The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
One of 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 has yet unidentified, hijacked for U.S. airliners, with a total of 226 people on board. Two of them were flown suicide bomb fashion into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The third slammed into the Pentagon in Washington. The fourth crashed in an open field, 80 miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Within hours, both of the World Trade Center towers collapsed, and later in the day, a smaller building in the complex fell apart after burning for hours. More than 2,000 people were injured, and 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, and many more were feared dead. This evening, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said search crews were still removing bodies, but he said the Pentagon would be open tomorrow.
No one claimed responsibility for the attacks. President Bush promised to hunt down and punish those responsible. He ordered the military on high alert and flew to a highly secure air force base in Nebraska. Later, he returned to Washington and planned to address the nation this evening at 8.30 p.m. Eastern time. 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. Members of the 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 800-331075 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. Travelers may experience some inconveniences, but we ask for your patients, 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. A reminder that President Bush is expected to address the nation about 8.30 pm eastern time, and we will carry that live, more now on what's known about the casualties from today's attacks, and to raise Suarez.
And with me is our health correspondent Susan Denser, and now that it's been many hours since the first attack, do we know much more than we did at midday about how the human toll of this series of terrorist bombing? At this point, we just don't literally know what those proportions are. Mayor Giuliani said this afternoon that 2100 had been injured. I just spoke a few moments ago with someone at St. Vincent's Hospital in Greenwich Village in New York. 150 people came up there over the course of the day to be seen. Many were admitted. The number have already been really sent us charge with, but we're treated for minor injuries and so on. But the disparity is obviously huge. You saw what happened to the World Trade Center. It suggests that the next wave, as this person at St. Vincent told me, they've been told that the next wave that is coming is bodies. And apparently, many city workers now have been called to the World Trade Center to begin the process of digging out and taking out the bodies. It seems
as if most of the injured who are going to be gotten out of their life are now in New York area hospitals. And at best, the estimates seem to be around 600 or so. And what about the situation closer to studios here in Washington at the Pentagon? You've been following that closely all day as well. Yes. After the attack at the Pentagon this morning, the first individuals were taken to area hospitals about 10-30 this morning. I was over at Virginia Hospital Center, which is in Arlington, not too far from here, 20 minutes from the Pentagon. It is the official hospital of the Pentagon, so people who fall ill at the Pentagon are usually taken over to that facility. As of tonight, a total of 42 people have been taken over there. 31 were actually Pentagon officials, civilian and military who had been injured. Another 11 or so as of this evening were firefighters and emergency service workers who were over at the Pentagon. There were eight people put into intensive care units with very, very serious smoke inhalation and other injuries. They were intubated, tubes were put into them and they were attached
to ventilator. So their injuries are very, very serious. The most part that we understand the injuries are burns, some smoke inhalation, etc. We did speak with one Pentagon worker who actually was in the news information office at the Pentagon. They were watching this on television earlier today. They were actually watching what was going on at the World Trade Center when the attack took place at the Pentagon. Some of them were immediately evacuated. They filed out into the interior courtyard. This one worker we spoke to had actually accompanied some injured people over to Virginia Hospital Center. It was quite apparently a nightmarish scene. She said that people were walking out of the Pentagon with injuries that she did not want to describe some very, very serious burns. Of course, we know that a number of fatalities did occur at the Pentagon. We just, at this point, do not know how many of us were. Of health correspondent Susan Denser, thanks a lot. Thanks, Ray. Now, a view of the intelligence angles to today's events and a Margaret Warner. And we turn now to, we hope, two long-term intelligence experts with me here as James
Wolsey, who was director of Central Intelligence during the Clinton administration. And we hope to be joined soon by former Senator David Boren, who was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee during the Gulf War. Mr. Wolsey, let's start with the big intelligence question. Everyone keeps asking, how could U.S. intelligence have missed the planning of an operation? This sophisticated, this simultaneous, this multifaceted. Well, they may well have had some kind of indication that something was going to happen. And you remember a few weeks ago in the aftermath, a few weeks after the coal, there were a number of... Yeah, but the U.S. is coal, the destruction of the ship and the near destruction of the ship in Oman. We had a... I'm sorry, a young... We had a number of alerts, and we had troops in Jordan, and we had ships in the Persian Gulf, and they went on alert, put out to sea, and so forth. And at that time, there was a lot of concern that something might be about to happen. And that's been a worry, I think, of the intelligence community now for the
last number of weeks. But this is often the case. You get a general warning sometimes, but not a specific one. But explain how groups could communicate, and want to assume individuals would have had to have been communicating without that being picked up by electronic means, or would it be picked up by electronic means, but not sort of caught? Well, there's several things. First of all, it's gotten a lot harder to intercept communications in the last few years, because of encryption being generally available around the world. Secondly, even when things are picked up, and I don't know if this was, in fact, the case with Mr. Bin Laden, sometimes press leaks, or there was an indication that some weeks or months ago that he was overheard using a telephone, a particular type of telephone, and if he was overheard, you can be sure that he stopped using it after that. I think another thing is that terrorist groups are notoriously hard to penetrate. We've made it a little
