Friday, September 3, 2010
CBS News, September 11, 2001, Transcript: 8:31am – 9:12am
21:11 The CBS Special Report theme music and logo appears.
21:23 (8:52 a.m.)
Bryant Gumble: It’s 8:52 here in New York, I’m Bryant Gumble, we understand that there has been a plane crash in the southern tip of Manhattan, you’re looking at a picture of the World Trade Center. We understand that a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center, we don’t know anything more than that. We don’t know if it was a commercial aircraft, we don’t know if it is a private aircraft, we have no idea how many were onboard or what the extent of the injuries are. Right now.We are…we have, I understand, an eyewitness on the phone, right now, 21:53 (a commercial interrupts 21:55) Sir, what is your name?
Stuart: My name is Stuart.
Gumble: Stuart where are you right now?
Stuart: I’m working at a restaurant in Soho.
Gumble: Alright, so tell us what you saw if you would?
Stuart: I literally, I was waiting a table and I literally saw a, it seemed to be like a small plane, I just heard a couple of noises, it looked like it bounced off the building, and then I heard, I saw, a huge, like, ball of fire on top, and then the smoke seemed to simmer down, and it’s just done, a lot of smoke is coming out and that’s pretty much the extent of what I saw.
Gumble: A private aircraft?
Stuart: Ah, I’m not sure, if it was a, it just seemed like a smaller plane. I don’t think it was anything commercial.
Gumble: Did you, could you tell us anything, whether it was a prop or a jet?
Stuart: I honestly don’t know, it happened too quickly.
Gumble: Ah, characterize the scene for us down there right now if you would.
Stuart: Excuse me?
Gumble: Can you tell us about the scene down there, right now.
Stuart: Right now people are just on the street looking at the building, there’s just a lot of smoke, um, it’s not too crazy down where I am, but I’m…
Gumble: How far away from the World Trade Center specifically are you?
Stuart: I’m actually on Thompson Street, north, I’m not too, too far.
Gumble: It’s 8:54 right now Stuart. Can you tell me when this happened exactly?
Stuart: I would have to say about ten minutes ago.
Gumble: About ten minutes ago.
Gumble: Is this normally an area that is, that is heavily trafficked by aircraft, or is this an area that aircraft steer pretty clear of?
Stuart: You know, I can’t, I really don’t know that information.
Gumble: Unhuh. Is, is there much panic around there?
Stuart: Just people on the street coming out and looking, there was panic at first but it seemed to slow down right now.
Gumble: We’re looking at a picture of a great deal of smoke coming out of the building. Can you please tell us, was there, after you heard this crash, was there smoke immediately?
Stuart: No, there was like a big ball of fire on the top of the building and then as that simmered down there seemed to be a ton of smoke, and yea so, ya, pretty much immediately.
Gumble: I hear a fire engine in the background, um, has that been going since, a since you saw this crash, or is that kind of a late arrival?
Stuart: It happened almost pretty much after we heard the crash, pretty quick.
Gumble: Pretty much after you heard the crash.
Stuart: Pretty much.
Stuart: It was pretty quick we heard sirens, and you know, people acting on it.
Gumble: Did you, were you looking up as the plane approached the building or did it only call, catch your attention after it a crashed into the World Trade Center?
Stuart: I heard like a sort of crashing sound but I looked up, I looked up quick enough to actually see something go into the building, but everything happened so fast I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking at.
Gumble: So there’s no way you can know whether or not the plane seemed to be in trouble.
Stuart: No, no.
Gumble: Before it crashed into the building?
Stuart: Oh no! No, I couldn’t tell.
Gumble: It’s hard for us to tell from the picture we’re seeing, just ah, how far down from the top that plane crashed, have you any better eyesight to it?
Gumble: From your vantage point.
Stuart: Ah not really, all I know is it definitely wasn’t the top, top of the building, because that seems to be intact from what I saw, um, I really can’t tell.
Gumble: Unhuh, can you tell us anything about um how much debris came crashing to the ground and whether or not um, anybody was hurt as a result?
Stuart: I honestly don’t know, I just saw a lot of what looked like a lot of tumbling glass maybe, just a lot of stuff falling down, but not, I can’t tell you debris-wise.
Gumble: Unhuh. Obviously the timing of this is important. It comes before 9 o'clock, um perhaps, perhaps, and we say that in a hopeful fashion, perhaps not everybody was at work, um, because ah if that building was in fact crowded with workers, we’re looking at probably some casualties and injuries of considerable proportions, but right now there’s no way of telling that, um, Mr…ah, Stuart, just one more time. And I know I’m exhausting what little information you have but we have people joining us, um, every moment, take me through again, where you were, when this happened, what you saw.
Stuart: I was, um, serving tables at a restaurant and I just heard, sort of like a boom sound it almost sounded like an earthquake sound, and I looked up and I saw, literally something like, it might even have bounced off a little bit of the building, and the next thing I know I saw a big ball of fire on the top of the building and just lots of smoke and what looked like debris or glass falling down and it happened really quick it’s really hard to, ah…
Gumble: OK, Stuart, I thank you very much I appreciate that sir.
Stuart: OK my pleasure.
Gumble: Thank you.
Gumble: We’re on the line with ah another eyewitness, sir, ah this is Bryant Gumble in New York.
Wendell Klein: Ah, how ya doing?
