The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer; September 11, 2001
Thank you. And welcome back to our special PBS NewsHour coverage of this awful day. For those just joining us, there are still no preliminary death toll numbers from the attacks in New York and Washington. A well-organized group of terrorists, as yet unidentified, hijacked four U.S. airliners with a total of 266 people on board, two of them were flown, suicide fashion, and to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The third slammed into the Pentagon and Washington. The fourth crashed into an open field, 80 miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Both of the World Trade Center towers later collapsed. Hundreds of people were injured. Mayor Giuliani said the number killed would be horrendous. The crash at the Pentagon touched off a raging fire and collapsed one side of the building. Dozens of people were hurt, dozens more were feared dead. No one claimed responsibility for the attacks. President Bush promised to hunt down and punish those responsible, and he ordered the military on high alert.
And he remained at a highly secure air force base in Nebraska before flying back to Washington. The attacks brought much of the country to a standstill. In Washington, the Capitol, the White House, the Supreme Court, and most other federal buildings were evacuated. Congressional leaders were taken to secure locations. The financial exchanges in New York were closed. All domestic aviation nationwide was grounded, and landmarks from the Sears Tower in Chicago to the Space Needle in Seattle were shut down. Now to the detailed story of this awful day told chronologically, as it unfolded, by Kwame Holman. 847 AM Eastern Time, a commercial jetliner smashed into the north tower of the 110-story World Trade Center building on the tip of Manhattan. 18 minutes later, these live TV pictures showed another airliner flying directly into the other tower. We have two airplanes that struck each building of the World Trade Center.
The north building was struck on approximately the 80th floor. My estimation is that the South building, which is what you're looking at now, that was struck at approximately between the 50th and 60th floors. We heard a big bang, and then we saw smoke coming out, and everybody started running out, and we saw the plane on the other side of the building, and there was smoke everywhere. And people jumping out the windows over in a jumping out the windows, I guess, because they're trying to see themselves. I don't know. A big explosion happened. Some guy came out. His skin was all off. I helped him out. This was him all over. There's people jumping out of windows, they're seeing at least the 14 people jumping out of windows. It's horrific, I can't believe this happened. Anything else that you saw were you there for the second hit by the plane? We have about 10 minutes later. The second building went off. Did you see it? Yes, I saw it. It just blew up. Big explosion. People started running. It was just chaos everywhere. A few minutes later, the president's chief of staff, Andrew Card, told Mr. Bush about
the New York City events during an appearance at an elementary school in Sarasota, Florida. President Bush then gave this statement. 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. Ten minutes after the president spoke, a third airliner smashed into the southwest side of the Pentagon building, a mile from downtown Washington, causing a huge fireball followed
by heavy smoke. People were carried out, others lay on the ground. It came in at a deep angle at such fast speed, the severity of telling a gentleman, it was a real severe intention, is what it had to it. You could tell it was like a suicide bomber, but I'm not saying it was a bomb, it was a plane. It came streaking down and hit short, it didn't go into the top of the Pentagon, it came like in short, and then everything sprayed up like a fireball sprayed up on the wall. Within minutes of the attacks, officials in Washington began evacuating the U.S. Capitol building. Later in the morning, armed security personnel were seen on the roof of the White House, which was evacuated, later all other federal buildings in the Capitol were closed down. The federal aviation administration grounded all flights nationwide. Meanwhile there were reports of a fourth jetliner crash outside Pittsburgh in western
Pennsylvania. 10-28 am, much of the top floors of the other tower also fell to the streets below. 20-28 am here, This was the view across the Upper New York Bay past the Statue of Liberty at about 1030 in the morning.
And this afternoon, just before 530, a 47-story building in the Trade Center complex collapsed. There was speculation, but no definite word about who was behind those attacks. Most of the speculation centered on the Middle East, again, the Kwame Hohman. 1056 AM U.S. Eastern Time, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat spoke in Gaza. First of all, I am afraid my condolences, the condolences of the Palestinian people to the American President, President Bush, to his government. To the American people for this terrible attack.
We are completely shocked, completely shocked, unbelievable. In the West Bank, a spokesman for the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or DFLP, a radical PLO faction, denied his group was involved in the attacks. The DFLP has no relation to this accident or this incident. We have always been against terroristic actions, against civilian targets, and especially outside the occupied territories. But in spite of that, we deny our responsibility, but we call upon the American administration to review their attitude and their policy towards the Palestinian question. Because this policy allows us the anger and the hatred of our people and of all Arab and Islamic peoples, and its lie will actually to harm the interests of the United States in our region, and therefore it has to be reviewed. The spiritual leader of Hamas, the pro-Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, said this.
