Skip to main content
CNN.com /transcript


CNN TV
EDITIONS

CNN BREAKING NEWS

Robert Gates Discusses Terrorist Attacks on U.S.

Aired September 11, 2001 - 19:05   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.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: In New York it is about 7:00 and we are about ten hours removed from what has been a day that will live for a long time in the memories of a lost of Americans who have watched the images throughout the day. Back to New York City, the island of Manhattan and CNN's Paula Zahn.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you Bill, and as you just said, even though we are ten hours out, you can see behind me the remnants of the fire still coming from that area where two commercial hijacked jets rammed into tower one and tower two of the World Trade Center.

Within the past hour, building number seven, which is also attached to that area, collapsed. As you might remember earlier in the day, tower number one and two collapsed, the south and north tower. We are now being told by officials that the Marriott Hotel, which is in the vicinity of this area is also in the position of being so degraded it might collapse as well.

Just to bring you up to date and what we are facing in New York City right now, a lot of folks got trapped here this morning when a lot of public transportation shut down. We are now told that some of the outbound bridges are now opened up for people to leave the city. We can confirm now that the nations airports have been completely shut down at least until noon tomorrow. Some conflicting information on that. Another report suggests that those flights might be postponed indefinitely.

Before I give you any more details on New York City, I would like to check in with Robert Gates right now who is the former director of the CIA. Mr. Gates, are you with me?

ROBERT GATES, FMR. CIA DIRECTOR: I am indeed.

ZAHN: can you hear me sir?

GATES: Yes, I can.

ZAHN: I am having trouble hearing Mr. Gates. Let me see if we can make an adjustment with our audio. As we try to straighten that out, we should probably point out that city officials at this point still will not confirm how many injuries there are, how many fatalities. Secretary Rumsfeld also saying the Pentagon is not in a position to share those numbers with us as well.

Mr. Gates, are you with me?

GATES: Yes.

ZAHN: Good I am glad you can hear me, sir. In the last news conference that we just watched, Secretary Rumsfeld would not confirm if the Pentagon had any indication of an impending attack. He said he could not divulge that intelligence information tonight. Do you think the Pentagon had any sort of forewarning?

GATES: I'm in no position to know whether there was any kind of warning provided. What we often have though, in these -- with dealing with terrorist threats in the 1980s and 1970s is information of some kind of an impending operation, but without the kind of detail that would allow you to you prepare or defend.

We ran into that with the attack on the Marine barracks in Lebanon in the early '80s and so there might have been some kind of a general warning, or there may have been a specific warning. But often you get the kind of information that allows you to say something is coming, but without the kind of detail that allows people to take specific actions.

ZAHN: Sir, I don't know whether you would agree with this assessment but the feeling I got on street this afternoon, that the sense of shock could quickly turn to a sense of outrage. Why weren't we better prepared or why wasn't the United States better prepared for this kind of attack?

GATES: I think we have to bear in mind, even against the background of this catastrophe today, that the FBI and CIA have thwarted some very major terrorist operations against United States in recent years. So they have had some very important successes and saved a lot of lives. I think there will and time when all of this -- when things have settled down --when people will be looking at what happened, what information was available, what was not available, and making some judgments about whether remedial actions need to be taken. But I think way too soon to begin making assumptions about some of those things.

ZAHN: Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi has just called the incident horrifying, calling on Muslims to help. How do you interpret that statement?

GATES: Well my guess is that there an awful lot of people around the world that are pretty frightened right now about what the United States is going to do. As you said, the sense of horror is likely to turn to a sense of outrage and I think the rest of world, and particularly people that in the past have supported terrorists and given them safe harbor and helped them in some way, are probably quite worried at this point about what may be coming against them.

ZAHN: Unfortunately, we are going to have leave it there, Mr. Gates, because we need to go back to Wolf Blitzer.

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

 Search   




MARKETS
4:30pm ET, 4/16
144.70
8257.60
3.71
1394.72
10.90
879.91
 














Back to the top