the cockpit tower communications, do they exist on the ground?


BROWN: Or are they recorded in control towers, and then there is a different set of tapes that exist on the plane, correct?

O'BRIEN: Correct, exactly. It's important to bring out, there are two types of tapes in these incidents. The tapes on the ground are the ones that record the radio transmissions between the ground and the aircraft. And clearly, the flight controllers would have been calling this aircraft numerous times, and this would have been the case for the three others, if they deviated from courses, indicate -- trying to get some indication as to what was wrong, why the pilot changing courses so dramatically. Now what will interesting to hear if there is some sort of response from these aircraft. This will give us some clue as to who might have been in control of the plane at the time, or if might have been some sort of struggle aboard, or if there was just a lack of struggle. There's a lot of mystery here obviously. Now, ultimately, as they go through the wreckage in these cases, it's possible that investigators -- and there's good chance, because they have emergency locating devices on them, they will find these so- called black boxes, and on these blacks boxes, there might be much more information which might give authorities some clues as to who might be responsible.

BROWN: Several kinds of information. There's technical information in these black boxes, what the airplane was doing, in a sense. But there's also communications between the cabin crew that exist on those tapes, what pilot was saying to co-pilot, and we might be able to hear if the tapes are ever located, and what -- the people who take control of these planes, and that's clearly what happened. It seems clear that's what happened. What they were saying, whether these tapes will ever be found. Obviously, we don't yet know. But that is part of what will happen in the next days. On this day, what is happening in both Washington, and New York and in a field outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a massive, massive rescue operation, a Massive triage operation. Thousands of people presumably have been hurt. Many people we suspect have died. Though many hours now since that first plane hit the Trade Center at 8:48 Eastern Time. We have yet to hear from any official in the city, any estimate here in New York of the number of people who have been hurt. We just know that hospitals are inundated, that hospitals are running very low on blood, and they need help here. We know that the National Guard will be coming in here to New York to help, in support of the New York police department. We would add here that a number of members, that we don't know how many, but after the police and fire responded to the two planes hitting the Trade Center, many police officers, many firefighters, many EMS personnel, were in the area when the building collapsed. How many of them were hurt, we do not know. But we've been told by two officials, or former officials for the city, that any number of people, police and fire officials have been hurt as well.

America Under Attack: Bush Holds Press Briefing

Aired September 11, 2001 - 14:20pm ET

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: And, Erin, just picking up on your conversation with Miles O'Brien a moment ago, and perhaps you all refer to this, and I apologize if I repeat the Associated Press reporting on a passenger on United flight 93. Now this is the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. About 20 minutes before the plane crashed, a passenger with a cell phone locked in a bathroom actually called an emergency dispatcher and shouted into the cell phone. We are being hijacked. We're being hijacked. They apparently stayed on the phone with this passenger up until the moment when the passenger heard some sort of a loud noise and then they lost contact. That's just one more piece of the stories, the many, many, many stories that we are pulling together as we watch these developments in Pennsylvania, here in Washington, and, of course, in New York City. And you just heard Aaron talking about incomplete information about casualties, what hospitals are dealing with. now, these numbers I'm going to read you right now are only incomplete. We are just beginning to get this kind of information. We are told that Washington area hospitals right now, 53 injured, at least three more casualties on the way. Although we have to believe that with the commercial jetliner that crashed at the Pentagon, or just in front of the Pentagon, and that was Boeing 757, and these are the pictures of the Pentagon, just outside the Pentagon, 58 passenger onboard, four crew members and two pilots, it is impossible to believe that they did not all perish. And we don't know about others who work at the Pentagon who were in the part of that building that was most effected when that commercial plane went down. We've are -- we've been talking with a number of people involved in rescue, and right now we want to go to the president's statement. This took place just about an hour and 15 minutes ago. The president was on his way back to Washington from Florida. His plane touched down at an air force base in Louisiana, Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport. We can now report that information because he's since left Barksdale. But here is what President George W. Bush had to say in this statement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward. And freedom will be defended. I want to reassure the American people that the full resources of the federal government are working to assist local authorities to save lives and to help the victims of these attacks. Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts. I've been in regular contact with the vice president, secretary of defense, the national security team, and my cabinet. We have taken all appropriate security precautions to protect the American people. Our military at home and around the world is on high-alert status. And we have taken the necessary security precautions to continue the functions of your government. We have been in touch with the leaders of Congress and with world leaders to assure them that we will do whatever is necessary to protect America and Americans. I ask the American people to join me in saying a thanks for all the folks who have been fighting hard to rescue our fellow citizens and to join me in saying a prayer for the victims and their families. The resolve of our great nation is being tested, but make no mistake, we will show the world that we will pass this test. God bless.


