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War in Iraq -- Day 21

Aired April 8, 2003 - 20:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: LIVE FROM THE FRONT LINES. The timeline that created today's headlines. Tonight, how the day unfolded on the war front. The round the clock battle for Baghdad with air strikes and firefights inside the city.
Baghdad at dawn. Marines uncover a stash of Republican Guard weapons.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) moved in and began demolishing those units using hand grenades.


ANNOUNCER: A building reduced to rubble. Was it the big one? Was Saddam Hussein inside? Is Iraq's leader dead or alive?


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know whether he survived. The only thing I know is he's losing power.


ANNOUNCER: And a new tape from another U.S. target, Osama bin Laden. Is the terror mastermind making new threats?

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Paula Zahn in New York. We have temporarily lost our signal from Kuwait. Wolf will be joining us as soon as we get it back. You are looking at live pictures of Baghdad where the U.S. is seeking intelligence on whether Saddam Hussein is dead or alive. Our timeline will show you how things developed during the day to get to this point. Also in this hour, we will look at the undercover war against Saddam and the latest purported threat from Osama bin Laden.

Our look at the day's events begins in the overnight hours and a B-1 bomber sortie. Pentagon officials say they had time-sensitive intelligence that Saddam Hussein, perhaps his sons and other senior Iraqis were in a building in the Munsur (ph) neighborhood. They say the bomber dropped four 2,000-pound bombs on the building, two of the bombs highly destructive bunker busters. The strike is being called very effective, and although U.S. officials don't know yet whether their target is dead or alive. A crewman on the bomber says they were told, this is the big one. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. COL. FRED SWANN, B-1 WEAPONS SYSTEM OFFICER: We did not know who was there. To me when they said priority leadership target, it's anybody that's in the regime. I really didn't care. The job was to go put the bombs on the target and then worry about that later.



BUSH: I don't know whether he survived. The only thing I know is he's losing power. So the only thing I can tell you is that grip I used to describe that Saddam had around the throats of the Iraqi people, are loosening. I can't tell you if all 10 fingers are off the throat, but finger by finger's coming off. And the people are beginning to realize that.


ZAHN: And in our next half hour, Saddam Hussein dead or alive. A look at the undercover war to take out Iraq's leader. Stay with us for that.

Now at 1:00 a.m. Eastern time, a firefight in central Baghdad. Abu Dhabi Television reports that the battle began when a U.S. armored unit ran across the bridge near the Ministry of Planning. You can see the tanks firing and an explosion in the background. Abu Dhabi reported heavy machine gun fire. Coalition planes circling overhead, and the upper floors of the ministry building on fire.

And then around 4:00 a.m. Eastern time, Baghdad's Palestine Hotel came under U.S. fire. And two photojournalists died in that fight. A third journalist died in a separate incident elsewhere as a result of a U.S. air and artillery strike. The Palestine Hotel is well-known as a base for foreign journalists, but CENTCOM says its forces came under significant enemy fire from the hotel and a tank fired back in self- defense. Journalists from three Western TV networks told CNN they saw no outgoing fire. A camera man working for Spanish TV and Reuters died. A reporter for Al Jazeera died inj the other incident at that Arab TV network's Baghdad headquarters. The Committee to Protect Journalists says the incidents violate the Geneva Conventions and called for an immediate and thorough investigation. The Pentagon expressed regrets for the deaths.

Now moving on to the 8:00 a.m. hour. CNN's Martin Savidge reported on his position with the 1st Battalion 7th Marines. The Marines were on the hunt and they found not only abandoned weapons and Iraqi resistance, but indications Iraq was prepared for chemical warfare.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Martin Savidge, with the 1st Battalion 7th Marines. They have crossed into Baghdad now. This is the unit that we are embedded with. They made their crossing into the city officially just before the sun came up. We are also told that advance Marine units have now taken hold of the Rasheed air base. That Iraqi air facility is significant because now coalition forces hold air bases both on the west side and now the east side of the city.

