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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Multiple Bombs Explode in London's Transport System
Aired July 7, 2005 - 10:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: We just got word from our weather department that Hurricane Dennis is now strengthening and continues to make its way toward Florida. A hurricane watch for the Florida Keys and Florida Bay. A tropical storm watch for the entire southern peninsula of Florida exists right now. So we're watching that, we'll keep you posted on that as well.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Certainly tough news, because, of course, that's the area that has been hit before. And not much time has gone past since they've been recovering from their tornado -- their hurricane damage.
M. O'BRIEN: Many -- really many people do not even have their roofs on yet from the previous year.
S. O'BRIEN: Right.
M. O'BRIEN: And they're having to contend with this.
To recap for you where we are right now, top of the hour right now, it's been a long morning for us. It's been a long day in London.
We just heard from officials as they gave us some pretty definitive word as to what happened. A much clearer picture of what went on.
A total now of 33 confirmed fatalities in the underground explosions in London this morning, right at the peak of the rush hour. An undetermined number of fatalities related to a bus which exploded on the surface right around the same time frame. Three hundred and forty-five people injured, 45 of them very seriously, and are being treated in hospitals.
Some of the people injured were treated right there on the scene by the ambulance corps. At least a hundred ambulances responded.
Police are saying that they had no advanced warning of these attacks, and they say they had no official claim of responsibility that they consider to be genuine. Of course we've been telling you about a report that we got from a Web site which we -- is pretty -- it's hard to say how valid it is, but an organizations calling itself the Secret Organization group of al Qaeda of Jihad in Europe with a statement which sort of matches the language and syntax of these kind of statements laying claim for this attack which occurred this morning.
Four separate explosions, and three of them underground, one of them above the surface. And unclear at this point, still don't have a good sense as to whether this was, in fact, a suicide attack, or these were somehow remotely-detonated bombs with timers, perhaps.
Crowded train, some of these trains, as we heard, had 700, 900 people jammed in. It's certainly conceivable somebody could have gotten on, left a backpack, gotten off at the next step, and perhaps left something with a timer.
CNN's Malika Kapur is outside one of the stations that was affected right now, and she joins us with more -- Malika.
MALIKA KAPUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there. Yes, you're right, I'm just a couple of feet in front of the Edgware Road tube station, and this is one of the tube stations where the blast occurred earlier this morning.
Just a short time ago we did hear from the superintendent of the Metropolitan Police. He came out here and issued a brief statement.
He did confirm that there have been a number of casualties here. He said they've had a number of -- been a number of walking wounded, and he also did confirm that there have been a number of fatalities at this train station.
At that moment, he did not tell us how many fatalities there were. But we have since heard that there have been five fatalities in this area, at the Edgware Road tube station.
Now, earlier, I did manage to speak to somebody who was on the train when the blast took place. He was traveling in the first carriage of the train. And he said he just was about 10 seconds into the train journey, he heard a very loud noise. And that noise came from the second carriage.
And he said in a moment, everything went dark, the train was completely dark. Everything was blacked out.
He said initially there was a lot of panic in the train carriage that he was in, but in a few minutes, in his words, he said once people realized they had all their limbs, people calmed down a little bit. But there was still a lot of shock, a lot of disbelief in the carriage, people looking at each other and saying, "What happened?"
And they sat there in complete darkness for five to 10 minutes until somebody got up and kicked one of the train doors out. And they had to sit there in silence, in the darkness, waiting for a while.
He said they tried hard not to take too many deep breaths, trying not to inhale too much soot. And they had to wait a couple of minutes until the rescue squads came, and they had to walk out of the train station by walking backwards along the tunnel. And when he walked back along the tunnel, he did manage to see the second carriage where the explosion took place, and he said the carriage had been completely ripped apart.
M. O'BRIEN: Malika, I'm curious a little bit about the scene behind you. When last we spoke to Richard Quest, who is not far from where you are, it looked as if the streets were pretty vacant in central London. It looks like people are returning there.
Are these people who are making their way home? And are they having difficulty?
KAPUR: Well, you're absolutely right. The roads have been opened up.
The main Edgware Road was closed. It was blocked off to traffic just about an hour ago.
We ourselves couldn't come this close to the Edgware Road tube station. But they have -- the police had removed the police lines about an hour ago. And traffic has resumed. We are seeing traffic flowing freely on Edgware Road.
It looks like traffic is moving, people are getting back to business now. But there is still a lot of shock, a lot of disbelief, people walking past here, asking each other, "Did you hear anything? Did you see anything?"
We've also had one of the earlier editions of the evening newspapers come out now. And people are stopping to buy that. And there is -- it is what everyone is talking about here in London this afternoon.
M. O'BRIEN: To say the least. What we're all talking about today. Malika Kapur out in front of the Edgware station, where a total of three trains were affected by an explosion, causing at least five fatality fatalities -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: We have been working, of course, with our colleagues at CNN International to provide you a full coverage of what is happening not only there, the impact here in the U.S., but obviously, more importantly, what is going on in London, the information that has come out of that press conference held by the Metropolitan Police not very long ago, and also the various statements coming not only from President Bush, but the prime minister, Tony Blair, who is now in London, has come back for his to face-to-face meetings that he says he needs to have with his security team, Scotland Yard, in addition to others as well.
Christiane Amanpour is in London. Let's get right to her. She's updating us on what came out of this press conference with the Metropolitan Police.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Evacuations, smoke inhalation, as well as shock and cuts and bruises. Four hospitals around London have taken the casualties in. Over 100 ambulances, 250 ambulance staff, as well as 250 or so fire brigade staff, as well as all the police.
Now, one thing that is likely to cause some speculation, no doubt, in the days to come is the level of police security in London. There had been talk about some of the security being reduced, because many police were sent up to Gleneagles for the G8 summit. However, the police spokesman said that 1,500 Metropolitan Police officers have gone to Scotland, where there are 31,000 here in London.
However, he did say something interesting in response to questions about the security level and intelligence that police were getting. The police did say that the security level had been lowered slightly over the last month. It was at the second highest level that it has been since 9/11, but had been lowered slightly because the police felt that that was appropriate given the intelligence that they have had.
So, clearly, the police having, apparently, according to today's press conference, no intelligence to lead them to believe that there would be this kind of attack in England at this time.
The representatives from the London underground, the tube station, the subway train system, have said they will try to get the subway trains running as of tomorrow, that they will check every single train before it is allowed to go out of the station, that every single bus is going to be checked at the beginning and the end of its journey, and that, in fact, some of the central London bus service -- they call it the Zone One bus service -- could be returning as of this afternoon.
But clearly, a high level of security still in operation, and this transport system, which certainly the tube trains, the transport system takes about three million people per day. And at rush hour they have about 500 trains in operation.
So that would have been the situation early this morning. And as soon as they knew that this was an attack, they have stopped the London underground system and they evacuated people.
Now, we've heard a lot about what people are -- have people have described the reaction of those caught up in today's events. And we've been saying that London is not a city of panic, Britain is not a panicky nation. And they have -- that has been confirmed by all the transport service personnel and others who have said that they have been overwhelmed by the way people didn't panic, by the way they followed instructions, and by the way they evacuated the train stations. Although, of course, we have also heard from eyewitnesses and those caught up in it about how frightened and how scared they were of what -- of what went on and the horrible things that they saw -- Fionnuala.
S. O'BRIEN: We've been listening to Christiane Amanpour updating us, not only on the press conference that was held by the Metropolitan Police just a few minutes ago, but also the situation as it stands right now in London.
We got a timeline not very long ago. The blast beginning at 8:51 in three underground locations. And the number dead confirmed now at 33 in those underground locations.
The number dead, though, on that double-decker bus unclear at this point, although there are fatalities. We are told, though, investigators are not exactly clear what that number of fatalities are.
Those double-decker buses, in addition to that, being used as ambulances in order to haul some of the about 300 or so injured who were brought to local area hospitals for some kind of treatment, ranging from just cuts and bruises and shock to amputations and burns, and things like that.
Obviously, as Christiane was talking about, very devastating injuries. Very difficult for the people who were, in some cases, as we heard from eyewitnesses, stepping over people in order to be able to evacuate the situation.
You're also looking right now -- I guess these are -- these are not still pictures. But just a moment ago we showed some pretty remarkable still pictures of the scene there. It was our first still pictures coming for us this morning, showing, really, I think, clearly the sense of shock that is settling over London today.
To hear the investigators say that they are shocked but they are not surprised that, in fact, they were expecting some kind of terror attack in some way, shape, or form, and had, in fact, in recent days lowered the terror alert threat slightly because they had no good intelligence on exactly what was to come, is a little bit obviously tough to hear, I would imagine, not only here, but clearly in London as well.
Let's get right back to Christiane Amanpour, who is on the streets of London this morning.
Christiane, give me a sense of how the tone has changed in the hours that we have been covering the story. You're right about the stiff upper lip. We never got a sense of sheer panic, and yet I wonder if any of this has settled in, or is it fair to say it's just shock on the streets there?
AMANPOUR: Well, clearly it's shock amongst the eyewitnesses that we've talked to. The people who survived, for instance, the bomb blast on the bus, which wasn't that far from here, and the people who have just been walking past here, and we've sort of taken them and talked to them, have been clearly traumatized and obviously incredibly relieved to have just missed it. I mean, there by the grace of god they could have been blown up as well. The people who just walked by in time and simply heard and saw what had happened have obviously been very, very deeply affected by it.
In other parts of London we have seen -- and I had to, you know, cycle and walk to work this morning when this happened, because it's very difficult to move around. As you know, the underground system has been closed since the attacks, the bus service as well. The only public transport are cabs, the black cabs, but they have been taken by just about everybody here who could manage to get on one. But around London you saw a determined, you know, effort to remain normal, to remain calm. People going about their business.
Clearly, people were somewhat worried, because they have not been able to use their mobile phones for the most of this day, not only because the cell system has been overloaded, but because the Vodafone, which is the biggest provider here, has a portion, some of its coverage to the emergency services.
There has been a state of, you know, many streets being cordoned off, cars not being able to go certain areas. The U.S. embassy in central London, not far from here, has been cordoned off for most of this day as precautions and searches and other things are underway.
On some of the high streets, I watched police stop traffic and search some of the cars. Some of the barrows that sell flowers, for instance, in buckets on the side of the street were being checked.
So a vigilance but not a panic.
We've reported the confirmed number of deaths. As the police have told us so far, 33 at least. But that will rise, because they told us that there were deaths at the bus, and they don't know how many. And they haven't told us the number of people who were killed on the bomb -- by the bomb that went off on the double-decker bus.
But I think what will, you know, be probably a subject for analysis is that the police admitted that security was slightly lower than it had been at its highest level since 9/11. They said they were the second highest level since 9/11, and they said that that they felt because that was appropriate given the intelligence they were getting. So clearly, basically saying they had not either sufficient or no intelligence to indicate that this was a possibility.
Prime Minister Blair, who is now back in London at Downing Street, having left the Gleneagles summit, is conducting business. It's called the meeting of the Cobra Group of his senior security officials and ministers who have been dealing with this to see what they can do and to see how much of his time is going to be spent here in London before he goes back to meet President Bush and the other world leaders who are still in Gleneagles dealing with the subject of trying to help the poor in Africa and trying to deal with climate change and global warming -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Christiane, you know, you mentioned one sure focus of analysis is that lowered security threat. And another one, I would imagine, is a close examination of this timeline.
When you look at the timeline that was given to us by the Metropolitan Police, you see at 8:51 the first bomb explosion, 9:47 the explosion on the bus. Twenty-six minutes elapsed, though, between the three explosions underground. And then we heard from -- I think it's Tim O'Toole, the American, I believe, who is running the underground, where he essentially said that, no, they didn't warn their drivers, they didn't -- there was never a message sent out to the drivers to stop, because they didn't have that information. At this point, does this underscore, or is this a big red flag in a lack of preparedness as far as the underground goes?
AMANPOUR: Well, clearly, the days to follow will bring more answers on that, but what he also said was that they couldn't immediately stop because they had to get people out of the tunnels, that they have hundreds of thousands of people in those tunnels. And their first reaction was to try to get them out, those who weren't in the immediately affected areas, to get them out of those tunnels.
But yes, you know, they said clearly that at first they had thought that it was a power surge. And that was the first report that people got publicly, because the explosion, the first evidence of the explosions, was a disruption on the power grid, or the way they read the power. It showed a power fluctuation. And so that was the first analysis, and very quickly thereafter it became clear that this was -- this was not the case and it was a series of explosions.
S. O'BRIEN: Christiane Amanpour is leading our coverage out of London this morning. Christiane, thank you. Obviously she's going to continue to report for us.
We are getting information now about the casualties. As she mentioned, 33 confirmed dead. That is not taking into account the number of dead on that double-decker bus, because, while there are fatalities there, officials say they are not yet in a position to actually give that number.
Some have said that bus was packed with people, and others said when they heard the explosion and they turned around, they could see that bus "halfway in the air," to quote an eyewitness -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: We've heard from the president of the United States today, urging people to be vigilant here. No word, however, from the Department of Homeland Security indicating the official national threat level will be changed.
Michael Chertoff, the secretary of Homeland Security, indicating a little while ago, "We do not have any specific intelligence this type of attack is planned in the United States, but we are constantly evaluating both intelligence and our protective measures. And we'll take whatever actions are necessary."
We're going to here from Mr. Chertoff in about a half an hour. We'll bring you that live.
In the meantime, let's got to CNN's John King, who's been tracking the response all across the United States today.
People are taking to heart the president's urgings, Mr. Chertoff's urgings to exercise prudent vigilance, right, John?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is true, Miles. And we have some new information. And let's bring it to our viewers. As you noted, the national threat level will stay for the time being at yellow, which is an elevated threat level. It has been at that yellow stage for quite some time. But what the secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, among the steps he will announce in about a half an hour here in Washington in his news conference is that they are going to threat level orange, which is a higher risk of terrorist attack, only on mass transit systems around the country.
The administration deciding to take that step, of course, in the wake of these London attacks. They will take that step despite, we are told, what Mr. Chertoff will say is no specific, credible intelligence of any kind suggesting that there are any attacks planned on mass transit systems in the United States, or anywhere in the United States, for that matter.
But after a number of conversations this morning involving Homeland Security officials, intelligence officials, White House officials, and others, they have decided to raise the threat level specifically with regards to mass transit systems nationwide. And we're also getting information from our Justice Department producer, Terry Frieden (ph), that they are specifically worried about five cities, and those cities are Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Miami and Atlanta.
So information has gone out to those five cities, be extra vigilant. The threat level for mass transit systems will go up, we are told, in about 30 minutes to orange. Again, specifically for mass transit systems.
And among those, of course, the many local officials who will have to deal with the fallout is the mayor of this city, Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams was at a hearing earlier today about a very separate issue, the issue of closing military installations around the country, but Mayor Williams spoke to reporters and tried to assure the people of Washington, D.C. that he is in touch with the federal government and taking every precaution, especially with the metro system here, which has more than a million passengers a day.
Let's listen to Mayor Williams.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR ANTHONY WILLIAMS, WASHINGTON D.C.: I want to take the opportunity to reassure people that we have been in touch with secretary of Homeland Security, that while we have no evidence of any intelligence indicating an attack on our city here and on our region here, we are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of our transportation infrastructure and our system for the people that use it. And I'll also take this opportunity to ask people to join with us to keep their eyes and ears open as they go about their daily business, and if they find anything unusual to alert our authorities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Again, that Mayor Tony Williams a short time ago here in Washington, D.C. To summarize quickly, Miles, again, we are told the national threat level will stay at yellow, but it will be elevated to orange, specifically for mass transit systems around the country. The secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, will make that announcement in less than 30 minutes here in Washington, we are told by several administration sources.
And to many around the country, Michael Chertoff might be an unfamiliar face. Tom Ridge, of course, become a household name in the days, weeks and months after the September 11 attack.
Secretary Chertoff is a former prosecutor, a former judge. He is now running the Department of Homeland Security. So a test for him as the United States responds to these attacks in London. Also a test for the new director of National Intelligence.
Miles, we were told John Negroponte was in the office at 6:00 a.m. He has been in touch with the president's traveling party overseas. And a statement from the director of National Intelligence from his office says they obviously are analyzing all the intelligence the United States has in its possession. One of the key areas of interest right now is doing anything they can to help the British government find out who is responsible for these attacks in the London subway system -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: John, in the history of the color-coded national threat warning system, I can't recall a specific sector like this being singled out. What does that mean as a practical matter that mass transit is orange?
KING: Well, as we spoke earlier, the system has been criticized by many that you have a national alert go up and down. Then the officials come out and say they have no specific intelligence.