bit harder than it needs to be in the aftermath of the Jennifer Harbor, Obama Co. business in Guatemala a few years ago on my successor, Mr. Deutsch, put out some guidelines that made it harder to recruit spies if those spies had a background of violence. Well, that might be all right inside governments. There are a lot of good people trapped inside bad governments who spy for the U.S. or for Britain, because they're honest Democrats and so forth. But in terrorist groups, there isn't anybody except people who want to be terrorists. So it cuts back on your ability to recruit spies inside terrorist organizations if you can't recruit people with some kind of a violent past. So now you're talking about so-called human intelligence. And so you would agree with some of our previous guests who have said things like, or maybe you wouldn't agree with this, but are human intelligence is a business model or it's been short-changed recently? It's really not what it should be. Well, I don't think it's been short-changed recently. It has, we had some cuts from the Congress that I fought against when I was Director of
Central Intelligence. But I know, George Tenet has worked very hard to try to build up human intelligence. Bill Webster did. Most of those cuts were back during the late 70s. And I think the agency has recovered largely from those. But there have been some overall budget trimmings in the last few years that I think probably have heard a bit. And then are you saying that we had another guest, Larry Johnson, who used to be at the State Department, Deputy Chief of Counterterrorism, who said, the U.S. government isn't willing to, quote, get in the sewer, which is what you have to do and take those kind of risks to really recruit, keep on payroll and so on, the kinds of spies you're talking about. Well, that's a little bit what I was saying. Up until late 95, case officers had the flexibility to recruit pretty much whom they would as long as their station chief approved it. But these guidelines that came out in late 95 deterred them. It doesn't block them. But it does deter them from recruiting people with violent paths. And if you're going to recruit
someone in a terrorist organization, it's going to be someone with a violent path. We are joined now by Senator Boren. Welcome, Senator Boren. I understand you were actually having breakfast with the CIA, Director George Tenet this morning, when this attack occurred in the State of the Agency for some time. Is there anything new you can tell us on what the thinking is about who was responsible for this? Well, not really. We were actually having breakfast downtown in a hotel. We thought we were having a very peaceful breakfast on a beautiful morning. And of course, we were interrupted right in the middle of that breakfast with us news. I think I don't have access. And if I did, I wouldn't divulge it as to what our latest thinking is. But clearly, I think you have to put on the list, those that have the resources to do something as sophisticated as this. I think you have to have bin Laden on the on the suspect list. You probably have some some nation states that ought to be on the suspect list as well. And looking at this, it's very clear. And I think this hopefully will give us leads to trace back
and find in a fixed responsibility. The training that had to have been there by those that took over the aircraft. The ability to pilot the aircraft that appears that perhaps they were piloting the aircraft, the knowledge to turn off the transponders that would make it very difficult to trace these aircraft from the ground and through our air control system. These were people that were highly trained. They knew what they were doing. It's all very carefully coordinated. So we're dealing with people with a lot of sophistication here. And some of that training and some of that preparation is bound to the left clues that hopefully will be able to thread through pretty quickly. You said you put some states on the list, which states? Well, I'd rather not start naming, but I think that there obviously there are states that have reason to have strong feelings, Iraq, for example. We knew, back during the Persian Gulf conflict, and that's when we had a lot of intelligence successes because a lot of efforts were broken up to mount terrorists attacks that Saddam Hussein, among others, was trying to recruit every terrorist organization in the world to serve as purpose.
And I think now we're in a situation where we must respond so strongly and since such a very strong signal for the sake not only of our security, but the stability and security of the world, that nation states that condone terrorism, that harbor terrorists, let alone those that sponsor terrorism will pay a very heavy, heavy price. It was interesting to me that Mr. Gaddafi rushed out with a statement, deploring the incident today. It's pretty clear that none of these people who've harbored terrorists in the past want to suffer the consequences or have a risk of suffering the consequences. You agree with that, Jim, we'll see a higher price, and if so, what do we mean a higher price? Well, we have to be very vigorous in recruiting spot, and we have to do, and sometimes that's costly. But I think the key thing is what David said earlier about nation states, because Iraq has a lot of incentives to damage the United States heavily. And there was
an FBI agent in charge of the early investigation of the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, Jim Fox, who had the view that there may well have been Iraqi government involvement in that, behind Ronzi Yusuf. The Clinton administration, Justice Department brushed that aside after a time, but some of the information that came out at trial that had been under grand jury secrecy during the investigation looks as if there may well have been Iraqi government involvement. And this time, this administration, I hope, and trust will not brush aside the idea that there might be state involvement. We may well find that bin Laden or some other terrorist group in the Middle East or elsewhere, probably the Middle East, is behind this, but they may well be a subcontractor or a junior partner. They're conceivably could be a state behind this. Iran is possible, but I think we should focus very hard on the possibility of state backing.