As the 1st Battalion 7th Marines came across that canal this morning, they were hit with pockets of sporadic resistance. They also made a large find of Iraqi ammunition and artillery hidden under a canopy of palm trees. Marines on the ground infantry quickly moved in and began demolishing those units using hand grenades, setting the weapons afire and also blowing up a great deal of Iraqi ammunition. From that point, they had then moved into an industrial complex. There they had two objectives. One, seek out and destroy any Iraqi opposition. There was some of that, and some fighting did ensue. The other was to check out warehouses believed to be involved in the Iraqi weapons program. And that investigation is still going on.

On the outskirts of that complex, they found a large supply of chemical warfare suits. These are believed to have belonged to the Republican Guards. There were the chem suits, the boots, the masks, the canisters and atropine, the medication that would be applied if you had been exposed to nerve agents. Iraqis appeared to have been prepared for chemical warfare.


ZAHN: That was Martin Savidge reporting. Then during the 9:00 a.m. hour, Walter Rodgers reported from the southern suburbs of Baghdad. He says the troops he's with are finding more cooperation than resistance.


WALTER RODGERS, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is Walter Rodgers with the U.S. Army 7th Cavalry in the southern suburbs of Baghdad. Two loud explosions were heard in the city of Baghdad this afternoon. Army sources have told CNN that one of the targets was the Baath Party headquarters. The other target was the Iraqi Information Ministry. No word on whether those bombs were on target or not. Still, military sources told CNN that earlier in the day, the Special Republican Guard and the Republican Guard headquarters, two separate targets, were also hit by U.S. bombs. One military officer told me a short while ago that there was no longer, quote, "any organized military resistance in Baghdad." That does not mean, however, there are not fierce pockets of irregular resistance. One officer said it would seem as if every Iraqi citizen has a calling card and that calling card is a rocket-propelled grenade, a shoulder- fired projectile which can sometimes even knock out a tank. Back to you.


ZAHN: Once again, that was Walt Rodgers reporting.

Now, when our timeline resumes, three nations all initial opponents of the war in Iraq, plan a meeting in Moscow. We'll have the details. And this.


RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Baghdad is not the only place where they're fighting in Iraq.


ZAHN: 101st Airborne takes on the Saddam Fedayeen.


ZAHN: Scenes from a battle in the Iraqi city of Hillah just outside of Karbala.

And our timeline continues now. During the 10:00 a.m. hour, our own Richard Roth caught up in New York City with Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations. Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri says he has lost contact with his government, but he says he believes Saddam Hussein is still alive and still in charge.


MOHAMMED ALDOURI, IRAQ'S AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: The U.S. targets him as usual, yes. They tried to get him, but I think he knows very well that he is targeted by Americans. Yes, of course.


ALDOURI: This is a war, you know. What does that mean a war? A war of aggression. The Americans are there to aggress our people and our country. So we will see the results. Not yet.

ROTH: Who's in charge do you think right now in Baghdad?

ALDOURI: The government of Iraq is there.

ROTH: Do you agree with the information minister who said that the American troops were not really in Baghdad at all? And you've seen the pictures?

ALDOURI: Well, no, they are in Baghdad. Of course they are in Baghdad. I saw the pictures, and the minister of information said that. But we will see what is left, what is later, what is the result.

ROTH: What is the role for you now, do you think, in New York?

ALDOURI: My role is still as usual. I am the permanent representative of Iraq here.


ZAHN: And Aldouri went on to say the war will continue. He said Iraqis will not accept what he called "the colonial rule" of the United States and Britain. Moving on to the noon hour now Eastern time. We heard about plans for a meeting between the leaders of Russia, Germany and France. All three countries opposed U.S. plans to go to war in Iraq. More now from Moscow's bureau chief Jill Dougherty about the upcoming meeting this weekend in St. Petersburg. Good evening, Jill.


JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: I think in a way you could call this a stealth summit, although the Kremlin is not calling it a summit. These countries make it very clear that they want the leading role in post-war Iraq to be that of the United Nations. That, of course, is not how the United States sees it, although U.S. President George W. Bush said that -- I think as he put it, the vital role has to be played by the United Nations. I think you'd have to say definitely there is a big economic component to this. There's no question. Russia has very serious interests there. We've talked about it many times, the debt that they're owed, $8 billion from the old Soviet Union days. Iraq never paid it back. They'd like to get that money back. They have oil deals estimated about $20 billion, oil deals that could not be brought to fruition because of the sanctions against Iraq. And now the situation in Iraq is very unclear. Will they get a piece of the pie, so to speak? They don't want to talk about it in those terms, but that's really what it boils down to.