First of all, we don't support attacks on civilians, and we don't support aggression towards innocent people. However, the United States should revise its current stance and has to look again at its position very carefully towards people all over the world. If the U.S. doesn't want to be targeted and suffer the same way as other people are through oppression, injustice, and exploitation. In that regard, America finds itself today weakened in the face of the rest of humanity, taking its own revenge against American oppression and injustice. And in Pakistan, an ambassador of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban also denounced the attacks. This should be brought to justice. As Damascus gates, some Palestinian men, women, and children took to the streets in celebration after hearing of the events in the United States.
In Lebanon, at a Palestinian refugee camp, there were more celebrations as men fired their weapons in the air. President Bush vowed to find and punish the people behind the attacks. Here is what he said, and in a separate statement, the reaction of Secretary of State Colin Powell. Just before noon, Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke from Lima, Peru, where he cut short his first official visit to South America. Before leaving, he thanked foreign ministers for adopting a message condemning terrorism. The tribal terrible tragedy has fallen my nation, but has befallen all the nations of this region, all the nations of the world, and fall in all those who believe in democracy. And believe that with the destruction of buildings, with the murder of people they can somehow achieve a political purpose, they can destroy buildings, they can kill people, and we will be saddened by this tragedy, but they will never be allowed to kill the spirit of democracy. They cannot destroy our society, they cannot destroy our beliefs in the democratic way. You can be sure that America will deal with this tragedy in the way that brings those responsible to justice.
You can be sure that this terrible day as this is for us, we will get through it because we are a strong nation, a nation that believes in itself. A short time later, President Bush spoke to reporters at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. He'd flown there following his education event in Florida. Freedom itself was attacked this morning by 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 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. The President then flew to the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command in Nebraska. And the President landed at the White House moments ago, he will address the nation around 9 p.m. eastern time. We'll carry that live. About a half an hour ago, defense secretary Rumsfeld and General Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke to reporters and a makeshift newsroom at the Pentagon. It's an indication that the United States government is functioning in the face of this terrible act against our country. I should add that the briefing here is taking place in the Pentagon. The Pentagon is functioning. It will be in business tomorrow.
I know the interest in casually figures and all I can say is it's not possible to have solid casually figures at this time. And the various components are doing roster checks and we'll have information at some point in the future and as quickly as it's possible to have it, it will certainly be made available to each of you. I'll be happy to take a few questions after asking First General Shelton if he would like to say anything and then we will allow the others to make a remark or two. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Ladies and gentlemen, as the Secretary just said today, we have watched the tragedy of an outrageous act of barbaric terrorism carried out by fanatics against both civilians and military people, acts that have killed and made many innocent and decent citizens of our country. I extend my condolences to the entire Department of Defense families, military and civilian, and to the families of all those throughout our nation who lost loved ones.
I think this is indeed a reminder of the tragedy and the tragic dangers that we face day in and day out, both here at home as well as abroad. I tell you, upfront, I have no intentions of discussing today what comes next, but make no mistake about it. Your own courses are ready. Now, more on who might have been behind this tragedy today and a Margaret Warner. We get three views on that question. Larry Johnson was the State Department's Deputy Director for Counterterrorism in the First Bush Administration and a Counterterrorism Official at the CIA before that. He is now a security consultant. Bruce Hoffman is Vice President of Rand, a research organization. His latest book is Inside Terrorism. And Shibley Telhami is the Professor of Political Science at the University of Maryland. He's written widely on the Middle East. Welcome, gentlemen, Paul Hoffman. Who could have done this? Who had the wherewithal, the motive, the opportunity?
Well, I think what's clear is you had a dedicated terrorist or a dedicated group of terrorists who carried out a detailed reconnaissance, who had the right preparation, the commitment and the professionalism to pull it off. But I don't think these are necessarily qualities that are exclusively in one or another group throughout the world. Would you narrow it down to the Middle East or not even that? Well, certainly the firm at the Middle East provides plenty of opportunities to carry out an attack like this. And indeed, the United States has incurred the enmity of many of the parties there. Larry Johnson. I would go a little farther. When you look back over the last eight years in terms of which individuals or groups have been involved in killing Americans, the one that's at the top of the list responsible for about 80% of those is Osama bin Laden. In addition to that, you're talking and briefly describing just for people who don't know. Osama bin Laden is born of Yemeni mother. He's a Saudi Arabian expatriate. He's hiding out in Afghanistan. If we do have from a court case, he's clearly implicated in the bombing of the U.S. embassies in East Africa. That was the first coordinated terrorist attack of its type against the United States.