Gumble: I’m fine thank you. You’re Wendell?
Wendell: Yes I am.
Gumble: Wendell, can you give me your last name?
Gumble: Wendell Klein, Can you tell me where are you right now?
Wendell: Right now I’m at back in the hotel, the hotel office, front offices.
Gumble: Where were you?
Wendell: I was standing right in front of the trade…the hotel, I’m the doorman there, and um...
Gumble: The hotel, the hotel, which hotel?
Wendell: The Marriott World Trade Center.
Gumble: Right across from the World Trade Center?
Wendell: It’s actually right in between them.
Gumble: Right in between the World Trade Center?
Gumble: OK, So you were standing outside and, tell us what you saw and what you heard...
Wendell: Well I, what I heard first was an explosion, and I just figured it just a plane passing by, then all of a sudden stuff just started falling, like bricks and paper and everything, and so I just kind of ran inside to get away from the falling debris and glass and so forth, and then after like everything had stopped falling into the street and cars were passing into each other, and when it stopped I heard a guy screaming, and when I looked over there was this guy who was on fire so I kind of like ran over, and I like tried to put the fire out on him, and he was, he was like just screaming and I told him to just roll, roll and he said I can’t, then another guy came over with his bag and kind of put the flames out on him so, right now he’s being taken care of and everyone called the ambulance and stuff to help him out.
Gumble: He caught fire as a result of the falling debris?
Gumble: How much debris, can you give us an idea how much came crashing to the ground?
Wendell: Oh man, just a lot, bricks, a lot of bricks, a lot of glass, um like enough to damage cars on the street, make cars swerve into each other, that kind of thing.
Gumble: Any other people on the ground that you saw hurt?
Wendell: Just him so far.
Gumble: Tell me about the traffic down in that area, and I’m talking about human traffic, at 8:55
Wendell: Well, you see on my side...
Wendell: Right, well on my side, where I’m standing there’s not a whole lot, because it basically, right in front of the hotel, so you don’t get too much, but you do get enough, you get some...
Gumble: What about traffic in the building. I mean you work basically between the two towers?
Gumble: Um, are most people arriving for work before or after 9am?
Wendell: Before, basically in my hotel I have people who are just leaving and going to meetings outside my hotel I just have people waiting for their cars to take them to their various destinations that kind of thing.
Gumble: I hear alarms going off down there what’s happening?
Wendell: That’s our hotel alarm and basically, I guess that went off automatically. They’ve evacuated everyone in the hotel, evacuated of it are all the employees.
Gumble: They have evacuated the hotel?
Gumble: Can you give me an idea of what the scene is like down there?
Wendell: What the what is like?
Gumble: What the scene is like at the World Trade Center?
Wendell: People are like crying and panicking and want to know what is going on. When I came inside there was a lot of people who wanted to go out to see what was going on, but the security kind of kept them at bay, kept them inside, um, basically right now I still have people going towards the bar area, they’re trying to evacuate everyone out of here, that kind of thing.
Gumble: Is this an area, um, Mr. Klein, that is normally trafficked by small planes, or is it an area they generally steer clear of?
Wendell: Um you do get some, I see some passing, um, basically those planes I do see passing are like those, you know, like in Washington DC area.
Wendell: It wouldn’t be like huge planes, but big enough.
Gumble: Are you hearing anything Wendell about what kind of plane it was?
Wendell: No, no.
Gumble: Or how many were onboard.
Wendell: No, basically all I got was my wife calling me and she told me it was a plane crash, and basically I really don’t know what is going on so far.
Gumble: Do you know if it was a private aircraft or a commercial plane?
Wendell: That I don’t know.
Gumble: You don’t know.
Wendell: No sir.
Gumble: Your not seeing any evidence of people being carried out of the building yet?
Wendell: Um ah, there’s a woman they just carried I guess she fainted or something, I don’t see any physical injuries to her.
Gumble: Alright Mr. Klein, thank you very much sir.
Wendell: Good talking with you sir.
Gumble: I appreciate it.
Wendell: Bye bye.
Gumble: I understand Theresa Reynaud is with us right now, Miss Reynaud, good morning.
Theresa Reynaud: Good morning how are you?
Gumble: This is Bryant Gumble, I’m down at 59 and Fifth. Where are you?
Theresa: I am in Chelsea, and we are at 8th and 16th. We’re the tallest building in the area and we, my window faces south, so it looks directly onto the World Trade Center, and I would say, you know, approximately ten minutes ago there was a major explosion from probably it looks like about the eightieth floor, it looks like its affected probably four to eight floors, major flames are coming out of the, let’s see, the north side, and also the east side of the building, yes, and it was a very large explosion followed by flames and it looks like the building is still on fire on the inside.
Gumble: Which building are we talking about, the one that's westernmost?
Theresa: Um, let’s see, yes sir.
Gumble: So it’s coming out of the north side and the east side of the building of the westernmost tower?
Theresa: That’s correct.
Gumble: Um, you’re over in Chelsea, um, did you hear the explosion from your position?
Theresa: Oh yes we did, as a matter of fact, we heard it, because I was just standing there pretty much just looking out the window I didn’t see what caused it or if there was an impact.
Gumble: So you have no idea…
Theresa: Oh! There’s another one! Another plane just hit! Oh! Oh my God! Another plane has just hit, another building! Flew right into the middle of it! Explosion! My God, it’s right in the middle of the building!