This is one of the adjustments they have made, if you will, to respond to that criticism, saying that why would you go up nationally if you perceive the threat only to be in Washington or New York? Why would you go up nationally across the country if you perceive the highest risk to be only on mass transit systems?
So the people of Montana and the people of Idaho, obviously, if the interest is mass transit, don't have to worry as much as the people of New York or Atlanta or Washington, D.C. So they have tried these incremental adjustments, more targeted adjustments, if you will, to the threat level.
They believe that makes it more effective, A, in alerting the public where they should be most worried, and perhaps even more importantly, in terms of dedicating the personnel, the money and the resources necessary to beef up security in those narrowly, more specific areas of interest.
M. O'BRIEN: All right. And apparently there have been cases in recent years where, say, the financial district of New York has been targeted.
KING: That's right.
M. O'BRIEN: So I guess that is not unprecedented. It's just, obviously, they're working with this system because it -- there was a backlash for a while, wasn't there?
KING: There certainly was. Mayers and police chiefs and sheriffs and members of Congress, people all across the country, have said, you're scaring us, essentially. Or, in the case of many of these mayors, you're forcing us to spend hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, on police overtime, but you're not telling us what to look for.
You're saying be worried, but you're saying there is no specific information. How do I know how to deploy my police department? How do I know whether to send them to the subway system or to the port or to the baseball game?
So there have been a lot of complaints that you get these vague warnings from the government. And, of course, the government's response is, if they don't have specific information but they do have worries, if they did not pass that on, they would certainly be criticized after the fact if something happened.
So it is far from a perfect system. Everybody involved acknowledges that. What they've tried to do, Miles, is fine-tune it as they go along based on experience. And today is one of those experiences that will test the system.
M. O'BRIEN: Well, I guess the worst case scenario is when people tune it out entirely. And that's one scenario which no one wants to see. John King, thank you very much.
Kelly Wallace has been also looking at the domestic response. Something like this, of course, has ripple effects all throughout the world. Kelly joins us from our New York newsroom -- Kelly.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And Miles, some of the first hits we were getting, perhaps some cities, including Boston, might be taking some of these increased security steps, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney indicating that he had decided to increase the security level on Boston's system, which I know you know very well, the T, and indicating that this was sort of similar, going on to a heightened alert, similar to the federal code orange alert. So giving some indication a little bit ago about this taking place.
Also, we know Atlanta, one of the other cities mentioned, increasing its security's presence on the Marta system in Atlanta.
Of course New York City we've been talking about quite a bit, especially because of the heightened alert here after the September 11 attacks. We can tell you some new information.
We know that Governor George Pataki, as well as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York City police chief, Ray Kelly, will be holding a news conference at 12:00 noon, and that will be held at Grand Central Station. We're expecting to get more information there.
We know that police have kind of increased the presence all around the subway system and bus systems throughout the city. Some of the police-staging exercises to have their police presence known daily throughout the financial district, we understand they have been redeployed to the subway systems as well.
We also know -- we're hearing from a spokesman with the New York City Police Department that we are going to have authorities saying that there is increased security at "United Kingdom-related locations," not elaborating on what those locations would be.
New Jersey transit another major system. Thousands and thousands of people using that system on a daily basis to get in and out of Manhattan. We understand police patrols on that system have doubled. We're also being told that there are -- the number of bomb-detecting K9 units on the system has tripled.
Nationwide, Amtrak, which goes through nearly every state in the country, has decided to increase its security level. Officials saying this is being done not in response to any specific threat, but as a precaution. Part of the increased security, more officers, more K9 teams on trains. Also alerting employees and passengers to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity and any suspicious packages.
Other cities we're looking at across the country, Chicago. An increased security presence there as well. More officers around the mass transit system, the L in Chicago, as well as in the central business district.
And then going out on the West Coast as well. We understand there officials have opened what they call a special command center, and this is to monitor what's going on. Increased activity.
The buzz word today, Miles, vigilance, be on the lookout for any suspicious activity. At the same time, alerting people not to panic and to try to go about their daily lives.
M. O'BRIEN: So, on the one hand, we should remind people that there is no specific intelligence that anything is going to focus on the United States. But on the other hand, we should be reminded that British officials told us they had no specific intelligence that this was going to occur. So I think you have to balance those two points, don't you, Kelly?
WALLACE: You certainly do. And this is the difficulty for really officials, law enforcement officials, lawmakers throughout the country, local officials in cities and states around the country, because they're obviously trying to alert people to be aware, they are trying to increase the security presence after the blast in London. At the same time, they're encouraging people and they know people rely on mass transit to get from place to place and get to their jobs.
And it's interesting, also, because I was forwarded the e-mail that our Justice Department producer, Terry Frieden (ph), who has been talking to officials about some of these increased security measures going up to the orange threat level for the mass transit system in some of these cities. Also, one of the officials we talked to emphasizing the measures are precautionary, not based on specific intelligence, and stressing -- federal officials say there is no reason for alarm in the five cities, and that they're trying to avoid any sense of public panic.
Obviously a challenge, certainly on a day like today.
M. O'BRIEN: Certainly is a tight rope to walk. Kelly Wallace, thank you very much.
Let's just underscore what's coming up for you. At 11:45 Eastern Time, about 20 minutes from now, Michael Chertoff, who is the secretary of Homeland Security, will take an announcement, we're told by CNN's John King, to elevate the national threat level, specifically for mass transit systems, to orange or high. And these are mass transit systems in Boston, New York, Washington, Miami and Atlanta, that are of particular focus and concern to the administration right now.
Also, about 15 minutes later, Noon Eastern Time, we expect to hear from New York City officials as well. So we're juggling briefings and news conferences and information as it comes in. We'll keep you posted -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Yes. There are some details that we should share as well that have come to us from the Metropolitan Police in London that I think are somewhat interesting.
The underground spokesperson, Tim O'Toole, saying that no one was ever trapped inside those trains that were stopped by the explosions. He said, in fact, that it was a controlled move. I'm not sure if that's just semantics if you're one of the people stuck underground for 25 minutes while smoke is pouring into your subway car. But he said that it took a long time, especially on the Piccadilly line, to get them clear, because the access, frankly, in the -- in the underground is quite difficult.
There was a theory. One of the people in this press conference, the assistant deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, talked about this fourth bomb that was on the double-decker bus. And what he said was that the fourth bomb may have been intended for an underground train, and may have, in fact, been -- exploded at an inappropriate time, and that it may have been destined for the underground network.
Other information that we're getting, no power surge. In fact, all these breakers tripped and officials thought that might indicate a surge, thus the mistaken original reports that we got that there was some kind of power surge.
And also, no indication as of yet it's a suicide bomber or conventional explosives. That is obviously a very big focus of the investigation at this point.
Let's listen in to what one eyewitness describes he saw. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was tended to by the paramedics, and the chief staff in the concourse. There was -- I guess another five of us in similar conditions, sitting around, just wrapped in blankets, and had some cooling pads placed on the burns.
So I guess I'm not sure in terms of length of time to wait, but a couple of stretchers went in, a couple of guys on stretchers came back out. Maybe an hour later, a half-hour later, difficult to say, paramedics took us into an ambulance, a nearby ambulance, and we were bussed down here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
S. O'BRIEN: A terrible story. And, of course, he's one of the lucky ones. Thirty-three people now confirmed dead. Many more -- or that number, we should say, will rise because of the number confirmed dead on that double-decker bus. There are fatalities. Officials not releasing that number as of yet. Three-hundred forty five total injured, 45 critically taken to the hospital.
Let's get right to Jamie Rubin, formerly of the State Department.
Jamie, thanks for talking with us this morning.
You know, the first question I think that comes to everybody's mind, is who did this? Give us a sense of the short list of who may have pulled this off.
JAMIE RUBIN, FMR. ASST. SECY. OF STATE: Well, I really only have one short list, and that is one of the Islamic extremist groups, cells or offshoots of the global Islamic extremist movement, that clearly was responsible for Madrid, was responsible for the Bali bombing, and obviously Al Qaeda, lead by Osama Bin Laden responsible for 9/11.
All of the signatures, all of the signs, all of the evidence that I'm aware of points to that kind of terrorist attack. And I think it's a very, very important reminder of what this war of terrorism has always been about. The Iraq war kind of got us diverted into a whole discussion about matters, and has become very controversial around the world. The war on terrorism as it began was a war against those people that were part of the Al Qaeda movement, who were prepared to kill or use mass murder to achieve this extremist objective of a global Muslim government that would put people back to the days where the Taliban made women wear burkas.
So that's what we're up against, and I think this event will remind all the leaders of the G-8 of the solidarity they had, the unity they had, the commitment they had, just a couple of years ago, to use all the powers of government, law enforcement, intelligence, diplomacy, military power in a unified and determined way, and I fear that some of that solidarity, some of that impetus has been frittered away over the last couple of years.
S. O'BRIEN: For many reasons, one has to imagine, not the very least is that, frankly, the G-8 leaders doesn't always see eye to eye on lots of different issues.
You have to guess, though, especially when you hear Tony Blair say, all these nations, and as the G-8 leaders stood behind him, or to the side of him, all of us essentially being impacted by terror. I would imagine that things will change as world leaders come together to try to attack terror together.
RUBIN: Well, you're right. I think that when they all happen to be in this meeting, and they all had to focus on the difficulty that Tony Blair went through, and he really is an inspiring figure, and focused everybody's attention right away on what really does unite us. You know, Jacques Chirac and Blair were at each other's throats yesterday, and today they're probably as united as they could be in the view that Islamic extremists, Muslims, perhaps in Europe, those within the society who have lived here or gotten access to the country is a major threat, one that we share all across the civilized world, and one where we share the means to destroy that threat.
There is no debate about the need to use military power, law enforcement, intelligence, whatever means are necessary to not only kill the terrorists, jail the terrorists, but try to prevent the inspiration they've been giving to so many people around the world. That's been part of the problem. There are too many people in the world that somehow have become cheerleaders for these Islamic extremists. And I think the leaders now realize that task is the fundamental war on terrorism and, Iraq aside, requires a redoubling of our energies and re-determination that I fear, as I said earlier, has frittered away a bit in the last couple of years.
S. O'BRIEN: But you know, that kind of begs the question, or kind of begs the point that a certain kind of terror attacks might be impossible to prevent when you look at these soft targets in a city that, frankly, had already upped its security because of the G-8 summit, in a city where they've already installed -- or a country, where they've installed 4.2 I think is the number of cameras, that monitor what's going on on the streets, much to the chagrin of some people. What more could you possibly? Aren't soft targets just always going to be impossible to really fully protect?
RUBIN: Well, there is the issue of, as we call it in America, homeland security: What do you do to defend your institutions, your facilities and your people? That's defense. The other issue is offense. How do you track down and destroy the capability of people to do this?
Now you're absolutely right, at some level it's never going to be possible to defend a soft target, a subway stop, a bus station, a city street from people prepared to use rather crude explosives and kill innocent men, women and children.
But the issue that I think will come to the fore again, is can the leaders recommit themselves to use all the powers of government and all their unified efforts to destroy the offensive side of the equation, to use law enforcement, intelligence, covert operations, military force, to find these people, find their leaders, find Osama Bin Laden, find the financing for Islamic extremist groups. Shut down their Web site, shut down their means of communication. That's what I fear we've lost a little bit of.
But you're absolutely right, at some level as long as they're individuals trying to kill innocent men, women and children, it's very, very, very difficult, if not impossible, to defend a soft target.
S. O'BRIEN: We're just about 10 minutes away from hearing from the Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
To what degree is what happens now a big test for him, and certainly a first major test for him. He's not really well known to most Americans, I think it's fair to say.
RUBIN: Well, he obviously has to walk that fine line that you and Miles talked about earlier, which is, while calling for people to be vigilant and to assist law enforcement in the difficult task it has in defending various parts of the country from these potential killers, but also, do so in a way that doesn't inspire needless panic and doesn't create a "boy who cried wolf" situation, where I think the past people have criticized the Homeland Security Department for the constant use of these coded alerts, which tended to diminish their significance.
So I think it's partly a public inspiration and a public confidence exercise that's going to go on today, and since, by all accounts and information that we've been able to determine, there is no new intelligence, no new information, no new threat data, other than the fact that a terrible tragedy has occurred here in London.
S. O'BRIEN: Al fine line for the Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. And as I mention, we're going to be hearing from him in just a few minutes.
Jamie Rubin, joining us. Thanks, Jamie. Appreciate your insight on that -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: While we wait for him. We have a remarkable clip of video which came from someone's camera phone. We doesn't know which of the three underground incidents it comes from. But take a look at this. There is no audio on it. But this is clearly immediately after the explosion, either near Moorgate, Liverpool, King's Cross, Russell Square, Edgware, one of those stations.
And what you see here, my take on it earlier -- Soledad disagreed slightly. She wasn't sure, but my take on it was, I didn't see a lot of panic here. You see blown out windows, and you see people in a relatively orderly way streaming out. Of course without the audio it's hard to tell what was really going on there.
But what that does, is that just gives you a little glimpse into what was pure hello in the height of rush hour, in the city of London, in the center of that city.
What began about nine minutes before 9:00 and ultimately ended up, on the surface, in a double-decker bus, 9:47 a.m. local time has left a confirmed 33 people dead, in excess of 300 people injured. More fatalities are expected, because we don't know the numbers of the people who were killed on that double-decker bus. We do know there were, in fact, fatalities.
Meanwhile, at that briefing we saw just a little while ago out of Scotland Yard from the various officials involved in the response and the investigation, there were questions asked about who's to blame, which is a question we all have, naturally.
And CNN's Nic Robertson has been looking into this. Nic, when officials were asked there about claims of responsibility, they made reference to this Web site, which you first reported on, with this group, the secret organization group of Al Qaeda of Jihad in Europe, and they said -- they couldn't say it was genuine, which is what we've been reporting all along. Do we have anything further to add on that at this point?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's also said in that joint press conference that they haven't received claim of responsibility directly themselves, neither have they received any warning indication that these bombs might go off this morning. There is nothing that we know that can substantiate this claim so far. What we know about it, it was posted on a Web site that has been used by -- these radical Islamic groups before, but anyone can post anything on this particular Web site, so even though this is a site that's often or occasionally used by these particular groups, it doesn't mean that this group did perpetrate this attack.
However, what we do know if you look at the attack in Madrid last year, the early claims from al Qaeda group of responsibility there did later seem to hold some elements of truth, in fact, significant elements of truth. So perhaps it wouldn't be fair to rule it out at this stage as being a genuine claim and, certainly, the police are saying that they're not overlooking it, either, at this particular time. But it's impossible for us to verify.
The statement on the Web site has now been cut and pasted to other radical Islamist Web sites, as well, and this statement says the attacks were carried out as a retaliation for the British, what they called, massacres in Iraq and Afghanistan. So it's very clear these groups, this group, if it's genuine, is claiming that its supporters have been radicalized by what they've seen in Iraq, what they've seen in Afghanistan. But, again, there is nothing that we have so far that can verify or support the fact that this group exists or that they actually carried out this attack -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: And we should remind viewers, there is a cautionary tale here about jumping to conclusions. In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, many people presumed it had some link to the Middle East. In the wake of the Madrid bombings, officials were determined to pin it on ETA, the Basque separatist group. Ultimately didn't pan out. So we should keep that in mind, Nic, as we proceed here today.
ROBERTSON: Absolutely. And what we've seen happening in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi's group in Iraq, al Qaeda in Iraq, have claimed responsibility for a large number of attacks that have later been disputed on other radical Islamist Web sites. So there's no indication, there's no real way of checking if somebody claims it, is it actually them. So there is certainly evidence that jumping to conclusions would be wrong at this stage.
M. O'BRIEN: CNN's Nic Robertson in Atlanta. Keep us posted there. Thank you -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: We are three minutes away from hearing from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. But before we get to that, we're going to dip in and chat with John McLaughlin. He, of course, is a former CIA director. He's in Washington, D.C., this morning. Let me begin with you, but caution you that we might interrupt in case the secretary comes to the podium to make his statement.
We just heard just a moment ago from Nic about this al Qaeda claims on the Web site. Would you expect that, in fact, there will be a claim of responsibility? Even if it's not necessarily this one. But isn't that kind of the whole point behind a terror attack and al Qaeda specifically?
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, FMR. CIA DIRECTOR: Well, if they were behind this or if someone else in the extremist world was behind it, there will be a claim of responsibility at some point. I think Miles is very right, though, to caution at this point about not jumping to conclusions. There are a lot of reasons to think that this was al Qaeda or an al Qaeda affiliated group, including the fact that the timing here coincides with the G-8 Summit, including the fact it occurred in the financial capital of the world -- this is one of their objectives -- including the fact it occurs in London.