Add to that, there are intelligence reports which indicate that Osama bin Laden's forces were receiving flight training in the last several months. To my knowledge, we don't know of any other groups that have been getting that kind of training. When you see what happened today, the groups that carry this out at a minimum, they had somebody that knew how to maintain the airspeed and steer the plane. And so, it's not to bash bin Laden and to say he's a convenient villain, because I think sometimes we've made too much of him. But you don't have anybody else in the world that on such a consistent basis is calling for the death of Americans and inciting people to violence. The good news in this is the vast majority of Muslims reject his nonsense. All right, go back to this flight training. Are you seeing these were intelligence reports that the U.S. government had before that? My understanding is that before today there was intelligence information that indicated that Osama bin Laden forces were receiving training and flight operations. Should we tell him your view on possible perpetrators here, the motive? Why these targets? Well, first of all, I think it is, we know that it's unlikely to have been organizations that are operating in the Palestinian areas for Lebanon.
On the Israeli Arab front, for three reasons. One is, we don't know of any organization that has the capacity to and the reach to carry out such operations. Number two, all of these organizations, whether the Lebanese or Palestinian have pretty much in the past few months focused all their attention on the Israeli Palestinian and Lebanese arena. And number three, any perpetrator of such an attack, this is not an ordinary attack, this is like a declaration of war, would have to worry about the host country. And none of the host countries in the Israeli Arab arena would allow the space to conduct such an operation. So you see me for a Syria which hosts some of these groups, these groups you believe would not put Syria at risk from the United States. Absolutely, absolutely. Syria would not allow it. And if they were to undertake such an operation, it will be the end of them. And clearly, because Syria very much knows that an operation like this will lead to attacks against not just against those groups. This is like a declaration of war. And I do not believe that there is any country in the Arab-Israeli arena that would allow this to happen knowingly.
And that any group that operate in that arena would test them in this particular environment. So Bruce happened, do you agree with that? But if so, then why would Afghanistan be different? Well, I think Afghanistan in the sense, because there isn't a unified government there, because there is a vacuum of power that has certainly been lauded, and his minions have had the opportunity to train, and perhaps carry up a slice of the training that Larry has described, is perhaps at least that territory is the most likely suspect, but there are any number of terrorist experts that have speculated before the perpetrators and been proven wrong. People earlier in the program tonight have talked, have said that this couldn't be done without state sponsorship or state support. What's your view on that? I disagree with that. I think there's more than four people in the world that know how to fly jet planes. I mean, it's not a providence that just governments can do that type of instruction. Certainly, the preparation involved is something extraordinary. It's very rare, ever that terrorists carry out simultaneous attacks, especially of this order.
But at the same time, I think, you have to put it into perspective. It's the difficulty of penetrating these obviously the security three different airports, showed that it was vulnerable. Terrorists look for breaches and security. We're able to penetrate it. I mean, yes, this is a very sophisticated operation in the general scheme of terrorism, but to say that, therefore, this has to be a state behind it. I'm not ready to make that conclusion yet. How do you think that an operation like this, the simultaneous sophisticated operation, could have escaped U.S. intelligence? Well, number one, the U.S. intelligence is in a business state. A business? A business. We have really lost our human capability, it's still oriented towards a cold war. The reality is to go into this arena, you've got to be willing to enter a sewer. We want to fight rats, but we're not willing to get into the sewer. We want to stay outside and shoot them if they pop their heads up. We have to make a choice in this country. You can, and I've talked to several friends who are still in the agency.
There's enormous frustration. There is, they are relying largely on liaison. Intelligence reporting from other countries, not actual on-the-ground human sources, because the risks that are entailed in recruiting those sources open these people up to prosecution. This we call several years ago, CIA officers that were in a rock, training Kurds to attack Iraqis, wound up being temporarily detained, and threatened with the rest by the FBI, because they were, quote, violating the order on an assassination, because the Iraqi Kurds were going to go kill, possibly Saddam. This is insane. We have entered a land of Alice in Wonderland, where we want to have this, we want to be clean, and we want to be neat, and we want to be antiseptic, but we don't want anyone to kill us. We have got to make some choices. Unfortunately, this horrible tragedy today is a wake-up call that will galvanise this country in the same way that we were galvanised in 1941 after the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor. Did you want to add something to that?
Well, I would take a slightly different view. I think this certainly improvements to be made in intelligence. I wouldn't say that it's completely broken, or that this is exclusively an intelligence failure. I think at the end of the day, we're going to find plenty of blame to go around not least in the physical security measures that should have been in place in our airports to prevent exactly this type of thing. I think we have to keep in perspective that the intelligence community has, over the past more than three years, effectively stymied bin Laden that several different junctures. I think to expect that we'll ever stop him all the time is unrealistic, where I would agree with Larry, though, is that I think fundamentally the architecture we have for the intelligence community, and indeed how we view threats in this country, has been proven before, but certainly the day in anachronistic. It's directed almost exclusively against military threats coming from nation-states. What we see today is that the threats are more diffused, they're different than that, they're from non-state actors as well. And that's, I think, where the change has to come, not just in overhauling the intelligence community, but the whole way we look at security. Well, look, you know, if it turns out to be bin Laden, and that's certainly possible, it really would be an extraordinary circumstance where you have the intelligence failing. Because he has been the number one priority of US anti-terrorism activity.