Gumble: This went into the east tower?
Theresa: Yes. Yes.
Theresa: Right in the middle of the building. (breathing, also a cut.) It’s. And right now. Yes. That definitely looked like it was on purpose.
Gumble: (Incredulous) You saw a plane…
Theresa: Yes. I just saw a plane go into the building.
Gumble: (pause) Why do you say that was on definitely on purpose?
Theresa: It’s because it just… it just flew straight into it, there’s not, it didn’t look like it was, ah, and it didn’t look like it was a commercial jet, it was a smaller plane, (pause) it definitely was a smaller plane (pause, heavy breathing.)
Gumble: Can you characterize the scene down there right now for us?
Gumble: For us.
Gumble: As you look down the street...
Gumble: From your vantage point.
Theresa: On the second building, the further one, the east side, there, it looks like it is about ah, I would say, 15 floors lower than the first building, and there is now flames coming out of that building as well, they’re both completely on fire.
Gumble: Now I’m looking at what was the west tower and it looks like the um, the fire on the north side of that tower, is a little bit lower but it looks like it’s the same building you’re saying it was the other tower that absorbed the second impact.
Theresa: That’s what it looked like, exactly from my perspective.
Gumble: Don King, our director, if I could ask you to widen out and gives us a shoot of both towers, because I can’t, we can’t tell, oh OK that is on the second tower, it is on the east tower, um, Theresa, hang on with us one second...
Gumble: We’re going to re-rack the tape of when we were talking to you to see if we can tell.
Gumble: We can’t see anything, we can't see a second plane in the picture there we see the explosion.
Gumble: There, we see the explosion...
Theresa: It definitely was a plane that hit it.
Gumble: Here we are we’re trying to re-rack the tape right now, Theresa do you have a vantage point to the ground from where you are right now?
Theresa: Ah, yes I probably could go down.
Gumble: No I’m not asking you to go down, I’m asking you if you can see it.
Theresa: Oh no, I can not see the ground, as a matter of fact, there are too many buildings in the way, I could probably see just about, I would say, a third, I can see the top two-thirds of the building.
Gumble: Unhuh and about how much of the top third of the buildings do you see flames, see damage?
Theresa: Ah I would say, middle of the second building, and the top fourth of the first building.
Gumble: OK, Theresa stay with us we’re going to look for that tape one more time, we’re going to re-rack the tape here and see if we can’t see a plane, ya, we see it right now, a plane coming in right now and impacting what would appear to be the north side of that tower, of the westernmost tower.
Gumble: And hitting about ten or 15 stories below, Theresa let me ask you to hang on for a second as I talk with another gentleman who is an eyewitness, Richard Davis, Mr. Davis, good morning.
Richard Davis: Good morning.
Gumble: This is Bryant Gumble.
Davis: Yes sir.
Gumble: I’m at 59th and Fifth where are you?
Davis: Ah, I’m at, ah 50th and ah, Fifth, but I’m facing south on the 39th floor.
Gumble: You’re facing south, so you have a clear vantage point?
Gumble: Talk to me about what you see if you could.
Davis: The first plane looked like a 737, um, it flew right up the middle of Manhattan, it was clearly too low, I noticed it, ah, by the time it had passing the Empire State Building, and ah noticed that it was too low, it appeared to be absolutely nothing wrong with the plane, and then it very deliberately, ah flew into the side of the World Trade Center.
Gumble: Why do you say “very deliberately?”
Davis: Because the pilot aimed right for the building, and there was nothing wrong with the plane.
Gumble: The plane did not appear to be in any trouble in any way whatsoever?
Davis: None whatsoever.
Gumble: And we’re talking about a commercial aircraft, a 737?
Davis: It appeared to be a 737, I can’t…be absolutely certain, I’m not a…
Gumble: Obviously, I’m not asking you to be an aviation expert, but clearly what you saw, or what you say you saw, was not a small aircraft.
Davis: It was not a small aircraft. It was a small commercial aircraft, like a small Airbus, or a 737 Boeing…a 2-engine jet.
Gumble: And that was the first plane...did you…did you see…Mr. Davis, we’re looking at a, um tape replay
Gumble: Of the second plane boring into the building. It’s hard for us to tell how large an aircraft it is, or whether or not that was intentional, um…go ahead, I’m sorry...
Davis: Believe me, it was such an intentional…we saw the second one come up the Hudson and veer into the second building.
Gumble: (pause) Why do you say the second one was intentional?
Davis: Because it was flown very…deliberately, there appeared to be nothing wrong with the aircraft, it was flown very deliberately into the building.
Gumble: Have they have, you don’t, obviously you’re at 50th, obviously you don’t have any vantage point down there. What is everybody else talking about there who have the same vantage point, they see all the same thing you did?
Davis: Ah yes. ah well the others did not see the first one but there were several people in my office when the second one came in.
Gumble: Ya we’re looking at the second one boring in right now, and it does not seem to be wavering in any way, or seem to be banking to avoid the tower in any way.
Davis: Let me say, it could hardly be a coincidence that two airplanes fly into the World Trade Center within ten minutes of each other?
Davis: On a clear day.
Gumble: Ya…It’s a terrible scene right now.
Davis: Yes but the towers are…..(missing…..garbled…look terrible?)
Gumble: Wow. Wow. Miss Reynaud, are you still on with me. Theresa Reynaud?