ZAHN: And then at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time, we saw the Pentagon news conference. U.S. officials say the war is going well and what is left of the Iraqi leadership is increasingly isolated. They say coalition forces are meeting only limited resistance and moving at will in and around Baghdad. They talked about the air strike on a building where Saddam Hussein may have been meeting with senior aides. Officials say they don't know whether the Iraqi president was killed or not.


GEN. STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL, JOINT CHIEFS: What we have for battle damage assessment right now is essentially a hole in the ground, a site of destruction where we wanted it to be, where we believed high value targets were, where intelligence led us to believe that. We do not have hard battle damage assessment on exactly what individual or individuals were on site.


ZAHN: With more now on the military, let's go to our senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre. Hi, Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Paula. Well, just a couple of things to update you on. First, as we just learned, just a few hours ago, that a U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft went down over Iraq north of Baghdad on Sunday. The U.S. just releasing the information today because of efforts to conduct a search and rescue mission. The F-15E is a two-seat aircraft, and there are two airmen missing as a result of this downing of the aircraft. It's the Air Force's premiere air to ground attack plane that carries both missiles and bombs.

Again, the fate of those two missing airmen uncertain at this time. But Pentagon sources say the plane went down near Tikrit. And that is an area that is still in the U.S. considers hostile territory, an area where the U.S. does not have as much control as it does in other areas of Iraq.

Also today, a discovery by U.S. Marines heading toward Baghdad from the southeast. They stopped at an Al Rasheed military facility, where they found a prison, and in that prison area, they found seven desert camouflage uniforms that apparently belonged to U.S. prisoners of war. They say some of the uniforms appear to be blood stained. Others still had their name patches on of some of the POWs. No sign of the American prisoners, no indication of how long they might have been at that location, if, in fact, they were there before the Marines got there. Apparently the search of this facility was based on some intelligence. But, again, the U.S. being very cautious about what the discovery of these uniforms really means. We are told they will conduct some DNA tests on the blood to see if it matches any of the people who are still considered to be missing, captured prisoners of the Iraqi government -- Paula.

ZAHN: Jamie McIntyre, thanks for the update. We go back to Kuwait City, and I think we'll be able to see Wolf for the first time in this half hour. Welcome back to the program. We were having some technical problems there.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you very much, Paula. Good to be back.

In the 4:00 hour, a report on action between the 101st Airborne and Iraqi paramilitary forces. The fighting was on the outskirts of central Iraqi town of Hillah, against troops thought to be members of the Fedayeen Saddam. CNN's Ryan Chilcote describes the firefight.


CHILCOTE: The attack began with U.S. armor artillery and helicopters. Close behind a light infantry from the 101st Airborne's (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Meeting resistance even before they reached the outskirts. We had three cameras rolling during the firefight. These pictures from CNN engineer Brad Sipkots (ph).

Small arms fire came from both sides of the road, even a bush. Three soldiers were wounded in the firefight when two fighters came out of this bush right over here. The first with his hands up in the air; the second just behind him lobbing a grenade. That is as far as those fighters got. One of the two shot in the head, the second killed by a grenade.

The soldiers then went to the agricultural complex. Before it was all over, the soldiers were smoking some of the first cigarettes that they've seen in a while, courtesy of one of the estimated dozen fighters killed. Mohammed, a school teacher who lives across the street, says the fighters were mercenaries from outside Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not Iraqi people. This Syrian, Egyptian.

CHILCOTE: There were no IDs found in the agricultural complex, nor in their camp where meal time had clearly been interrupted. One of the three wounded U.S. soldiers was sent to a MASH unit, but is expected to recover. After treatment, the other two have already reported back for duty.

Ryan Chilcote, CNN, with 101st Airborne's 3rd Brigade on the outskirts of Hillah.


ZAHN: And a new tape recording tied to Osama bin Laden. Is it the real thing? What does it say? And do Americans have more threats to worry about? Plus, Gary Tuchman.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're live here at an air base near the border of Iraq. An A-10 pilot from this air base was shot down this morning, but he was rescued and he's safe. We'll have the story when we return.