He's been watched day in and day out internationally with so much focus. And you have an operation on this scale by so many people that took so many months of planning on US territory in the Washington area, in New York, something is wrong. It's a surprise you, Professor, that nobody has claimed responsibility. There was one group that claimed responsibility this morning, Palestinian-linked group, that then the spokesman, we just ran him, said, no, no, we didn't do it. But other than that, no claim. Well, we have not heard yet from Osama bin Laden, but it doesn't surprise me that all the other groups who distance themselves from it, including the extremist groups operating in the Middle East. Because number one, they know that in terms of public opinion, most of them understand that the consequences of negative number two, they know that they can bear the brunt of the retaliation. And I do not believe that it wasn't their interest to carry it out. It does surprise me that no one at all does take responsibility, but it's too early. So, how difficult will it be to get to the bottom of who did this? We have the advantage that in this case, it looks like the flight data recorders are going to be recoverable.
Number one, number two, they're going to be able to identify the people that got on the plane. That's fairly good certainty and reviewing video footage from the security checkpoints at the various airports. It's not like the wreckage is scattered over an ocean, which makes... Question, does everybody who's getting on a plane, are they vivid? It varies by airport. Really, this highlights something that Bruce pointed out, and we need to understand, the United States still has a dual standard with aviation security. We have one standard internationally, one standard domestically, these folks clearly understood that. They understood, if you're in an international flight, you're going to run into sky marshals. If you're in a domestic flight, you're home free. You're doing it armed marshals on a plane. Correct. And this does... The early reports indicate people use knives or some sort of object to threaten the stab people. If you're basing that on the cell phone call. On the cell phone call. That was made from the wife of them. But it's going to, I think, when they review it, it'll be one of two things. It'll either be that, or be someone threatened that they had an explosive, whether it was a genuine explosive or not.
Because getting on planes with a firearm has been pretty difficult. But, you know, I think they're going to have to review at a minimum, keeping the pilots door locked and not opening under any circumstances. Bruce Hoffman, what's your view on how tough it's going to be to make good on essentially what the president said, which is we're going to hunt down and punish those responsible? Well, first we have to identify who's responsible for it. And that's, I think, one of the challenges that underscores how we have a very different enemy. In the past, when we face these types of threats, it's being a government. There's been a target for us. It's going to take some time and some effort to identify the correct target. So I think we have to resist the temptation to do something, do anything, but be rather more patient, and do the right thing, and do something that will, you know, truly have a demonstrable effect. Do you think there's anything the United States can do? And I don't mean to make it sound so futile. But, I mean, we've, the United States has launched it tax, tit-for-tat kind of attacks after other terrorist bombings, but they go on.
Well, you know, there are two things that we have to keep in mind. Number one is, you can't fight it alone. You have to fight it with others. And even if we identify who the perpetrators are, you need the cooperation of the international community and countries in the region. And therefore, you have to have robust political relations and common interests to fight it. So that one has to remember, because even if you identified as, was suspected with the bombings in Africa, in fact, the operation didn't quite work. And even though it had political consequences, number two, like anything else, terrorism depends on supply and demand. And the supply you have to work on, you have to try to eliminate the possibilities to fight those who carried out. But you also have to understand that there is deprivation out there. There is frustrations. Those groups try to essentially use the sentiments in the region. Now there is a lot of anti-American sentiment, a lot of Israeli sentiment. And they're trying to use it for their own political purposes. And there's a political dimension that has to be employed in the fight against terrorism.
I have a much more pragmatic approach. Let's go after the people that kill Americans. And when you do the body count last, the two individuals that have killed more Americans in the last 20 years, he mugged me as security chief for Hezbollah, who's still hiding down between the back of Ali and Iran, and Osama bin Laden. That is those facts are irrefutable. We don't need to focus on the world. We don't need to focus on 150 countries. We focus on a very narrow area. But you get those people. You eliminate the major source of death and destruction for American citizens. All right, Larry Johnson, Bruce Hoffman, and Professor Dilhami. Thank you all for very, very much. Thank you, Mary. Now to Elizabeth Farnsworth for another view of what happened today. And joining me is General George Jawan. He was supreme allied commander of NATO from 1993 to 1997. General Jawan speaking as a military man, what do you see when you look at these attacks? What is it that characterizes them for you? It makes me very angry to be very blunt about it that this sort of attack could take place in our country and against targets,
as we saw them in New York and at the Pentagon. So it's very disconcerting to me that this could happen in our country. And what do you see specifically, the coordination of it, the different places that were attacked? Well, very well planned, as was said in the earlier segment, attacks like this take months to prepare. This has been going on for some time. Well rehearsed, they chose their airports and targets. Well, they knew exactly what they were doing. And as was mentioned by several commentators, we have to really look at our intelligence, a collection effort, and our entire strategy in this post-Cold War period on the real threats that face Americans and indeed much of the free world. This was an attack on democracy, this was an attack on our way of life. This was an attack against America and what it stands for.