David Warren, when you say states that sponsor terrorism should be a higher price, what are you saying specifically? I think infrastructure of those countries needs to be severely damaged in terms of physical, military damage, military action, if that is required, we have to be able to deliver that message very, very strongly so that no one will even want to be on the suspect list in the future for harboring terrorism. You know, I hope that out of all this, something will happen that I felt strongly about for a long time, and that is we cannot really deal with terrorism, just like we can't deal with environmental problems, all by ourselves in the United States. Like environmental problems, national borders are really irrelevant when you talk about the movement of terrorism and terrorist organizations. We really need to sit down, and we need to get the leading nations of the world, not only just our NATO allies, but also the Russians, if they'll join us, the Chinese, if they'll join us, all of us have a stake in world stability and say we need to form some kind of international
inspection regime that will enable us to go into areas of the world, hopefully with the acquiescence of the host governments, but if not, forcefully go into areas of the world inspects a suspected terrorist camps, training camps, and operation camps, and break them up. When all of this happened, as I was walking along this morning, I thought back about a conversation I had about six weeks ago with President Putin of Russia and Moscow, we were talking about the threats we'd started talking about the missiles shield, and he said, you know, we worry about missiles being launched by rogue states, but he said, you know, my worry, and he said, I think we all need to get together and figure out how to work together on this, is that car bombs and airplanes, he mentioned airplanes, could be used, much more conventional devices to inflict this kind of terrible damage, and we were talking about the opportunities for intelligence sharing and really building a strong leadership of the international community. Maybe the shock of this incident will cause other countries
around the world to wake up, and I hope that our President will take the lead internationally and bring together the top dozen nations of this world that become committed to this kind of international cooperative activity. All right, well, David Borenge and we'll see. Thank you both very much. A reminder that President Bush is scheduled to address the nation in about 10 minutes, 830 Eastern time, and we will certainly go to that live when that occurs. But now some perspective on what it took to bring down those twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and to Elizabeth Farnsworth. Those twin towers, which were completed in 1973 were 110 stories tall, 1,360 feet. They were the tallest buildings in New York City, roughly 50,000 people worked in them. They were designed to be a hub for international trade and were part of a seven building complex which was completed in 1988. In addition to the twin towers, one other of the seven buildings in the World Trade Center complex also collapsed late this afternoon. For more on the buildings, we turn now to two structural engineers, Ron Hamburger, Chief Structural Engineer
at EQE, an engineering firm, and Hassan Astane, Professor of Engineering at UC Berkeley, who is helping develop guidelines for the American Institute for Steel Construction, guidelines that would help structures withstand terrorist attack. Ron Hamburger, you've seen the video, you've seen the plane hitting, you've seen the fires and the collapse. What do you think happened? Well, incredibly as it may seem, the buildings both of them actually survived the aircraft attack. Both of them were able to stand for the better part of two hours after the crash. What they just were not able to survive was the incredibly intense fires that ensued from all that burning jet fuel. Structural steel, these buildings were steel buildings. Structural steel, when it gets hot, loses strength. The steel elements that held up the building where the crash occurred got hot from the fires at about the 90th floor. They were supporting 20 floors of building above it. And when they lost the ability to support that, all of that mass, like another building, came down on top of the rest of the structure
like a pile hammer and just essentially drove the rest of the building into the ground. Now we don't know for sure, do we, Mr. Stein, that there, we don't know for sure that there wasn't some kind of a bomb, but you think there didn't have to be a bomb for this to happen? That's exactly the case. We are not sure, of course, what was in those planes. But the amount of fuel that came and was delivered to this building was enough, in my opinion, as I agreed with Ron, that the cause of this collapse and tragedy was really what we call progressive collapse. What happened here was the initial impact did not cause much damage. It just ignited a fire and the fuel was supplied and the fire went on almost for hours or for each tower. And at that time, the temperature of the columns apparently have reached the level that we call critical level, which is about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. And when it's still reaches that level of temperature, then it loses its strength. And of course, the upper floors, the weight of those upper floors completely collapsed on the lower part and
hammered it down and collapsed. And Mr. Stein, it was, was it important where the aircraft hit the towers? Exactly. What was really amazing to me this morning watching the footage was that actually, I don't know by design of our accident, but they really hit the worst part of perhaps these towers. If you hit these towers at the top very top, you might do several floors, but that will not collapse the whole entire building. If you hit them at the base, the columns at the base are so strong, as we saw during the past bomb attack on this building, that really those columns will not collapse. You hit in the middle, these columns are not very strong as the base, but at the same time, they have very heavy weight of upper floors on them. So this was the worst combination I was strength reduction and increased weight on them. Mr. Hamburg, anything to add to that? Well, not really. I think Dr. Astani said it very well. Really, the terrorists picked the perfect place to strike these buildings.