Theresa Reynaud: Yes I’m here.
Gumble: Can you tell us if the scene has changed from your vantage point?
Theresa: I would say from my vantage point right now, it's, looks like there are very few flames coming out of the first tower, still a lot of smoke. The second tower, we can still see flames coming out of the window, the north window, and, ah, a lot of smoke, a lot of smoke, the tops of the building are covered in smoke, um...
Gumble: And from your vantage point you can’t see anything that’s happening on the ground?
Theresa: No I can not...I hear a lot of sirens out on the street right now, ah you one thing you could see in the windows is all of the emergency system lights blinking off and on in the first tower, when that happened, and I can’t see them anymore. And the second tower I cannot see any emergency lights in the building.
Gumble: All right, I’m going to thank you both right there and pass along the word that we are getting from the FBI, that at this point the FBI is trying to confirm, trying to confirm, that this was an intentional act. Um, at this point it's pure speculation, Mr. Davis has told us what he saw, that it appeared the, ah first plane, ah a large aircraft, ah, bored into the westernmost of the two towers, in an intentional fashion, um, while a, while we were speaking moments ago, a second plane, hard to identify the size of it, bore it’s way into the easternmost tower, so we have ah, two crashes, here is a different angle of the same plane, you see it up there on the left, um, boring…yah…ah...boring into there. But again, at this point, um…it is restricted airspace, it is a clear day, so the suspicions are high that these are intentional acts, but the FBI at this point is still trying to confirm that these are intentional acts. We have another eyewitness, sir, on the phone, good morning...
Frederick: Good morning Mr. Gumble.
Gumble: How are you?
Frederick: I’m fairly frightened I have to say.
Gumble: Um, give me your name if you would.
Frederick: My name is Frederick Schneider, sir.
Gumble: Mr. Schneider, where are you?
Frederick: I am on Liberty St., which is the same street that the trade center is on. I’m on the south side, and the trade center is on the north side, my office is on the 24th floor, so I have a very clear view of exactly what happened this morning, and I’ve been here for about two hours so I have been watching it unfold.
Gumble: Two hours!
Frederick: Yes, I got to my office at seven.
Gumble: Oh, OK, I’m sorry. Tell me about the timetable about when things started to go terribly bad this morning.
Frederick: Well Mr. Gumble, at about 8:50 this morning, there was an explosion. I heard it first and then my building which is 51 stories tall, shook and rocked, and then I saw a plume of flame shoot out of the trade center over the Hudson river, and then I saw the plane that had crashed into the trade center ah, fall down, and then it disappeared behind a building that blocks my view. There was a tremendous amount of smoke and then it started to rain huge pieces of paper, and the paper continued to come down. At that point all the news media started to learn about it, and I turned on my radio, and while I was still sitting at my desk I saw a second jet, a fairly large plane, fly in over the south end of Manhattan, and deliberately fly directly into the trade center before my eyes.
Gumble: (sadly) Why do you say ‘deliberately fly into the trade center?’
Frederick: Because…um…there was no doubt in my mind, that both planes were using the trade center as a target. They weren’t in trouble… tape ends...
CBS Sept. 11, 2001 9:12 am - 9:54 am (September 11, 2001)
Frederick: They weren't in distress. They weren't falling from the sky. They aimed for it. And they did a very good job. The Trade Center is torn open. There is a hole in the south side of the Trade Center. Torn open from the impact of the plane, which fell into the street below.
Gumble: Would that be the western-most of the two towers?
Frederick: Um...the southern-most of the two towers.
Gumble: The southern-most of the two towers?
Frederick: Yes, yes, there is a big gaping hole in it. Flames and smoke have been pouring out since it happened about five minutes ago. I'm a little shaken because I saw the plane pass before my eyes. It was ah, just about at my eye level, so...
Gumble: How close to you?
Frederick: A block and a half.
Gumble: Um, You say you saw the first plane fall down.
Gumble: We're re-racking tape here, by the way, and, and, I'm speaking to you Mr. Schneider, but um, I'm showing tape right here of the second plane boring into the northern-most of the two towers. You say you saw the first plane fall down. What can you tell me about that plane?
Frederick: Well, I didn't recognize it as a plane at first. It looked like to me like a charred piece of metal, and I, I had thought that there was an explosion from within the Trade Center, so I thought what I was seeing was a piece of the Trade Center falling, because the sheaf of the Trade Center is metal, but, um, since I've learned that the first explosion was caused by a plane crashing into the tower, I've assumed that what I saw was a piece of the fuselage that was falling, and a plume of flame I saw shoot out, would be consistent with jet fuel exploding.
Gumble: So you, you really have no idea of how large a plane the first one was?
Frederick: No, I didn't even know that that was a plane. I learned that from the news media. But I definitely saw the second plane. I heard its sound, and I saw it streaming in from the south. I watched it crash into the Trade Center.
Gumble: Ah, you said you are very afraid, and understandably so, um, they're not evacuating your building?
Frederick: Um, no, I'm going to leave on my own, but I haven't heard any decisions made to that effect.
Gumble: Can you see the ground from your vantage point?
Frederick: Oh yea,
Gumble: Talk to me about the scene on the ground, if you would.