WOODRUFF: President Bush made that statement just about an hour and 20 minutes ago at Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport, Louisiana. That was an unplanned stop that the president made at that place in order to talk with reporters, meet with others. Since then Air Force One has taken off, President Bush being flown to an undisclosed location. We're told also that Secretary of State Colin Powell, who had been on his back to the United States from Peru, being taken to an undisclosed location. Outside the Pentagon, CNN's military affairs correspondent Jamie McIntyre. And, Jamie, you got very close to where that plane went down.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Judy. A short -- a while ago I walked right up next to the building, firefighters were still trying to put the blaze. The fire, by the way, is still burning in some parts of the Pentagon. And I took a look at the huge gaping hole that's in the side of the Pentagon in an area of the Pentagon that has been recently renovated, part of a multi-billion dollar renovation program here at the Pentagon. I could see parts of the airplane that crashed into the building, very small pieces of the plane on the heliport outside the building. The biggest piece I saw was about three feet long, it was silver and had been painted green and red, but I could not see any identifying markings on the plane. I also saw a large piece of shattered glass. It appeared to be a cockpit windshield or other window from the plane. When this plane hit the Pentagon this morning, according to the Pentagon spokesman, Craig Quigley, the defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, incredibly is described as having run out of his office and down to actually help some of the victims onto stretchers until he was ushered into the National Military Command Center, the secure Nerve Center or War Room deep inside the Pentagon, where he remains at this time. Pentagon officials say he will stay for the time being. That is a place where all of U.S. intelligence comes in and he has complete command with his commanders around the world. At the same time, the Pentagon has dispatched several warships out of port Norfolk, including the U.S. -- the carriers, USS George Washington and USS Kennedy. The sensible reason for that, the movement of those ships and their escort ships, is to move them from more vulnerable positions. But the Navy says they'll also head some of the aircraft carriers up toward New York with the idea that they may be able to render some kind of assistance there, given the magnitude of the tragedy there. Back here, the fight goes on to put out the fire inside the Pentagon. The heat from that blaze was described as absolutely intense, and the number of casualties here has still not been released. Dozens of people were taken away in ambulances, and the Pentagon is still not releasing any figures on deaths. But clearly, people who had offices in that, what is now a huge gaping hole in the side of the Pentagon, clearly, there was some people killed in this tragedy -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Jamie, Aaron was talking earlier -- or one of our correspondence was talking earlier -- I think -- actually, it was Bob Franken -- with an eyewitness who said it appeared that that Boeing 757, the American jet, American Airline jet, landed short of the Pentagon. Can you give us any better idea of how much of the plane actually impacted the building?

MCINTYRE: You know, it might have appeared that way, but from my close-up inspection, there's no evidence of a plane having crashed anywhere near the Pentagon. The only site is the actual site of the building that's crashed in, and as I said, the only pieces left that you can see are small enough that you can pick up in your hand. There are no large tail sections, wing sections, fuselage, nothing like that anywhere around, which would indicate that the entire plane crashed into the side of the Pentagon and then caused the side to collapse. Now, even though if you look at the pictures of the Pentagon you see that the floors have all collapsed; that didn't happen immediately. It wasn't until almost about 45 minutes later that the structure was weakened enough that all of the floors collapsed. WOODRUFF: And Jamie, this happened -- we are now able to reconstruct -- about 9:38 this morning. At that time, Jamie, what are we talking about, dozens, hundreds of people at work in the building?

