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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
London Terror Bombings
Aired July 7, 2005 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Good evening. This is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360: London Terror.
You surely have heard this day's dreadful news by now. At this hour, at least 37 people are dead, 700 others wounded after a series of bomb blasts in London. Three in subway stations, one on a double- decker bus.
It began at 8:41 a.m. London time. An explosion on a Circle Line train between Liverpool Street and Old Gate East stations. Seven people died in that blast.
Then, just 15 minutes later, 8:56, another explosion, this one on a train between Kings Cross and Russell Square; 21 people died in that attack.
9:17, a third explosion aboard a Circle Line train just pulling into the Edgware Road station. Seven more deaths.
And then 30 minutes later, 9:47, a double-decker bus explodes at Tavistock Square. Astonishingly, despite the vast damage to the bus, only two people killed in that attack.
It's assumed at this hour but not known for a fact that these were all terrorist attacks. A previously unheard of group calling itself the Secret Group of al Qaeda's Jihad in Europe has claimed responsibility, and there is tension now, to say the very least, in other cities of Europe and in this country as well.
A sign of just how big an impact these bombings have had in London: For the first time since World War II, when German bombers blitzed the city, London's West End theaters all were closed this evening.
Most people were already at work when the bombings began, but many more were still on their way, packed into the trains of the underground and onto buses.
CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour has been covering this story all day. Christiane, have you ever seen London like this?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, no, and really, it hasn't been like this. This is the worst terrorist attack in London. We're at Kings Cross station, which was the second one to be hit, and which took the most casualties and the most number of dead. Twenty-one dead confirmed here at Kings Cross. We're going to show you a picture now of one of the victims of today's terror attacks in London, and that is what the police here are calling them, and that is what the prime minister is calling it, a series of terrorist attacks.
The young man, one of the gravely wounded who has been taken to one of the hospitals in London.
And we think at the moment, when there's 37 confirmed dead, and perhaps that figure will rise, when there are more than 300 sufficiently injured to be taken to the hospital, 700 in total who were injured, 45 of those really critically injured. That is that many families today who are destroyed and affected, that many people who are mourning their dead, that many friends, that many colleagues and that many associates, all have had their lives turned upside down by what's happened to their loved ones.
As I say, we're here at Kings Cross. And what you're seeing behind me and perhaps hearing behind me now is traffic, and that is a change in the last several hours. This entire area was closed off, cordoned off, as were many of the streets of the London, particularly around the affected sites. Now, these streets are open, double-decker buses are running again. And as I say, there is traffic around Kings Cross, and we expect the tubes to be running tomorrow, the underground trains.
One of the bizarre sensations of today is that there was a sense of inevitability, that this was bound to happen, and it happened today. And it was a day that London should have been celebrating, the day after having won the site of the 2012 Olympic Games. But instead, they woke up to this horror.
So this is a day when the cell phones went down, when people had to cope, but when London kept its spirit, and when people went about their daily work, despite the fact, as the police said, that this was a shocking day, but not one of surprise.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): The killers struck at the peak of morning rush hour. They committed the worst ever terrorist attack on a capital city which has survived the Nazi bombing blitz, decades of IRA bombs, and now this.
A passenger's cell phone silently captures a crowded subway. Underground, the light finally showing the way out. You could not hear the cries of pain or the fear. But afterwards, victims spoke of the terror, of thinking they were going to die.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People started saying prayers, praying to God. Panicking, breaking the carriage windows with their bare hands, anything to get oxygen into the carriage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People started screaming. And there was -- what appeared to be smoke or soot was everywhere, and it was all over our clothes and our hands, and we just had no idea what was going on. AMANPOUR: Above ground, people crowded onto buses when the subway shut down. David Messenger (ph) told me that he had just missed being blown up on the double-decker that was attacked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was past the bus. I heard the explosion and so I turned back and looked, and saw the sort of top rear-end of the bus had blown off. And you know, smoke everywhere, and debris, and people running.
AMANPOUR: Prime Minister Tony Blair, who had joyfully celebrated London winning the 2012 Olympic Games just yesterday, appeared grim- faced at the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, and urged Britain to hold its legendary nerve.
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It is through terrorism that the people that have committed this terrible act express their values. And it's right at this moment that we demonstrate ours.
AMANPOUR: Later, fellow world leaders, as they did after 9/11, after Madrid, and now after London, renewed their signature declaration.