But until we have some forensic evidence or some claim of responsibility, we won't be sure. You know, if one were just engaging in sheer speculation here, it's impossible at this point to even rule out something like the Zarqawi network, which at one time had arguably some capability in Europe and aspirations to attack there. But I would underline, that's sheer speculation.
S. O'BRIEN: There have been discussions about raising the threat level and raising it for certain portions of the overall umbrella of possible potential targets. Is it possible, really, though, to protect these soft targets? As much as you might raise the threat level a notch or two, at the end of the day someone with a backpack can get on a bus, can get on a subway, can get on the tube, can get on a double-decker bus. And -- without being monitored. It seems like maybe in this vein, we're losing the war on terror.
MCLAUGHLIN: As terrorists have said many, times, we can be great a thousand times and they just have to be lucky once. But it does make a difference, in my judgment, to harden the vulnerabilities of the country in specific sectors at times like this. And you mentioned something that I think it's worth keeping our eye on particularly as this unfolds, and that is the question of whether a suicide bomber was involved.
In my recollection, we have not seen al Qaeda or affiliated groups use suicide bombers in a Western capital, particularly not a capital as prominent London. And if that were to be the case, it would tell me that they're prepared to use what you might call lower- tech methods to carry out a major attack that causes panic and destruction in a western city. And that would have implications for the United States, because those of us who followed this have scratched our heads for some time about why we haven't seen them try to employ these kinds of methods in the United States.
S. O'BRIEN: Extrapolate on that for me, then. If, indeed, it is suicide bombers -- and again, we'll caution that we do not know. The investigation obviously in a very early stage...
MCLAUGHLIN: Not at all.
S. O'BRIEN: But if it is, what, then, does it tell you? Al Qaeda more desperate? Al Qaeda less desperate, more organized? If it's al Qaeda, too. We've got lots of qualifying in a lot of places here. But I think it's a curious discussion?
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, allowing for all of those qualifiers, which are very appropriate, one interpretation might be that they're somewhat more desperate, in the sense that this kind of attack is easier to carry out than the very spectacular attacks that we've seen them plan in the past, exemplified most clearly by 9/11.
S. O'BRIEN: Hold that thought for one second, because I just want to tell people what they're looking at. Right as we see you, sir, we're also seeing this podium, this empty podium. That's where we are expecting to see the secretary of Homeland Security come out in just a few moments to address the public. So continue with your thoughts. I apologize for the interruption. We'll break away when we see him.
MCLAUGHLIN: Not at all. It's just al Qaeda has tended to put the emphasis on very spectacular attacks like 9/11, of course. If they have chosen in a western capital, with all the qualifiers you mentioned, to focus on something like suicide attacks, it shows one, some sense of desperation. But it also shows something we should worry about very much, because this is the kind of attack, as you pointed out, Soledad, that's very difficult to prevent.
The other thought -- I must tell you, the first thought I had this morning when I heard about this, is looking over the last year, London can feel good about many counterterrorism successes in the last year. And yet, this happened. In other words, if you look back over the last year, they have wrapped up at least two major terrorist networks there, including the al Hindi network about a year ago. It was in August of last year that they wrapped up this network of Issa al Hindi and about 12 of his associates, who were the people, by the way, who had sponsored the casing reports that we discovered at about that same time on New York financial institutions and financial institutions in New Jersey and Washington.
So -- and there was another network there wrapped up as well. And so it's noteworthy to me and its tell us something, that even in the midst of rather dramatic successes against these people, these extremists, that somehow they managed to get through in a country that is really on its toes and quite successful in attacking them. S. O'BRIEN: And certainly when you consider London's experience with the IRA, this is not a city that's been not paying attention and not concerned about terror attacks. I'm curious, what do you make of what we have heard? Then again, it's early in the investigation. But the reaction that you saw from metropolitan police, from Scotland Yard, from -- we heard, from the firefighters and ambulance teams, as well. Impressed? Underwhelmed? What do you think?
MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, I -- you know, I haven't seen all of that reaction. But what I have seen tells me that this is typically calm, cool, British behavior. In other words, they -- as someone indicated earlier, they have rehearsed these kinds of scenarios, they know what to do. MI-5, which is their domestic intelligence service, is, you know, one of the best and most experienced in the world. And the lash-up with their police forces and with their foreign intelligence is very good. So, you know, what I see so far over there tells me that, as best one can ever be on top of a situation like this, they're pretty much on top of it.
S. O'BRIEN: John...
MCLAUGHLIN: It will take them some time to sort this out, though. And we'll have to follow it through the day.
S. O'BRIEN: Yes, no question about that. I think there are lots of areas that will require further analysis. John McLaughlin, former CIA director joining us this morning. Thank you for your time.
MCLAUGHLIN: You bet.
S. O'BRIEN: It's nice to talk with you -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: By the time they made their way towards work this morning, some commuters who made their way to mass transit, hanging on to a strap there, might have seen a bomb sniffing dog or a policeman with an automatic weapon right beside them, because the response was that swift at some of the mass transit operations all throughout the United States, in sight of the fact that there is no specific threat, which we underscore.
As we wait now for Michael Chertoff, who is the secretary of Homeland Security, to brief us just what the threat -- how the threat level is being modulated up in a very specific way, aimed at mass transit. And we'll get you that. We think he's going to be there in about five minutes.
CNN's John King has been tracking this pretty closely all day. And John, we have -- we've seen the pictures just in the Washington metro there, right near where you are, that authorities are out in force and people will notice something different, won't they?
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They will, Miles. I came through the city on my way to work, drove past a number of metro stations and you see this, the bomb-sniffing dog inside. You also see a higher police presence outside. And yet, most people seem to be going about this relatively normally, if you will, noticing what is going on. What you have here in the United States today, as we obviously focus most of our attention on the tragedy in London, is a test of the government's response and a test, again, of the psychology, if you will, of the American people, now nearly four years after September 11th.
Secretary Chertoff is a few minutes late. Understandable, because he is collecting all of the information not only from the agencies in Washington, but from the mayors and the state officials there in touch across the country.
As you noted, he will announce an elevating of the national threat level only when it comes to mass transit and rail systems up to orange, which is the higher risk of terrorist attack. They're taking that focused effort, because they believe in the wake what's happened in London that is the appropriate thing to do. Now they are not shutting down any subway stations there. They are just asking people to have more vigilance.
This is Union Station here in Washington, a major Amtrak depot. You have seen this in New York as well. So you will see a higher police presence, and yet you will have the challenge we have faced since 9/11. Officials saying they're raising the alert, they're bringing in more officers, they're brining in bomb-sniffing teams, they're looking through the intelligence again and again and again to see if they might have missed anything. And the next sentence is, go about your normal lives. So it is the delicate balance. This is a drill, if you will, we have been through before in the United States. But it is not a drill in London today, Miles, and that is why the United States government obviously has to react.
And again, as they take precautions here in this country, we also are told an FBI team is on its way to London, and the new director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, has said that he will direct some U.S. intelligence resources to trying to help the British find out who did this, what can we learn about those responsible for these strikes.
M. O'BRIEN: And just as a practical matter, John, as we wait for this news conference, which should be starting very shortly, what sort of assistance will they be providing? I mean, certainly, MI-5, Scotland Yard. They have plenty of capability there.
KING: They have capability within their own country. The United States is believed to have much better capability more globally and around the world. And we also have the National Security Agency, and other agencies, which collect a staggering amount of electronic information -- cell phone intercepts, normal phone intercepts, computer e-mail intercepts back and forth.
And in a case like, you may have looked at some of this material last week and thought, nothing there, well, now you have to go back through it, again and again and again, maybe ask a second and a third set of guys to look at it. You take all the information you get from London, perhaps what type of explosives were used, perhaps the timing involved, perhaps as director McClaughin was just saying...
M. O'BRIEN: John King, I'm sorry to interrupt you. Michael Chertoff, the secretary of Homeland Security is addressing reporters.
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, U.S. SECY. OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
This morning we are closely monitoring the bombings that occurred in London. I have spoken to the president and my counterpart, the home secretary, in the United Kingdom. The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the victims of this tragedy and with our friends in Britain. In light of today's attacks in London, the United States government is raising the threat level from code yellow, or elevated, to code orange, high, targeted only to the mass transit portion of the transportation sector. I want to emphasize that: targeted only to the mass transit portion of the transportation sector.
This includes regional and inter-city passenger rail, subways and metropolitan bus systems.
We are also asking for increased vigilance throughout the transportation sector.
Currently the United States has no specific credible information suggesting an imminent attack here in the United States. However, we know the tactics and methods of terrorists, as demonstrated by the horrific rail bombings last year in Madrid.
The intent of Al Qaida and its affiliated organizations to attack in Europe and in the United States has been well documented and continues to be reflected in intelligence reporting.
We've already taken additional measures to secure transit systems since 9/11 and since the railway bombing in Madrid. At the direction of the president, we are working with the Department of Transportation, our other federal partners, state and local officials, and transportation authorities to take all necessary precautions and to increase the security of our transportation systems and the citizens who ride them.
CHERTOFF: We've asked state and local leaders and transportation officials to increase their protective measures, including additional law enforcement police, bomb-detecting canine teams, increased video surveillance, spot testing in certain areas, added perimeter barriers, extra intrusion-detection equipment and increased numbers of inspection of trash receptacles and other storage areas.
We ask the public to remain alert and to report any suspicious activity, particularly in or around transportation systems, to local police authorities. But we are not suggesting that people avoid public transportation systems. Rather, we're asking that they use those systems but with an increased awareness of their surroundings.
We've been in continuous contact with federal, state and local authorities as well as with our allies in the United Kingdom and overseas.
We're concerned and we look to the United Kingdom authorities as they continue to investigate this incident. We're reviewing intelligence streams and information out of London very closely and will continue to provide regular updates to the public when information becomes available.
Again, our thoughts and prayers are with the British people and the grieving families.
America stands with you in this time of crisis to assist and support you in every way possible.
Terrorists may bomb and attack and attempt to use weapons of fear to shake the confidence and will of free nations and free people, but they will not succeed. We have a more powerful arsenal. It includes our resolution and our resiliency, an unyielding determination to do what we can and must to keep our citizens and our allies safe and to track down those who perpetrate incidents like this and to bring them to justice.
Now I thank you. And I'll take a few questions before I get back to work.
QUESTION: What indication do you have that these attacks were caused by Al Qaida? And what credibility do you give the Internet message that was posted earlier this morning?
CHERTOFF: We obviously carefully evaluate any message, whether it be on the Internet or whether it comes in any other form, to see whether it's credible. We're making those kinds of judgments as we speak.
CHERTOFF: The prime minister has already indicated his presumption this is a terrorist attack and I think, based on common sense, given what we've seen, that seems like a pretty sensible prediction.
QUESTION: Secretary, do you know of any information that any similar attack is planned for the U.S.? And if not, why raise the terror threat level?
CHERTOFF: We don't have any specific, credible evidence of an attack that's imminent in the United States.
Nevertheless, I think prudence suggests that when we look at what happened in London, when we consider the typical way in which Al Qaida has carried out its tactics, which includes simultaneous activity in various places, common sense again tells us that we ought to make some reasonable adjustment in the threat level with respect to those elements of the transportation system which parallel what was the focus of attack in London.
And I want to remind you at this point that, of course, we have a general elevated level of preparedness all across the country in terms of transportation and all other sectors, which we've had in place now for some years and which does give us an increased sense of security, even on a day-to-day basis. QUESTION: Is there any intelligence stream or chatter in the months before this that would indicate that something like this was afoot, or did the London bombings take us completely by surprise?
CHERTOFF: I'm not aware of any specific intelligence that suggested this was going to take place.
Again, obviously, for years now we've lived in an environment in which we've had general intelligence reporting about the intent of terrorists to carry out acts, both against us, the United States, and against our allies.
And it's been that mindfulness that has led us to, again, keep an elevated sense of preparedness as we go forward on a day-to-day basis.
But we're going to continue to review and see what intelligence is out there as we go forward in the future.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) calls for significance increases in funding to better secure transit. Senator Schumer proposes an extra $100 million be added to the budget.
If you think there's sufficient funds? Should more money be added to better secure transit by grant funds from DHS?
CHERTOFF: You know, I think we are looking comprehensively at the issue of security policy.
We've done a fairly extensive review over the last few months and we're going to be coming out with some policy proposals about what we need to do to enhance our preparedness and to make sure we're doing the best we can to optimize the protection we give our infrastructure.
CHERTOFF: I wouldn't make a policy decision driven by a single event. I think our priority here is to get to the bottom of this, make sure we understand what the dimensions of this set of acts are, who perpetrated them, determine whether there are any lessons in intelligence that we're going to gain from this, and then move forward.
QUESTION: With the millions of commuters across our country, is it even possible to make these transit systems safe?
CHERTOFF: I think our transit systems are safe. And in the time period since 9/11 -- and, frankly, in the time period since Madrid -- we've worked with the Department of Transportation, with our state and local partners all across the country, to raise the level of everyday protection. And that includes detection equipment, it includes police presence, it includes protocols.
So I actually think we have a very safe system. But the fact remains, we have had an incident in London. We feel that, at least in the short term, we should raise the level here because, obviously, we're concerned about the possibility of a copycat attack.
But, again, we operate from a baseline of preparedness that is much, much stronger than it was prior to 9/11; and, frankly, stronger than it was prior to Madrid.
So I think that's something that ought to reassure the American public, whether they travel on trains or whether they're in other forms of transportation.
Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Did you send any of your staff to alternate locations?
CHERTOFF: We're here. As you can see, I'm here. We're going to continue to monitor the situation.
Again, we always, as a matter of prudence, have in place alternative measures if we need to take steps because of some kind of interference with our ability to operate out of this facility.
But, again, this is not an occasion for undue anxiety. It's an occasion for a sense of sympathy and solidarity for our allies over in Britain, renewal of our determination to keep our country safe, and a measured and appropriate response in terms of dealing with what has happened overseas.
Thanks very much.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: The secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, addressing reporters, addressing all of us, confirming what John King reported a little while ago, that the threat level has been raised to orange, but not for the entire nation. For the specific mass transit sector.
Listening to this has been John King, along with Kelly Wallace, who have been tracking all afternoon for us what's been going on as far as a response here in the United States.
John, I thought it was interesting. He said, you know, we have a much better baseline of preparedness since 9/11. And also, since the Madrid bombings, which were March, a year ago, what have they done since Madrid that you are aware of that has really changed the preparedness?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, a number of things that we know of here in the Washington, D.C., area. And you see some of them carried out in other places.
One is to have a few more security personnel on stage. Another thing is to check the trash receptacles.
You heard Secretary Chertoff mention that. It may seem like a logical step, but they are looking for bombs that could be placed in places.
Now, that, of course, is one of the defining questions that we need to answer over the next several days, were these bombs in London brought on to the subway and left, or were they suicide bombers? It makes a world of difference in how you try to protect people, whether you're dealing with someone who's going to drop a bomb, leave a bomb behind, or someone who is actually carrying a bomb on their physical person while they are there.
And so what Mr. Chertoff trying to convince Americans today is that, as you travel on mass transit, if you take mass transit, Amtrak, the subway, buses in a major city over the next several days, you are going to see more police officers. You are going to see bomb-sniffing dogs.
You may have some inconvenience, and yet, he's also trying to offer a reassuring message, saying there's no specific intelligence that anything could be happening here. But there obviously, Miles, were a number of steps taken in this country, most of them at the airports after 9/11, and then after the Madrid bombing, when intelligence officials suggest that's a tactical shift by al Qaeda. If you cannot get to the planes, if the government buildings and installations have been much more fortified, if you will, then go after so-called softer targets, where you can get a high number of people.
And obviously a subway system, a rail system, a bus line at rush hour is an inviting target for the terrorists. So they have taken some steps. But that is the big debate, both from a personal freedom level, how much do you want to inconvenience people, and how much will people be inconvenienced, and it is enormously expensive to try to take more security at every subway stop, every bus station along the way.
But among those consulted since Madrid have been Israeli security officials, who, of course, have had to deal with the suicide bombing issue for far too long in their view -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Kelly -- and based on what John just said, that's sort of an explanation for it. But Mr. Chertoff was saying we don't change policy based on one event. But a lot of people have said that, with all the focus post-9/11 on aviation, the Transportation Security Administration hasn't done enough to look at the other sectors of mass transit, which clearly are susceptible targets.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a point, obviously, Miles, that many people have raised. Many lawmakers have raised after Madrid, raising calls for more legislation, more to be done to protect our rail systems, to protect our tunnels, protect our buses.
It's interesting, Miles. I wanted to pass along something, because, you know, Michael Chertoff was talking about some of the increased security steps that cities around the country are taking when it comes to mass transit, including more law enforcement. He also talked about spot testing.