General, because it was so well coordinated and it may have taken so long to plan, should it have been easier to pick up. It should have been. And that's what we need to find out. We've been through Beirut in 83, we've been through the Cold War Tower, we've been through the coal, and now this. We need to have a focused effort. This is every bit a symmetrical threat, as we like to call it, but a threat against the United States. And we need to have the early warning, as we would in a conventional way in a conventional attack, we need to develop intelligence and intelligence collection, human and other sources to prevent this thing from happening again. You know a lot about some of those earlier attacks. What did you learn afterwards, the kinds of hints that were in intelligence that were missed? I don't, I'm not really trying to speculate here, but after each one of these, there were clues. There were tidbits of information that when pieced together after the fact, could have given us this early warning that we need.
It is trying to do that before the fact, trying to develop ways to have tipper information, critical information, come to the forefront and brought to the attention of decision makers before something like this occurs. And we need to develop our intelligence apparatus to prepare for this, because I don't think this is going to be the last attack of this nature against the United States. How can we do that? Well, it takes a different mindset. We have talked a lot about human. We have to understand what human intelligence collection, not just technical means from satellites. Very important, or UAVs, very important unattended area of vehicles. We have to get human intelligence. And we have to get back into that in a big way. There are risk in doing that. We have to make sure we have good controls over it, but we need to get back into that in order to prevent the sort of tragedy we saw today. Explain human intelligence.
Human intelligence is eyes on the ground, people on the ground, people infiltrating other organizations, and a government that's willing to take those risks. And we have been, I think, in the last, at least 10 to 20 years, we have not been able to get the funding nor the resources nor the political will to be able to do that at the level and the scale that we need to. General, do you think these acts could have been carried out by an organization without government help? I don't want to speculate in that, but probably yes. But we are entering a period in the 21st century where individuals and organizations have the capability to do this, I think, without being state sponsored. But I think we have to wait for the facts. We need to get the facts. I'm sure there are many now working on trying to array those facts.
And then fix the things that need to be fixed, particularly in the intelligence area. You mentioned that people are trying to get those facts described for us what military planners are doing now. Well, there's going to be a massive investigation of all the intelligence over the last several months to see if we could piece together these little tidbits that I'm talking about. We saw that after Beirut where there were tippers, as we call them, and I think people are going to look for those to see if we can narrow down who may be responsible for this. Telephone calls, faxes, other special intelligence to try to find out who is responsible. And when is it appropriate to respond? As soon as we know who is responsible for this, I would hope that it would be swift, it would be lethal, and it would be focused. And we should not say anything unless we're going to really carry it out.
And when we say something, we've got to do it. And we've got to do it to make a clear signal here. We should do it, by the way, if we have to unilaterally, but I would hope it would be in consultation with our allies and friends around the world. We need to create a worldwide effort here to combat this sort of terrorism. General, John, I know that friends of yours are still missing in the Pentagon, and it's been a very difficult day for you. Were you surprised that even the Pentagon was attacked? Yes, to be very blunt about it, but we are always vulnerable in this country, given our society, given our way of life. It's going to take a special action here, and I think I hope the American people are ready for it, not just for tomorrow, but six months from now, or 12 months from now, because I could assure you that some terrorist organization is already thinking about another target somewhere in our country or against one of our interest overseas, and remember, we have a lot of deployments of troops and embassies, and we always have to be on the guard for that.
Try to anticipate, not react after the fact, but try to anticipate the event before it occurs. General Georgetown, one, thanks very much. Thank you. Members of the President's Cabinet spoke to reporters at the White House briefing room a short while ago. Today, America has experienced one of the greatest tragedies ever witnessed on our soil. These heinous acts of violence are an assault on the security of our nation. They're an assault on the security and the freedom of every American citizen. We will not tolerate such acts. We will expend every effort and devote all the necessary resources to bring the people responsible for these acts, these crimes, to justice. Now is the time for us to come together as a nation to offer our support, our prayers for victims and for their families, for the rescue workers, for law enforcement officials, for every one of us that has been changed forever by this horrible tragedy.
The following is a summary of the known facts surrounding today's incidents. American Airlines Flight 11 departed Boston for Los Angeles, hijacked by suspects armed with knives. This plane crashed into the World Trade Center. The United Airlines Flight 175 departed Boston for Los Angeles was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center. American Airlines Flight 77 departed Washington Dulles for Los Angeles was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon. The United Airlines Flight 93 departed Newark for San Francisco was hijacked and crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It takes courage for individuals to come forward in situations like this and I urge anyone with information that may be useful and helpful to authorities to use this opportunity. The Office of Victims of Crime has established a toll-free 800 number for family and friends of victims.
