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

Aired September 11, 2001 - 14:35   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani joining us once again. Mayor Giuliani?

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

RUDOLPH GIULIANI, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: The tragedy that we're all undergoing right now is something that we've had nightmares about, probably thought wouldn't happen. My heart goes out to all of the innocent victims of this horrible and vicious act of terrorism, acts of terrorism. And our focus now has to be on saving as many lives as possible. We have hundreds of police officers and fire fighters who are engaging in rescue efforts in lower Manhattan. I want to thank Governor Pataki for the incredible cooperation and coordination, including deploying the National Guard that will be available to relieve our police officers and fire fighters and emergency workers in the next couple of hours.

The governor and I just spoke to the President of the United States. The coordination with the federal government from the time of the first attack has been excellent, including closing off the air space around Manhattan and doing everything that can possibly be done in the face of this barbaric act to make the city secure.

And we will strive now very hard to save as many people as possible and to send a message that the city of New York and the United States of America is much stronger than any group of barbaric terrorists, that our democracy, that our rule of law, that our strength and our willingness to defend ourselves will ultimately prevail.

And I'd ask the people of New York City to do everything that they can to cooperate, not to be frightened, to go about their lives as normal. Everything is safe right now in the city. And the people who are doing the relief effort need all of the help they can get.

And then governor, thank you very, very much for your assistance and your help and your support. Thank you.

GEORGE PATAKI, GOVERNOR, NEW YORK: Thank you, Mayor, for your leadership for this crisis. This is a vicious attack upon New York. It's an attack upon America. It's an attack upon the whole concept of freedom and our way of life. And we cannot let these attacks succeed. The first step has to be to make sure that we do everything in our power to protect the people and to save the lives of those whose lives are still at risk and to help those who have been injured.

And I want to commend the mayor. And I want to thank my colleagues from Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the federal government -- have all offered and made ready support to help us deal with this ongoing crisis.

The people of New York are not only the freest and most diverse people in the world, we're also, I believe, the most capable of rising to meet the challenges of this type of attack.

And right now, we want New Yorkers to remain calm, to go about their business, to appreciate the fact that everything to provide for their safety is being done, to appreciate that everything that can be done to provide for the health and the needs of the people who are still at risk is being done and that we will continue to work to make sure that we get through this as strongly and quickly as possible.

I want to thank the federal administration. Secretary Thompson has been on the phone with me a number of times, as well as the president, for what they are offering and prepared to do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(CROSSTALK)

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

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

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

(CROSSTALK)

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

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

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

QUESTION: Are you finding survivors?

GIULIANI: Yes, we have. We have some numbers that we can give you. We have 1,500 people at Liberty State Park who were evacuated, described as walking wounded. They were evacuated by ferry and other means. There are about 600, as of about 15 minutes ago, in local hospitals that we account for, 600 people who are being treated in local hospitals. And there are 150 in particular that were critical, that were moved by EMS.

New York City has 170 hospitals. So we have a lot of hospitals and we're utilizing all of them. Probably the one that was the hardest hit was St. Vincent's Hospital, and I would like to just single them out and commend them, because as I was rushing down there after the first plane hit, before the second, they were already deploying people on the street. I could see the doctors and nurses outside getting ready to receive people. And that was before the second plane actually hit the World Trade Center.

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

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

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

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

GIULIANI: Sure, yes.

QUESTION: What went through your mind?

GIULIANI: I don't think anything went through my mind other than making sure that we all remained calm and found an exit and just tried to figure out the most intelligent thing to do. Probably the same thing that went through the minds of 10,000 other New Yorkers who I could see on the streets.

I really have to commend them. If you really want to know what New Yorkers are all about, you just watch the way in which they handled themselves. They didn't panic, they moved deliberately, they moved swiftly. They didn't hurt each other, they helped each other. In addition, just the most wonderful people in the world.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PATAKI: The first step right now is to make sure we do everything to help those people who need our support, whether they're injured or still trapped in buildings. The second thing is to make sure, at the same time, we're providing the maximum security against possible additional incidents.