BLAIR: We are united in our resolve to confront and defeat this terrorism. That is not an attack on one nation, but on all nations, and on civilized people everywhere.
AMANPOUR: But who committed this attack?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The police service received no warning about these attacks. And the police service has received no claims of responsibility.
AMANPOUR: But senior ministers and terrorism experts say it bears the hallmarks of al Qaeda. An unknown group claiming to be al Qaeda in Europe say that they had done it, because of Britain's role in Iraq and Afghanistan, just as the killers said after they struck in Madrid last year. And they warned that they would strike again, strike other countries which also have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Blair, who came to London, and hours later returned to the G-8 summit, called the slaughter of innocents barbaric, at a time when he and fellow world leaders are trying to help the world's poorest.
AMANPOUR: So these places, like the one I am at now, the station at Kings Cross, these are now crime scenes, of course, and the police are conducting their forensic investigation. They would also be looking at the cc TVs, which are at all of these train stations, and which in the past, they say, have helped lead to finding out who the perpetrators are of different crimes in previous crime. This is obviously on a much different scale, but they're going to be looking at everything they have. Back to you, Anderson.
COOPER: Many security cameras in London. Hopefully, they will get some evidence from those.
Christiane, thanks very much. This is all happening, of course, as Christiane mentioned, during the G-8 summit, where terrorism was not even a top priority on the agenda. CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux joins me now from Gleneagles, Scotland -- Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the goal today, of course, dramatically changed. Not as ambitious as trying to get all of these world leaders together to unite on aid to Africa or global climate change, but rather, as one White House official put it, not to give the terrorists the satisfaction of canceling the G-8.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): With many dead and hundreds injured in London, this time, it was President Bush's turn to back the prime minister.
BLAIR: The terrorists will not succeed.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will find them, we will bring them to justice.
MALVEAUX: This is a relationship that was solidified by their common commitment to fight terror.
BUSH: I appreciate Prime Minister Blair's steadfast determination, his strength.
MALVEAUX: The two leaders first met in February 2001, but it was in the immediate moments following the September 11th attacks that the bond between them cemented.
BUSH: One of the first phone calls I got after that terrible day was from the prime minister. He was reassuring to me. He was -- he showed to be a true friend. And I appreciate that.
MALVEAUX: Blair's White House visit, just nine days after the terrorist attacks, was followed by Britain's support of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, targeting the Taliban and al Qaeda.
But it was Blair's commitment to the U.S. war in Iraq, which was unpopular at home, that cost him politically. During the recent election, his party lost valuable seats, despite Blair's winning an unprecedented third term.
MALVEAUX: Now, the London attacks put the focus back on the mission that brought these two leaders together in the first place, that is, fighting terror -- Anderson.
COOPER: Suzanne Malveaux, thanks very much from Gleneagles.
Coming up next on this special edition of 360: London Terror, just who is the group that has claimed responsibility for today's attack? We're going to look at what the real danger is to the United States. Are we perhaps missing something? We'll take a look at that.
Also, the ripple effect here in America. Subway systems and big cities on high alert tonight. Millions of Americans rely on the rails every day. How safe are they? We put New York's trains to the test.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLAIR: Today's bombings will not weaken in any way our resolve to uphold the most deeply held principles of our societies. And to defeat those who impose their fanaticism and extremism on all of us. We shall prevail, and they shall not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why? I don't understand why they would do this. And there's so many people in this world that are trying to better things, and why would they do that? I just -- I don't understand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So many questions tonight. One survivor of the carnage in London.
After today's carnage, a group calling itself "the Secret Group of al Qaeda Jihad in Europe" claimed responsibility. Now, we don't know that they were the killers behind these bombings. But for hours now, we've been looking into this group and others who may be responsible.
CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is in Atlanta tonight. And CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen is in the nation's capital. Peter, thanks for being with us. Nic as well.
Nic, what do you know about this group that has claimed responsibility?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well certainly, the tactics used here are indicative of al Qaeda. That's what all the terrorism analysts are telling us. This particular group doesn't seem to have had a very high profile in the past. One barometer of how credible are they is how many jihadists on different Web sites and bulletin boards around the world put their names to comments about this particular statement. There's been a dirth of activity, an indication that jihadists around the world don't find this credible.