Now, we're trying to confirm if, in fact, New York City police are doing spot testing around the city here. And we are expecting a news conference any minute right now from New York Governor George Pataki, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
But my colleague, Justin Dile (ph), was talking on the phone with this woman, Susan Stein (ph). She's a pediatrician, she's a friend of one of our senior producers, Andrea Emiel (ph). And she said that she was on a bus on the upper east side, the bus was stopped by a police officer.
The officer gets on the bus, starts looking around, looking under the seats, telling the passengers, "I'm sure you are aware of the attacks in London this morning," talking about the need to be extra vigilant. And then he did something else, apparently.
He described what a suicide bomber would look like. And he said that a suicide bomber would look like this, and describing that, and said, "If you see a suicide bomber at all, if you see wires, don't go near it. It could be very, very dangerous. If you see a package with wires, don't go near it."
And then Justin asked Dr. Stein (ph) what the mood was on the bus. She said some people weren't aware of the attacks in London. But she said everyone was listening very closely, taking this very, very seriously.
And then she said she saw a couple of other buses go by. So she was speculating that perhaps there was sort of random testing go on. But it does appear that we have sort of a first-hand account of a police officer on a bus describing to New York City passengers what to be on the look-out for, and describing what a suicide bomber could look like -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: What a sobering way to begin your day on the bus to work. Kelly Wallace, thank you very much. Appreciate that -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Wow, I have never seen or thought that it would come to that, here, certainly.
M. O'BRIEN: Yes. We hope people are looking for, you know, backpacks and things that are unattended. I think we're at that point, where people are attuned to that.
S. O'BRIEN: One would say, yes.
M. O'BRIEN: But, you know, you're in a crowded subway, a crowded bus. It would be easy to not see that, right?
S. O'BRIEN: One has to wonder, though, I mean, maybe this is the next level, because, of course, we've been talking about the vulnerability of soft targets. And for many people, I think, keeping your eyes open for someone with a backpack when you are talking about the New York City subway system or any mass transit system here in the U.S., it's really not very practical advice.
Let's bring in Bill Daly again. He's now with a national security firm, but he's a former FBI investigator.
You know, I think for many people we sort of crave practical information. You just heard that report from Kelly, saying that a police officer boarding the bus and telling people -- really, we haven't heard these reports before -- here's what a suicide bomber looks like.
What do you make of that?
BILL DALY, FMR. FBI INVESTIGATOR: Well, certainly, it's part of a program. New York City has been very aggressive in dealing with these types of issues. It's not the first time that I'm aware that police officers have gone on buses and looked around, as well as trains. We saw that after Madrid.
There's been a very, very visible campaign by the NYPD patrol areas. We have them at our major transportation hubs, along with National Guard, who are still there. So, this is the first time, though, I'm hearing about this description, which certainly is something that raises that sensitivity up.
Soledad, to be very frank with you, as time goes along, most people's attention seems to wane. And although there are posters and there are active campaign, when something doesn't happen -- and security is always like this, it's incident-driven.
When something happens, you have the opportunity to catch people's attention. And hopefully, this is what they are doing. And it could be part of that spot -- you know, spot testing, that spot announcement. It's also part of the randomness of a program that would hopefully everybody deter other events from occurring in a city like New York.
S. O'BRIEN: We heard the Homeland Security secretary talking about this baseline of preparedness that should assure the American public. Do you think that that baseline of preparedness assures people who are, you know, going to make their way -- certainly, the commute in is over, but the commute back out again?
DALY: Well, I think everyone's kind of pausing today and saying, well, what is that base? What do I see? What do I feel? What's it going to do for me?
And in a way, though, this baseline security is actually invoking individuals. People are out there to become part of the solution, to kind of deputize them without giving them official rank. To be ever vigilant, because we're not too sure whether that would have led to stopping these events over in London, but certainly we know that terrorist organizations, if we think of what was even looked at last year here, where buildings were surveilled -- because they do a lot of reconnaissance -- if you see someone doing something that seems suspicious, report it, because it could be part of a plan, it could be part of an event that's actually about to occur.
S. O'BRIEN: There are many questions obviously in the wake of these bombings, but clearly, one thing we know is that there was no intelligence. This was a big intelligence failure on the part -- as much -- as well and as much praise as people have been given to authorities in London, there was a failure here.
When you hear how sophisticated their system is, when you hear how they are the best among the best, what does this tell you? DALY: Well, certainly, Soledad, this certainly gives reason to be -- to pause and concern. I know the U.S. government is sending over representatives to kind of work with MI-5, with Scotland Yard, to found out what happened because...
S. O'BRIEN: And to do what?
DALY: Well, they're going to look to see how they can provide some assistance. We may have intelligence that may -- may connect with information that comes about that they uncovered during the investigation.
But it's interesting, your point, is that if this attack involved a number of people -- and there's some suggestion here by the fact of the timing that it involved several people to pull this off -- is that, why did it run so far below the radar screen, when the U.K., when Scotland Yard, MI-5 have been very successful in making some arrests in the past year, in actually recovering or taking into custody explosive material, disrupting some cells?
So the question is, where was it? Were they planning things outside the country and then moved in at the last minute?
So these are important things that we need to know. But we may also be able to help. We may be able to give them some kernel, some name that comes across our radar screen that connects with something that comes up during their investigation.
S. O'BRIEN: Dozens, if not hundreds, of questions that are only starting to be asked.
DALY: And will go on.
S. O'BRIEN: And will go on, yes. Thanks, Bill. We're going to ask you to stick around with us as we make our way through this afternoon now -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: A couple things for our viewers. Coming up very shortly, we expect to hear from New York Governor George Pataki, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and the police commissioner, Ray Kelly. They will be briefing reporters, and we will bring that to you live as soon as that happens.
Also, wanted to show you some graphics, some satellite imagery that will help us understand a little bit about what we are talking about.
As we take in with our Keyhole imagery into the city of London, the very heart of London, the place they call the city, there you see the key locations of this event. The stations, and, of course, this is the densely-packed center of the city. Clearly, that was the target with some degree of purpose.
And as we go through that list, you can see, we had three subterranean explosions and one at the surface. 8:51 a.m., near Moorgate, this Tavistock Place is where that double-decker bus exploded. Undetermined number of fatalities there.
Edgware station, the explosion there at 9:17 local time, actually blew a hole into a wall of another train and even damaged a third train. At least five dead at that particular location.
All of this synchronicity, of course, is what makes us turn to the usual suspects, so to speak. Certainly an al-Qaeda-style attack. But once again, no sort of claims of responsibility whatsoever that would lead us to draw any conclusions about that at this juncture.
We've heard from victims all day long. And truly, what happened beneath the streets, and in one case above the streets, was pure hell. But you can imagine what it was like beneath the surface, and particular to be in those tubes, as they call them, and to suffer an explosion on a train crowded with 900 people.
And consider the carnage around you, and the possibility of how to get out and get out safely without touching the third rail and becoming electrocuted.
Let's listen to some of the victims.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were trying to tell people to calm down, which they eventually did. And most people sat down and sat on the floor, sat on the seats. And then we could hear the screaming coming from the carriage just in front of us who took the full blast.
And there was people trapped, twisted. There was bits of the carriage missing, seats missing, and people covered in blood and no help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, you're standing here now. This must be quite surreal. I mean, looking back with some reflection, I mean, it must have been a very strange day, indeed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Strange is only one word. I just feel a very, very lucky man.
I was nearly -- would have been sort of feet away from where it went off. I was within 10 feet, but fortunately on the next carriage. So I just feel very, very lucky. I've seen some terribly injured people today.
M. O'BRIEN: To go through that ordeal and consider yourself lucky, that is -- to be able to survive and live to tell that story is quite something given all that has transpired.
We showed you just a little while ago this video which was shot by someone's camera phone. Just a little video clip, silent, which gives you a sense of what was going on underground.
This is obviously after the explosion. You can see windows blown out in the carriage, as they call them there. Emergency lighting, and what appears to be a relatively orderly exit from that carriage. And off on to safety.
The response described by everybody there was by script, and there truly was a script, a script that was implemented from the get- go. And all of the emergency services people there say the script that they had been working on and had been rehearsing did, in fact, work.
And we can't say for certain, but clearly, that might have helped many people to get to safety, to consider themselves lucky -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: And still, of course, you have questions about a lack of intelligence. And I'm sure there will be much analysis of where exactly the ball was dropped in this falling or flying under the radar.
M. O'BRIEN: Well, yes. I mean, it's interesting, too, when they look back on it. And they'll be going through all of the stuff that they gather all the time.
And I wonder -- you know, hindsight is 20/20, of course -- will there be something in there that they missed? And will they be able to learn something about what's going on and what this chatter is all about?
And the other thing you have to consider, too, is this coordinated attack like this, there's a lot of planning that goes involved. There's a lot of cellphone calls. There's a lot of things. How do they do that without becoming -- creating some suspicion somewhere?
S. O'BRIEN: Or, is it scarier to imagine that there was nothing?
M. O'BRIEN: Well, yes.
S. O'BRIEN: There was no indication whatsoever. It was -- instead of being something missed, there was nothing that appeared on the radar to catch.
M. O'BRIEN: Yes.
S. O'BRIEN: All of those, in fact, are sort of scary to contemplate, I think.
We should mention that we are awaiting any moment a press conference. Governor George Pataki, the New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and also Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, we are expecting them to make an address in just a little bit. Obviously we're going to take that live for you as soon as we get access to that.
Let's bring in Kelly McCann. He's a security expert.
Kelly, good morning. It's nice to see you.
I want to talk to you about soft targets, because it's obviously an approach by terrorists. One, to strike more terror into the hearts of people. And two, it just seems, as far as ease, a soft target is the way to go, to a large degree.
Is there ever a time where we are going to be able to protect the soft targets? No matter how much you raise the alert level, or how many police officers walk around toting guns, can you really protect people who are in these soft targets?
KELLY MCCANN, SECURITY ANALYST: I don't think that there can be a terror-free state. That's the problem.
I mean, these attacks, if you think about it in spectrum, are so small compared to like a 9/11-style attack, that it's almost an impossibility to have the kind of direct intelligence, actionable intelligence, that would let you prevent something like this from happening. I mean, the only way you could do it is if you were in their very cloistered community and had informants that were working.
Now, the British have a very, very sophisticated system of intelligence. Remember, that they have been dealing with terrorism, you know, way back with the IRA, et cetera. So they have cameras, for example. They have cameras on a lot of street corners, which we don't have in the United States.
They had more opportunity to see surveillance being conducted on these soft targets. They had more opportunities to see partials left behind near these soft targets than probably many other places in the world.
So, again, it is a terrifying event, which is precisely why these people do it, because it's maddening. It makes people angry. And I don't think that there will ever be an opportunity for society to be able to completely prevent these kinds of things -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: You know, everyone, and you're no exception, has talked about the sophistication of Britain, and London, specifically, the ability to protect against terror attacks, particularly because of their long history with conflicts with the IRA, et cetera, et cetera. And so when you hear about that sophistication and the preparation, and all of these things, in a way I think it makes it even scarier to think that they are well prepared, and yet, obviously, intelligence went under the radar here.
They are well prepared, and still, there was a fair gap in a response to understanding that they were under terror attack.
MCCANN: Well, remember that we are in a dynamic. There's countering terrorism, and then there's terrorism. And those two -- they are locked in a dynamic.
Every time you establish a countermeasure, it's looked at, observed, and then figured out by the other side. They, then, will create an attack that wasn't considered in countermeasures. Countermeasures will catch up, and on and on and on.
It's a very dynamic battlefield, which is the thing that I guess when you say you are winning the war on terror, you get ahead of that dynamic, you get ahead of the terrorist tactics techniques and procedures, and you basically drive them to a place where you are prepared.
In other words, you develop tactics that force them to a place that's much less advantageous and then are able to mitigate the effects of terrorism, which, right here, if you see this, just from an emergency management services perspective you have to worry about secondary explosions. So, right away, when they go off, you can't rush in headlong. You've got to worry about secondary explosions.
You've got to isolate the area. You've got to contain it, because you don't know whether there's any kind of toxin that's mixed in with these explosives. And then you've got to control the people in the evacuation.
They actually did that at five sights. That's phenomenal. It was a phenomenal response. And they actually mitigated what could have been a pretty bad incident.
S. O'BRIEN: And certainly lots of questions about who caused it and how specifically it is was pulled off. If it is as some have speculated al Qaeda, and I think among those speculating, it almost sounds as if Tony Blair is going in that direction as well when he talks about extremism on the part of the terrorists, if it is al Qaeda, what does this tell you, that, in fact, al Qaeda's getting stronger, not getting weaker as many have claimed? What do you read into that?
MCCANN: No, they are getting different. The bottom line is, is that they have looked at the ability for them to maintain a schoolhouse like they did in Afghanistan. We found that out and, of course, attacked it and blew it apart.
Now they are using the Internet to post important information about explosives and tactics, techniques and procedures. They're promulgating changes to tactics in the ether. And they also are becoming much more autonomous at the cell level, where before they might have been used to much more direct command and direct input.
Now cells do operate quite independently. John King and myself were just talking about this, where it's a difficult thing to say, where was the intelligence failure?
If you have a very small cell that is cloistered, that doesn't basically rise to the level of observation, and they just decide to coordinate an event like this with G8, if, in fact, it was al Qaeda, now that's a very huge intelligence challenge. And I think that most countries would agree that it's very, very difficult, very expensive.
And remember, the more draconian measures you employ, of course the safer you will be, but you will give up some personal rights. And obviously in the U.K., in the United States, our rights are dear. So the more intrusive the government becomes to learn about who's out there and operating, the more people will resist it. I mean, that's just the facts -- Soledad. S. O'BRIEN: And, in fact, as you mentioned, and it's probably worth underscoring, Kelly, if, in fact, it was al Qaeda, because at this time we have no confirmation really on who was suspected of pulling off these simultaneous terror attacks. Kelly McCann, thanks. We're going to ask you to stick around as well so we can chat with you throughout the afternoon -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: We've been talking a lot about how U.S. cities are responding, specifically mass transit systems. We expect to hear from the governor of New York State, George Pataki, the mayor of the city, Michael Bloomberg, and the police commissioner, Ray Kelly. That's happening very shortly. We'll bring that to you as soon as it does happen.
Kelly Wallace has been tracking far beyond New York as well, what other cities are doing right now as they try to -- as we talked about it before, walking that line between panicking people and being prudent.
WALLACE: That has been sort of the big challenge, Miles, for cities across the country. And we should say they all reacted very, very quickly. Obviously well aware of what was happening in London, evaluating their own security procedures, and making decisions.
Some cities deciding to increase security. Others saying their security systems are OK right now.
As you were mentioning, we're waiting for this news conference to get some more information about what additional security measures New York City and New York State officials will be taking here to protect the thousands and hundreds of thousands of people, millions, really, who could use mass transit here in the New York area.
Some things that we do know about, Miles, we do know that there was an increased police presence on the cities and on the buses. We talked about how we had this sort of first-person account from a woman named Susan Stein (ph) telling us what she believes was sort of a random spot check of a bus on the upper east side here in New York City.
And she talked about how this officer was looking under seats. And also, how this officer was describing what a suicide bomber would look like, and alerting people on the bus to be aware of that, and to be extra vigilant.
We also know that the New Jersey transit, which deals with hundreds of people, thousands coming in and out of Manhattan, we understand that they have doubled their police patrols on New Jersey transit, and also increased the K9 teams that are on the trains.
Looking across the board nationwide, we talk about Amtrak, which runs through nearly every state in the country. Amtrak announcing earlier on this day it was increasing its security threat level.
Again, Amtrak, like other places, saying that there's no credible threat against Amtrak. This is a precaution. More officers, more K9 teams, and across the board saying employees and passengers should be extra vigilant and on alert for any suspicious activity, suspicious packages.
Looking across the country, Chicago, we know an increased presence on the mass transit system, the downtown area. Also in Los Angeles. A special command center monitoring the increased security presence.
So cities across the board, obviously, looking at what happened. Obviously, also, Miles, we heard from the secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, announcing that the U.S. going to that orange, higher level, higher threat level just for mass transit. So with that comes additional steps that cities across the country will be taking when it comes to their mass transit systems.
M. O'BRIEN: Well, with that focus on mass transit, understandable in the wake of what we've seen this morning. But with that focus, there are a lot of other soft targets out there. And do you get the sense that cities are focusing on, say, shopping malls, for example, that kind of thing, or does it just require too much personnel than they can afford to put on it?
WALLACE: Well, it does appear that over time things have been changing. Obviously we have looked at as a nation, looked at our airports after September 11. Then you had the Madrid bombings, and there was increased attention on, you know, the nation's mass transit system, rail systems.