Frederick: Well, it's completely devoid of vehicles and people. The entire street is totally littered with paper and smoke, and several vehicles are on fire, on Liberty Street, in the parking lot, where, either fuel or pieces of the plane fell onto them, after crashing into the Trade Center. There is a tremendous number of emergency vehicles here, and continuing to arrive. I hear sirens from every side.
Gumble: All right, Mr. Schneider, you've got a great vantage point, I'm going to ask you to hold on, for, with me for a little while, if you would,
Frederick: OK, Mr Gumble.
Gumble: I know you're anxious to get out of the building. I'm not going to keep you forever, I promise. But let me ask you to sit tight for a second, while I go to Washington, where Jim Stewart is standing by. He's got some official reaction. Jim, good morning, what are you hearing?
Stewart: Good morning, Bryant, well by happenstance I was talking to FBI headquarters at the moment this explosion took place. They saw it occur as we saw it occur, the second explosion rather, and their reaction was the same as everyone else. Number one, they noticed the clear weather there, and number two, they noticed what appeared to be, in their eyes, a deliberate attempt to crash the aircraft into the World Trade Center. Ah, right now they are trying to determine whether in fact, it was deliberate, They have no information they can share at the moment, and I get the sense that they are in the same mode we are. Simply they are trying to figure out what is going on.
Gumble: Jim, Jim, let me interrupt for one second. I am looking at a report that the FBI is investigating reports that a plane hijacking...did you have any news of that?
Stewart: No, we don't.
Gumble: No confirmation of that whatsoever?
Stewart: We have no confirmation
Gumble: Their not even discussing that?
Stewart: No, the only discussion that's going on here Bryant, is the World Trade Center has obvious symbolic value. It's been a target before for terrorism, and frankly, it would not surprise the FBI, or anyone in national security, if it was a target again.
Gumble: Sometimes the obvious leads you to a conclusion. We're looking at two crashes, eighteen minutes apart, into an obvious target, a building that has never been hit by a plane before, on a clear day. Um, what do the intelligence people there say about that?
Stewart: The intelligence community for some time has been warning in a steady drumbeat, that Osama bin Laden (4:13 on tape, 9:16 a.m.) has not been heard from, frankly, since the beginning of the year. The USS Cole incident, rather, and they have been wondering, when and if he would strike again, and they only believed it was a matter of time, and today, that is going to be their first suspicion, but we have no confirmation of that, I must underlined that there is no confirmation that this is a terrorist attack, number one, and number two that Osama bin Laden involved, but I can tell you right now that that is what they are thinking, that is the working premise, and we will just have to see as the day unfolds what they discover.
Gumble: Jim, as we sit here at 9:17, does the FBI have any choice but to sit and watch this on television?
Stewart: I have never heard such a gasp of astonishment as I heard speaking to the FBI headquarters this moment, this morning, when they saw what we saw, the explosion at the World Trade Center, the second explosion, and the smoke coming out of it. It reminded me, and them, of Oklahoma City, there's pure astonishment, I can tell you, at FBI headquarters this morning, and they are trying to find out the facts just as we are. Right now they don't have any.
Gumble: And as you noted, Jim, this has been a target before, back on February 26, “93, a terrorist act at the World Trade Center killed six and injured more than a thousand others. Do you know whether or not, the FBI had received any warnings about attacks on domestic soil?
Stewart: You know, frankly, no. It's a question we ask every day. I asked as recently as yesterday what the intelligence community what was the latest on terrorism threats in the United States, whether any intercepts had been picked up, whether there was any current fear here that the target, the next target, would be within the United States, the answer came back no, they were still anticipating that the next strike against American interests would be overseas somewhere. Those are the most vulnerable targets. Today would clearly be some evidence that that's not the case at all, and in clear weather, as you pointed out, what appears to be a deliberate attack into the heart of the financial district in New York City, you can't pick a more explicate message to send to America if you are a terrorist than what happened today. I stress again though, this is pure speculation, but it is speculation right now by the people who are going to have to solve this crime, if in fact it is one.
Gumble: That's a good point Jim, at this point it is pure speculation. One thing we can tell you is we are looking at a very clear day in Manhattan, on this Tuesday morning, we are looking at two towers of one-hundred-and-ten stories in height, that are on fire right now, that have absorbed two impacts eighteen minutes apart. Certainly, it's a little more than, than---it would be an amazing coincidence, I think we should say.
Stewart: Bryant, we've just been told that, ah, and this should not come as a surprise, it's standard procedure by the FBI, their rapid, rapid deployment team from the Washington Field office, this is a group of people that they send to major disaster and terrorist incidents, such as the twin embassy bombings in Africa, they have now been dispatched to New York. I have, ah, I have reason to believe too, that some members of the HRT, that's the hostage rescue team, ah, have been put on alert, ah, we don't have any word yet that they would be sent, and these are standard procedures that would take place anytime a major terrorist incident occurs, but this would be a group of approximately 60 experts, people who are very good at picking up the bits of debris that we have been talking about falling on the streets of New York, and turning that into evidence, should they discover that this in fact, was a deliberate act.
Gumble: Jim, if you don't know the answer to this I understand, I apologize upfront for asking you, but do you know whether or not there are any federal offices in the World Trade Center at the upper level?
Stewart: I don't know whether there are, but I don not believe that there are, I believe that the FBI, the ATF, the alcohol, tobacco and firearms people are all closer to midtown, but I don't know the precise answer to that.