However, there was one indication of al Qaeda in Europe, this group, last year. Shortly after the Madrid bombing, a Portuguese newspaper quoted a cleric London cleric Sheikh Omar Bakhir Muhammed (ph) saying that an attack in London would be inevitable. That the al Qaeda in Europe group was poised to launch an attack in Great Britain. That was a reference over a year ago.
Again, it doesn't mean that this group is credible. But the indications are from, the style of the attack, that this was an al Qaeda related attack. At least, that's the assessment of many analysts at this time, Anderson.
COOPER: Peter, would you be surprised if these were British citizens behind the attack.
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Not at all. We've seen British citizens just last year, Anderson -- a group of British citizens who were arrested with half a ton of ammonium nitrate, which they were keeping in a locker near Heathrow Airport. Now ammonium nitrate was a substance -- you can use it for gardening, or you can use it for bombs, but when you've got half a ton of it, you're probably going to use it for bombs.
We've also seen British citizens conducting suicide operations in Israel. Two years ago, we have seen British citizens trying to bring down U.S. airliners.
COOPER: What's going on there? Why this growth of militant Islam inside of Britain?
BERGEN: I think it's a lot of different factors. There's a certain amount of alienation -- it's true not just in Britain, but across Europe, you've got a lot of Muslim immigration. There's a certain amount of European racism colliding with new waves of Muslim immigration. It's hard to become British if you're a Pakistani, often you feel a second-class citizen.
And so I think these ideas, the al Qaeda-like ideas are attractive. As Nic indicated, most people seem to think this is sort of an al Qaeda-style organization, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they are part of the organization. They may just have signed on to Osama bin Laden's ideas from watching him on CNN and al Jazeera.
COOPER: Yeah Nic, I mean, if it is al Qaeda, or al Qaeda backed, what does is say about al Qaeda's potency, about their strength?
ROBERTSON: It stays that they're able to still perform operations in the capitals in the world, and in London at a time when the G-8 -- the world's top eight leaders were meeting in the country. At a time when you would expect security will be at its tightest and intelligence forces within the country should be on the look out for this type of attack. It shows that they're able to plan and execute these kind of attacks.
It's interesting if you look at that group, just about a year ago, who were caught with a large amount of ammonium nitrate that Peter was talking about, these attacks in contrast have used perhaps smaller amounts of explosives taken and put on these underground trains. Perhaps a calculation there that a small explosion in a confined area could have maximum casualties. COOPER: And still not confirmed at this point whether it was some sort of a suicide attack, or a wireless device, how it was triggered. Many questions still to be answered. Peter Bergen, appreciate you joining us. Nic as well.
Still to come on this special edition of 360, all of this talk of al Qaeda, just where is Osama bin Laden? We're going to take a look at that. And what role, if any, is he playing in some of these attacks.
Plus, take a look at this, an unattended bag at a New York train station. This was months ago. We're going to find out how long it took authorities to take notice.
And after today's attacks, just how diligent are police now? We'll talk with New York's top cop.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People started to scream because there was a burning smell and everyone was -- it's kind of a long story short -- thought they were going to die. People started saying prayers, praying to God, panicking, breaking the carriage windows with bare hands, anything to get oxygen into the carriage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A survivor of the London terror.
After those terror attacks in London today, there is increased police presence in and around train stations all across America this hour. The heightened security is a direct response to Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff raising the alert level to for the nation's mass transit to orange or high. The U.S. city with the biggest mass transport system, of course, is New York and today's tragic events, once again, reminded all of us here of just how vigilant we need to be.
CNN's Adaora Udoji joins us from Pennsylvania Station. Now, Adaora, it's near the end of the rush hour. How are commuters doing?
ADAORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just fine, Anderson. We've been told that it was a normal day, that people were on the subway in the same numbers that they usually are. We're actually at Grand Central Station, which is the countries largest terminal: 700,000 people coming in and out.
And actually, Anderson, you might think it's like any other day, except for the fact there's just police everywhere. After the attacks in London, New York officials, they ratcheted up security presence here in New York City: Thousands of officers on overtime.
They were sending them in uniform and out all across the city, on subways; on buses; patrolling the rivers -- in fact, police boats were out today ferrying or escorting ferry, I should say -- canine units, bomb units -- all precautionary steps that we're told both by the New York's governor and New York City's mayor, Bloomberg, precautionary steps, because they're saying that there's no evidence at all that New York is under any sort of threat beyond it's level orange, that heightened sense since 9/11. They were -- came out talking about all these various steps they were taking; merely trying to assure New Yorkers they are doing all they can.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE PATAKI (R), NEW YORK: But people should be more alert, more vigilant, more aware of their surroundings and in particular, any if there are any packages, bags, that they see unattended -- any suspicious activity -- they should alert the officials as quickly as possible. As you travel the....