ZAHN: Some of what we witnessed on TV today. At 5:00 p.m. Eastern time, a new tape surfaces, purportedly from Osama bin Laden. In it, a call for suicide attacks against the United States and Britain to, quote, "avenge the innocent children of Iraq." The Associated Press says it got the audiotape in Pakistan, a suspected hiding place for the al Qaeda leader after U.S.-led forces went into Afghanistan. The tape also has a warning for Muslims saying, "The U.S. will attack other countries in the Middle East." But the Associated Press says there's no way to confirm it's bin Laden on the tape or to know exactly when it was made.

Still ahead, a closer look at the recording purported to be that from Osama bin Laden with our own intelligence analyst, Peter Bergen. Also in the 5:00 hour, President Bush returns to the White House. The president is back in the United States after a summit in Northern Ireland with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The two leaders talked about a post-war Iraq, with Mr. Bush saying an Iraqi interim authority will serve as a transition quasi-government. He stressed the Iraqi people will choose their own leaders, and that the United Nations will play a role in rebuilding Iraq.


BUSH: We have said all along there needs to be a role for the United Nations. We said so in the Azores. We will keep repeating it. And evidently there's some skepticism here in Europe about whether or not I mean what I say. Saddam Hussein clearly now knows I mean what I say. And when we -- and people in Iraq will know we mean what we say when we talk about freedom, and a vital role for the United Nations means a vital role for the United Nations.


BLITZER: The war up to now. An Air Force pilot is back at his base near Iraq after a close call. Military officials say an Iraqi missile hit the pilot's A-10 Warthog and he was forced to eject. CNN's Gary Tuchman is live near the Iraqi border now, with details on the mission and the pilot's rescue -- Gary.

TUCHMAN: Wolf, hello to you. It was a very tense and nerve- racking day for the pilot who is stationed at this base near the Iraqi border. He flies one of the A-10s parked behind me, those are the Warthog attack planes.

Took it out early this morning. Here's what happened to him. He was going on a mission south of Baghdad. When he was close to his target area, all of a sudden he heard a noise. It turns out it was an Iraqi missile, very likely was a shoulder-fired missile that hit his aircraft. He realized the plane was going to crash, so he ejected. All these planes have ejection seats. The pilots carry parachutes. He ejected, landed in the desert south of Baghdad, and then he was rescued by U.S. Army ground troops who were in the area. The pilot, whose name has not been released, was brought back to this base where I am right now. He is in good condition. He's with the 172nd Fighter Squadron, which is based in Battle Creek, Michigan. But he's a very lucky man.

He was with two other A-10s, also flying along with him. And they, two, were hit by missiles, but they both landed safely. One came back to this base and landed safely. The other we have a picture of, because it landed at a base in southern Iraq that's now controlled by the coalition. That particular A-10 was hit in the right engine. There is a big hole in the right engine, but the pilot also was able to make a safe landing, and neither of those pilots were hurt.

Now, those are three planes that were hit today. Another A-10 Warthog was hit here today. That pilot was hit by at least one missile and some artillery. We have video of that plane. And that plane has bullet holes in one of the engines. Also has bullet holes in the vertical stabilizer, which is in the back of the plane. The pilot lost all flight controls as she was flying back. She was thinking about ejecting. She decided she could make it back safely. She took evasive measures, and came back to this base near the border of Iraq, and it's being described as an heroic landing after she was struck by artillery and by missiles.

Of course, we just heard from Jamie McIntyre about the F-15E Strike Eagle. Authorities at the Pentagon do not know what caused the plane to go down. They don't know if it was shot down. They don't know if it was an accident. They don't know if it was pilot error, but they are continuing to look for the two air men aboard. They are both based at the Seymour Johnson Air Force base in North Carolina. Wolf, back to you.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Gary. Let's hope they find those two pilots. Paula, back to you. ZAHN: Thanks, Wolf. Our timeline concludes with a casualty report. A total of 127 coalition service members killed in the war in Iraq. The Pentagon says that includes 96 U.S. troops, 81 hostile fatalities, 15 non-hostile. The U.S. also lists eight as missing, seven prisoners of war. The British Defense Ministry says 31 of its troops have been killed, nine as a result of hostile action, 20 from non-hostile and two undetermined. The Iraqi government has released no information on military losses, although U.S. military officials report thousands of Iraqi military deaths. Abu Dhabi TV quotes Iraqi official sources as saying more than 1,200 civilians have being killed, 5,103 have been wounded. U.S. Central Command says more than 7,000 Iraqi fighters are now prisoners of war -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks, Paula. Still to come, gathering intelligence on Saddam Hussein. What it could take to find the Iraqi leader if he isn't already a casualty of the war in Iraq.




