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CNN AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN

Navy Reveals Videotape of Response to 9/11 Attacks

Aired August 27, 2002 - 08:06   ET

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


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Two weeks and one day from now the world will recall what happened on last September 11. Now there are new images that are bringing an inside look at how some military leaders responded to the crisis.
Our Barbara Starr has a special look inside the events of that day for some members of the U.S. Navy. And she is at her post at the Pentagon -- Barbara, good morning.

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Daryn.

Well, on September 11, top Navy officials had gathered to monitor events in New York and Washington. A camera was rolling, providing a unique look into what would become one of the worst days for the U.S. military.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got it.

STARR (voice-over): Within moments of the attack in New York, the Navy's anti-terrorism center in Washington has gone on full alert, a command post activated at its headquarters across the Potomac from the Pentagon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The issue here is the possibility of a concurrent hit elsewhere.

STARR: Top Navy officials are monitoring events, concerned attacks on Washington could be next when suddenly they are informed the Pentagon has been hit. Minutes later, they hear a thud and rush to a window, believing another plane may have hit Washington. But this time it is just a sonic boom. The Navy's top leaders begin arriving, including Navy Secretary Gordon England. It becomes clear the Navy has taken a devastating hit at the Pentagon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will tell you that it looks like the aircraft did significant damage to our command center where we have a number of our intelligence people unaccounted for.

STARR: The chief of naval operations, Admiral Vernon Clark, turns away from the Navy camera filming in the room. The Navy secretary learns the worst after talking to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

GORDON ENGLAND, NAVY SECRETARY: They've accounted for nine dead and 20 injured at this point. Fires are still burning in the fifth deck of the building.

STARR: Of the 125 people killed inside the Pentagon, the Navy lost 42. Later, investigators would begin sifting through the pieces of American Airlines Flight 77, Naval personnel recovering their dead. And overhead, the Marine Corps flag still standing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STARR: And, Daryn, indeed, it would prove to be a devastating day for the U.S. Navy. Almost everyone in the Naval Command Center here in the Pentagon would be killed that day -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Chilling pictures, chilling story.

Barbara, how did we get access to those pictures now?

STARR: Well, that camera was actually being run in the room by an official from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. These were the offices across the Potomac River in downtown Washington, D.C. where all those top Navy officials went once the Pentagon got hit. This man started rolling a camera in the room and simply filming what emerged that day. Some very unusual pictures, a bird's eye view of some very human reactions.

KAGAN: History in the making.

Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

Barbara, thank you.

STARR: Sure.

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