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UDOJI: Now vigilant was a word that we heard over and over and over again today. Anderson, there are five million people who ride the subways in New York City. That's 10 million potential eyes who are watching out for something suspicious. Officials saying over and over again, New Yorkers cannot let their guard down, they have to watch out. If they see something, they are really their best first line of defense: Seeing that and going to the police and letting them know what's going on. Because the police can't be everywhere -- Anderson?
COOPER: That's familiar. We talked to Commissioner Ray Kelly a little bit later on in the program, he echoed that very much. You know, vigilance is very important. Adaora, thanks.
The heightened security status affected mass transit systems not just New York, but really around the country. Now, some critics say those security measures are simply not enough.
CNN's homeland security correspondent, Jeanne Meserve, has been looking into the issue. She joins us tonight from Union Station in Washington Jeanne?
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, there's a logistical challenge in securing transit systems that were specifically designed to be accessible to the public, but all around the country tonight, they are trying.
MESERVE (voice-over): On Atlanta's subway system...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've also put all of our dogs out and our SWAT team.
MESERVE: In Los Angeles...
CHIEF WILLIAM BRATTON, L.A. POLICE DEPARTMENT: We are, in the city of Los Angeles, on a modified tactical alert. MESERVE: In Chicago...
SUPT. PHILLIP J. CLINE, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT: Our marine unity is patrolling the river with an eye toward all bridges, especially where CTA trains cross.
MESERVE: And of course, in New York.
All across the nation, transit agencies and cities took precautions even before the threat level was raised. It was moved up to orange for mass transit only. This is the first time the alert has been raised without specific intelligence indicating a threat.
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Currently, the United States has no specific credible information suggesting an imminent attack here in the United States.
MESERVE: Every mass transit system is a maze of entrances and exits, hard to secure, easy to case. In some ways, a perfect terrorist target.
RICHARD FALKENRATH, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: They are very easy to get on to and off of, by design. And they have very dense populations of civilians at very predictable hours.
MESERVE: The Department of Homeland Security say cameras, sensors, drills, improved communications have all made mass transit safer. But critics say, it isn't safe enough.
Why: Americans take public transportation 32 million times a day. Mass transit carries 16 times more passengers than airlines, but it has gotten a fraction of the security money.
WILLIAM MILLAR, AMERICAN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ASSN.: About $250 million has been made available for public transit since 9-1-1 by the federal government. Eighteen billion dollars has been made available for the airline system
MESERVE: Despite the horror of the London attacks, public officials here in the United States, Thursday, urged citizens to be vigilant, but keep riding.
MAYOR ANTHONY WILLIAMS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: To send a message that our city is open and safe. Live your lives.
PATAKI: The best security in the world is there to protect you and it will be there night and day, so long as it is necessary.
MESERVE: And some passengers appeared resigned to commuting at orange.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: and if something happens, then I'll try to crawl my way out, I guess. What can we do?
(END VIDEOTAPE) MESERVE: It is unclear how long mass transit will be at orange. Officials say it depends on the intelligence and where the investigation in London leads them -- Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: Jeanne, thanks.
Coming up next on this special edition of 360: How long do you think it took authorities to see a bag left unattended at a New York train station? That's the bag. We put it there. You might be surprised by the results. We'll take a look at that.
Also tonight: Individual terror. What exactly happened on the ground and underneath it when each of the four bombs struck in London? We're going to go inside and underground to take a look.
And in the wake of another terror attack, a question looming: Will we ever truly be safe?
We'll be right back.
COOPER: Welcome back to this special edition of 360: London Terror.
It's about half-past midnight in the British capital right now. Still hours away from another morning commute. And as you know, a lot has happened since this morning's rush hour blasts.
We have been closely following what has been going on in London and here's a look at the facts as we know them so far.
This morning, an explosion -- four explosions struck the heart of the city within an hour: Three on the underground transit system; one on a double-decker bus, killing at least 37 people, injuring 700 others. It is London's bloodiest day since World War II.