Tell us about the buildings where they more or less vulnerable than other very tall buildings, like them. I read that the structural engineer that designed them said they were designed to take a hit from a 707. That's correct. These buildings actually were very strong. The steel columns that support the building were spaced at about three feet apart all around the perimeter of the building. Typically, on a building like this, you'll see column spacings on the order of three to four times that. So this was an exceptionally strong building. And as I said, it did actually survive the impact of the aircraft. Both towers did. They even survived the impact going right through it. You saw that picture of the aircraft going through it. Anything to add about the buildings themselves? All I can tell you is that if there is any positive thing here today is that actually the fact that these buildings were a steel structure. The reason is when we had to acquire a city tragedy, that structure was concrete. And when it happened, the concrete could not tolerate the impact and columns were pretty much collapsed and whole building collapsed. And there was no time for people to get out of the building. In this case, because the structures were steel structures,
the columns were able to tolerate easily the impact. And even they could tolerate the fire if we were able to bridge the fire and extinguish the fire. But since it wasn't possible, the fire was too intense, then the steel lost its strength and collapse after one hour. But that one hour apparently was enough for many people, as I heard in fact from Ron when we were sitting outside that his firm had people in that building and they were able to evacuate from 91st floor after the fire started. So they were out before the collapse. So one positive thing I see is that at least we were lucky in a sense that the collapse actually happened in a progress away, not in a very sudden immediate after attack. So I see a very, very positive point in design of these buildings that they were really strong as Ron mentioned and they were really designed well. But unfortunately, they could not tolerate that intense fire due to jet fuel perhaps. Could any building designed in the future in a different way? And I'm really asking what needs to be done in the
future have withstood the heat of that fire? Well, really, I don't think you would have to do much to the design of the structure. What you would have to work with would be the protective coatings that are put on the steel to guard them against fire. So there weren't those protective coatings on this steel? Well, they were there. But they're designed for the type of fire that you would have in an office building, burning paper, burning carpet, burning furniture, not burning jet fuel. And they're designed to resist that for a period of two to three hours. It would be possible to put additional coatings on the steel that would allow them to survive such a fire. But you'd have the way the cost of that against the likelihood of a repeat of such an occurrence. You are developing guidelines which are supposed to help prevent a building from collapsing if there's a terrorist attack. Structural engineers worry about these things, right? Yeah, specifically there is a national organization American Institute of Steel Construction and that organization develops guidelines and design recommendations for profession to design structures for everything. Now, since Oklahoma City collapsed, the profession and American Institute of Steel
Construction has started a committee and I'm a member of that committee and our work is to develop guidelines and provisions that structural engineers can use in order to prevent what we call progressive collapse, which means if you for either due to car attack, car bombs or rocket attack or other means, if you remove a column or part of a building, can you prevent the full collapse of a building? So these guidelines are in the process and hopefully they will help in the future to prevent progressive and catastrophic collapse. Well, Hasanistan and Ron hamburger, thanks very much for being with us. Thank you. And now to Tom all up under the Boston Globe and William Crystal of the weekly standard, build the president in about two and a half minutes or so is going to address the nation. What is his mission? What is his job? Who would have thought eight months ago that the president's first two five time special televised addresses would be on embryonic stem cell research and now tonight in the wake of a attack on continental United States
with thousands of casualties? I think his job is to tell the American people how serious this is, that we are in a war, that it won't be resolved easily or quickly perhaps, but that he intends to lead us through to victory. Tom, he's been putting this together, Jim. I've heard that there's a difficult line being walked here because I think the first thing Americans probably want to hear tonight is that what has happened today changes everything. Something almost only a president can drive home. Does he have to, would a lot of people also be listening for him to say, it's over? Precisely. The first, that's the fact that whether you talk, well, yes. In other words, I think the fine line here is on the one hand, reassurance to an obviously shaken country that has had vulnerability stepped on its far end. That's one thing. But at the same time, the idea that this is it, we have no more tolerance for this kind of thing. And that is the
kind of leadership act that is going to ask things of people, not just to give up curbside check and at the airlines, but to be prepared in terms of backing policies and spending money to have in place the kind of response to international terrorism with our allies that we're going to need that can be successful after 20 plus years of abject failure. And when you say, go to war, you said earlier, you mean go to war. Well, the question is, well, the president asked Congress for a declaration of war on those entities and the states that have assisted them that are responsible for this act. That would not be a ridiculous thing to do, I think, if he seriously wants to tell the American people that this will require expenditures of money, expenditures, perhaps of life, a change in certain habits we have here at home, I think that is under consideration, a congressional declaration of war. Is that right? Well, you know, there was one little untoward moment about two hours ago that cast a little doubt on that in my mind. And as that was where Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld kind of
shied away from the word, which made me wonder whether he'd go that far. You mean from the use of the word war, as if it were a legal concept. And here is an event that is more than ten times Pearl Harbor. And now we go to the Oval Office in President Bush. Good evening. Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices, secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and acquired unyielding anger.
