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America Under Attack: Canada's Role

Aired September 12, 2001 - 13:36   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.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Those of us old enough to remember this all take this back more than a generation in that state of hijackings to Cuba that occurred when the security system at the airports was ratcheted up for the first time: metal detectors, air marshals on planes. And it is certainly not surprising that the FAA is ratcheting up security up yet again.

Natalie mentioned we have got an untold number, we're not sure, of Americans who were on the international flights who were diverted to Canada. That is one of the Canadian connections in all of this.

There is also been reporting today that some of the suspects in the incidents yesterday, in the attack yesterday, came across the Canadian-U.S. border.

We go to Ottawa now, the Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien joins us.

Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for taking a few moments.

Tell me what your law enforcement and Canadian intelligence has learned in the last 24-plus hours.

JEAN CHRETIEN, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: First, I would like to take the occasion on behalf of the people of Canada to offer the president and the people of the United States our condolence and assure the people of the United States of the Canadian support in these very difficult hours.

Of course, Canada is there to help, and this morning, the president called me and because 250 planes were diverted to Canada and more than 30 thousand passengers are in different airports in eastern Canada waiting to be able to return home. So we're there to calibrate with the authorities of United States and do our best so that we can collectively fight this horrible devil that is terrorism.

BROWN: Sir, before we go on to the law enforcement, Lee (ph) talked about those passengers, 30 thousand is a lot of people. Are your airports and support people there overwhelmed at this point by what they have to take care of?

CHRETIEN: Yes, in some areas. For example, in Newfoundland Labrador (ph) there is a little city that has more people at the airport than the people in the city. So -- but the passengers have been very patient and the Canadians have done their best to accommodate them. As soon as they will be permitted to have access to the destination we will let them fly.

BROWN: Are you able to get food to these people, sir?

CHRETIEN: Yes. We have all of the services, and many of them have been accommodated in hotels and schools and gymnasiums and so on. And the Canadian authorities and provincial authorities are working to make their (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in those places as comfortable as possible.

BROWN: And I'm sure you and your government, as people here are anxious and eager to get those people back home, and hopefully that will happen soon.

Let's move now to the law enforcement issues. Has Canadian intelligence learned anything about this attack that may be helpful? And tell us if you can what you have learned.

CHRETIEN: For us, we don't know more than what is known at this moment. Publicly, there's, at this moment, the secretive people are looking to find out who are these people and where they were coming from.

We have no indication that they -- from where they were. I heard like -- it was mentioned earlier that some of them started in Portland, Maine, but we have no indication that -- from our security, that they used Canada to go there. It's a possibility, but it's -- we don't know.

BROWN: Mr. Prime Minister, we appreciate both your time and your efforts on behalf of those 30 thousand Americans in your airports. At this moment, thank you for joining us today.

CHRETIEN: Thank you very much. Good bye.

BROWN: The Canadian prime minister, Jean Chretien joining us from Ottawa.

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