More and more people, though, say not enough is being done. More needs to be done. And we always seem to have a dialogue after something like this about what additional steps could be taken. And then, what other targets terrorists could go after.
And you hear this word, soft targets, shopping malls and movie theaters. I mean, we have heard, Miles, and you know this as well, over the past couple of years periodically we have heard from law enforcement, our CNN colleagues in Washington letting us know about sort of increased concern about certain areas, shopping malls and movie theaters, certain parts of the country. So, more and more, we are hearing about this, nationwide, how people feel.
It's a tough call -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: It is. Kelly Wallace in our New York newsroom. Thank you -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: We are awaiting a press conference by New York Governor Pataki, Michael Bloomberg, New York City's mayor, and also the police commissioner, Ray Kelly. And we're going to bring that to you live as soon as it happens.
Let's update everybody in case anyone is joining us just now.
A timeline was given out. And you can see here a map of the London underground system showing really the stations that were most affected. 8:51: at Margate East, a hundred yards into the tunnel, a confirmed explosion there. Seven people died in that explosion.
8:56: just minutes later, Kings's Cross, 21 people confirmed dead there. A huge area and hub for people who are making their way into and out of the city.
9:17: an explosion on a train between Pattington (ph) and Edgware Road. Also, that explosion burst into and through an adjacent train. And in all, three trains were involved. Five fatalities there.
And 9:47: explosion on a bus. So far, we have a total number of fatalities confirmed at 33, but that is not counting the explosion on the bus. We are still awaiting word. We have gotten word that in fact there are fatalities, just no actual number to report yet.
We have Ken Knight, who is the London fire brigade commissioner with us from our London bureau this morning.
It's nice to see you, sir. Our condolences. I know your team has been working very hard this morning to deal with the chaos and everything that happened.
KEN KNIGHT, LONDON FIRE COMMISSIONER: Thank you.
S. O'BRIEN: You were talking at this press conference held not very long ago. And one of the first things you said was that you had trained for and been equipped for this moment, and that your team really acted magnificently, I think is the word that you used.
Give me a sense of the training that went into this. Were you essentially expecting that one day there would be an underground terror attack in London?
KNIGHT: Yes, we've taken the view that it was when, rather than if, and had a high level of training in place, including a number of London firefighters trained in Texas A&M for terrorist -- anti- terrorist activities, (INAUDIBLE) building collapse. We had taken new equipment and prepared ourselves sadly for this day. And this day was the reality of that training.
And firefighters throughout London came through it well. We actually deployed some 200 firefighters, and our emergency procedures were put into operation at an early stage. And the public as well reacted magnificently in a cool and calm way, helping each other evacuating from London underground.
And our procedures appeared to work well. And that's not to say we won't have lessons to learn, because we should do and must do. But it's been a very sad day for us here to have to put into practice, but I'm proud, today, to be leading London's firefighters.
S. O'BRIEN: Yes, no question, it is a sad day to have to put into practice something that you trained for but hoped that you would never really see. Are firefighters still on the scene? When you had that press conference a couple of hours ago now, I know that they were. Are they still there? What are they doing?
KNIGHT: Yes, they are still on the scene. The scene will continue to remain a scene of difficulty. And in some cases, recovery.
So we have a limited number of firefighters on the scene. At the early stages we treated it, of course, as a potential chemical and biological attack, and that's what we deployed in case that was the case. And we were able to scale that down to what is, nevertheless, a tragedy, but a terrorist bomb on these -- on the underground and on the bus.
And so that's why you saw firefighters in chemical protection suits in the early stage. And that's part of the practice, to ensure that the firefighters and rescuers are part of the solution and don't become part of the problem by being overcome with the unknown in the underground in that way.
S. O'BRIEN: You had mentioned that some of your firefighters really witnessed some pretty harrowing scenes, and we can imagine, because we've heard from the eyewitnesses, frankly and bluntly, about body parts and about horrible, horrible things that they witnessed and experienced.
S. O'BRIEN: You know, after 9/11, the rescuers themselves, many of them, needed help because of what they had seen. Do you have systems in place for that? Do you imagine that that, in fact, will happen?
KNIGHT: Oh, yes, and we have already put those in place, support mechanisms for firefighters. Firefighters and rescuers are very able, they are very trained, and they're very brave. But they're still ordinary people.
And though they're trained for this, it's very difficult seeing the reality than in training. And so we've put those support presses in place, and maintaining that high level of commitment to London that we always have. And I'm grateful for colleagues around the world that have assisted us in that, because we do share these experiences and this training, and have since 9/11 particularly.
And we'll continue to do so as we join as a professional group around the world to learn from these experiences.
S. O'BRIEN: All right. Well, Ken Knight, the London fire brigade commissioner, joining us this morning. We certainly appreciate your time. And good luck, as I know the investigation's going to continue.
KNIGHT: Thank you. S. O'BRIEN: Actually, before I let you go, we do want to ask a question. You talked a little bit about potentially lessons learned. What kinds of things -- sir, I'm going to apologize to you, because I'm going to interrupt that question to get right to our governor, New York Governor George Pataki, who is at the podium and is going to make remarks.
He's joined my New York City's mayor, Michael Bloomberg. You can see him right there. And New York's police commissioner to the far left of the screen, behind the mayor, Ray Kelly, also. We're expecting them to make remarks. So as we let Ken Knight, the London fire brigade commissioner, go, we'll take this press conference.
GOV. GEORGE PATAKI (R), NEW YORK: Good afternoon. And let me thank all of you for being with us here this afternoon.
Today's attacks in London are a painful reminder that the war on terror is not over, and that it is a war that we must win -- that the civilized nations of the world must win.
We know that an attack on innocent civilians, the vicious, cowardly attack that occurred in London today, is an attack on every one of us, every one of us who believes in freedom, and who believes about our ability to choose our own destiny and not be told by others how to live our lives.
The thoughts and prayers of all New Yorkers are with the families and the victims in London and, of course, with all the people of Great Britain.
In New York City, as you know, we have always, since September 11th, been at a heightened level of alert, at level orange. And shortly before 6 o'clock this morning, we began taking extraordinary steps to raise the level of security even above that level.
We have extra units from the MTA police on all the planes. You'll see the K-9 units out on the subways and the trains coming into New York. The Port Authority Police have upgraded their security efforts on the bridges and tunnels and Port Authority resources. State police are now in the city actively working to help supplement security efforts, and also will be riding -- have been riding the commuter trains in and out of New York City.
I signed an executive order early this morning authorizing the state police from New Jersey and Connecticut to have full police powers on the transit authorities coming from New Jersey and Connecticut as they come into the city and the state, so that they can supplement and provide additional security support.
I am extremely confident that the law enforcement officials in this city and in this region -- including the New York Police Department, which is the finest police department anywhere in the world -- are doing everything they can to make sure that the people who use our mass transit system, or just come to visit this great city, are as safe as they can possibly be.
We are calling on people, certainly, to go about their business and live their normal lives. I'm pleased to report that usage of the subways and commuter trains today was at normal levels for today.
PATAKI: People are not staying home. They are using the subways. They are using the trains, and that's as it should be.
But people should be more alert, more vigilant, more aware of their surroundings.
And in particular, 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 trains or the subways, or walk the streets of this city, you're going to see a lot more security. But you are not seeing everything that's being done, because some of it will not be visible, and that's as it should be.
We are also implementing additional state support. We have hundreds of state National Guard troopers who are supplementing those who are normally assigned to help with the transit facilities here in New York City -- to supplement them in the city and at stations throughout the commuter range.
I spoke with Secretary Chertoff shortly after 6 o'clock this morning. And as you know, he has now indicated that all mass transit across the country should go to level orange.
We are coordinating from Albany efforts with the other mass transit authorities in the state, in Buffalo, in Rochester, in Syracuse, in Schenectady, in Albany and across this state. And we'll make available to them as well state police and National Guard resources as they deem appropriate to make sure that the riders on those systems are as safe as can possibly be.
Let me just, again, extend my thanks to Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly and his team.
As I said, it was before 6 o'clock this morning, before there was any communications with Washington, but as soon as the events in London became painfully obvious, that steps were taken to ratchet up security here in New York.
And the cooperation, the coordination between the state, the city, the neighboring states and all the different authorities and entities has just been seamless.
I also want to thank our homeland security team: Jim McMahon (ph), the director of homeland security; Wayne Bennett (ph), our superintendent of state police; and Jim Halstrom (ph), my special adviser for security efforts and anti-counterterrorism efforts.
PATAKI: So to everyone involved, this is the greatest city in the world. We know what it's like to be attacked but we know what it's like to live in freedom and in confidence, and that's what we have got to do.
Yes, let's say a prayer for the people of London. Yes, let's understand that the war on terror is not over. But it's a war we are going to win. And we are going to win it by living as free and confident New Yorkers and Americans.
So take the subway, ride the train, go to work, play in the parks. 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.
Thank you, and God bless you all.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: Governor, thank you.
Early this morning, as you know, the terrorists bombed the London subway and bus system. It was a despicable, cowardly act.
And as the governor said, all New Yorkers' and all Americans' hearts and prayers go out to the families and the victims across the ocean.
Britain has been a staunch ally of America, and the British people have stood with the American people when we've needed them: back on 9/11, before that, and after that.
BLOOMBERG: And we will do everything we can to assist them in their hour of need.
As the governor said this morning, everybody worked together. I think what you're seeing is the kind of cooperation and coordination that everybody needs if we are going to keep this city, this state and this country safe.
You see it at the level of the state and city. You see it at the level of all the different police departments involved. You see it at the level of the police and the other agencies that have to be ready and are part of our surveillance, our preparation and our deterrence.
This morning, as soon as the attack was learned about, the NYPD responded by implementing additional counterterrorism measures to protect New York's transit system and to secure our city.
The NYPD is holding over the first platoon -- that's the midnight to 8 a.m. shift -- indefinitely, to provide thousands of extra police officers for mass transit and other sensitive locations, including the British consulate.
Our planned counterterrorism surges are being directed into subways. OCCB warrants and headquarters personnel have been ordered into uniform and are being deployed to secure our mass transit system.
That gives us more uniformed officers and more of a visible presence. We've increased police visibility on bus and subway lines and stepped up inspections of suspicious baggage and packages. NYPD, as you know, has also increased its bridge and tunnel coverage. All subway tunnels that cross the river are being monitored 24 hours a day by the NYPD.
C.T. inspectors are providing borough commanders with priority mass transit and other sensitive locations to cover.
The NYPD is working with the MTA on any other further developments.
We've also stepped up our coverage of New York's waterways. NYPD helicopters are patrolling the harbor. Sea marshals are riding our boats, accompanied by bomb-sniffing canines.
All Staten Island ferries are being escorted by NYPD and Coast Guard patrol boats. We've increased our police presence in the St. George and Whitehall Ferry terminals.
BLOOMBERG: In both terminals, we have a significant number of security cameras monitoring all activity. Department of Transportation employees in our terminals and on our ferry boats are also looking out for any suspicious activity.
We have increased the number of DEP police who are guarding our city's water supply. We've also increased our already robust testing system which examines if any contaminants are in the water.
The NYPD will be sending four additional detectives from our Counterterrorism and Intelligence Divisions to London.
On behalf of all New Yorkers, let me, again, express our deepest sympathies to the British people. We know all too well what London is experiencing and we will provide any help that we can in their recovery and in bringing those responsible to justice.
This attack against the people of London hits close to home because of the special bonds our cities and countries share. I know that New Yorkers are concerned that this type of attack could be replicated here in our city. But let me assure you, we are doing everything in our power to prevent that from happening.
We have the best police department in the world and it is dedicated to protecting the people of this city.
BLOOMBERG: So to all my fellow New Yorkers, I urge you, as did the governor, to go about your lives. We must not allow these cowardly terrorists to ruin our ways of life.
RAY KELLY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSION: I just want to give you, again, a summary of what we've done so far.
As the mayor said, as soon as we learned of the attacks in London this morning, we held -- our first platoon normally works midnight to 8 a.m.; they were held over to provide additional police officers. They added coverage specifically to the transit system and other sensitive locations, including United Kingdom offices here in New York City.
The increased police protection of buses, subways, bridges and tunnels were put in place in time for this morning's rush hour and will continue indefinitely.
There will be uniformed police officers on every subway in the city during the rush hours this afternoon, this evening and tomorrow morning.
We have also increased police presence on the commuter ferries. We've increased our K-9 patrols in the transit system.
The police department has also activated its emergency operations center at police headquarters to accommodate face-to-face coordination with the MTA, with the Port Authority, other city agencies, the Department of Transportation, as I say, other relevant agencies.
The subway coverage includes train order maintenance sweeps, or TOMS as we call them, where police officers board each car of a subway train to look for suspicious activity of any kind.
We have diverted all truck traffic from the Williamsburg Bridge to the Manhattan Bridge in order to facilitate concentrated inspection of large vehicles on that one span.
We have an increased police presence at all other crossings into the city -- into Manhattan.
Police officers assigned to our Organized Crime Control Bureau, warrant squad and Internal Affairs Bureau and police headquarters, as the mayor said, have been ordered into uniform and deployed to mass transit locations.
The police department's bomb squad has been assigned to extended 12-hour tours of duty. All subway water tunnels are receiving fixed 24-hour coverage. Police check points have been established in the city's financial district and at other strategic locations.
Our police harbor launches and helicopters have also been deployed as part of an intensified counterterrorism overlay, as have our heavily armed Hercules teams.
A team of detectives from the Counterterrorism Bureau and the Intelligence Division, as the mayor said, was dispatched to London this morning to supplement the NYPD liaison already stationed there. Our liaison there and in other cities around the world have been supplying us with a steady flow of information to help the department shape our response in the city.
NYPD's counterterrorism inspectors met early this morning with our borough commanders to identify priority mass transit and other vital locations for increased coverage in all five boroughs.
As part of our regular counterterrorism coverage, we deploy large numbers of officers every day to various locations designated by our Intelligence Division. Today, however, all of our critical response surges throughout the city have been focused on the transit system.
We have also deployed our CBRA (ph) teams, who are trained to deal with chemical, biological and radioactive material.
The police department is working closely with the MTA and other agencies to protect transportation hubs, bridges and tunnels, and mass transit in general.
For example, the New York City Police Department has supplemented police coverage of the PATH stations in Manhattan. We've also sent additional officers to patrol Penn Station, Jamaica Station, here at Grand Central Station to work with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority police.
Throughout the day, the police department has used its extensive e-mail system with private security within the city, including corporations, hospitals and universities, to keep them apprised of all relevant information.
Our Intelligence Division has also activated its Nexus (ph) program with industry and assigned our foreign-speaking detectives to scrutinize Al Qaida-linked chat rooms and other terrorist-related sites to search for any threat information concerning New York.
KELLY: However, as the mayor said, there is no information to indicate that New York City is being targeted. The actions we are taking today are being done as a precaution.
And as we did after the subway bombings in Moscow and Madrid, the police department is applying all relevant information gleaned from the London attacks to better protect New York City.
We ask that members of the public remain vigilant and if you see anything that raises your suspensions, please call 311 and ask to be connected to our counterterrorism hotline.
Of course, if there is anything of an immediate emergency, always call 911.
BLOOMBERG: Ladies and gentlemen...
M. O'BRIEN: All right. We are going to go to the current -- from the current occupant of Gracie Mansion to the former occupant, former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who just so happens to be in London. Mayor, why are you there, and what have you seen today, and how does it parallel to 9/11?
RUDOLPH GIULIANI, FMR. MAYOR NEW YORK CITY: I was here to give an address to the local government association in Harrogate, which I did yesterday, and then to have some business meetings today. And it just so happened that I was having breakfast right near Liverpool Station, about a block away from where the first -- maybe a block, two blocks away from where the first attack apparently took place. So we heard about ...
M. O'BRIEN: So what did you see unfold? So what did you see transpire?
GIULIANI: Well, we were inside a building, so we didn't see anything. We heard the sirens, and then were informed that there was either an accident or a possible device, meaning a bomb. And at first, they weren't sure. And then when the second attack took place, that's when they were sure, you know, of what happened.
And then we went out and drove to -- around London to go to the location we were going to, and really observe the people. And they really acted superbly. I mean, the people of London acted in a very brave, very resolute, very determined way.
The emergency services -- I could see some of them responding -- were right on top of it, and looked like they had been very, very well trained. And they looked like they had been prepared for this. Not prepared necessarily, you know, for it happening today, but prepared for the strong possibility that there would be these kinds of bombings.
M. O'BRIEN: Sadly, this is a script they had rehearsed many times, and fortunately, as well. What's it like being an observer of an event like this, having...