MCINTYRE: There are 24 thousand people who work in this building and most of them are at work at that hour of the morning. They were all evacuated from the build. In my office, which is sort of halfway between where this took place and other side of the building, which is where the defense secretary's office is, eventually, even the corridor I was in began to fill up with smoke just as I began to leave the building. But there are -- this was the prime time for an attack. However, it's not the prime location. Every time we've thought about what might happen if the Pentagon were subject of attack we assumed that the attack would come on the other side, the river entrance, where the brass are. But this attack came on the side facing Arlington Cemetery.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jamie McIntyre, military affairs correspondence. And just to underline what we're seeing at the Pentagon, nothing on the scale of the devastation in New York City, where you have two entire towers of the World Trade Center collapsing, but still, this is -- has to be the, supposedly, the most secure of secure buildings in Washington D.C., and an airplane, commercial airplane, flew right into it.

Followers of Osama Bin Laden Said They Would Do Such An Attack

Aired September 11, 2001 - 14:34pm ET

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I want to bring in now our national security correspondence David Ensor. You are looking at pictures, as I do this, from New York City in the moments following the worst of today's attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. Lower Manhattan where you can see people running in sheer terror away from either one of the two airplane crashes into the top of the World Trade Center. Both towers, of which, collapsed later on to the utter horror of people watching both live and on television across the United States, and around the world, for that matter. New York City, the subject of the worse terrorism ever to strike the United States. So, while we certainly mourn the loss here in Washington at the Pentagon, the airplane that crashed into the Pentagon, the other airplane that crashed near Pittsburgh, both of them commercial airliners with civilians onboard, the loss of life in New York City is utterly unbelievable. And just picking up as we look at these pictures, picking up on what Nic Robertson was saying from Afghanistan, even as the leaders of the Taliban deny any role in this, an Arab based -- an Arab journalist based in London is quoted today to the "Associated Press" as saying that followers of Osama Bin Laden warned three weeks ago they were going to carry out this sort of an attack.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I want to bring in now our national security correspondence David Ensor.

You are looking at pictures, as I do this, from New York City in the moments following the worst of today's attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. Lower Manhattan where you can see people running in sheer terror away from either one of the two airplane crashes into the top of the World Trade Center. Both towers, of which, collapsed later on to the utter horror of people watching both live and on television across the United States, and around the world, for that matter.

New York City, the subject of the worse terrorism ever to strike the United States. So, while we certainly mourn the loss here in Washington at the Pentagon, the airplane that crashed into the Pentagon, the other airplane that crashed near Pittsburgh, both of them commercial airliners with civilians onboard, the loss of life in New York City is utterly unbelievable.

And just picking up as we look at these pictures, picking up on what Nic Robertson was saying from Afghanistan, even as the leaders of the Taliban deny any role in this, an Arab based -- an Arab journalist based in London is quoted today to the "Associated Press" as saying that followers of Osama Bin Laden warned three weeks ago they were going to carry out this sort of an attack.

New York's Governor And Mayor of New York City Address Concerns of the Damage

Aired September 11, 2001 - 14:35pm ET

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani joining us once again. Mayor Giuliani?


RUDOLPH GIULIANI, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: The tragedy that we're all undergoing right now is something that we've had nightmares about, probably thought wouldn't happen. My heart goes out to all of the innocent victims of this horrible and vicious act of terrorism, acts of terrorism. And our focus now has to be on saving as many lives as possible. We have hundreds of police officers and fire fighters who are engaging in rescue efforts in lower Manhattan. I want to thank Governor Pataki for the incredible cooperation and coordination, including deploying the National Guard that will be available to relieve our police officers and fire fighters and emergency workers in the next couple of hours. The governor and I just spoke to the President of the United States. The coordination with the federal government from the time of the first attack has been excellent, including closing off the air space around Manhattan and doing everything that can possibly be done in the face of this barbaric act to make the city secure. And we will strive now very hard to save as many people as possible and to send a message that the city of New York and the United States of America is much stronger than any group of barbaric terrorists, that our democracy, that our rule of law, that our strength and our willingness to defend ourselves will ultimately prevail. And I'd ask the people of New York City to do everything that they can to cooperate, not to be frightened, to go about their lives as normal. Everything is safe right now in the city. And the people who are doing the relief effort need all of the help they can get. And then governor, thank you very, very much for your assistance and your help and your support. Thank you.