The investigation is ongoing, it is still unclear whether the bombs were in packages or carried by suicide bombers or whether they were on the trains or in the tunnel systems. A claim of responsibility has appeared on an Islamist Web site from a group calling itself the Group of al-Qaeda of Jihad Organization in Europe.
Now, so far that claim could not be independently verified and as of now, no claim has been made directly to police, just on this website.
British prime minister Tony Blair left the G-8 summit in Scotland for briefings in London. He returned later in the day. Blair made a couple of public statements today, including one with the G-8 leaders in which he said the attack on London was an attack on all nations, and that terrorism will be defeated.
And here in U.S., major cities have beefed up the security because of the London blasts and the nation's mass transit systems are now at orange, or high alert. Although, it was one coordinated attack, there are four major stories here. Four different blasts. Four sets of witnesses and victims. Four crime scenes. We're now going to take you through each of the bombings for an in-depth look at exactly what happened today.
We begin with the first strike which happened underground in the Liverpool Street station tunnel at about 8:31 am local time.
For more on that, we turn to Alessio Vinci in London -- Alessio.
ALESSIO VINCI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Anderson. Yes, 8:51 a.m.,local time here in London, first blast underground between the Liverpool Street and the Aldgate East stations, both at the heart of the financial district here in London. The explosion taking place underground as thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of commuters were heading to work.
One woman caught in the explosion said, quote, "there were people screaming out in agony." Another survivor saying the carriage was thrown from floor to ceiling. A very, indeed, powerful explosion.
Scotland Yard and the city police enacted, immediately, the so- called major incident plan which basically means they cordon off the entire area around the station, allowing, of course, the ambulances to reach as quickly as possible the scene, during which time, of course, people were beginning to come out. The removing also of many of the bodies on stretchers.
Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: Alessio, thank you. Sadly, the carnage was not over, five minutes later, 8:56 a.m., the first sign that the initial explosion was not an isolated incident. A second, deadlier blast, ripped through a train on London Underground's Piccadilly line between the Kings Cross and Russell Square stations. For more on that, we turn to chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour -- Christiane.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, that's right. And this was the deadliest one, the highest number of people who were killed. 21 confirmed dead at what they called the Kings Cross explosion. Although, of course, the train as you say, was caught between two stations. And this is the train that took the longest to evacuate, because of the complications of where it was actually found. So it did take about half an hour, to get there, to get those who could off the train and to remove the bodies.
At one point, this here turned from a rescue operation to a recovery operation. And that was merely about three hours after the explosion. And it was after the explosion here that authorities and officials started to talk about a series of coordinated attacks, because earlier, before this second explosion, they had started to say that there was a power surge, that it was something other than attacks on the train stations.
When we asked afterwards, what about these reports of a power surge? We were told that these explosions manifested themselves first on the electric bridge circuits as a power surge. That is the effect they had. But then it became clear that they were not just something that disturbed the electricity, but they were a series of coordinated attacks -- Anderson.
COOPER: With two explosions almost back to back, as Christiane and Alessio talked about, but the nightmare did not end there. At 9:17 a.m., some 21 minutes after the second strike, there was another explosion. This one was west of the other two, but still, really in the heart of the city. It involved a train on London's circle line which was at the Edgware Road station. The blast was so strong it blew a hole in the wall and damaged a train on the other side of that wall. With more on this strike, we turn now to CNN's Paula Hancocks in London -- Paula.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Anderson. Well, this was the third blast out of those four blasts. 9:17 local time, this blast was. It was a train going from Edgware Road towards Paddington, Paddington, one of the busiest train stations here in Britain.
It blew up, this particular bomb, just 100 meters away from the station. That station would have been full of people at that time in the morning, still at the heart of the rush hour. It did actually, the explosion, blast a hole in another adjoining train which was on the other platform. I spoke to one eyewitness who was on that platform. She said there was a deafening noise. And then she said that after that deafening noise, there was smoke -- excuse me, we have a little bit of an interruption here. I'm sorry about that. But she said that there was smoke and there were also people panicking.
But Anderson, I'll toss it back to you now.
COOPER: Paula, the underground hell had been over for 30 minutes this morning in London when there came one final blast. People thought it was over, but it wasn't. This one above a double-decker No. 30 bus at the junction of Upper Woburn Square and Tavistock Place in the Bloomsburg section of London. It was 9:47 a.m.