They can call 800-331-0075 to leave contact information for a future time when more information is available, to find out information about a victim or to find out information about the rights of victims and the services available to victim survivors and victim families. The determination of these terrorists will not deter the determination of the American people. We are survivors and freedom is a survivor. A free American people will not be intimidated nor will we be defeated. We will find the people responsible for these cowardly acts and justice will be done. We are currently looking at a wide variety of additional security measures to increase traveler security. Travelers will indeed see increased security measures at our airports, train stations and other key sites.
There will be higher levels of surveillance, more stringent searches, airport curbside luggage check-in will no longer be allowed. There will be more security officers and random identification checks. A traveler may experience some inconveniences, but we ask for your patience, but we must do whatever it takes with safety as our highest priority. The Department of Transportation is working closely with the White House and appropriate federal agencies to mount a coordinated nationwide recovery effort. Each American must know that we will restore our national transportation system to a safe and efficient status as quickly as possible. Our system has been severely burdened by the stress of these horrendous attacks, but we will recover.
Now, some perspective on the day's events from Newzauer regulars, presidential historians Michael Beshloss and Doris Kearns Goodwin and journalist author Haynes Johnson, plus Richard Norton Smith, director of the Doles Center at the University of Kansas and Roger Wilkins, professor of history at George Mason University. Michael, has there ever been a day like this in U.S. history? Not exactly like this, Jim. You look at something like the Battle of Antietam. That was once called the bloodiest day in American history. That was 23,000 Americans killed. You go back to D-Day, probably about half that, Pearl Harbor, a little over a thousand, so the magnitude is stunning. And the other thing is that there are moments in history that are really shocked to all of our systems. Pearl Harbor was one. After Pearl Harbor, no American could feel comfortable anymore that we were protected by those big ocean modes. That's a large reason why many Americans had been isolationist after Pearl Harbor. That wasn't possible anymore.
And another thing I'm a little bit reminded of was the announcement by John Kennedy that there were nuclear missiles in Cuba. That, I think, was the first time that Americans felt that an escalation into a World War III, the incineration of the Northern Hemisphere, might be possible. So I think after today, this is going to be another shock. I think all of us have known intellectually that something like this could happen now we understand it emotionally. Richard, do you think that's it? We're going to understand this emotionally now. Well, I hope that's the beginning of what we do. I mean, to understand this emotionally is a prelude perhaps to understanding it intellectually and taking concerted and sustained effort based upon both. You can go back to the War of 1812 when the British actually occupied Washington briefly and destroyed the capital and the White House. You can think of times in the Civil War when the nation's capital was threatened with capture. But it really has never been anything on this scale. And another factor too, thanks to the mass media, there's a global immediacy about what happened today.
We heard Strobe Talbert earlier in this broadcast saying the world was attacked today. And I think that's absolutely true. One other difference, we've heard the Pearl Harbor analogy repeatedly throughout the day. One significant difference is on December 7th, we knew at the time of the attack precisely who was responsible. It didn't take us long to know what we had to do to punish those who were responsible. It took us three and a half years to carry it out. This attack, on the other hand, even if we do identify those responsible, even if we punish them wherever they hide out, we still confront the fact that there are states that sponsor them that provide them with safe haven. And even if we deal with that issue, we still have a Middle East, which is festering with the hatreds, which give rise to these acts of terrorism. So it's an extraordinarily complex, and in that sense, I think a unique historical event. You agree, a unique historical event, Haines.
So absolutely. And I think what Richard just said is right, that Pearl Harbor we know was a terrible event galvanized the country, but you knew who the enemy was. We were galvanized against the attack on Pearl Harbor. The country rose and united, and you knew exactly who the enemy was, and you forced right away the war started, and you knew what we're going to do. And we were going to win the war, and that was this. This is them. It, they, terrorism, amorphous, wherever it's going to happen. And we're used now, we're conditioned, and I'm struck, too, with, we see these scenes over and over again. We've had shocks through the television age on Kennedy's assassination and all the rest. This one is different in a funny way, because it's almost as if we knew it was going to happen, and we've seen locker be, we've seen planes coming down, but there's never been anything quite as riveting as what we saw on those screens. Everyone alive will remember everything they saw today. Amen to that, Doris. Oh, I think there's no question that the event itself is unique. I think there probably are, however, parallels to the feeling of vulnerability that people felt who were alive at the time of Pearl Harbor.