ANNOUNCER: U.S. intelligence targets Saddam Hussein. And the Air Force strikes with 8,000 pounds of bombs.

BRIG. GEN. VINCENT BROOKS, CENTCOM DEP. DIR. OF OPERATIONS: We had credible information that indicated that there was a regime leadership meeting occurring yesterday.

ANNOUNCER: Was the Iraqi leader really there? How reliable was the intelligence? And the latest intelligence on Osama bin Laden. Does a new statement attributed to him offer clues to his whereabouts or has the trail for bin Laden gone cold? Special forces, secret sources, cell phone intercepts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Deals done certainly with high-ranking military officials to get that information. It's a constant war.

ANNOUNCER: Tools of the trade to win the war in Iraq and the war against terrorism. Is America's homeland secure? This half-hour, LIVE FROM THE FRONT LINES, day 21, the undercover war.


ZAHN: And welcome back.

First in this half-hour: Four tons of ordnance dropped on a building in a Baghdad neighborhood, but did it take out its target? U.S. officials say they had an idea that Saddam Hussein might be there, but there are still questions as to whether the Iraqi leader was a casualty of the bombing raid.


ZAHN (voice-over): It has been a high-speed, high-stakes game of cat and mouse between coalition forces and Saddam Hussein. It began nearly three weeks ago with the famous so-called decapitation attack. Last night was the latest move in the cat-and-mouse game; 8,000 pounds of bombs were dropped on a Baghdad neighborhood just 45 minutes after U.S. intelligence told the Pentagon that senior Iraqi leaders, including possibly Saddam Hussein and one or two of his sons, might be there.

BROOKS: We had credible information that indicated that there was a regime leadership meeting occurring yesterday.

ZAHN: It took a B-1B bomber 12 minutes to fly to its target and drop its payload. Pilots were told, "This is the big one."

LT. COL. FRED SWANN, B-1 BOMBER CREW MEMBER: That could be any number of people. And it's like, well, I know it's important. It really doesn't matter. We've got to get the bombs on target. We've got 10 minutes to do it. And we've got to make a lot of things happen to make that happen. And that -- just fall totally into the execute mode and kill the target.

ZAHN: The explosion obliterated the building and left a 30-foot deep crater that looked like a Florida sinkhole. An adjacent restaurant was damaged. Nine people were killed, 13 wounded. But was the Iraqi leader killed? U.S. officials say, they don't know.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know whether he survived. The only thing I know is, he's losing power.

ZAHN: When will they know? The answer will not likely come soon.

BROOKS: We believe that the attack was effective in causing the destruction of that facility. As to who was inside and what their conditions are, it will take some time before we can make that full determination.

ZAHN: U.S. forces say they need to examine the damage, checking to see if anyone could have survived in the secret underground bunker. Pentagon officials say they'll also analyze radio intercepts and other intelligence looking for clues.

Until then, the cat-and-mouse game will continue. Officials say they'll do whatever they can to track down the Iraqi leader.


ZAHN: So, how will the coalition track the Iraqi leader, if he wasn't in that bombed-out building? And what are some of the tricks of the trade?

Joining me from Washington: retired U.S. Marine Colonel Gary Anderson. He has vast experience dealing with military issues of this kind.

Good to see you, sir. Thanks so much for joining us tonight.

RET. COL. GARY ANDERSON, U.S. MARINES: Good evening, Paula.

ZAHN: So, Colonel Anderson, Jamie McIntyre just reported from the Pentagon that it can now be confirmed that in fact it was an eyewitness who pretty much told the coalition forces: We see Saddam Hussein going into this building, perhaps with his sons.

Can you help us understand how an eyewitness would even get to coalition experts?