A bystander says there was an explosion at the back of the vehicle. The roof flew off. The witness says it went up about 30 feet, then came floating down again.
Now by coincidence, the bus happened to be almost outside the headquarters of the British Medical Association, out of which doctors rushed to treat the wounded. One doctor at the scene said the facade of the BMA building was completely splattered with blood and not much of the bus was left.
The bus was said to have been be packed. And yet, amazingly, only two people aboard are so far known to have be killed in that blast.
One rider reporter that, quote, "it was a massive explosion. And there were papers and half a bus flying through the air." Another passenger said he had been in the military, but had never heard anything like the sound of the double decker flying apart.
London police are exploring the theory that this bomb, too, was intended for the underground. The No. 30 bus actually goes to the major Houston station stop, but that it went off early.
A man named Raj Matu (ph) who was standing on a street corner near Tavistock Place was asked whether he thought the explosion was a terrorist attack. His answer was, "I saw the bus ripped out at back, it couldn't have been anything else."
That, of course, is what police are going on right now, the idea that this is a terrorist attack.
Ahead on this special edition of 360 "London Terror," so many people survive aide today's attacks. But would you know what to do in the same situation? We've got some survival tips on that.
Plus, more than a year ago, the Madrid bombings, also on trains, the lessons learned from that. What were they? And what London may face in the days and months to come. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You could listen to the shouts of people like panic, like hysterical screamings, like help, help, help! And I think it was a woman trapped between a place and she couldn't move. And she just kept shouting for help. Shouting. And there was -- no one could do anything about it. It was just awful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We've heard so many accounts like that.
15 months ago, in another country, there was the same kind of appalling Bedlam the world saw this morning in London. Deaths underground. Black smoke and dazed people issuing out of tunnels. Terrible confusion and shock. One of the first journalists on the scene in March in Madrid of 2004 was CNN's Madrid bureau chief Al Goodman. He was struck today by the similarities between then and now.
AL GOODMAN, CNN MADRID BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Like London this morning, commuters in Madrid had no warning last year. This was the ghastly scene captured by Madrid's security camera. The Madrid bombings hit four trains just minutes apart in the middle of rush hour. A total of ten bombs, 191 people dead, more than 1500 wounded. Both attacks were designed for terror, both sought to kill and wound as many as possible.
So what have we learned from Madrid? Eventually, Spanish authorities would focus on al Qaeda. More than 100 suspects have been charged. (on camera): Police say the terrorists carried out surveillance of the trains and the stations like Atoce (ph) here, carefully rehearsing the attacks over a number of weeks.
(voice-over): The terrorists even rode the trains, testing security. They left bags aboard to see if anyone would notice. The explosives, we now know, were manufactured in Spain for legitimate mining, but they were stolen from this mine in the north. Police say this house on the outskirts of Madrid was the bomb factory. The terrorists recruited local criminals to help assemble the bombs and place them in backpacks and sports bags.
Soon after, the terrorists placed the bombs aboard the commuter trains. They used timers on cell phones to coordinate the bomb triggers and to detonate the deadly bags.
One of the bombs failed. By examining it, police learned the bombs were sync synchronized with timers on cell phones.
Police announced the first arrests two days after the attacks. There were no suicide bombers in Madrid, but three weeks after the attack, as police closed in on their hideout, seven of the leading suspects blew themselves up.
But the identity of the mastermind who caused the horror here in Madrid is still a mystery.
(on camera): There were so many bodies that a makeshift morgue was set up here at Madrid's main convention center. But many relatives said it took a long time to find out the fate of their loved ones.
(voice-over): The day after the attack, millions of Spaniards took to the streets to protest terrorism. And a few days later, in a historic turnaround, they voted out of office the conservative government, which like Britain's Tony Blair, had taken the unpopular step of putting troops in the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq. Some say it was a direct response to Osama bin Laden's threats of payback for Iraq.
And now today, a year after the Madrid bombing, the lesson from London seems to be that recovering from such an attack is a very long ordeal.
Al Goodman, CNN, Madrid.
COOPER: Many lessons to be learned. Coming up next on this special edition of 360: London Terror, just how safe are the trains here in the United States? A few months ago, we left a bag unattended at a New York train station. How long do you think it was before anybody noticed? A surprising look at train security.