Gumble: So, in fact, if the buildings were targeted intentionally, this would be more symbolic than a direct attack on the federal government or its employees. Um, Jim, let me ask you to sit tight for a second, I understand Mr Davis you're back with me on the line?
Davis: I am.
Gumble: And Miss Reynaud, you're also back on the line?
Gumble: Mr. Davis, bring us up to speed. What are you seeing, anything changed?
Davis: No, but the smoke is getting thicker, and I can see flames from some of the windows on the first tower. My view of the second tower is somewhat obstructed.
Gumble: Where are you? 50th and Fifth?
Davis: I'm 50th and Fifth.
Gumble: Are officials there anxious in any way, to evacuated your building, or is this just a normal work day?
Davis: I'm told that Rockefeller Center is putting into effect security measures, but we have not been told to evacuate.
Gumble: OK, and Miss Reynaud, what are you seeing right now?
Theresa: Ah, from the southeast tower, there is still flames coming out of the north side of the building, and it, you know, it may just be my perspective, but it looks like something could be sticking out of that. Also, it looks like on the northwest tower that there's possibly, the fire and everything could have moved up, because it seems to be that there's smoke coming out higher, higher floors on the building.
Gumble: You say there appears to be something out, that would be the second aircraft?
Gumble: The one at the lower level?
Gumble: And, and, what exactly do you see?
Theresa: Um, there's an object that doesn't fit with the line of the building. It seems to be protruding and that's what's on fire .
Gumble: Uh huh, we're getting a look at the building right now, and I must say, the smoke seems to be obscuring our view enough that we can't identify, we're re-racking the tape right now. Um, you see circled there, off to the right-hand side of your screen, this is the second plane, obviously the first plane has already collided with the top of the southern-most building, and now, here comes the second plane, and you see, making no moves to evade the second tower, and then, crashing into the second one. Miss Reynaud, let me ask you to sit tight, Mr Davis, you too, for a second, I want to go to Washington, where White House correspondent Bill Plante is standing by. Bill, what are you hearing on your end?
Bill Plante: Bryant, we're hearing that the President will have a statement to make shortly. He is in Florida this morning, he was supposed to do an educational event, with children, to push his education bill. We understand that that event has been canceled. There was a senior staff meeting here this morning. Nobody seems quite to know exactly what is going on. The National Security Council said earlier that it had heard nothing unusual, this was after the first airplane impact. We will hear from the President we think, very shortly, to hear what he has to say, and to see, what if anything, they know what appears to be so deliberate.
Gumble: Bill, I asked Jim this earlier, and I apologize if you are not in a position to shed anymore light on it, but do you know whether or not, officials there at the White House had been forewarned that there was an immanent attack, or a heightened sense of alert? We are aware that there had been for some time a heightened sense of alert throughout the Mid-East, um, but I'm talking about domestically?
Plante: Well, we do know that there has been a heightened sense of alert, there have been a number of threats, there are always been threats received, they've tended to take them recently a bit more seriously. But, it does not appear, and I hesitate to make this for certain, but it does not appear that they had any advance warning that anything was going to happen today.
Gumble: Again, and this is all speculative Bill, but are officials there working under the assumption that two planes crashing into the twin towers eighteen minutes apart on a clear day---not an accident?
Plante: Hard to believe that they would think otherwise, but at the moment they seem just as mystified as we are. And, as I said before, we do expect a statement from the President , who is down in Florida, sometime within the next few minutes.
Gumble: Alright Bill, let me go back to Miss Theresa Reynaud. I'm sorry Miss Reynaud, I cut you off earlier, and I may again, by the way, if the President is ready to speak, but give us what you see from your vantage point, if you would.
Theresa: From the southeast building...
Gumble: You're in Chelsea correct?
Theresa: Yes, on the 14th floor. We have a 360-degree view, it's a completely clear, straight shot. Ah, we have, on the southeast building, on the north side, what looks like the north corner, about the middle of the building, it is still very much in flames, and ah, smoke rising from that. I can't see as many flames coming out of the northwest building, looks like though that the north side of the building and the northwest side of the north building are, have been opened up and, um, still very much covered with smoke at the tops of the buildings.
Gumble: And that the northwest side would be the building that absorbed the first impact, the higher of the two.
Theresa: That's correct.
Gumble: Um, from our vantage point it appears that the higher hole is a larger hole. Is that what you see?
Theresa: Yes, absolutely, absolutely, and you know, I don't know if that's just a difference in perspective from where I am, because that is the closer building to me.
Gumble: Certainly, it's staggered, you're correct.
Gumble: We've heard an earlier report, unconfirmed, that the plane, the first plane appeared to be a 737. The plane we saw, absent any perspective, seemed to be a small plane.
Theresa: I would say the explosion upon impact was much larger on the first hit than on the second.
Gumble: You heard both?
Theresa: Yes. I saw, I saw the, I saw the impact on the second building, I saw the explosion come from the building on the first one.
Gumble: Uh huh, you are at Chelsea and 14th …
Theresa: It's like 16th and Eighth Avenue.
Gumble: I'm sorry, you're on the 14th floor. I apologize---not on 14th. You're a considerable ways away. Any effort there to evacuate your building?
Theresa: Ah, not at this point, no.
Gumble: Mr. Davis, tell us the mood where you are. We were talking to a gentleman earlier, who was in a high-rise closer to the World Trade Center, and he was genuinely afraid, and understandably so.