ANDERSON: Well, it's entirely possible that, now that we're starting to uncover the Baghdad area, that people are being solicited to give information.

And there are a lot of -- Saddam Hussein and his sons have a lot of baggage in Baghdad. So I'm sure there's no dearth of people who are willing to make a phone call, maybe even make a cell phone call, or whatever means they need, to get the information to the proper sources. And, obviously, they had something set up to make that happen.

Now, whether that was a covert source or just someone that had been recruited by our interrogator/translator teams out on the street, I don't know. I assume the Pentagon will tell us in good time. But the thing that I think is fairly impressive is the fact that they could get into an all-source fusion center, turn it over to the operation center very quickly -- i assume they were perhaps collocated -- get that bomber diverted and get the bomb on target.

I don't care if Saddam Hussein is a pile of goo in the bottom of a 30-foot tunnel. That was a pretty impressive operation, I think.

ZAHN: Yes, especially when the Pentagon confirmed this all happened, I guess, in a period of 45 minutes, from the time they were tipped off to the time the bombs made those huge craters there.

You were talking a little bit about you're not sure -- and no one's too sure -- whether it was special-ops forces that made contact with this eyewitness. But how would any special-ops forces go about seeking people who were willing to turn on Saddam?

ANDERSON: I bet you there's no dearth of people that are willing to do that. I think all you got to do is hit the street and start asking questions. From everything I have heard -- I heard a PBS correspondent on the radio coming in tonight talking to some people on the street.

And there's some people even who don't like the Americans who are really upset that Hussein has essentially screwed this war up so bad. So it may not even be a pro-American guy. It's just somebody that's upset with the regime.

ZAHN: So you don't think any of those former supporters of Saddam Hussein have anything to be worried about? That was the concern going into this, that, because they were so fearful that he would strike at them and their families, they wouldn't turn on him. ANDERSON: Well, it sounds to me like at least one guy out in the street wasn't too worried about it. And I assume a lot of people aren't anymore. You've got -- you know, there's -- it's really hard for the regime to put a good spin on it, when you're trying to conduct a press conference and the Americans drive up, shoot up your Information Ministry and blow up the statue of your leader. That's not going to have a lot of confidence-building on the part of the Iraqi regime.

ZAHN: And yet the accounts, of course, that the Iraqis have heard on Iraqi TV are strikingly different than what we have heard. And they were actually led to believe by the Iraqi information minister that coalition forces hadn't even entered the city perimeter.

Colonel Gary Anderson, thank you very much for your perspective tonight. We appreciate your dropping by.

ANDERSON: Sure thing, Paula.

ZAHN: Back to Wolf now in Kuwait City -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Paula.

And even amid all the focus of attention on Saddam Hussein, what about Osama bin Laden? A new tape uncovered in Pakistan, is it really Osama bin Laden calling for new attacks on the United States? We'll take a close look at how real the threat could be.

Stay with us.


BLITZER: In the months leading up to the war in Iraq, there was considerable concern that U.S. action could trigger terrorist retaliation. Now there's a newly surfaced audiotape said to have been recorded by Osama bin Laden. The speaker calls for suicide attacks against U.S. and British interests and revolutions against Arab government with ties to the United States.

CNN's terrorism analyst Peter Bergen is in our Washington bureau. He's joining us now live.

Peter, what do you make of this new audiotape that was discovered by the Associated Press?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, Wolf, the person -- the Associated Press in Islamabad, Kathy Gannon, the bureau chief there, who's had long experience in Pakistan -- she's been the bureau chief there for 10 years -- she's reporting on this audiotape.

The Associated Press, of course, being a leading news organization, I believe it is probably authentic. We've yet to hear the audiotape ourselves. However, it may well indeed be Osama bin Laden. And, clearly, if the tape is authentic, it was made some time after the war in Iraq started.

BLITZER: Well, let's go through some of the quotes from this audiotape under the assumption it might be authentic.

Here's one. I'll put it up on the screen: "If you started suicide attacks, you will see the fear of Americans all over the world. Those people who cannot join forces in jihad should give financial help to those mujahedeen who are fighting against U.S. aggression."

Does that sound consistent with Osama bin Laden?