GEORGE PATAKI, GOVERNOR, NEW YORK: Thank you, Mayor, for your leadership for this crisis. This is a vicious attack upon New York. It's an attack upon America. It's an attack upon the whole concept of freedom and our way of life. And we cannot let these attacks succeed. The first step has to be to make sure that we do everything in our power to protect the people and to save the lives of those whose lives are still at risk and to help those who have been injured. And I want to commend the mayor. And I want to thank my colleagues from Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the federal government -- have all offered and made ready support to help us deal with this ongoing crisis. The people of New York are not only the freest and most diverse people in the world, we're also, I believe, the most capable of rising to meet the challenges of this type of attack. And right now, we want New Yorkers to remain calm, to go about their business, to appreciate the fact that everything to provide for their safety is being done, to appreciate that everything that can be done to provide for the health and the needs of the people who are still at risk is being done and that we will continue to work to make sure that we get through this as strongly and quickly as possible. I want to thank the federal administration. Secretary Thompson has been on the phone with me a number of times, as well as the president, for what they are offering and prepared to do.

PATAKI: And we're just confident that, while this is a horrible attack and one that is despicable and really unthinkable in its magnitude, we will get through this. And we will continue to have a great and free country, state and society.

QUESTION: Do we know the number of casualties at this point, sir?

GIULIANI: I don't think we really want to speculate about that. The number of casualties will be more than any of us can bear ultimately. And I don't think we want to speculate on the number of casualties. The effort now has to be to save as many people as possible. I don't think we will know the answer to that until sometime tomorrow or the next day.

QUESTION: Where there large numbers of firefighters and...

GIULIANI: There are a large number of firefighters and police officers who are in harms way. And we don't know how many we've lost. But there's no doubt we've lost -- we've lost some firefighters and police officers.

QUESTION: Do you know anything about the cause of the explosions that brought the two buildings down yet? Was it caused by the planes or by something else? Was there a second explosion?

GIULIANI: We believe that it was caused by the after effects of the planes hitting the buildings. We don't know of an additional explosion.

QUESTION: Can you tell us when you (OFF-MIKE) think that there may be more bombs and more planes and more terror? Do think there were reports of big planes that were hijacked four (OFF-MIKE)? What about the remaining four? And is there any possibility that there could be bombs on the ground planted by... GIULIANI: We have no specific information to that effect. Obviously, the city is now closed. The air space around the city is closed and we are on heightened alert. But we have no specific information suggesting any further attack.


QUESTION: Mr. Mayor, can you tell us where the planes came from?

QUESTION: Mr. Mayor, why are two major warships coming into the port of New York right now?

GIULIANI: I think to give the people of New York confidence, to show that the federal government is standing with us and just to make certain that nothing further happens. This has been a very, very difficult and traumatic day for the people of the United States and the people of the city. And I think that it's an act that shows the federal government is going to do everything they can to support us and help us.


QUESTION: Is there any idea of the extent of the rescue operation that's going on right now in lower Manhattan, the scope of this operation?

GIULIANI: There are over 1,000 rescue workers -- probably about 2,000 that are deployed trying to get into the buildings, trying to find people, trying to search for people.

GIULIANI: The governor and I spoke a couple of hours ago. The governor has deployed the National Guard to relieve them because our people are going to need reinforcements pretty soon. But right now, they don't want to leave because they're searching for innocent citizens and they're searching for some of their brothers and sisters.

QUESTION: Are you finding survivors?

