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Breaking News

USS Cole Failed to Implement Proper Security Procedures

Aired December 8, 2000 - 3:26 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to pause from our coverage of Election 2000 to bring you news of another major story that we've covered here for the past couple of months because there are developments. This one turns our attention to the Pentagon and the investigation into the attack on the USS Cole.

You'll remember the Cole was hit by terrorists in Yemen on October 12th. Seventeen U.S. Sailors were killed, many more injured in that attack and CNN's Jamie McIntyre joins us from the Pentagon because they've just released information about the investigation into that attack, and Jamie's here to tell us what developed?

JAIME MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, actually no information has yet been released, but CNN has learned that Navy investors have determined that the USS Cole did not fully implement its security plan when it went into port in Aden back in October. Before the Cole entered the port of Aden, it's captain filed a detail plan outlining exactly what measures would be taken to protect the ship.

Now, CNN has learned that Navy investigators have found that not all of those measures were followed. At the same time, Navy officials won't say what the ship failed to do and whether it would have made any difference in the attack. One official telling us, quote: "They didn't do everything they said they were going to do."

Those preliminary findings, which are still in draft form, raise questions about whether the Cole's skipper, Commander Kirk Lippold will be found negligent or if the deficiencies were minor and insignificant and he'll be exonerated of any security lapses.

The Cole was operating at the time under something called Threat Condition Bravo, which means that there's a general threat of terrorist activity. Under the standard procedure for that kind of condition, the ship was supposed to keep unauthorized small craft away from the ship and it was supposed to identify and inspect work boats, prepare the fire hoses to repel small craft if necessary and to have boats ready to put in the water on a 15-minute notice.

Now, we don't know if any of those things were the things that weren't done and Navy officials caution against drawing any conclusion from these preliminary findings of this Navy investigator. The report -- the investigation is still not closed until it works its way up through the chain of command and is signed off by the Chief of Naval Operations. That's expected to happen later this month -- Natalie.

ALLEN: All right. Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon. Thank you. And now here's Stephen.

STEPHEN FRAZIER, CNN ANCHOR: Natalie, as you know the next big step in all of this presidential recount action comes in the Florida state Supreme Court and this is the scene there where it looks like they might be getting ready to say something. We don't know what and we don't know exactly when. So, we're going to step away from all of this. But as soon as something happens, be sure we'll bring it to you live.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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