BERGEN: Absolutely, because al Qaeda and suicide attacks are -- that's the form of attack that they have taken, whether, obviously, the U.S. Embassy attacks or 9/11. So it is very much part of their modus operandi.

BLITZER: All right, let's put another one up on the screen, another quote from this audiotape, this all, of course, according to Associated Press: "The United States has attacked Iraq. And soon, he will also attack Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Sudan. The attacks in Saudi Arabia and Egypt will be against Islamic movements there."

I take it that's pretty consistent with his line for a long time.

BERGEN: Yes, although that's -- yes, sort of more or less. I think the one thing that is kind of puzzling there -- the United States is certainly not going to attack Saudi Arabia, a longtime ally, or Egypt, a longtime ally. In fact, we give Egypt $2 billion a year in aid. And I think it's unlikely the United States is going to attack any other country after this.

But it is somewhat consistent with what he's said in the past.

BLITZER: Is it likely -- here's the key question. Is it likely to generate the kind of terrorist attacks against U.S., British interest, this kind of audiotape, which I assume will have some sort of audience out there? Is there a potential for more terrorism as a result of this?

BERGEN: Well, Wolf, I think it's actually rather surprising how little terrorism there has been as a result of the war in Iraq. Myself included, and other commentators, and including the U.S. government, believed that there would be quite a lot of anti-American terrorism, anti-Western generated by the war in Iraq.

And we've actually seen a rather small amount. We've seen a suicide attack in northern Iraq that killed an Australian broadcaster and other rather small types of events, nothing on the scale of a large al Qaeda attack, either by al Qaeda itself or by affiliated groups. Despite the large protests we've seen in Pakistan and Indonesia, two countries where al Qaeda's has had some presence, that hasn't been transformed into anti-American attacks of any significance.

Will this audiotape generate those kinds of attacks? Well, judging by -- these attacks haven't happened in the past three weeks. Bin Laden did release another audiotape before the beginning of this war calling for a jihad against American forces because of the impending war in Iraq. That clearly didn't have much outcome. It's quite possible that al Qaeda has been quite disrupted by the arrests of senior leaders in Pakistan.

I don't think they're out of business, but I think the fact that we haven't heard from them in any significant manner since the beginning of this war in Iraq indicates severe disruption.

BLITZER: We have only a few seconds left, Peter. You believe Osama bin Laden is alive; he's hiding someplace, perhaps along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, but he's out there?

BERGEN: U.S. investigators believe that he is in the northwest frontier of Pakistan. That makes sense. There's no indication that he's dead. This audiotape may, in fact, if it's indeed authentic, indicates that he remains alive and almost certainly, I believe, in the northwest frontier of Pakistan on its border with Afghanistan.

BLITZER: Peter Bergen, our terrorism analyst -- thanks very much, Peter, for all that information -- Paula, back to you.

ZAHN: Thanks, Wolf.

Coming up: Whatever the war means for the people of Iraq, has the fighting there made the U.S. homeland safer or more vulnerable to attacks, something Peter just touched on?

More to come.


BLITZER: Welcome back.

The report today that Osama bin Laden may be making new threats revives concerns about homeland security.

James Kallstrom is a former assistant FBI director. He's currently a senior adviser for counterterrorism to New York Governor George Pataki. He joins us now from Wilmington, Delaware.

Mr. Kallstrom, thanks for joining us.

Why hasn't there been, in your opinion, more terrorism against the U.S. and, let's say, Britain since this war started? There was huge concern going into the war that there would be.

JAMES KALLSTROM, FORMER FBI ASST. DIRECTOR: Well, Wolf, there are still concerns. I don't have the answer to that. Obviously, it's probably a combination of things: I think a good job here in the U.S., lot of things that we've done right, a good learning curve on our part. But no one really knows the answer to that at this point.

BLITZER: Well, do you think this new tape, this audiotape, from Osama bin Laden, assuming it gets some attention around the world, is going to be a source of more potential terrorism against the United States?

KALLSTROM: Wolf, I hope not, but you don't really know.

I think we're ready. We're doing all the things we need to do. So, that tape really isn't going to change anything we're doing in New York state or probably in the United States, for that matter. Hopefully, intelligence, which is the key to this whole thing, which is now freely flowing to the states and to the state and local police, will be the salvation here that protects the American public, Wolf.