These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorists' attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world, and no one will keep that light from shining. Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature, and we responded with the best of America, with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.
Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government's emergency response plans, our military is powerful, and it's prepared. Our emergency teams are working in New York City and Washington, D.C. to help with local rescue efforts. Our first priorities to get help to those who have been injured, and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks. The functions of our government continue without interruption. Federal agencies in Washington, which had to be evacuated today, are reopening for a central personnel tonight, and will be open for business tomorrow. Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business as well. The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I've directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction
between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them. I appreciate so very much the members of Congress who have joined me in strongly condemning these attacks, and on behalf of the American people, I thank the many world leaders who have called to offer their condolences and assistance. America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism. Tonight I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you or with me. This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life
unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down any enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world. Thank you. Good night and God bless America. President Bush addressing the nation from the Oval Office and back to Tom Ollipan and Phil Crystal. Tom, your comments. A short speech and I hope we don't bury the lead as we say in journalism because there was one sentence in there that is very important to focus on and that is that we will make no distinction the President said between terrorists and those who harbor them. I think in that sentence is the message of resolve that we have been hearing about all day from the administration, the task of leading the country to what it will actually take
to change and get ready to carry out a policy like this. It has been left by the President for the days ahead. He spoke very briefly but certainly, fortunately, it may be that the enormity of this horror almost negates any attempt at summing it up with rhetoric. Bill? Yeah, I agree. It was a good speech. I thought an appropriate speech but it did put off the fundamental decisions about foreign policy and defense policy that the President will have to make and will have to go to Congress to seek legislative and budgetary support for. You agree with Tom with that's the key sentence. I think that wasn't key sentence. On the other hand, he spoke about the intelligence and law enforcement communities and did not make clear. I would say that he regards the war and terrorism as a foreign and military policy priority as opposed to a matter of catching bad guys and punishing them. Not to minimize the importance of bringing perpetrators of injustice to justice but it's not clear to me whether he and his administration see this as a war against
an enemy or as the need to punish some bad groups out there in the world. Right, within the context of today, I think officials have not been willing to say they know for sure what happened. That could account for the restraint nature of the rhetoric at this point but that sentence sticks out like a sore thumb to me. Sure. All right, now we closed this hour with a special edition of Washington Week in Review and a Gwen Eiffel. Thanks, Jim. And welcome to a special edition of Washington Week. Joining me tonight to take stock at today's terrible events are four reporters who have been covering the story. Joining me here in the studio are David Broder of the Washington Post and Doyle Manas of the Los Angeles Times. Plus, still on the job in Washington tonight, Martha Raditz, who covers foreign policy and intelligence for ABC News, and Tom Jelton, who covers the Pentagon for National Public Radio. David and Doyle have started here with you. What was your sense of what the president did? Did he do what he had to do? Well, I wrote down three things that I thought the president had to do before the speech began.
Had to display strength, compassion, and give reassurance. I think on the first two he did well, I don't think that given the way in which these events have unfolded, he provided a great deal of reassurance that we know how to prevent it from happening again. And as Bill Crystal said, when it came to the strategy for countering this kind of terrorism, he was at this point silent. He needed a bigger response, a more presidential response? Well, I think he did what he could do at this moment, but there is much more that needs to be done. Doyle, what is your take on it? I think David's right all day long, we have heard the terms of the debate over terrorism policy, essentially laid out. Is this law enforcement or is it war? If it's law enforcement, you do limited things. If it's war, you step up to a much higher level. The president did not resolve that question tonight. He basically said it's a little bit of both. We're going to continue
to treat it essentially as law enforcement. He didn't talk about vast new resources coming into this. He basically said we're going to do what we would do for a long time. Another sentence that Tom Olafand focused on is a very significant sentence if it is translated into policy. Let's be blunt. The United States has been squeamish up to this point about saying to countries that harbor terrorists, you have a problem as long as that terrorist is living within your borders. We have not taken that kind of strong preemptive stand. If the president's sentence means that we are now about to draw that line clearly with those countries, which had Richard Holbrook was saying earlier on, we know our harboring terrorists, then it is a very significant shift. Exactly. And to be more specific, if it turns out that this is Osama bin Laden's operation, as most of the initial fragmentary evidence indicates, the harboring country there is Afghanistan.