GIULIANI: It was very, very eerie. I guess the strangest feeling was the feeling of kind of living through it again, more than being an observer. Because we were so close to where the first one happened. And a great empathy for the victims, the victims' families. You know, they're the ones that are going to live with this forever. And, it seems a shame that we're going to have now another whole group of people who have to live with these terrible scars that these terrorists inflict on them.
So, there was a great feeling of empathy and sadness for the people of London, but once again, a great feeling of inspiration from the way they dealt with it. I mean, they, essentially, thwarted what the terrorists, I believe, were trying to achieve, which was to create chaos. Instead, they dealt with it. I imagine like their parents, grandparents and great grandparents dealt with the Battle of Britain. I mean, they did what they had to do, they recovered as many people as they could. They cared for people. They're still in the process of doing that. And they moved on and let the terrorists know that terrorists ultimately don't prevail over free people.
M. O'BRIEN: It just seems so ironic that you can walk away from witnessing an event like this, you know, with a sense of optimism. But that's what you're telling us. You're inspired by them.
GIULIANI: Well, I don't know -- very much inspired by the people of London. But you have to remember, they inspired me before. On September 11, 2001, when I was trying to remember, you know, who had been through this before, and who could we look to as a model, the first thing I thought of were the people of London in the Battle of Britain and Winston Churchill. And that was kind of the model that we used for New Yorkers getting through.
And to watch the people of London deal with this today was very, very awesome. I mean, to see how they reacted. Terrible, terrible shock. Horrible thing. We don't know yet how many human lives have been lost. I think it's, you know, the injuries are going to be even greater than that. And then, families have to live with this. But the reality is that we have to stand up to these terrorists. We cannot let them affect our way of life. And, both the emergency services here in London and the people of London gave a very strong example of that today.
M. O'BRIEN: It does expose our vulnerabilities, not just London, but right here as well.
GIULIANI: Oh, there's no question. You know, this is something we all know, we all knew. Maybe as you move away from September 11th more, as, you know, time goes by, some people forget. And this is, unfortunately, a tragic reminder that you can't forget. That we are living with this in the modern world. It requires our being very vigilant, it requires our keeping the terrorists on the defensive rather than having them put us on the defensive.
And it requires all of these countries -- United States, England, all the countries of Europe, countries in Asia. South America -- cooperating in a very determined way to end terrorism. They should not be allowed to determine our agenda. We have to prevail over them. And I can't think of, you know, two better examples of people who have been resolute trying to accomplish that than the prime minister of England and the president of the United States, who just happened to be together today when they were informed of this.
M. O'BRIEN: Tell me about the vulnerabilities of mass transit. You had to have some sleepless nights over that issue, particularly post-9/11. Keeping mass transit safe...
GIULIANI: Well, you know...
M. O'BRIEN: By its very nature, it's almost impossible to keep it safe.
GIULIANI: Oh, of course. Absolutely correct. And those nightmares went back to well before September 11. The sarin gas attacks in Japan, I think that was in 1995. I was the mayor at the time maybe a year at that point. We had a bomb scare on the subway at one point early on when I was the mayor. We had subway derailments and accidents. So you know how perilous things are, you know, for subway transportation. And then, when terrorists or would-be terrorists were arrested in the 1990s, and that goes through to today, unfortunately, they were very often found with plans for subways, bridges, and tunnels.
So, this is something that you do everything you can to guard against. You patrol the subways. You police the subways. You try to police the areas where the subway cars are kept and stored and cleaned. But subway mileage in New York, or underground mileage, as they call it here in London, is so huge. And people have to have access to it in order to move. It's hard to have 100 percent perfection in the way it's being policed. In fact, it's impossible to do it. You keep striving for it.
I remember an attack on the subways that was foiled by the police and the FBI in the late 1990s. They happened to observe something, and they followed it up, and they arrested these people, and they had all the implements of bombs and plans for blowing up the subway. So, sure, it's something you live with constantly. You do everything you can think of to try to prevent it. And you know, having done all that, something like this can happen. And then you have to have a good emergency response, as they had here in London, to try to minimize the damage as much as possible.
M. O'BRIEN: Be vigilant, but don't be afraid. Former mayor, Rudy Giuliani.
GIULIANI: Absolutely. Even more vigilant. This incident should remind us again that we're at war with these terrorists and that we are at risk. But we can't let them affect us. We've got to move ahead and show them that they can't affect us, they can't cower us. We're stronger than they are.
M. O'BRIEN: Thanks for your time, Mr. Mayor. Safe journeys.
GIULIANI: Thank you.
M. O'BRIEN: Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: The British prime minister Tony Blair had a statement just a few minutes ago from 10 Downing Street. Let's listen to what he said just a little while back.
TONY BLAIR, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: There will be announcements made in respect of the various services. In particular, we hope the underground insofar as is possible and rail and bus services are up and running as swiftly as possible.
I would like a again to express my profound condolences to the families of the victims and to those who are casualties of this terrorist act.
I would also like to thank the emergency services that have been magnificent today in every respect.
There will, of course, now be the most intense police and security service action to make sure that we bring those responsible to justice.
I would also pay tribute to the stoicism and resilience of the people of London who have responded in a way typical of them.
In addition, I welcome the statement that's been put out by the Muslim Council of Great Britain. We know that these people act in the name of Islam. But we also know that the vast and overwhelming majority of Muslims here and abroad are decent and law-abiding people who abhor this act of terrorism every bit as much as we do.
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.
I think we all know what they are trying to do. They are trying to use the slaughter of innocent people to cower us, to frighten us out of doing the things that we want to do, trying to stop us from going about our business as normal, as we're entitled to do.
And they should not and they must not succeed.
When they try to intimidate us, we will not be intimidated. When they seek to change our country or our way of life by these methods, we will not be changed. When they try to divide our people or weaken our resolve, we will not be divided and our resolve will hold firm.
We will show, by our spirit and dignity and by a quiet but true strength that there is in the British people, that our values will long outlast theirs.
The purpose of terrorism is just that; it is to terrorize people.
And we will not be terrorized.
I would like once again to express my sympathy and my sorrow for those families who will be grieving so unexpectedly and tragically tonight.
This is a very sad day for the British people, but we will hold true to the British way of life.
S. O'BRIEN: The British Prime Minister Tony Blair saying this is a very sad day for the British people, but also saying we will not be terrorized, that coming in the wake of these virtually simultaneous, obviously coordinated attacks that took place both underground and on a double-decker bus in London at the height of rush hour.
It is rush hour once again. Let's get right to Richard Quest. He's at the Edgware Station, 5:50 the afternoon. Richard, give me a sense of what it's like there where you are now.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hello.
I'm actually at the Aldgate Station where the first of the explosions took place, Soledad. And what we've just heard is the police have just opened just this very small area. The station involved, Aldgate, is just about a couple of hundred yards, roughly where you see that van over my shoulder, if I just get out of the way.
And we've had rumors of other suspect packages throughout the course of the last few hours, but nothing has been found. And now the police say that this can actually be opened up. But if I should take you the other way around -- bear with me, Soledad.
If we come this way, you can see the effect of what has happened here in London. This is, of course, the rush hour now getting underway. Firstly, there aren't as many people as one would expect, because the sheer number of people have gone home early. But also, there is no public transport at the moment in the city.
It has just -- there are no buses, at least in the center of the city. There are no tubes, and we don't believe the city is going to return to anything like normality for many hours to come.
But at the moment, at least, from where I am standing, we believe at least seven people died in the explosions which are now being called the Liverpool Street explosions just behind me, Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Well, Richard, you know, we've heard descriptions that really are to a large degree, I think it's fair to say, kind of night and day. We heard the former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, talking about the stoicism and the reaction from Londoners as these terrible events unfolded.
We've also heard eyewitness accounts of people describing the panic and the chaos and the screaming as the horrible details, frankly, come forward about the body parts that they had to step over in order to save their own lives and get out of the carriages.
What was your take being at this -- the first station that was hit, and also in the reporting that you have done throughout the day today? What's the tone?
QUEST: The key point to -- I was listening very carefully to what Mayor Giuliani was saying. And his point is extremely well-taken here in London. The authorities, the Met Police, the London Fire Brigade, all the various authorities have practiced this in a similar way that U.S. authorities regularly do major scale operations exactly for this sort of operation.
So, you know, Soledad, although they may not know where it will happen, or the exact minutiae of how it will happen, they know that if and when it does happen, this is what they've got to do. Now, the reason this is so significant this morning -- let me give you an example. I was actually on a train this morning from Edinburgh to London, an overnight train. I was coming down from the G8 summit back to the British capital. I got into London at 7:00 this morning. I took the tube home. I then had to go to the office. I took the tube to the office at half past 7:00, quarter to 8:00 this morning.
Everybody who takes the tube, the three million people every day who do that in this city, in -- as they will in New York, as they will in other cities with mass transit will be thinking there but for the grace. It could have been me had it just been delayed an hour or so, or missed one train, got on the other.
And I'm sure the mayor would say that's what the terrorists are after. What we are now seeing, here in London, is things are just starting to -- very -- a scintilla, just a tiny bit, things are starting to move back to normal. But the psyche of the city, that's going to take much longer, Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Yes, no question about that. And I think certainly here in New York, we can speak from experience in the wake of 9/11. Richard Quest reporting for us. Richard, thanks. We'll check in with you at the afternoon progresses. Miles?
M. O'BRIEN: We were talking earlier about how the phone system in London -- I assume it's bounced back a little bit by now. Richard will be able to tell us. I think he was using his cellphone there. I saw him a moment ago. So I think it is working now. Is it, Richard?
QUEST: Two things to note on the cellphone question. First of all, the authorities, as I believe they are in major cities, the authorities have the power to switch the cellphone system off. Because they don't know -- first of all, they want to keep capacity to themselves, and secondly, they don't want terrorists using it to either set off other bombs or to be in communication. So a lot of the problems come from the authorities, the police having the ability to disable cellphone communication. But Miles, Blackberries went down, cellphones went down, even land lines were having difficulty by the sheer weight of calls.
M. O'BRIEN: All right. Thank you very much, Richard Quest. And the reason I pointed that out -- I'm going to give a number in just a little while, if people have friends and relatives over there. There's a state department hotline set up, which will allow you to find out about people you're interested in over there.
Meanwhile, let's get back to Scotland. Richard Quest was up there. Suzanne Malveaux is still there, covering the G-8 Summit. And she is joining us now to give us a sense -- in a sense, there was a brief moment there where they stopped, made some statements, rather somber statements. It was rather dramatic, as all the leaders came out at one point, Tony Blair speaking, flanking Tony Blair. The president has spoken. But the meetings went on, didn't they?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: They did, Miles. It's a very strange situation here, because it seems like this morning when President Bush was joking about spilling on his bicycle yesterday, that seems like that was about a week ago. It really was quite incredible what has happened since. I mean, the tone and the mood here desperately changing. Right after that, the explosions happened.
I spoke with a White House official, who said, look, everything -- we're going to try to keep it the same. Business as usual here. We don't want to give that kind of satisfaction to the terrorists. But Miles, it is fair to say that everything here has changed. People were glued to their television sets, glued to the monitors, of course, watching this. They really were not paying any attention to these meetings that were taking place. And officials came out and said, we will continue these meetings, but cancel the photo ops. It would not be appropriate to see the group of G-8 taking kind of a class photo, as they normally do. Perhaps that is something that will happen the next day.
And then what we've seen is, despite the fact these meetings have continued, really,what's taking place here are these leaders who are coming out, either releasing paper statements or getting before the cameras, going before the cameras,expressing their condolences, expressing their resolve. All of them essentially saying that we stand by you today. We even heard from the U.S., the G-8 sherpa, really within about the last half hour or so. And he gave a statement. He characterized it. He said, I saw a renewed sense of determination on the part of the leaders to proceed with their work, to produce real results, to produce this kind of collective commitment do why we're here, to making this a better world, a better place.
President Bush even using this terrorist attack to make the case here, a contrast, if you will, saying, look, we are united in good causes here. Even if we were divided in the Iraq war, we're united now. We put that behind us. We all know that this is something that we are getting behind Blair on. So, obviously, a lot of change here. Even the security, very, very tight, as you can imagine. But we heard from G-8 security officials who say, look, we're going to divert some of those sources over to London, to give you the people who specialize in explosives and things like that, because we know that's where the focus is now -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: CNN's Suzanne Malveaux in Gleneagles, Scotland, as the G-8 Summit continues, its tone changed completely by the events this morning in the city of London.
S. O'BRIEN: We were going to hear some announcements actually out of the G-8. They're postponing those, obviously, now in the wake of these terror attacks. Also, we should mention that we're getting word that police in England are advising people to stay away from Victoria Station. This just in to us. Victoria Station, we heard in that press conference a little bit earlier in the afternoon by the members of Scotland Yard and the metropolitan police, had been closed earlier due to a bomb threat that they were investigating. Well, now word is everybody should stay away from Victoria Station. We're going to figure out exactly what the issue is there and follow up on that for you.
Let's get to John King. He's been reporting all morning about the fall-out, really, here in the U.S. and Washington, D.C., specifically, in the wake of these terror attacks in London. John, U.S. is sending help. We heard that on both sides, both American officials and also British officials. Specifically, what kind of help is wanted and needed?
KING: Well, there's a small FBI team, Soledad, that will go to actually help with the investigation. We presume that will be into the investigation of the explosives, what type of explosives, how were they delivered, how might those bombs have been constructed? A relatively small FBI team, we are told, will travel to London to assist with the investigation.
And also, the new director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, not long on his job, now says he will also try to help the British in the investigation. Obviously, they will do that by opening their ears to any new intelligence coming in from around the world, electronic intercepts, e-mail intercepts and the like.
But also, going back over the piles and piles and piles of intelligence intercepts from recent days and weeks to try to see if there's anything they didn't get to or anything they missed or anything they read a week ago or even a day ago that didn't alert them at the time that makes more sense now, that perhaps gives them a clue in the wake of what we have seen in London.
So you will have a major effort here in the United States and relatively modest effort, but an important effort, by the FBI in London to help the British with the investigation.
And as that unfolds, precautions being taken here in this country, as well. The secretary of homeland security, Michael Chertoff, coming out a little more than an hour ago and telling the American people that the threat level was being raised to orange, which is a high risk of terror attack, but only targeted to mass transit.
Now, the threat level has been raised seven times since that color code was put in place in the wake of 9/11. This is the second time it has been raised in a targeted way, focusing only on one specific area.
Last August, it was the financial district in New York and New Jersey and here in Washington. Now, mass transit and rail systems across country have been put on that higher threat level.
And the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, saying from here in Washington he is in touch with local officials around the country, telling them specifically what they can do, just in case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We have asked state and local leaders and transportation officials to increase their protective measures, including additional law enforcement, police, bomb-detecting canine teams, increased video surveillance, spot- testing in certain areas, added perimeter barriers, extra intrusion detection equipment and increased numbers of inspection of trash receptacles and other storage areas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And yet, even as those steps are being taken, again, Secretary Chertoff stressing there is no intelligence at all suggesting any attacks here in the United States, no specific credible intelligence at all. But they have decided specifically with note to mass transit systems, because of what happened in London, it makes sense to go on higher alert. You see a bomb-sniffing dog here on a platform of the metro system here at nearby Union Station in Washington, D.C. Other cities across the country taking similar steps.
And as those steps are taken, Soledad, I also think it's quite interesting that you see the politicians coming out, whether it be the president of the United States in Scotland, the secretary of homeland security here in Washington, you had the governor, the mayor of New York and the police commissioner -- that is another one of the lessons of 9/11, get the politicians, get the government officials as visible as soon as possible.
One, to reassure the citizens in their communities that the government is taking steps. And two, essentially to make the point Tony Blair just tried to make in his nationally televised address in Great Britain, that the terrorists are trying to scare people, that we will not be terrorized -- Soledad.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CO-ANCHOR: Johns, thanks for that update. We're going to continue to check in with you this morning -- this afternoon. We've been on all morning.
In fact, we want to kind of set the stage again for everybody. It's 1 p.m., just after 1 p.m. in the afternoon here on the East Coast, which obviously means that on West Coast it's 10 a.m., just after 10 a.m.
And in London, just after 6 p.m. On a normal day, that would mean they would be in the middle of the commute home. But of course, it is the not a normal day in London today. After that series of coordinated terror attacks, killing more than 33 people and utterly undermining the confidence of Londoners, who rely very heavily on that mass transit system to make their way through to work and back. And also for the tourists, who obviously take that system, as well.
There were four confirmed explosions. Three now confirmed by the law enforcement officials, taking place in the Underground, starting at 8:51 local time in London and ending about 26 minutes later.
One explosion took place on a double-decker bus. And that bus was ripped -- if you had seen -- had an opportunity to see some of the pictures of this bus, ripped off like a tin can. And the description of some of the eyewitnesses, of what they heard and what they saw, quite, quite terrible.