Also tonight, the Osama bin Laden factor. A group with alleged ties to al Qaeda says it's behind today's attacks. We're going to tell you how the terrorist organization seems to be working with its leader in hiding.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People just trapped, you know, (INAUDIBLE) people were lying on the floor of the carriage of that (INAUDIBLE). People were all over the floor. And screaming and wailing, people were dying, help us, help us.
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COOPER: In a more innocent age of the world, today's events in London would immediately prompt most of us to ask, could it happen here? Sadly, we no longer even need to ask that question. We know that it can happen here. It has.
Several months ago, we asked CNN's Jason Carroll to take a look at train security. And what he found, well, it still surprised us. Take a look.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is one morning Karen Callahan can relax at home with her cup of coffee. A day off from work as a paralegal. She relishes days like this, no 30- minute train ride into Manhattan, no security worries.
KAREN CALLAHAN, TRAIN COMMUTER: I feel like a sitting duck, that's what I feel. I feel like every time I get on that train, you know, it could happen.
CARROLL: We joined Callahan on her commute home through the world's largest train station, New York's Grand Central. This is where security concerns her most.
(on camera): Do you think about it very often?
CALLAHAN: I do. Probably every day. I get on the train, I look around and I just feel that there's no security.
CARROLL (voice-over): This single mom of two sees the train as her only choice. So she tries to minimize her risk.
CALLAHAN: I tend to go in the very first car. For a few reasons, one of them being that it seems to be easier to get out of if anything were to happen.
CARROLL (on camera): So there are little things that you can try to do. On the extreme end, it seems like you were saying, (INAUDIBLE).
CALLAHAN: Well, New York is, you know, New York. In the area, or (INAUDIBLE), I mean, that might be an option sometime for me.
CARROLL (voice-over): Senator Joe Biden says Callahan's security worries are not unfounded.
SEN. JOE BIDEN, (D) DELAWARE: There is no basic security. It is bizarre, absolutely bizarre.
I'm actually angry about it.
CARROLL: Biden commutes daily from Delaware to Washington.
BIDEN: It's been three-and-a-half years of this.
CARROLL: He's so angered by lapses in security, he introduced legislation.
(on camera): Do you see anything around here that you think that could be improved?
BIDEN: For example, what you could improve is as people just standing here with the dogs. Just bomb-sniffing dogs.
I mean, it's basic block and tackle stuff. I mean, basic stuff.
CARROLL (voice-over): New York lawmakers gave train and subway security a D, citing unprotected tunnels, rail yards, and in particular, lack of surveillance. So at a train station in Philadelphia, and another in New York, we waited to see how long it would take for security to notice an abandoned bag left in clear view.
After 10 minutes, nothing. Twenty minutes passed. In Philadelphia, an officer and his dog look over the bag. Our producer steps in and identifies it.
But in New York, still nothing. After 30 minutes, one person stops, but is too rushed to report the bag. We conclude the experiment.
Amtrak says since 9/11, it's added police, increased use of bomb- sniffing dogs, and requires passengers to show ID. But passengers like Karen Callahan say even more should be done, but she's not holding her breath.
CALLAHAN: I think it all comes down to money. I think it's just probably too expensive to have security on all the trains at all times. Yeah, it's money.
CARROLL: So she'll keep riding and keep watching who's sitting nearby.
Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.
COOPER: As we mentioned, we first aired that story back in January. Since then, the Homeland Security Department has announced it's going to be providing more grant money for transit security than it ever has before, $140 million. But some public transportation advocates say that still is not enough. We spoke a little bit earlier this evening with someone for whom the awful what-ifs of the age of terrorism are literally an everyday preoccupation, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. We talked first about whether or not securing our transportation systems often comes down to a question of resources.
RAY KELLY, NYC POLICE COMMISSIONER: There is a resource issue. It's about $3 billion a year that is spread throughout the country of 280 million people for homeland security. And that's clearly not enough.
COOPER: And something like metal detectors, I mean, that's just not practical, given the number of people on mass transit?
KELLY: Yeah, if you're talking about people traveling on the subway system, going short distances, large numbers of people, mass transit by definition, it's just not something that is amenable to being checked by metal detectors. We have hundreds, perhaps thousands of people going through one particular location in 15 minutes. It's just I think impractical.
So there are certain risks that we're going to have to accept. We have to do everything we can to reduce those risks, but there's no panacea. And bomb-sniffing dog on a train -- even the dogs get tired, you know, there are lots of issues with dogs, by the way. You know, we think that they're some kind of miracle cure. Well, you know, dogs have a certain work cycle. They can only work relatively short periods of time, needing other dogs to replace them. It's not as easy as it sounds.