Now, until now, the United States has carried out only limited sanctions against Afghanistan under the United Nations Security Council. If the president means what he said, then we are coming close to a state of war of some kind with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Well, let's turn to Tom Jelton over downtown Washington tonight. But today, when all of this happened, he was actually inside the Pentagon. Tom, give us some sort of sense about what it was like. Well, as you say, I was inside the Pentagon, but I was on the complete opposite side of the building. And to tell you the truth, I didn't at first feel it. That gives you an idea of the size and scale of this massive fortress, the Pentagon. It's all, it's two miles all the way around, we remember. But nevertheless, there wasn't a evacuation order that we all heard, and within moments, the minutes, the 20,000 people who work at the Pentagon had poured outside. By the time we got outside, smoke was billowing over the courtyard and around the building. I think none of us really realized at first, until we saw that a whole chunk of the building
had been taken out, a chunk of that massive fortress with the thick concrete walls. But we now know, of course, Gwen, that the plane that hit that had taken off from Dulles Airport for Los Angeles, meaning it was loaded with fuel. And as someone said, a commercial airliner loaded with fuel is like a flying bomb. Now, prior to the plane actually hitting the Pentagon, was there a concern? Was there alert within the Pentagon about the earlier bombing down the already half or not bombing, but the earlier crash that had already happened at the World Trade Center? Well, of course, there was Gwen. In fact, they had already realized that it was a hijacking, they had a sense. In other words, that this was a terrorist action, yet significantly, the Pentagon itself had not yet been put on high alert. There was a little bit of a lag. I mean, there wasn't a lot of time between the World Trade Center bombing and the time the plane hit the Pentagon, of course. Nevertheless, when I entered the Pentagon,
which was just a few minutes before the plane hit, it really seemed like quite a normal day. Tom, again, you weren't able to get back into the building after you left how much of the Pentagon, how much of the National Military Command is functioning. Well, the National Military Command Center is located inside in the bowels of the building. It was not affected by this. Smoke did get in there, but it was not enough smoke that they actually had to evacuate the Command Center. So the Command Center was, which is like the war room of the Pentagon. It was staffed throughout, and operations there were, of course, continued right through the whole crisis. And Tom, do you have any sense about the casualties at the Pentagon itself? No, I don't, David. There were five or six stories that were completely collapsed, and there were dozens of offices in there. Now, we heard one report from a congressman who said he'd heard that a hundred people were killed and, of course, hundreds more injured. The Pentagon
has not released any casualties. The one little piece of good news, as far as the Pentagon hit is concerned, is that that portion of the building was under renovation and had recently been renovated. And many of the offices there were still unoccupied. If there was one spot on the Pentagon that an aircraft could have hit with relatively fewer casualties, that was, in fact, the spot. That's really interesting, Tom, but I'm also curious about what happens tomorrow. I noticed today there were two news briefings at the Pentagon. One at the gas station across the street, one in, I guess, what was described as a makeshift press room. Well, they actually bust reporters back into the Pentagon to the briefing room and then bust them back out again. So the briefing room itself was not damaged, not affected. As I say, this is where the reporters hang out on the complete other side of the Pentagon. And Secretary Rumsfeld, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, said that the Pentagon will be open for business as usual tomorrow, not quite as usual, of course, a big chunk of it has been taken out of commission, but much of the building remains usable.
Well, by the end of this extraordinary day in Washington, the country's leaders had gathered to send a single, strong message to those listening at home and to those abroad. That message, that the United States was wounded, but not fatally, in addition to the President's. Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts. In addition to the President's address tonight, we heard from members of Congress and the Cabinet. Congressional leaders received intelligence briefings and gathered at the Capitol, which had been evacuated earlier today to show solidarity with the President. And Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld went before the cameras in the damaged Pentagon, late today, to say that the nation's military operations are still up and running. Martha, Martha Raditz, you have been covering the State Department, you've been covering
Colin Powell, and you've been covering the intelligence community. What is the latest information on what they think of this terrorism issue? I would say what is everyone in the intelligence community at the State Department seems stunned, bewildered, completely caught unawares by this. There had been a worldwide caution released on September 7th, updated on September 7th. Last Friday, warning Americans traveling abroad that military facilities might be hit. Civilian facilities might be hit. I talked to one administration official today. I said, what about that? Did that have anything to do with this? And he said, that had absolutely nothing to do with this. They had no information about that. We were evacuated at the State Department this morning shortly after the plane hit the Pentagon. And there were several people out in front, the special envoy to the mid-east William Burns. He said, did you have any information about anything like this happening? He said, none at all.