Davis: Well, it is shocking, very shocking, to have witnessed, perhaps we can be somewhat more sympathetic to what Israel is suffering at the moment.
Gumble: But they have not moved people out of your building?
Gumble: You said you are at Rockefeller Center, that security actions have been put in place. What do those entail?
Davis: Ah, I really do not know, but we have not been told to evacuate.
Gumble: All right. Jim Stewart, back in Washington, you still with us? Well, Bill, you're still with us right?
Stewart: I am Bryant.
Gumble: What word are you hearing about when the President is going to come forward?
Stewart: We were just told that the President would have something to say down in Florida any minute. He is in Florida. We believe that his education event which was scheduled for this morning, has been canceled. But the White House is saying that the President will have something to say, then he will leave Florida and come right back to Washington, Bryant.
Gumble: Bill, have his people, Condi Rice, Collin Powell, his security people, his foreign affairs people, um, ever discussed this kind of scenario?
Stewart: I don't know for certain but I would be very surprised if they had not talked about it, this kind of what-if disaster planning is a staple in Washington, and particularly at senior levels. I think that these sorts of things are gamed, examined, and talked about, and everyone hopes they will never happen.
Gumble: Yea, except in this case it would have seemed to have gone against hopes. Again, let's bring everyone up to speed, as best we can tell. Wow...we just had another view of the second plane going in...um, as best we can tell, at 8:45 this morning, an aircraft plowed into the uppermost levels of one of the twin towers. Um, an eyewitness has defined that plane, has told us that that plane was a 737, but that is unconfirmed, and then moments later, eighteen minutes later, a second aircraft, the one you just saw there, plowed into the other twin tower, at a lower level, um, that plane we have no idea of its size, we have no idea if these were intentional acts, we have no idea if these were private planes, or commercial aircraft, we have an unconfirmed report from the Associated Press, that the FBI was investigating reports that a plane hijacking shortly before the crash into the World Trade Center, let's go to Florida, President Bush has a statement,
Bush: Ladies and gentlemen, this is a difficult moment for America, I ah, unfortunately, will be going back to Washington after my remarks. Secretary Rod Pace and the Lieutenant Governor will take the podium and discuss education. I do want to thank the folks here at the Booker Elementary school for their hospitality. 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 with 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'll join me in a moment of silence...May God bless the victims, their families, and America. Thank you very much.
Gumble: We're been watching President Bush who was down in Florida for what was supposed to be an educational event. Instead, he is racing back to Washington as we speak. The President making a very brief statement in Sarasota, um, calling it an apparent terrorist attack, on our nation, again, that is unconfirmed, promising the full resources of the federal government, to not only to help the victims, but to investigate, and before asking people to pray with him, the President saying that this act will not stand. As he was speaking, we got a report from Reuters, that a plane was hijacked from Boston, a plane out of Boston was hijacked, but again, that is unconfirmed. We had a report earlier from the Associated Press that there had been a hijacking, now Reuters is reporting that a plane out of Boston was hijacked, um, an American Airlines aircraft, we understand, was the plane that was hijacked, this would be in keeping with an earlier eyewitness report that the first plane that plowed into the...into the World Trade Center was a 737. Um, former FBI agent James Kallstrom is, covered the World Trade Center bombing back in 1993, he is with us on the line right now. Jim, good morning.
James Kallstrom: Good morning.
Gumble: You've been watching this, talk to me.
Kallstrom: I should say good morning, it's not a good morning.
Gumble: Yea, I apologize. Go ahead.
Kallstrom: I don't know much about it, but it sure looks to me like a deliberate act of terrorism. Um, I mourn the loss of the lives that I'm sure are going to follow this.
Gumble: Um, I've got a lot of questions for you, James, if I could just take you through them if I could. Um, because you investigated, worked on, the original terrorist incidence, I should say, the terrorist incident back in 1993, can you tell me if these buildings have any special significance by virtue of whose working in them?
Kallstrom: Well, I think it's not so much whose working in them, I think the towers symbolize largely, there are many other symbols the World Trade Center is a symbol, that's one of the reasons that Ramzi Yousef and the rest of that gang wanted to do the World Trade Center, is a symbol of America, so I'm sure there are other symbols but this is the top one on the East Coast.
Gumble: Um, all of this is unconfirmed, but we heard the President call it an “apparent terrorist attack.” At this moment, have you any doubt that that's exactly what it is?
Kallstrom: No, I have no doubt of that that is what it is. I would call it an apparent attack. I think there is an infinitesimal chance it isn't, but it doesn't appear that it could be. Commercial airlines, number one, are not going to direct themselves into a square hit on the World Trade Center. Now if there was some sort of Mayday, or something wrong with the plane, they'd try and ditch it elsewhere, they're not going to do that. And if the reports of a second plane hitting the building are true, the that caps off exactly what this is, it's a cowardly act of terrorism.
Gumble: How restricted is the airspace around the World Trade Center?
Kallstrom: I'm not an FAA person, but you cannot fly through that airspace unless you're a helicopter, or unless you're, anything, without being guided by air traffic control . It's highly restrictive.
Gumble: So, the possibility that two planes on a clear day wandered, just happened to wander into these buildings, um...
Kallstrom: I think that is beyond the pale.