We had early word that some of the markets hit as well, the European markets and the British markets taking a little bit of a hit.
The prime minister, Tony Blair, said early this morning that he felt that it was no coincidence that the attacks took place as the G-8 summit was getting under way. Of course, an investigation will have to determine exactly the motivation of the terrorists who the terrorists were, and how they pulled it off -- Miles.
MILES O'BRIEN, CO-ANCHOR: And there will be all kinds of questions about that investigation as they consider the possibility were these, in fact, suicide attacks? Were they remotely controlled in any way? Were they set with timers? Did people infiltrate into the very crowded subway car, 700 to 900 people in them, leave backpacks behind?
It's being called the worst attack on the city of London since World War II. And what we've seen in London today is what is a hallmark of their reaction, that stiff upper lip, that resilience that people in Great Britain really take great pride in.
And also, in conjunction with that resilience, a very impressive response by the authorities there, who, after all, have practiced this, sadly, for just this eventuality. The hope was...
S. O'BRIEN: It was interesting to hear that in your interview with Rudy Giuliani, New York City's mayor during the 9/11 attack, saying how not only was he sort of brought back to the 9/11 attacks, but also how impressed he was by the reaction of the people and the emergency services personnel, as well.
M. O'BRIEN: Well, it is -- it makes -- I am a bit awe-struck by people who are willing to go into burning holes in the ground to try to rescue other people. They are truly heroes. There's no other way to describe it. And what they did today was heroic.
And nevertheless, 33 confirmed fatalities. There will be more. That number will grow. We still haven't gotten a confirmed number of the number of fatalities on that bus, the only explosion which occurred above the surface. Three additional explosions below the surface.
Upwards of nearly 400 injuries. Some of them very serious. About 45 critically injured people. And we're talking about burns and amputations and chest injuries, the kinds of things that you would see in the wake of explosions just like these.
The ripple effect is hard to overstate when something like this happens these days. Instantaneously, the world becomes aware of something like this. This is something, quite frankly, that the terrorists do rely upon, and it causes a great deal of concern.
CNN's Kelly Wallace has been tracking the response and the reaction here in the United States, where, you know, perhaps people have gotten to a point where the new normalcy was maybe -- maybe too comfortable, and today it certainly is not -- Kelly.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miles, there were definitely some concerns. You heard it from law enforcement officials and others about maybe there's sort of a growing complacency in the United States. After all in September, it will be four years since the September 11 attacks.
But all people in New York had to do, or really all across the country had to do is put on their TVs this morning and see what is happening. And you hear people thinking about September 11, as well as the Madrid bombings. Certainly, New York City and state officials watching the situation very closely. Wrapping up a news conference just in the last few minutes or so.
Interestingly, New York City officials are saying that New York City has been operating at that sort of elevated threat level of orange and that they're now sort of moving at sort of a heightened state of orange right now. More measures, which means more officers, more steps that they're taking to try and give people of New York City sort of that visible sense that there is more security and encouraging them to be extra vigilant.
Some of the things we learned at that news conference from the New York City mayor, as well as the police commissioner and the New York governor. They're holding over officers who have been working the midnight shift from 12 to 7:30 a.m., holding them over indefinitely. That would mean thousands and thousands of officers who are patrolling the subways and the bus systems, as well as the bridges and tunnels throughout this city.
We are hearing about more random testing that is going on and inspections. We had talked earlier on this day. We have word from someone here in New York City, talking about how there was sort of a spot check of a bus she was on and how an officer got on that bus, was looking under the seats, was talking to the people on the bus about the London attack, calling on them to be extra vigilant.
And then doing something that I personally haven't heard happening before here in New York City, but perhaps it has been happening -- talking to people about what a suicide bomber would look like. Talking about, if you see someone with a jacket, with wires coming out. If you see a backpack with wires stay away from it. Be careful. And be sure to alert the authorities about that.
New York City, though, not alone. We have extra security going on all across the country. We've talked about Washington, D.C., where you're seeing bob sniffing dogs. Chicago, San Francisco, you name it, Miles, lots of people taking some extra steps.
M. O'BRIEN: All right. Thank you very much, Kelly Wallace, for that update. Appreciate it -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Sean Baran is an eyewitness to a lot of the chaos. He was near the Edgwater -- Edgware, rather, Station, and he joins us by phone this afternoon.
Sean, I appreciate you talking to us. Give me a sense, first of all, exactly where you are at 9:17 in the morning, which is where the -- when the explosion happened in Edgware.
SEAN BARAN, EYEWITNESS: Well, I was -- I was trying to get on the train at Kilburn Park, and all they told me was that the train was shut down. So I hopped on one of the buses and went about two miles down the road, where I saw people coming out of the -- of the tube station. And I immediately got off the bus and tried to offer assistance. S. O'BRIEN: What kind of assistance did the folks need? Were they just scared and confused? Were there some severe injuries that you had to deal with?
BARAN: The people who were severely injured were transported almost immediately from the scene. Or, if they required some form of extrication, the fire department was responsible for that.
However, they set up a large staging area at the Hilton hotel to -- to sort through the walking wounded, to see who needed to go to the hospital first and who could go a little bit later. Because we did have scarce resources in the beginning.
S. O'BRIEN: And what was the mood, if that's the right word? What was it like? I've heard both reports of utter chaos and complete pandemonium, and then also reports of complete calm in what was clearly a terrible, horrific circumstance.
BARAN: Yes. Well, obviously, the victims at Edgware were a bit subdued when they were coming out of the tube station. A little bit -- a little bit dazed and a little bit shocked. However, the -- the mood among the emergency workers, the police and firefighters, and the emergency medical people, was -- it was very high energy, but it was well focused and it was -- it was very decisive. All their actions were very decisive.
S. O'BRIEN: Did you know immediately as you're driving by -- or riding by on that bus what had happened? Did it take awhile for the information that it was a series of coordinated bombings to trickle down? Did the people who were coming up from the tube station know that, in fact, it had been a bombing?
BARAN: Yes, they did. There was word of mouth. People were -- people were receiving phone calls from friends and family and people who had been watching the news. So word spread relatively quickly.
S. O'BRIEN: We know that communication was very, very difficult, Sean. Give me a sense -- we heard -- actually experienced a little bit, certainly, here, that many of the cell phone connections were crashing, just by sheer usage. Is that the case? Did you see people trying to help each other by sharing the cell phone to get word out they were -- they were OK, those who had obviously survived or were not critically injured?
BARAN: Absolutely. There were a number of people using my cell phone. Some of the emergency personnel had to borrow cell phones so that they could contact their -- their direct superiors and organize the event. People were very helpful when it came to sharing cell phones. But yes, the network was under a lot of strain.
S. O'BRIEN: We're glad to hear that the people were reaching out and helping one another. How many people did you see? I mean, was it -- was it a giant scene? Was it a small number of people who were streaming out slowly?
If you can paint a picture for us, would don't know Edgware station well at all and can't really in our minds imagine the commute at that time. Tell us what it was like.
BARAN: Edgware is a relatively large station. Of the walking wounded people, I'd say there was about 60 people in the station at the time, plus about five others who were below and were transported earlier on. It's a pretty large number, especially when you get everyone kind of packed into one room. Because we had everyone packed in the lobby of the hotel, trying to sort through everyone. It was -- it was a very large number. It was larger than anything I've ever dealt with before.
S. O'BRIEN: You sound like you're an American. Were you in the United States during 9/11?
BARAN: Yes, I was. I was -- I was in my foods class, junior year of high school.
S. O'BRIEN: Give me a sense, if you can, of any comparisons. We heard not -- not too long ago from the former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who said essentially he felt like he was transported right back to that day and that moment. As an American, did you feel the same way?
BARAN: You know what? I would say that is -- that is a perfect description. It was very similar in a number of ways.
The streets were cleared of public transport vehicles. They were trying to get all the cars out of the city. It was kind of eerily quiet, because everyone was just walking around. But for the most part, it was extremely similar to what happened on September 11.
Everyone trying to call their friends and family to let them know they're all right. And everyone's trying to figure out what was going on, get organized.
S. O'BRIEN: There was a staging area being you said a moment ago, at a hotel.
S. O'BRIEN: I'm curious to know -- I mean, I've been reading some of the reports from eyewitnesses about the horrible things that they've seen. And you know, certainly counting themselves lucky to be alive, but also understanding that they have witnessed horrific, horrible things, that maybe only people at war see.
Do you feel the same way, that this is going to hit you very soon because of the things that you've seen?
BARAN: Most of the people who were injured very badly I didn't get to see, because they were transported directly from the tube station. I dealt with more of the people who were pretty much able to walk themselves out.
There were a lot of open-face wounds, burns, broken glass shards sprayed across the face and eyes and hair. But I wouldn't say that I'd be traumatized by it just because I've been trained as an emergency medical technician, and I've seen it in the past. But it definitely does make a person reflect, you know, when you come close to a brush with death like that.
S. O'BRIEN: I can imagine. And certainly the people that you were helping were very grateful that you were coming by and also trained, an emergency medical technician.
Sean Baran, joining us from phone by London. He was very close to the Edgware Station when that explosion happened, talking a little bit about what he did in the immediate moments afterwards -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: What an impressive guy.
S. O'BRIEN: Clearly. Calm.
M. O'BRIEN: Really, great presence of mind, calm. It doesn't surprise me when he said he was trained as an EMT.
S. O'BRIEN: Yes.
M. O'BRIEN: Clearly had some training. I was wondering how he could be so -- a little bit matter of fact.
S. O'BRIEN: Held together during the explosion.
M. O'BRIEN: Held it together in a difficult time.
I do want to get this phone number out that I promised you a little while ago. Because he was talking about, you know, trying to contact people in the frantic -- contact them. We hope if you have friends, you've had luck, or relatives over there, you've had luck already.
But if you haven't, there is a number that the State Department is putting out. You see it in the lower part of your screen, 888-407- 4747. Last we checked, there were about 17,500 inquiries to that number.
And if -- you know, don't just call to call. Call if you have some real reason. And they'll try to help you get some information on your loved ones or friends over there in London today. Now getting toward the end of the work day at least there.
We've been watching the markets as well. Surprisingly -- you know, I think before 9/11 this would have probably caused a much bigger tailspin on all the markets. It's kind of a mixed situation there. Stocks are kind of so-so. Mary Snow is at the stock exchange right now to fill us in on that.
M. O'BRIEN: You say taking it in stride. It's interesting, I saw earlier that some traders were saying that the timing was somewhat fortunate. Because it happened so early. It sort of allowed this whole thing to settle in and people to digest the information before the trading began. So it was less of a knee-jerk reaction.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. That those hours actually gave the market time to recover a bit and, in terms of a trading day, you are seeing that stabilization now because traders have had that time.
M. O'BRIEN: So we are in the post-9/11 world. They say new normal. It is the same as it goes on Wall Street, as well. People take these things in stride. What does that tell you?
SNOW: Well, you know what people outside the stock exchange and inside are saying the same thing, that the world is a different place and that they have been really learning to adjust. And there are certainly knee-jerk reactions in the market and people out here, too, are walking around saying, "Yes, we're taking it in stride," but they are scared. Some people changed their commuting plans today but they said they still made it here to work because they have to take it as a part of life.
M. O'BRIEN: Did you talk to anybody would took subways in? Were they looking around differently on the subways?
SNOW: Some said not so much. Others said that yes, that there was talking about the attacks, people checking their watches. They were pretty nervous.
Some said that they did not get on the subway this morning. One gentleman took a taxi in. Another one who took the bus. Saying that they were blocks away from Ground Zero. These memories are very fresh and they said the fear is something that is always in the back of their minds, that they learned to live with it, but today their nerves were especially rattled. But they still wanted to make a point to show up for work today.
M. O'BRIEN: Well, if there's a spot on the planet that would have unfortunate memories, seeing what transpired in London, it would be where you stand right now.
SNOW: Absolutely, we're just a few blocks away from Ground Zero. And I talked also with a woman this morning who's a 9/11 survivor. And she said she was determined to get on the subway today, that she did not want to let terrorists -- terrorists win. But she said, you know, her heart just went out to all the people in London today.
M. O'BRIEN: Well, good for her and God bless her for thinking that way. Because that is precisely how the terrorists will never win. Mary Snow on Wall Street, thank you -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Some updated numbers to share with you now. We are -- we are going with this 33 confirmed dead, although we are expecting that number to change, to increase, because we're told that there are fatalities on that bus, but they have not been counted yet. So we are unaware what the total number will be.
We're told, though, that it looks as if the number of wounded will rise dramatically, maybe as high as 700. That number appears to be coming from Reuters, but also others have said that they believe the number much higher than the 300, 345, that had been named a little earlier. No surprise there, as well.
We're expecting to hear from the French president, Jacques Chirac. He's in Scotland for the G-8 summit. And obviously there will be, I'm certain, some kind of a response to the bombings in London. We'll get his response in just a little bit.
Forty-eight hours ago, of course, it was Jacques Chirac who was grumbling about the bad food in London and why Paris should be winning the Olympics. Twenty-four hours ago, he was sort of stung by the victory, the surprising victory, of London over Paris, winning the 2012 Olympics.
Of course, 24 hours later, how things have completely changed. To see him standing right next to the British prime minister, as he announces a united front of all the world leaders, as in fact, they plan to combat terrorism, total and complete change in tone. All of those men in Scotland, deadly serious, as they made that announcement.
And also showing, not only by their words, but the picture, as well, a real togetherness, a real support for this mission.
We also know that out of the G-8, declarations were expected, actually, today. They're going to be postponed until Friday. Those are the declarations on the global economy and the declarations on climate change. Those we will not hear about until Friday.
We've been hearing -- we have been hearing from the eyewitnesses that -- the gruesome scene that they experienced as they were, in some cases, walking by, traveling by, in the car, in front of the carnage.
We're told now also that the number of dead has been raised to 37. So as we continue our coverage and continue updating these numbers for you, let's listen to a little bit of what eyewitnesses had to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we left King's Cross Station, within two -- or 15 seconds there was a large bang. People were physically ejected out of the chair. There was flashes of lights on the side of the two (ph) carriage.
Smoke immediately billowed into the carriage. It filled it. People started to scream because it was a burning smell. And everyone -- kind of long story short -- thought they were going to die.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The train was very crowded. People were jammed in. We left the platform, started going underground. Approximately a few hundred feet into the tube, there was an explosion, a flash of light, everything went dark. The train ground to a halt. There was emergency lighting that came on. 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. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were people going up the roads. And I luckily, for some reason, crossed, because it was so busy. And all of a sudden, just the hugest explosion. And this bus just lifted up and everyone was screaming. And I -- you know, thinking of shrapnel, just turned and ran and put my jacket over and there was just chaos. And ran into the nearest hotel where people were trying to help, you know, emergency services trying to get to them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was past the bus so I heard the explosion. And sort of turned back and look and saw the top rear end of the bus had blown off and, you know, smoke everywhere and debris and people running. So I just -- I just joined in the sort of confusion and ran for a bit.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Has it ever worried you that something like this might happen?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, it's always there in the back of your mind. There's been so many things that have happened in London over the years. It's always there in the back of your mind. But if it does come to the front of your mind and you think about it while you're on the tube, you just put it out of your mind, and you say, "This could never happen to me." And that's the sort of scary story. I came pretty close. My hearts goes out to people that are involved because it, you know, could just be any one of us.
S. O'BRIEN: You can certainly hear the emotion in the voices of those who feel that they escaped fairly narrowly with their lives. Again, 37 now reported dead. We're going to soon, hopefully, be able to tell you exactly where those -- those dead were.
The last number we had was 33, but they were not counting the bus. It's unclear if that -- the additional four are now the number of killed on the bus or if these are just more numbers coming in.
Seven hundred casualties to report. And again, we caution you with those numbers, because they are absolutely certain to change.
Some other developments to talk about, as well. The U.N. Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution that condemns the attacks. It happened at a noon meeting today.
And Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, calling Jack Straw, the British foreign minister, to offer any U.S. assistance he might feel he needs. Jack Straw's also the man who is replacing the prime minister, Tony Blair, in Gleneagles, Scotland, at the G-8 summit. The prime minister heading back to London for face-to-face meetings with his security team, including Scotland Yard.
And of course, we are continuing to follow all the developments on this story here in the United States and in London, as well.
M. O'BRIEN: Developments and reaction. French President Jacques Chirac is making a statement right now. It's coming in French right now. We don't have a translation just yet. So we're going to work on that translation. And as soon as we get it for you in English, we will bring it to you.