But clearly, this is an attack upon America, it's an attack upon our freedom and our way of life, and we must retaliate and go after those who perpetuated this heinous crime against the people of America.

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

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

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

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

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

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

GIULIANI: And secondly, the New York City Police Department is fully deployed, not just in the rescue effort, but all throughout the city of New York, offering as much protection and as much security as we're capable of for the citizens of the city.

And at this point, I believe that the people in New York City can demonstrate our resolve and our support for all of the people that were viciously attacked today by going about their lives and showing everyone that vicious, cowardly terrorists can't stop us from being a free country and a place that functions. And we'll do everything we can to make that point.

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

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

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

GIULIANI: The subway -- the schools -- the chancellor -- I commend the chancellor. He was on the phone a number of times with us. He coordinated very, carefully what would happen. He thought it out and he came up with a very good plan, which was essentially to keep the schools open, to keep the children in school, so we didn't have a large number of children in the different boroughs that'd be released from school. They're being released -- I shouldn't say as normal, but basically on the normal schedule.

If parents aren't there to pick up the young children, then the children will be taken to a center and the parents will be notified to come and pick them up. The children who have Metro cards who normally travel on the subway will be able to do that. The subways are functioning in four of the five boroughs.

And can we get an update, Joe, on how the subway's doing in Manhattan?

STAFF: All the lettered lines are working.

GIULIANI: And in Manhattan?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUESTION: When will they be arriving?

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

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

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

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

(CROSSTALK)

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

(CROSSTALK)

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

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

GIULIANI: I mean, it was -- business had already started -- it was right before 9:00.

QUESTION: So what's normal...

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: I don't know; I don't know.

QUESTION: Would you say tens of thousands?

GIULIANI: Yes. Approximately. Someone just gave me a number of approximately 10,000, but that's, you know, that's a guess.

QUESTION: How long will the city be on a heightened state of alert?

GIULIANI: Until we're told not -- until the FBI and the police department and the federal government tells us that we shouldn't. Right now, the city is on -- should be on a state of alert. Now, instead of frightening people, that should make people feel more confident, that everything is being done to keep things secure.

And, again, let me emphasize that the reason for the National Guard, because I heard the question before, is to help with the relief effort, not because there's any fear of any other problems in the city right now.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ... city hall, One Police Plaza, when will it be safe for you to return...

GIULIANI: I don't know yet; I don't know yet. Hopefully soon, but I don't know the answer to that.

QUESTION: And we also -- we've heard reports that One Police Plaza was evacuated, was that true?

(UNKNOWN): No, the command center is open. We have people in the command center right now.

QUESTION: Mr. Mayor, there have also been reports of a large loss of life among the police and firemen that were sent there to rescue people. How accurate are those reports?

GIULIANI: There is no question that we lost police officers and firefighters. And some that I know personally and all of us here know personally, that we're very worried about. And we're not going to know the answer to that until much later. Maybe we should just close now and give your briefing later.

And I would just ask everyone -- I talked to Cardinal Egan before, because he's at St. Vincent's Hospital. Everybody should in their own way say a prayer and ask God for help and for assistance and also ask God to give us the strength to overcome this, because I know we're going to need strength to overcome it, and I want the people of New York to be an example to the rest of the country and the rest of the world that terrorism can't stop us. American democracy is much stronger than a vicious, cowardly terrorist. And we're going to overcome this.

STAFF: Thank you, sir.

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and New York Governor George Pataki talking to reporters.

The mayor urged New Yorkers to be calm, and said they have been, and indeed in every picture we have seen of the area around the Trade Center, people were evacuating in a very calm, deliberate, no panic that we have been able to see from the pictures we have taken and the reporting we have done.

The mayor said 1,500 walking wounded, as he described it, taken to Liberty State Park, 600 people in local hospitals, at least 150 people in critical condition. But in fact, the mayor said, he would not even venture a guess at what these numbers will become as this day continues to unfold, and tomorrow. He acknowledged it will be several days before we really know how many people had been hurt, how many people have died.

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