GIULIANI: Yes, we have. We have some numbers that we can give you. We have 1,500 people at Liberty State Park who were evacuated, described as walking wounded. They were evacuated by ferry and other means. There are about 600, as of about 15 minutes ago, in local hospitals that we account for, 600 people who are being treated in local hospitals. And there are 150 in particular that were critical, that were moved by EMS. New York City has 170 hospitals. So we have a lot of hospitals and we're utilizing all of them. Probably the one that was the hardest hit was St. Vincent's Hospital, and I would like to just single them out and commend them, because as I was rushing down there after the first plane hit, before the second, they were already deploying people on the street. I could see the doctors and nurses outside getting ready to receive people. And that was before the second plane actually hit the World Trade Center.

(CROSSTALK) GIULIANI: Also, blood donations. We have several sites for blood donations: 153 E. 53rd St.; 66th and Amsterdam, which is the Red Cross; and 310 E. 67th St. If people want to do something, they can donate blood. That's going to help, not just today, but tomorrow and the next day. This relief effort is going to take some time.

QUESTION: Mr. Mayor, you were one of the first people down there. Can you describe the scene in your own words, what you saw down there?

GIULIANI: I don't know that I'm really able to describe it. It was the most horrific scene I've ever seen in my whole life. We saw the World Trade Center in flames, a big gaping hole all the way on the top of it. We could see people jumping from the top of the building. Then, we went into Barclay Street, 75 Barclay Street, I think it was, and we were there when the building collapsed. And it collapsed in part on 75 Barclay Street, so we were trapped in the building for maybe 10 or 15 minutes trying to get out different exits. We finally went through a basement. We came out 100 Park Place.

QUESTION: Did you ever fear for your own safety, sir?

GIULIANI: Sure, yes.

QUESTION: What went through your mind?

GIULIANI: I don't think anything went through my mind other than making sure that we all remained calm and found an exit and just tried to figure out the most intelligent thing to do. Probably the same thing that went through the minds of 10,000 other New Yorkers who I could see on the streets. I really have to commend them. If you really want to know what New Yorkers are all about, you just watch the way in which they handled themselves. They didn't panic, they moved deliberately, they moved swiftly. They didn't hurt each other, they helped each other. In addition, just the most wonderful people in the world.

QUESTION: Do we know when you got the composition of that dust that (OFF-MIKE)? Is there any asbestos or any hazardous material in that dust?

GIULIANI: I don't know. I don't know the answer to that.

QUESTION: Mr. Mayor, there were reports of gas explosions related to this (OFF-MIKE). Were you aware of that? There was a gas leak or possible...

GIULIANI: We don't believe that's the case.

QUESTION: Mr. Mayor, can you tell us anything about where the planes come from, where the aircraft came from?

GIULIANI: Bill Diamond reminds me that we've turned off the gas in the city buildings, just to be safe, as a precaution.

QUESTION: Do you know where these aircraft came from? There was a report they may have been hijacked in Boston.

GIULIANI: I think we should leave that up to the federal government to -- yes, we do have some information, but I think we should leave that up to the federal government to release that information. Our focus is on the relief efforts.

QUESTION: Do you think there should be any retaliation on the part of the United States for what happened here in this country, both in New York, Washington and other places?

PATAKI: The first step right now is to make sure we do everything to help those people who need our support, whether they're injured or still trapped in buildings. The second thing is to make sure, at the same time, we're providing the maximum security against possible additional incidents. But clearly, this is an attack upon America, it's an attack upon our freedom and our way of life, and we must retaliate and go after those who perpetuated this heinous crime against the people of America.

QUESTION: This has been compared to Pearl Harbor, do you consider this to be an act of war?

GIULIANI: This is a vicious, unprovoked, horrible attack on innocent men, women and children. It's one of the most heinous acts, certainly in world history. And as the governor said and I said to the president, we fully and completely support him in any action that he has to take in order to make an example of the people who are responsible for this.

QUESTION: Is it an act of war in your mind?

GIULIANI: I don't know that I want to use those words. I think the president is the one that has to respond. And I think what he has to know is that all of us in New York support him and support him completely in the efforts that he's going to have to make over the next couple of days, week, to make a point that people can't do this. You can't attack innocent men, women and children. And ultimately, I'm totally confident that American democracy and the American rule of law will prevail, and the people of New York are going to help demonstrate that over the next couple of days.