What's the most startling thing? It seems the enormity of this act is part of what's so amazing about this whole day. Is that what it has people consumed about what to do next? I think what the intelligence community will do. I can hear myself a little bit coming back in my air if they can make that stop. I think what the intelligence community has to do now is look and listen to itself at this point. And the Defense Department, all we've been hearing after all afternoon is we're on the highest state of alert. Security, everyone's battened down the hatches, and yet four aircraft took off were hijacked, three hit these buildings. There is a new security problem in this country. Certainly Americans had been warned. Certainly people were saying, look, this can happen anywhere on our soil. We never know when they'll hit. But there is a new security problem here. And this is the kind of thing they really don't know how to fight. Remember a few years ago there was an airplane, a small plane that went into the White House. And I remember talking to a lot of security officials about that then saying,
what could you possibly do about a plane going into the White House? And they said, really, there's nothing we can do. I'm sure there are a lot of conversations today. And in fact, when we left the State Department, there were reports, credible reports, that a plane was on its way to Washington, perhaps going for another building when we were standing outside. And I'm sure there were conversations around Washington on whether or not they would shoot down an aircraft to passenger airplane if it was heading headed for a crowded building. And those are the decisions they're going to have to look at in the future and how they can stop this because at this point, this is obviously something they don't know how to do. Martha, from your diplomatic sources, could you make any early judgment as to how much international support there would be for an American policy that as the president says, makes no distinction between the terrorists and the country that is harboring the terrorists? I too was struck by that statement. I'm sure they have discussed this with the allies before they, before President Bush went on the air tonight and they were probably well aware of what the president was going to say. And obviously that's the kind of support they're going to have
to rally in the coming days. As you probably know, Colin Powell was not in town, was not in Washington. He has been on a trip to Peru and Colombia and was called back immediately. He is now back in Washington. And I'm sure all of foreign policy apparatus will rally and try to rally the allies as well. What about the reactions from other foreign governments? We talk about this need for some sort of consolidated response. Have we gotten an indication that we'll get that? I think the opinion is still coming in. The broadcast I heard today and the wires I read from overseas and what I was hearing from diplomatic sources here is that they're certainly condemning this bombing. But frankly, the world is as stunned as the United States at this point. They want to put on the best face possible as you heard Donald Rumsfeld said the Pentagon will be open tomorrow for business. I'm sure Washington will try to rally up. But it's a ghost town tonight and they're reaching out to whoever they can. Martha, you know, one of the things this event is clearly going to do is turn Washington's agenda upside down a little bit. Up until now, in the last few weeks, we've all been talking about how there wasn't going to be any money left
from new defense spending. Well, the sentiment on that is likely to change. In terms of threats there at the State Department, the worries have been about China, about the problem of missile defense. Terrorism of this nature hasn't really been that high on the radar screen. Have you begun to see the focus move already? I think what you've begun to see is the conversation moving already. People are already wondering what this will do to a national defense system because certainly people on the hill will say, wait a minute, that doesn't appear to be the problem. There will be budget battles back and forth. I've already heard people today saying, look, you know, one of the reasons the intelligence had no inkling anything like this would happen is because we didn't get enough money. I think you're going to hear those kinds of arguments in the coming months. They actually started hearing some of those arguments tonight on the news hour from some members of Congress. Tom, Jill, you are at the press conference that Donald Rumsfeld gave this evening. And I'm wondering if you, what you took away from that, whether you think he is setting himself up for some big statement. Of course, you know, there was a flurry of
activity involving some bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan tonight, which turned out the United States said it had nothing to do with what was your sense from being at the Pentagon today, what the Pentagon's prepared to do? Well, I was told by a Navy Admiral that what happened at the Pentagon was, quote, a full assault on the United States of America. And when you have language like that, you can be certain that there will be a response commensurate with that kind of attack. Of course, General Shelton said that he was appearing a general Hugh Shelton, the chairman of the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was at Rumsfeld, Rumsfeld's side, said that he would not say what would come next, but make no mistake about it. Your armed forces are ready. So while indeed they did say definitively that the United States was not behind the strikes in Afghanistan, there is virtually no doubt that there will be a response. It also sounds like they were saying that there's no such thing
as a response that's too small. Well, when you have an attack like this described as a full assault in the United States, it's not any longer in the category of a terrorist incident. It is in practical terms. It is an active war. I'd like you to give me a reality check on a theory that Doyle has already kind of alluded to, this budget gridlock that facing Congress, my hunch would be now that any amount of money that the Bush administration asked for to beef up defense and intelligence, that there won't be 10 votes against that in the Congress, and that all of this sort of hang up about whether or not we are touching the sacred social security trust fund now disappears, but give me your perspective. I fully agree with you, David, but the point I was going to make a little earlier is that this is, in fact, coming, as you say, in the midst of this budget debate, and what I do anticipate is that there will be a lot of debate about how that money should be spent. Indeed, you're absolutely right. I'm sure that there won't be