As Michael said, we had always believed those great oceans would protect us from any kind of air attack. Roosevelt had tried to warn us, the previous May, and May of 1940, actually, that we were no longer safe because of the air warfare, but the isolationism kept up until Pearl Harbor. But I think the major difference, which has been hinted at, is that when Roosevelt went on to the Congress after Pearl Harbor, he had going for him not only that there was an enemy, but that the country had things it could do immediately. He could call for a quadrupling of production. Those factories could get going. People could put mattresses on their cars and go to where the factories were. Soldiers could join up to join in the arguments against what was happening eventually in Germany and at that point in Japan. So there was a sense of common action that we don't have easily at our disposal today. And that results in what? A frustration? Well, I think so. I mean, I think what happened, it's interesting, when you read about the reaction to Pearl Harbor, it was almost as if the indecision of the previous months was finally met by common action, and there was a relief in the country at large, and a sense that at least we knew as a nation, we were going to move forward. It's hard to imagine what President Bush could say to make us feel that we had something to do.
People gave blood today, I think that was the symbolic sense of wanting to do something, but most of us are not going to be able to contribute in a way that the military intelligence and the people who are going to have to go after these people are going to do. So that leads us to a sense of impudence and the sense of vulnerability gets increased because there's no way we can act. Action is the answer that people need when something like this happens, and it's hard to figure out what the country as a whole is going to do. Roger Wilkins, what analogies lead to your mind today. Well, I see this as the process and the maturation of America's sense of itself. We thought of ourselves originally as an innocent people and an invulnerable people because somebody said earlier of our not only our oceans, but a friendly neighbor to the north and a weak neighbor to the south. We're not invulnerable anymore and we're not innocent anymore. We started learning those lessons in the revolution. We certainly learned it. I think back to first battle of bull run when people from Washington went out with their picnics to watch the great Union Army chase the feds or the reds away.
And the reds hit them in the nose. These people fled back to Washington, frightened to death. I think of our loss of innocence in Vietnam in so many ways. And each time the world got closer to us and we got closer and closer to what we thought of as the world's other human beings problems. Well, today what these people did was to let us know that our innocence and our invulnerability is over. There couldn't be anything more in your face than what they did. They took our airplanes. They flew them into icons of American industry and American urbanization. American finance. They flew it into our Pentagon, the heart of our defense. And apparently they were also going to hit the president's summer place. Yeah, we should point that out that the airplane that crashed in Pennsylvania, there are reports that it was headed toward its target was to be Camp David, which is in Maryland.
Not too far from where the plane actually went down. So I think this really gives us a test of our maturity. We've got to respond to this fast. We've got to respond to it very intelligently. And as Stroke Talbot and others have said, we've got to be fierce about defending at home our own freedoms and taking them very seriously and not getting hysterical about what has happened to us. And yet you use the word frightened. Do we have a right to be frightened tonight, Roger? Well, I think that a lot of the instance that we had about chopping on and off airplanes, about complaining and moaning and groaning, about having to go through these routine checks at the airports, the fears that we have for our relatives. I just, my heart aches for the people who are waiting for news of their relatives who are on those airplanes, as well as for the other people who were killed. We're all going to think about that now. We'll never forget this.
All right. Thank you all very much. Now members of the Congressional Leadership spoke outside the Capitol building a short while ago. At a time like this, no words that we should utter today or this evening can help the hearts and souls and feelings of the victims and the families that were a part of this great tragedy. That happened in this country today. Our prayers and thoughts and words of consolation goes out to all those who have suffered. But one thing that happens here in this place is when American suffers and when people perpetrate acts against this country, we as a Congress and as a government, as a government, as a government, as a government, as a government, as a government, as a government, as a government. And we stand together. Senators and House members, Democrats and Republicans, will stand shoulder to shoulder to fight this evil, this purple and perpetrated on this nation. We will stand together to make sure that those who have brought forth this evil deed will pay the price.
We're not sure who this is yet. But we have our suspicions and when that is justified and when those suspicions are justified, we will act. We will stand with the President, we will stand with this government, and we will stand as Americans together through this time. Thank you. Today's despicable acts were an assault on our people and on our freedom as the representatives of the people. We are here to declare that our resolve has not been weakened by these horrific and cowardly acts.
Congress will convene tomorrow. And we will speak with one voice to condemn these attacks, to comfort the victims and their families, to commit our full support to the effort to bring those responsible to justice. We, Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate, stand strongly united behind the President and will work together to ensure that the full resources of the government are brought to bear in these efforts. Our heartfelt thoughts and our fervent prayers are with the injured and the families of those who have been lost.