BLITZER: As you well know, Mr. Kallstrom, there was huge concern going into the war that images of Iraqi civilians killed by U.S. bombs during a war would create, in effect, a whole new generation of al Qaeda supporters out there, so-called martyrs, suicide bombers, willing to go kill themselves to hurt the United States and its interests.

Are you concerned about that, because, as you know, the image that's being portrayed around the Middle East is not a very positive, friendly image toward the United States?

KALLSTROM: I think we are concerned, Wolf. We need to be concerned about that, clearly. Unfortunately, there's a large number of people in this country today that applaud from the sidelines of what the terrorists have done to us. And one emotional event in the world gets them to move from a support position to their own personal jihad, as they've been asked to conduct against us. So it's certainly concerning.

BLITZER: So what else can be done in the United States and indeed around the world to protect U.S. interests that, since 9/11, has not yet been done?

KALLSTROM: Well, we have a lot of things in progress.

Simply put, let's keep the terrorists out of the United States. Let's find the ones that are in here. Easy for me to say. But beef up our border security. And that's is ongoing. Beef up the security in our ports. That's ongoing. Take the handcuffs off the FBI. That's largely happened since 9/11. Build up the Central Intelligence Agency. And that's on its way to happening.

Get good relevant information to state and local police. That's on its way to happening. Get corporate America, corporate security, on the same sheet of music with security forces, police forces. That's happening. Get the public to cooperate with us to increase their peripheral vision, to report things that don't look right. And I believe that's happening, also, Wolf.

BLITZER: In New York state, are you getting the kind of support, the kind of intelligence, from the federal government, the new Department of Homeland Security, specifically, that you need?

KALLSTROM: We are, Wolf. I believe we're getting everything that they know. Unfortunately, we don't have the date, the time, the place, or the names of some of the people that we're concerned about, necessarily, on any given day. But I think we do know what they know, and that's a big move forward. BLITZER: At landmark buildings and other locations, bridges in New York City, for example, are you already at the highest state of alert that you could be? Is there any more alert that you can go up to?

KALLSTROM: We're at a very high state of alert. We're at orange. The state has National Guard, state police on the tunnels and bridges and transit system, assisting to secure New York City.

Obviously, we have security throughout the state on critical infrastructure, certain places that we need to protect, the water supply, the power grid, things like that. So we're at a very, very high state. If we go to red, Wolf, that means that something is about to happen and we have focused intelligence, or something has happened -- I hope that isn't the case -- and then we're reacting to it.

BLITZER: Red is severe, the severe level, the highest level, orange being high level, the state of security on that threat assessment.

You know, though, given your background at the FBI that, usually, the major terrorist actions against the United States are in the works for a long time. They don't just come about within a few days. Sometimes, they take months, years to protect. So the U.S. is not out of this terrorism threat, by any means.

KALLSTROM: Wolf, we're in the middle of this war here. And it's not going to go away when this situation in Iraq goes away. It's going to be here for a long, long time. It's really something that we have to get adjusted to and we have to fight for a long, long time.

We were very, very sloppy for the last 20 years in a lot of things that we didn't do. Out of the goodness of our heart, we welcome people into this country without knowing a whole lot about who they are. And I think we can do a lot of good things, reasonable things, without changing our Constitution, without changing our way of life. And I think most of those rational, reasonable things are on their way to actually happening now.

So, every month that goes by, I think we become stronger, better prepared to deal with this. But in a free society, we're never going to be at 100 percent or even close to it.

BLITZER: All right, James Kallstrom, thanks very much. Always good to talk to you.

Paula, it's still early, though, in this war. The threats are still out there.

ZAHN: And it's certainly something folks who live in New York City are very well aware of.

That wraps it up for me tonight, Wolf. I'll be back here at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. Hard to tell how much more information will be available on that strike on that Mansour neighborhood and whether we'll know tomorrow morning if Saddam Hussein is dead or alive. BLITZER: Our viewers are going to have to stay with CNN throughout the night all the time in order to be able to be the first to know precisely what's going on.

Good night, Paula. I'll see you tomorrow as well. I'll be back tomorrow.



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