any doubt that there will be more money for defense and probably just as much as the administration is seeking, but I would guess there'll be some debate and some disagreement about how the money in that budget should be allocated, whether as much should go for a national missile defense, when we have just seen an example of a much lower-tech terrorist attack on the United States, or whether there should be some shifting of the money within that defense budget, perhaps more for intelligence, more for national guard operations, to beef up preparation for terrorist attacks. So I think that there is going to be some debate about how to respond to this in a budgetary fashion. David, Martha, I'll get to you in a moment, because I want to ask everybody this question. I want you all to take turns responding, which is, doesn't this change the context for every debate in Washington, not just for the debate over the defense budget or debate over Social Security? David? Absolutely. I mean, we've been dealing with issues that were pretty abstract, whether or not to touch a supposed trust fund. This is real,
and it's going to become ever more real as we learn the human cost of today's events. Do I? In fact, I think it becomes the key challenge for George W. Bush's presidency for the foreseeable future. It's one thing to debate whether you want to put money into a tax cut, into education, or into missile defense. When you're looking at war and peace, that's the real test of leadership. Martha? I was struck today when thinking about foreign policy, and as I watched this special meeting, it's an unvoiced standing out front, thinking nobody's really going to be talking about the mid-east peace process anymore. This is a domestic issue. Americans will want to know who did it, and why they did it, and get them back. But I don't think you'll see as much focus on what's happening in other parts of the world for months and months and months. But what if, Martha, this is, this turns out to be a retaliation for our stand in the Middle East peace process, that was certainly talked about a bit today as well. Then the focus will be on the mid-east,
but in terms of what the Washington talks about, the rest of the world, where Colin Powell will be focused, where other secretaries in the building will be focused, I think you'll see them focusing just on this for a long time to come. Well, Tom Jalen, it seems as if there's not a whole lot of choice but to focus on this one issue right now, especially at the Pentagon, which is going to be the lead actor in whatever happens next. That's right, Gwen, and I would just reinforce what others have said. I mean, if the President Bush now does decide to go after, Afghanistan is the country that's harboring with some have been modern, that will be essentially declaring war on Afghanistan. The United States will be at war, and that condition, that experience, will just overwhelm everything else. So, Doyle, what are the big challenges which now face the United States as attempts to grapple with this, especially not only domestically, but also with our international relationships? Well, of course, the first ones are the basic intelligence problems of figuring out who did it and coming up with a reasonable response. But the big diplomatic problem
is going to be most of the world has not embraced the notion of going to war with the sponsoring country or of something Israel pioneered, and some people in the Bush administration are even talking about, although not officially yet, and that is preventive attacks, going after them before they hit you. The rest of the world, which wasn't touched in this, would rather keep it a limited law enforcement kind of operation with a lot of international cooperation in terms of intelligence sharing. We are going to find some pushback potentially from some of the allies. When you talk about intelligence, before you could even plan to do something before they do it to you, don't you have to know what's going on? That seems to have been a big gap today. Well, you have to know what's going on, and of course, one problem in previous retaliatory strikes was when you try to do a precision strike where you may miss the people for the person that you're going after. One of the lines we haven't crossed yet is whether to go into a much larger and less discriminant kind of strike. One of the questions here now is will the American
public and the allies be willing to tolerate larger military strikes that yes would harm in this that's the key point. And that's what I meant when I said we had been our policy in the past had been squeamish because a very important criterion was no collateral damage, no civilian casualties. If you're really going to treat the harboring country in the same terms as you treat the terrorist organization itself, then there are going to be civilian casualties. And whether or not we have the will as a people to say to those countries that harbor the terrorists, this is your problem. It's not our problem. You have to deal with these terrorists in your borders or your people are going to feel the pain. Martha and Tom, when you go back to work over tomorrow at Pentagon and state, what do you expect to happen? Where will you be sitting? What will you be asking? Questions will you be asking? Well, the first question I'll be asking is to find out how
U.S. troops around the world will be responding to this, what kind of mobilizations they'll be, what kind of troop movements, what kind of movements of ships and so forth. And clearly we're all going to be waiting for the military response. And certainly the State Department, we want to know what the Arab countries are saying about this, what the response has been internally away from the cameras. You saw a lot of people out front today condemning the bombing, but the Arab world has not been too happy with the United States and has seen it siding with Israel. We know we had the UN racism conference last week where the U.S. walked out. The Arab countries weren't happy with that and wanted to condemn the United States for that. So that will be very interesting to see. Martha and Tom, thank you very much. Stay safe. David and Doyle, thank you as well. We'll leave it there for now. It's been a tough day. Now, for more of our continuing PBS coverage, we head back to Jim Lehrer, Jim. And again, we'll be back on most public television stations in just a moment.
- The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
- Producing Organization
- NewsHour Productions
- Contributing Organization
- NewsHour Productions (Washington, District of Columbia)
- AAPB ID
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/507-q23qv3cv4s).
- Episode Description
- 8PM. This episode is missing the intro.
- Episode Description
- 9/11 coverage of the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon.
- 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-7152-8P (NH Show Code)
Format: Betacam: SP
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
- Chicago: “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” 2001-09-11, NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-507-q23qv3cv4s.
- MLA: “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.” 2001-09-11. NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-507-q23qv3cv4s>.
- APA: The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. 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-q23qv3cv4s