And we close this hour now with the views of Tom Olafund of the Boston Globe and William Crystal of the Weekly Standard. Tom, what do the American people need to know about their government tonight? Well, probably more than they've been shown today, I think the government has to an extent been hunkered down today, probably for necessary reasons. But from what I can gather from Congressman and Senators, particularly intelligence committee members today, Jim, is that administration officials are telling them that we should all be prepared. We have all domestically for a massive establishment of security throughout the American transportation system and other key installations. But that also the tolerance for a system of terrorism over the past 25 years in the world where a country goes on a list because it helps terrorists and nothing much happens that this is in the process of ending. So, well, I think security in the United States is going to be quite visibly greater in the next several days, weeks, months, maybe even years.
What people probably need to know more is that a very major change in American policy toward international terrorism is in the process of being made. You agree, Bill? Yeah, I think we're now at war. We're at war with terrorism, with a terrorist group that launched this incredibly bloody and destructive attack on Americans, with the states that harbor that terrorist group. We need to find out who did it, track them down, kill them, and remove the government of those states. And that will mean a huge increase in defense spending and not just security measures here, but it will require an act of foreign policy abroad. I think George Bush's speech tonight is his first speech as a war president. And what does he have to... What is his job tonight? From what some of this have been told this afternoon, it's not clear that the president is prepared to especially to go into any kind of depth on what the thinking is with regard to our foreign and security responses here, the still in the process of happening. Also, we do need allies. This is a universal evil, and attacking it intelligently is going to require even more vigorous foreign policy efforts than say Jim Baker, made on President Bush's behalf a decade ago before the Persian Gulf War.
So it's not clear how much the people will be told today, but there's no question in my mind that particularly on this trigger of any state sponsorship, that no more tolerance probably means thinking about military responses against countries. Against countries. Now, General Jawan told Elizabeth Farnsworth a moment ago that he wasn't sure the American people were ready for that, and they have to be made ready by... I'm paraphrasing what he said, but they need to be made ready for that by the leadership of this country. And they do. Well, that's what the presidents do, and that's really what more presidents do, and that's why tonight's speech is just the beginning of a whole new phase of the Bush presidency. I dare to say perhaps the phase by which he will be most fundamentally judged by history. Former Deputy Secretary of State Stroke Talbot said this was an attack on the world, and people say it's a universal problem.
It wasn't an attack on the world. It was an attack on America. It was there's no accident, the institutions that were attacked with a Pentagon, a symbol of our military might, and the World Trade Center, the symbol of our financial might. And the president needs to tell the American people, this is going to be a war like all wars. It could be messy. It could be complicated. There could be further U.S. casualties, but we can't live in fear and terror. We can't abandon our role of global leadership, so we need to fight this war and win this war. I still think it's an open question how ready America is for such a fundamental change in our policy. But I think today there has been detected something which has immense political power, and that is an increased feeling of vulnerability on the part of the people. I mean, if there is one purpose for a government to exist, it is to protect its people. And I don't think there's been any question as you listen to the individual stories of either victims or people who didn't know what was going on today. That that feeling of vulnerability is present, and that is the first thing the leader must deal with.
And terrorism is designed to terrorize people, and it worked today, didn't it? Well, it won't work if we fight back and if we defeat the terrorist organization and kill the terrorists and remove the governments that have harbored them. When you say remove the governments, you mean that, right? I mean, you're talking about going to war with this country, that country, not just getting, let's say Osama bin Laden or something. If he turns out to be the one, take out Afghanistan. I think you'll have to try to change the government in Afghanistan and possibly remove governments that have helped elsewhere in the world. I don't think, I don't know if it turns out that as well. I'm just using that as a leader. Yeah, I do believe that's, I do believe that will be necessary. And I think the President needs to lay the groundwork for that. We can't just talk about better security measures on our airports or better counter terrorism measures at home. I think he needs to prepare the American people for a serious foreign policy offensive against what is now the most serious threat to Americans in this world. The words people might want to look for tonight, Jim, would be something on the order of the United States will not tolerate the harboring.
The harboring of anybody like this, anywhere in the world. If you do, you do it at your own world. That's why the assistance to people like this, not just harboring them physically, but assisting them. Absolutely. All right, thank you. And again, we'll continue our special coverage of this awful day in just a moment on most public television stations.
- The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
- September 11, 2001
- Producing Organization
- NewsHour Productions
- Contributing Organization
- NewsHour Productions (Washington, District of Columbia)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- 7PM coverage of 9/11
- Asset type
- Copyright NewsHour Productions, LLC. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode)
- Media type
- Moving Image
Producing Organization: NewsHour Productions
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: NH-7152-7P (NH Show Code)
Format: Betacam: SP
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- Chicago: “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer; September 11, 2001,” 2001-09-11, NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 3, 2024, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-507-n58cf9k03g.
- MLA: “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer; September 11, 2001.” 2001-09-11. NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 3, 2024. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-507-n58cf9k03g>.
- APA: The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer; September 11, 2001. Boston, MA: NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-507-n58cf9k03g