Gumble: Yea, that is not a possibility. Um, again, you worked on evacuating these buildings, and you saw what happened when they were evacuated, um, how many people are we talking about, from what you can see? Um, on those upper levels?
Kallstrom: Do we know exactly what time this first event happened?
Gumble: We're guessing, we're putting it at about 8:45, Mr. Kallstrom, again that's only by eyewitnesses.
Kallstrom: Bryant, I think we're talking hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of people will be effected by this. I mean, the smoke alone, ah, in the other floors, when you compare the bombing in the basement of that building, you know, which for a number of hours we weren't sure it was a bomb, we thought maybe it was some sort of transformer blowing up to a, what's reported at least, is a 737-type size airplane, something of that size, hitting the first tower, and then some smaller plane hitting the second, I mean, this is geometrically more catastrophic,
Gumble: Difficult building to, extraordinary obviously because if the height of the buildings, but the plans in place for evacuation, are, are they, from your experience, state of the art?
Kallstrom: I think they are, the whole security of that building, both from a physical security standpoint, and from an evacuation standpoint, was certainly reinvented and looked after, after that tragedy that happened back in the early 90's, and they're probably as good as they can be, but having said that, you're talking about one of the tallest structures, or two of the tallest structures, in the United States, and whether or not the elevators are working, they're probably not, and they're not used in case of fire, you've got a massive evacuation problem on your hands.
Gumble: Would it be highly unusual Mr. Kallstrom, for these attacks, if that's what they were, to have taken place without some degree of advance warning?
Kallstrom: Well, I don't know the answer to that, obviously the FBI and law enforcement, um, the people who come to work everyday, and suffer through immense criticism when little things go wrong, these are the days when everybody hopes they have a very formidable and highly motivated law enforcement team. And, and I suspect we do, and these are the things that they try to not have happen, these are the things they try to have the intelligence to avoid happening. International terrorism, if that is what this is, and I don't know what it is, is very hard to penetrate, because it doesn't have a hierarchy of authority, and its cellular, it's a lot of different people motivated for religious-type reasons, hatred reasons, and you can necessarily not know a lot about what's going on, if you're at some level, because it's so segmented.
Gumble: Again, I'm getting a report that it was a United Airlines plane that plowed into the building, and we don't know whether that negates the American Airlines reported hijacking, or whether or not that was a second plane, so at this point we're getting different reports. Go ahead Mr. Kallstrom,
Kallstrom: Yea, you're telling me that Bryant, if that is a commercial airliner, United or American, or whatever it is, that, I mean, my initial thought is that somehow that plane was commandeered by somebody, hijack, taken over and flown into the building, I don't know that for a fact, but that's certainly what it looks like.
Gumble: Yea, as I'm looking at the second tape right here, and I don't know if you're watching on the line with us, that is definitely a commercial-sized aircraft.
Gumble: Now that we've blown it up.
Kallstrom: Yea, you know, it's beyond belief, but it's not beyond belief. I mean, we've seen this hatred find its way into the embassy bombings in Africa, we've seen this hatred at the USS Cole, we've seen it at the World Trade Center in “93, we've seen it around the world in acts that take place almost every day, and you know, for this to then transform itself into this size of an incredible tragedy, to me, although I certainly would have never expected it, never wanted it to happen, is not that unbelievable.
Gumble: James Kallstrom, let me ask you to sit tight for a second, if you would. Brian Jenkins, a terrorism expert, whose been with us a number of times, if I understand, is on the line, Brian, are you there?
Brian Jenkins: Yes, I am.
Gumble: Talk to me.
Jenkins: Well, obviously, we don't know the details to what happened yet, but we should have details coming out fairly quickly though, as to the identity of this aircraft, we're talking about crowded airspace in New York, with major airports in the area, both in the immediate area of New York and surrounding cities, ah, there should be information fairly quickly that will identify these particular aircraft, and indeed, we should be able to confirm fairly quickly as to the identity of the jet, perhaps even some last second broadcasts that may indicate what happened.
Gumble: Mr. Jenkins, I'm going to interrupt for just one second, because we are getting word that they are evacuating the White House (27:09 on tape, 9:39 a.m.) right now.
Jenkins: Well, this would, this is not surprising, I mean, first of all, an action of this magnitude does suggest a great deal of planning and preparation, and some of these recent actions, we've seen multiple, coordinated operations...
Gumble: But who's capable of this kind of planning and preparation?
Jenkins: There, there are a number of, ah, you know, terrorist organizations around the world that, that would be capable of this, based primarily in the Middle East, but it's too early to speculate as to the identity,
Gumble: But is there any doubt in your mind that what we are looking at here is the aftermath of a coordinated terrorist
Jenkins: You know, to explain as happenstance...
Gumble: Hold it Mr. Jenkins! We're looking, there are two jets right now, approaching the, um, World Trade Center...we're watching, hold on, I'm sorry, no, the one aircraft is cleared, we can't tell if it was a plane or a chopper from our vantage point. I apologize Mr. Jenkins, we're more than a bit gun shy, we're seeing aircraft out to the right side of our picture, we're going to assume at this point that is a copter, or that is aircraft to get a better vantage point, but having seen one go plow in for a second time, we are a little bit wary. Go ahead, I apologize.
(28:51 on tape, 9:41 a.m.)
Washington D.C. CBS affiliate Channel 9, breaks into the coverage from New York.