QUESTION: Anybody take responsibility for this, any group take responsibility at this time? And what is the city doing to safeguard the citizens now that something like has happened?

GIULIANI: Well, first of all, I don't know of anyone that's taken responsibility for it at this time.

GIULIANI: And secondly, the New York City Police Department is fully deployed, not just in the rescue effort, but all throughout the city of New York, offering as much protection and as much security as we're capable of for the citizens of the city. And at this point, I believe that the people in New York City can demonstrate our resolve and our support for all of the people that were viciously attacked today by going about their lives and showing everyone that vicious, cowardly terrorists can't stop us from being a free country and a place that functions. And we'll do everything we can to make that point.

QUESTION: Just a housekeeping thing. Could you tell us what's going to happen to the New York primary?

PATAKI: This morning I issued an order suspending the primary across the state. There will be no primary today, and we'll reschedule it once we get through this.

QUESTION: Mayor, (OFF-MIKE) right now what's going on on the subway (OFF-MIKE)?

GIULIANI: The subway -- the schools -- the chancellor -- I commend the chancellor. He was on the phone a number of times with us. He coordinated very, carefully what would happen. He thought it out and he came up with a very good plan, which was essentially to keep the schools open, to keep the children in school, so we didn't have a large number of children in the different boroughs that'd be released from school. They're being released -- I shouldn't say as normal, but basically on the normal schedule. If parents aren't there to pick up the young children, then the children will be taken to a center and the parents will be notified to come and pick them up. The children who have Metro cards who normally travel on the subway will be able to do that. The subways are functioning in four of the five boroughs. And can we get an update, Joe, on how the subway's doing in Manhattan?

STAFF: All the lettered lines are working.

GIULIANI: And in Manhattan?

STAFF: In Manhattan, all the lettered lines...

GIULIANI: All the lettered lines are working, including in Manhattan. And throughout the rest of the city public transportation is normal. So the children should be able to return from school in the normal fashion. And if any children don't have parents to pick them up, then we'll hold them, let the parents know, and then the parents can come and pick them up.

QUESTION: Mr. Mayor, you mentioned you were on Barclay Street. What's the radius of damage that's been affected. How many other side streets around the World Trade Center...

GIULIANI: I don't think we know yet. The whole area of lower Manhattan has been very much affected by it.

QUESTION: How many police and fire are involved? NYPD off-duty officers, are they come in?

GIULIANI: All NYPD and FDNY officers are on duty now. GIULIANI: And we're going to need all of them. And again, thanks to the governor and the way in which the state reacted, we will have 1,500, 1,600 National Guard to relieve them over a period of time so we can get some relief for them.

QUESTION: If anybody's looking for someone that may have been in the World Trade Center or in and around that area, what should they do? How can they get (OFF-MIKE)?

GIULIANI: We're going to give you numbers so that we can try to help coordinate that. Individual businesses have already done that. But we will, as soon as we can find some time from the relief efforts, give you a number in which people can call and then we can direct them to the right place.

QUESTION: Have there been any reports of looting or anything like that, any lawlessness, Mayor?

GIULIANI: There have been no reports of lawlessness, no reports of looting. As I said, we saw a lot of people that were part of the escape effort. And they seem to be conducting themselves in a very, very sensible way, a very deliberate way. They seem to be helping each other. So I don't think we have any reports like that at all.

QUESTION: So the only National Guard we'll see will be in lower Manhattan, in the bomb site area, they won't be patrolling the rest of Manhattan?

GIULIANI: No. The purpose of it is to help with the relief effort. We're going to need the help of the state, surrounding areas, with heavy duty equipment.

QUESTION: When will they be arriving?

PATAKI: National Guard troops, some have arrived already. And we expect to have close to 2,000 between the National Guard and the state police by later this evening.

QUESTION: Mayor, bridges and tunnels will have to stay closed indefinitely?