COOPER: So really, the message is we're vulnerable. There's not -- I mean, we can spend more money, we can try to protect ourselves, we can be more vigilant, but the bottom line is, this is the world we're living in and this is reality and it is going to happen here, or can happen here?
KELLY: No, I don't say it's inevitable. We're doing a lot. But I think -- I think we have to realize that there are risks out there. And that if you -- you know, government will not have an answer for all of these risks. Individuals have to make their own decisions.
COOPER: Do you think it is a matter, though, of if it happens here or when it happens here?
KELLY: No, I don't say when it happens here. I don't think it's inevitable. I think we're doing a lot, and again, I'm very parochial in my view. I'm looking at New York City. We're doing a lot in a preventive mode to, God forbid, not have something happen in New York. And I think other locations throughout the country are doing that, have to do that. So I certainly don't think it is inevitable.
COOPER: But if someone, if a foe is determined to strap a device to them and walk onto a train or onto a bus, there's really not much ultimately that can finally stop them, unless someone notices something?
KELLY: Well, again, we can think of those scenarios. I mean, we generally think of things that are more, you might say more strategic sense, not just one individual doing one act. It's a group. It's, you know, a terrorist organization looking for multiple events to have a significant impact. You could say today's act, certainly, had a significant impact. We have to see what that impact is on the financial institutions or travel in London.
But if you're talking about one individual doing some act such as going onto a train with an explosive device, that's clearly a possibility.
COOPER: Commissioner Kelly, I know it's a busy day for you. I appreciate you joining us. Thanks.
KELLY: Thank you.
COOPER: Our expanded coverage of the London terror continues. What if it happened to you? When terror strikes a subway train, how you can escape.
Also tonight, Osama bin Laden. What do we know about his role in current al Qaeda operations? Take a look at that when we return.
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BUSH: We will not yield to these people. We will not yield to the terrorists. We will find them, we will bring them to justice. And at the same time, we will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate.
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COOPER: Well, at this moment, it's still not clear who these people are, who perpetrated these mass murders. We know someone claiming to be from something called a Group of al Qaeda of Jihad Organization in Europe claimed responsibility on an Islamist Web site, but no one really knows who they are. We wanted to look into the possibility that Osama bin Laden may be behind this attack, or even other recent al Qaeda attacks.
COOPER (voice-over): This was the last time we saw Osama bin Laden, a video released in October of last year, on the eve of the presidential election. Bin Laden was trying to play presidential politics, criticizing both George W. Bush and John Kerry.
Then in December, after an attack on the U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, we heard from bin Laden again, an audiotape praising the attackers. Just a couple of weeks later, another audiotape, this time proclaiming Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as his deputy in Iraq.
Since then, silence.
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: In the past, we've had episodes when he hasn't said anything for up to almost a year. So merely -- simply because we haven't heard from him doesn't mean that he suddenly died or something. I would be surprised if he doesn't make some observation about these British attacks sometime in the next week or two.
COOPER: So where is he? In a recent interview with "Time" magazine, CIA Director Porter Goss says that he had an excellent idea where bin Laden was, but that it involved, quote, "the very difficult question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states."
To former CIA officer and bin Laden hunter Gary Schroen, that means Pakistan. And while Schroen doesn't believe President Musharraf knows where bin Laden is, he thinks members of Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI, do.
GARY SCHROEN, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Based on almost 20 years of dealing with Pakistan and Pakistani military and ISI officers, I think that at some level, probably the colonel level, there are officers probably in ISI who know where bin Laden is at.
COOPER: Bin Laden is in hiding, and that may make it harder for him to carry out his own plans for attacking the West. But terrorism analyst Peter Bergen says he is still a potent symbol to supporters around the world.
BERGEN: He tells his like-minded followers to -- what to do, basically, via videotapes and audiotapes. He called for members -- he called for attacks on members of the coalition in Iraq. We saw attacks on British targets in Turkey in 2003, attacks in Spain in 2004, and now today attacks in London.
COOPER: And a sickening attack, indeed. Our special coverage continues at this hour with my colleague, Paula Zahn. Paula, a horrible day in London.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Horrible day in London, and reverberates just about everybody. I think everybody is shocked by what happened there earlier today.
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