GIULIANI: Everything is closed for now. And then maybe in about an hour or two we can give you an update on what the plan will be for tomorrow.

QUESTION: We saw a lot of lightly injured people walking out of the area because, obviously, emergency services were needed for the very seriously injured. People cut, some people had difficulty breathing. Is there any health advice to give the people who were caught in this thing who are not necessarily at risk of losing their life but...


GIULIANI: I think obviously, if you feel ill or you feel that you've been affected by it, you should go to a hospital and get checked out. But if it's just discomfort that you feel, then you can do basically what we do, was to wash our faces off and get...


GIULIANI: ... get rid of the clothes and get to an area where you can breathe in fresh air.

QUESTION: How many people were in the World Trade Center at the time of this attack?

GIULIANI: I mean, it was -- business had already started -- it was right before 9:00.

QUESTION: So what's normal...


GIULIANI: I don't know; I don't know.

QUESTION: Would you say tens of thousands?

GIULIANI: Yes. Approximately. Someone just gave me a number of approximately 10,000, but that's, you know, that's a guess.

QUESTION: How long will the city be on a heightened state of alert?

GIULIANI: Until we're told not -- until the FBI and the police department and the federal government tells us that we shouldn't. Right now, the city is on -- should be on a state of alert. Now, instead of frightening people, that should make people feel more confident, that everything is being done to keep things secure.

And, again, let me emphasize that the reason for the National Guard, because I heard the question before, is to help with the relief effort, not because there's any fear of any other problems in the city right now.


QUESTION: ... city hall, One Police Plaza, when will it be safe for you to return...

GIULIANI: I don't know yet; I don't know yet. Hopefully soon, but I don't know the answer to that.

QUESTION: And we also -- we've heard reports that One Police Plaza was evacuated, was that true?

(UNKNOWN): No, the command center is open. We have people in the command center right now.

QUESTION: Mr. Mayor, there have also been reports of a large loss of life among the police and firemen that were sent there to rescue people. How accurate are those reports?

GIULIANI: There is no question that we lost police officers and firefighters. And some that I know personally and all of us here know personally, that we're very worried about. And we're not going to know the answer to that until much later. Maybe we should just close now and give your briefing later.

And I would just ask everyone -- I talked to Cardinal Egan before, because he's at St. Vincent's Hospital. Everybody should in their own way say a prayer and ask God for help and for assistance and also ask God to give us the strength to overcome this, because I know we're going to need strength to overcome it, and I want the people of New York to be an example to the rest of the country and the rest of the world that terrorism can't stop us. American democracy is much stronger than a vicious, cowardly terrorist. And we're going to overcome this.

STAFF: Thank you, sir.

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and New York Governor George Pataki talking to reporters. The mayor urged New Yorkers to be calm, and said they have been, and indeed in every picture we have seen of the area around the Trade Center, people were evacuating in a very calm, deliberate, no panic that we have been able to see from the pictures we have taken and the reporting we have done. The mayor said 1,500 walking wounded, as he described it, taken to Liberty State Park, 600 people in local hospitals, at least 150 people in critical condition. But in fact, the mayor said, he would not even venture a guess at what these numbers will become as this day continues to unfold, and tomorrow. He acknowledged it will be several days before we really know how many people had been hurt, how many people have died.

America Under Attack: Near-Simultaneous Terrorist Attacks Committed in Washington D.C. and New York City

Aired September 11, 2001 - 14:56pm ET

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New York Governor George Pataki talking to reporters. The mayor urged New Yorkers to be calm and said they had been, and indeed in every picture we have seen of the area around the trade center, people were evacuating in a very calm, deliberate, no panic, that we have been able to see from the pictures we have taken, and the reporting we have done. The mayor said 1,500 walking wounded, as he's described it, have been taken to Liberty State Park, 600 people in local hospitals, at least 150 people in critical condition. But in fact, the mayor said, he would not even venture a guess at thee numbers will become, as this day continues to unfold, and tomorrow, he acknowledged it will be several days before we really know how many people have been hurt, how many people have died. We would add one other point here. I don't believe we have mentioned. As you know, airports around the country have been shutdown. Every airport around the country has been shutdown for the first time in the country's history. The FAA says now, there will be no commercial air traffic in the United States until at least noon tomorrow. No commercial flights anywhere in the country, not just New York and Washington, anywhere, until noon tomorrow. We know that many of you are just now coming home, getting -- joining us, and so we want to walk you through what has gone on both here in New York City and in Washington. We go to Atlanta and our colleague Joie Chen. Joie, good afternoon.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Extraordinary coverage there on the rooftops of New York of this extraordinary and horrific series of events that we have been watching throughout this day here on CNN. Acts of terrorism, and it's such an unprecedented scope and scale. It is really quite difficult to follow, and quite frankly, there has been an enormous amount of confusion, as all these events were unfolding to the day, so we are trying as best as we can to try to walk you through all this now, to bring you all up to date on what we know about the events that have taken place today. Beginning at 8:45 this morning, that is Eastern Time, when the World Trade Center, the workday was well under way there in lower Manhattan, an airliner crashing into one of Twin Towers of Trade Center. The people in New York, and then very quickly, people all around the nation watching just terrible horror as the thick, black smoke billowed from the tower, but that, as turned out was really just the beginning. Eighteen minutes later, just 18 minutes later, you see in the highlighted picture there on the right side, another very big commercial jumbo jet moving toward the other tower of the world trade center, and there, you see again, the explosion taking place on camera for all to see, quite specifically designed to do that. That was at 9:03 Eastern. Cameras are trained on the two twin centers. Of course, you know that the trade center what target of a terror bombing back in 1993 which killed six people. The attack injured so many more, and it really does pale in comparison to what we are seeing today, although, as you just you heard, from the mayor for the city of New York, nobody want to make a guess yet on what the total with be. In the middle of all of this, suddenly Washington became a target. You see it here. This is the Pentagon, which we always view as some sort impenetrable fortress, the Pentagon, the symbol of the nation's military might, also a command post today. The Pentagon wracked by the explosion that occurred at 9:45 this morning. Witnesses say that the commercial aircraft crashed into the Army side of building. That has been confirmed by authorities, as about the time the federal government ordered all the nation's airports closed and ordered all planes in the air to get on the ground. And as you just heard from Aaron Brown, commercial aircraft will not be in nation's skies until sometime tomorrow. Now most ahead to 10:00 Eastern. The first of two Trade Center towers collapses. And you see the tremendous plume of smoke and debris left. This is an image that we cannot forget. That was the visual sighting. You see really almost an implosion, as it gave away all that was left, the ash falling from the top of the tower as it came down. Twenty-nine minutes later, the second trade center tower collapsing. We can report that we know some 50,000 people work daily in the area of the trade center buildings. These towers, their U.S. landmarks, they receive tens of thousands of visitors each day. The mayor of New York City does believe he says a horrendous number of lives has been lost in the course of this tragedy, but he did not want to wager any sort of speculation on what the final toll would be. As one witness told us, that in the moments before the buildings collapsed, he saw people leaping, leaping, to try to save their own lives from the Trade Center towers. Back in Washington, we get a closer look at what occurred at the Pentagon, what was left, the great flames and the gaping hole of the Pentagon, apparently left by that hijacked plane that crashed into the Department of Defense. Again, we're told this is the Army side of the building, of the Pentagon building, which of course has five sides. Now a commercial aircraft we also know has crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. That is south, southeast of Pittsburgh, about 80 miles south, southeast of Pittsburgh, along I-76. The report said that just before the crash, a passenger was on board, telephoned 911, saying that the plane had been hijacked, and trying to warn, trying to get help. Now that would account, would explain the crash there, for all four planes that have been confirmed as being hijacked over U.S. skies today. Again, two crashing into the World Trade Center towers. One, into the Pentagon. And this last one, you see the debris of it there, in the agricultural area, the farming areas, the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. We want to try to show you some live pictures of lower Manhattan. At this hour, again, you still see a thick plume of smoke there.