We've been talking a lot about just how this whole attack was executed. Were they suicide bombs? Were they bombs that were left in backpacks on a crowded train with timers on them? Is it possible that that one bomb that was in the double-decker bus, was it destined ultimately for an underground site or target and didn't get there for whatever reason?
And in conjunction with that, a lot of speculation, given the fact that it was a synchronized attack, which, of course, has all the hallmarks of an al Qaeda attack, al Qaeda style, if you will. A lot of questions about who might be responsible.
Nothing official has come. The officials have told us they had no prior warning and they've received nothing they would consider a genuine acceptance of blame or guilt or boast or whatever you want to call it.
However, we -- CNN's Nic Robertson, along with producer Henry Schuster, have spent an awful lot of time looking at some of these web sites by these Islamist groups. And in many cases, they can offer up the first, you know, indication of where things are headed. Could also be a complete red herring.
But nevertheless, Nic, why don't you tell us what you've been able to glean from the Web and whether authorities at this point would be anywhere close to considering it genuine?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the British police have so far said that they're aware of it, but they don't consider it genuine. This is the claim by the Secret group of al Qaeda's Jihad in Europe that posted a claim on a radical Islamist web site within several hours of the bomb blast going off.
The police said that they have had no warning and that they have received no credible claim of responsibility. However, this particular web site said that these attacks were revenge for the massacres Great Britain is responsible for in Iraq and Afghanistan. And also said that it had repeatedly -- this organization had repeatedly warned the British government of these -- of the potential for these attacks.
What is interesting, when you dig a little deeper, on al Qaeda in Europe, there was a reference made to this organization by a radical cleric in London last year. This reference was made -- was made in a Portuguese news magazine. Shaikh -- Shaikh Omar Bakyir (ph) Mohammed said that a group called al Qaeda in Europe -- and this is in April last year -- was poised to launch a big attack in London. He said that an attack was inevitable. And that this group, al Qaeda in Europe, was going to launch this big attack.
Now it's not clear to us at this stage if this reference to al Qaeda in Europe is a reference to this same organization, the Secret Group of al Qaeda's Jihad in Europe. Again, it's all a matter of translation, of how you translate the Arabic in English for the name of the group. But it certainly does indicate this from a radical cleric, Muslim cleric, in London, saying that a group was poised to launch a big attack and that an attack was inevitable. And this was in April last year, Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Is potentially very significant, Nic, because what that does is that kind of hearkens back to when you look in the pre- 9/11 era, and some of the warnings that came from Osama bin Laden, either directly from him or from his followers, which gave, in retrospect, a real trail that led up to 9/11.
At this point, we've got to be careful how far we go with this, but it sounds like, could this be something that the intelligence infrastructure might have overlooked?
ROBERTSON: Well, we certainly know that the intelligence infrastructure in Great Britain, publicly and privately, were saying that they felt that there was a very, very credible threat of violence of this type of attack in London. They were certainly aware of it.
Whether this -- whether they say this in the scope of this public declaration, whether they say it in the scope of information that they have been able to glean through their intelligence-gathering means, is not clear.
We do know in their surveillance operations, the intelligence authorities in Great Britain have known that about 50 -- about 50 people that they have been tracking have "disappeared," quote, unquote. That is, that these people that they knew that they wanted to keep an eye on for various reasons have disappeared, gone abroad. They don't know where, they don't know if they've come back, they don't what's happened. But people that they were monitoring have disappeared. Now, were they associated with this group? Does this group exist? Has it been overlooked in some way? We just don't know that yet.
It's interesting, in light of what we've heard from various people, that the intelligence authorities in Great Britain were very concerned about a very real threat, that they had actually downgraded the threat just one level within the last month. So perhaps that doesn't correlate. But the warning, apparently out there. This group claiming that they had made these repeated warnings, but the police quite clear, they have received no warning and no claim of responsibility to the police so far -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: And yet we see this cleric made some sort of statement, but admittedly, a very unspecific statement. Rather ominous, Nic, that 50 people have gone off the radar screens, I think.
ROBERTSON: And certainly being treated with a great deal of concern in Great Britain. Tracking and keeping tabs on people who are suspected of nefarious activities or perhaps planning terrorist operations, is something the British intelligence services became very well practiced at in dealing with the IRA in Great Britain and the potential there were attacks both in northern Ireland and in London. And indeed, that's one of the reasons that the IRA was essentially thwarted as a military operation, because of the penetration of these intelligence and security services.
It has proven -- and intelligence experts say that it is proving much harder to penetrate the al Qaeda-related groups. That finding people who will give you information about them or getting your own operatives inside often proves difficult. Not clear if that's the case in this group, either. At this stage, it would be very easy to overanalyze the situation. But the claim there and these references apparently -- again, apparently, to this group, made last year, that they were planning -- on the verge of launching a major attack.
Nic Robertson, we appreciate your analysis. We wouldn't call it overanalysis. It's very insightful, thank you -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Christiane Amanpour is CNN's chief international correspondent. She's been covering this story for us all day, all morning and now all afternoon. You know, Christiane -- who's in London, by the way -- earlier we heard the metro police in their briefing saying that their job now is to hold a briefing to focus on the response, not the investigation. But of course, what everybody wants to know about is the investigation, maybe talk about the response at another time. What happens now, as far as the investigation goes?
AMANPOUR: Well, they're still doing what they call the forensic investigation. And we're here at the King's Cross station, which is the one that was hit second today at 8:56 this morning and that has claimed the most casualties. 21 people confirmed dead at the bomb explosion at this particular station. They had taken out the bodies by mid-this afternoon and they had taken out all those who could be evacuated and were either the walking wounded or the seriously injured, by around 12:00 noon. But here now, they're calling this a crime scene, obviously, like all the other bomb sites and they are continuing their investigations.
From what we heard at the press conference earlier this afternoon, about three hours or so ago, the police said that they had found traces of explosives. But they had found nothing to suggest that it was anything other than conventional explosions. In terms of who has done it, they have had, as you've been reporting and as we've been reporting, what the police said, they had have absolutely, they tell us, no specific warning phoned in or signified, signalled to them. They've had no claim of responsibility to them. They've obviously heard and seen the al Qaeda claim, the offshoot group, on this Web site and say they say that they will be investigating and looking into that.
They say that they were obviously shocked by what happened today, but not surprised, that all of London's police and emergency services, all of Britain's services, for that matter, have been practicing, rehearsing, getting ready for something like this ever since 9/11. And they say that their emergency response teams and their law and order teams have performed exactly the way they were planned to and they got everybody out just as quickly as it was humanly possible to do. But clearly, interest is going to focus on what the metropolitan police spokesman said. And that was, as again we've been reporting many times, that the level of security was downgraded by one level over the last month or two, the second highest level that it could be at. And that's because, they said, it was an appropriate thing to do because they had no specific intelligence to indicate otherwise. And of course, I'm sure that that is going to be a matter of exploration, as people try to figure out what happened, what went wrong, how did this happen here.
But one has to say that this is not the first time, as you know, that a metro system, a transport system, has been attacked. Here in London today, in Madrid last year, where 191 people were killed and more than 1,000 wounded. And back ten years ago in Paris, at the San Michel (ph) station on the Paris metro, Muslim terrorists linked to Algerian militants attacked the metro station there and left several people dead. In the words of many experts and many officials, no city can be totally safe from this kind of attack.
But having said that, of course, as well, this is rush hour, really, in London. Nobody here, obviously, using the underground system. Everybody has had to walk. And we've seen long, orderly queues of people who have been walking home, walking to wherever they can, on all the sidewalks here and north London and elsewhere, to try and get home. About three hours ago, the police told people to start making their way home and to do it in an orderly fashion -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: There's similarity, and we've heard several now, of 9/11. Sort of people a little bit in shock, making their way home and the only way to get there is to hoof it, is to walk. We heard in that press conference that we were talking about, Christiane, authorities saying they were shocked, but not surprised. And we got some word not too long ago that we reported about, Victoria Station being -- people being warned away from Victoria Station, no reason given. Earlier, they had said that it was the site of a bomb threat. Do you have any more information on what's happening there?
AMANPOUR: No, but the police did say that they had a bomb threat there, and they said that's not unusual in situations like this, when there's a series of what they have called, obviously, coordinated attacks. Sometimes, you know, there are scares, there are threats or perceived threats at other places. And so they've -- you know, they've taken precautionary measures to close certain places down.
They tell us that the underground system probably will get -- will get going again tomorrow that in some parts of London, the bus system has already started in one of the inner zones in central London. The -- as you know, the red double-decker buses have started running again in some areas. But they're telling us that every single carriage of every single train is going to be inspected and that's what's going to take some time to get these trains back out, that every bus is going to be checked from its starting point and then again at its end point.
So there's going to be a huge amount of security added to the London transport system. Again, just to tell you how heavily populated this tube is here, the underground train. Three million passengers a day. And at the height of rush hour, something like 500 trains are running. So this is a huge logistical infrastructure that we're talking about.
S. O'BRIEN: Christiane Amanpour, covering the story for us out of London. Christiane, thanks.
And of course, we're going to continue to check in with you. Let's update some numbers for you. The confirmed now number of dead is at 37. Originally, it was 33. We're told that there were two who, at this point, are confirmed dead on the double-decker bus. Now, reports from eyewitnesses said that there were many people on the bus. So again, one has to imagine that those numbers are going to go higher, if not significantly higher, certainly higher. 700 hundred people now, we're told, injured. The number we originally got was somewhere in the 300s. But of course, again, we expect that number is going to go much higher as well, as more information comes in.
John King has been covering what's going on in Washington, D.C., the response, really, in D.C. and around the nation in the wake of these terror attacks. Let's get back to John King. We heard from Michael Chertoff, making, essentially, his first big public appearance where I think people were really watching his tone and watching for his sense of import here, as they try to figure out how the terror attacks in London could affect those of us here in the United States and what we're doing to respond here. Is that right?
KING: That's exactly right, Soledad. We saw the new secretary of Homeland Security --relatively new, joining the Bush administration in that job for the second term -- Michael Chertoff, walking the fine line that we saw the former secretary Tom Ridge walk so many times in the months and, indeed, now years after the 9/11 attacks.
On the one hand, the Bush administration says the most important message it can tell the American people today is that there is absolutely no intelligence suggesting that there any attacks planned here in the United States. That is the reassuring message, the comforting message Secretary Chertoff and other administration officials want to relay today.
Yet at the same time, the Department of Homeland Security has raised the national threat level from yellow to orange, specifically targeted to mass-transit systems. It is not a nationwide raising of the threat level. It is only to deal with rail lines, subway systems, passenger train lines like Amtrak and major bus systems around the country. Why are they doing that? They say there's no intelligence suggesting attacks, but they want to be extra careful. As you were just noting with Christiane, in London, they say have no intelligence suggesting attacks either. So their being extra careful here. Some 30 million Americans use mass transit on a daily basis. So they are taking precautions, such as the bomb-sniffing dog, more police presence, you see here, on the Washington D.C. Metro system. That line alone has about 1.2 million passengers a day.
Now as They take some extra precautions here in the United States with higher police presence, some extra technical equipment involved, they also say they will try to help the British government with its investigation. A small FBI team on the way. The director of national intelligence John Negroponte saying his resources will now go to analyzing any current intelligence coming in, future intelligence coming in, but also going back over everything they have from the past several days, and weeks, and perhaps further back, to look to see if there's anything they missed that now makes sense in the wake of the British attacks.
And, Soledad, as you ask the big question, who did this is? U.S. officials are telling our reporters and producers here in the Washington bureau, almost all of whom are working on this story, that of course this has all the trademarks of Al Qaeda, but there are no fingerprints, no firm evidence as yet. That is obviously a major focus of concern.
S. O'BRIEN: Yes, maybe highlighting the "as of yet." That I'm certain is sure to come.
John, before we let you go, when you talk about London, you're really talking about a city, and a country overall, that has quite a sophisticated anti-terror network and system. What can a small team of FBI agents provide?
KING: Well, I'm not sure exactly yet who going. We know our people are working on that. But we could have bomb experts who could help with forensic evidence. They could just go simply to share information, so that you have an FBI team on the ground in London.
If a question comes up, whether it's an intelligence question or a lab analysis question, that perhaps is a lab here in the United States that has more detailed, sophisticated -- you have a liaison right there on the scene, so you can get your answer, perhaps transfer information, share information, get some help immediately, as opposed to that taking a matter of minutes, hours, or even perhaps days, if you're talking about exchanging evidence and information. So mostly it's to get people on the ground, so if there help that is necessary, they can give it immediately without delay.
S. O'BRIEN: John King for us. John, thanks. We're going to continue to check in with you throughout the afternoon -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: It's now about 6:42 in London. What a day they've had there. Not a normal day by any stretch of the imagination. The death toll stands at 37, 37 dead in this morning rush hour attack, with four separate bombs, aimed at the London transit system, underground and on the surface, 700 people wounded, at least 45 of them seriously. And so we'll be watching those numbers very carefully.
Of course, just people going to work, innocent in that respect, and targeted by some group, we don't know whom yet, but some group that clearly means to cause terror.
In the meantime, what's happened here in the United States, a limited degree of orange alert for the mass transit, as John was just telling you about. The attack being described as the worst attack in London since World War II. There you see that orange, that high level of terror attack, not for the entire country, specifically aimed at mass transit throughout the United States, and in specific cities that have been targeted as well.
CNN's Kelly Wallace has been tracking all of this sort of response that has occurred here throughout the day here in the United States, giving us a sense of how local authorities are attempting to respond in some way, shape or form, on the possibility that there could be some sort of copycat, if nothing else.
As we say -- underscore this -- there is no specific information that would -- we don't want to panic people into thinking there's some intelligence out there. It isn't there but nevertheless, vigilance is the watchword today -- Kelly.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is, Miles. And throughout the day, as we've been hearing from officials throughout the country, they talk about how it's prudent really for them to take extra security measures, while at the same time trying to do everything possible to prevent people from panicking. And one positive thing, at least New York officials were talking about earlier, New York Governor George Pataki saying, that in terms of mass transit here in New York on the subways, it's been pretty much business as usual. People are still using the subways, and they took that as a positive sign that people are still trying to go on with their lives.
Even before we heard from the secretary of homeland security that the mass transit -- the threat level for mass transit nationwide would go up, officials really across the country were taking steps. Here in New York we understand, before 6:00 a.m., they were taking extra measures, including beefing up the police presence on the subways and the buses, as well as the bridges and tunnels.
We also understand that they're increasing the security presence around, quote, "United Kingdom-related locations," and they're not elaborating what those might be. One possible is the British consulate. One thing we heard from officials at a news conference a little earlier this afternoon, again, reiterating they don't have any threats here in New York City, but they're taking every step possible to keep people safe.
COMM. RAYMOND KELLY, N.Y. POLICE: There is no information to indicate that New York City is being targeted. The actions we are taking today are being done as a precaution. And as we did after subway bombings in Moscow and Madrid, the police department is applying all relevant information gleaned from the London attacks to better protect New York City.
WALLACE: And of course this is not just an issue for New York City. You're taking a look now at San Francisco. Out there at their mass transit system, they have increased the police presence. Also, we understand some canine teams have been out.
Also throughout the country really, in Atlanta, in Chicago, extra steps being taken. Again, Miles, what everyone is trying to do is trying to beef up the presence, alert people to be vigilant, alert people to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity, suspicious packages, but also trying to urge them not to panic and to go on with their daily lives.
M. O'BRIEN: Well, Kelly, it makes me wonder if we were doing enough to protect our mass transit systems before today.
WALLACE: Well, that is a big question, and that is one we are hearing. I'm getting some e-mails from people from both political parties who are raising questions about that very fact. They say that certainly the Madrid bombings, a wake-up call really to mass transit systems throughout world, including in the United States.
People are raising questions, Democrats and Republicans, if lawmakers at the national, state and local levels have really done enough to protect passengers, to look beyond the lookout, to put more money in for security. So this is a big question that we are sure to be hearing people talk about throughout this day and in the days to come.
M. O'BRIEN: The Transportation Security Agency focuses on aviation primarily, and that is what they are all about. And there's a lot more to transportation. And you have to wonder if what we're seeing today -- this response which comes immediately out of this -- if some of this should become just part of the routine.
WALLACE: Well, you raise such an interesting point, Miles. And Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City mayor, was asked about this at this news conference earlier. He said what we're seeing here in London is a little more what we have been seeing like in Israel, not quite the attack of the level of September 11, but -- and I know I spent some time in Israel.
People there didn't get used to it, but they did have, as you know, bombings on buses and at other locations and that people had to adjust. And Michael Bloomberg responded pretty quickly and aggressively saying, look, the first line of defense, your eyes and ears.
People out there throughout the city, we can do a lot and we're going to keep doing what we can, but it also comes down to people being on the lookout. And, again, I think it's another example of that, quote, "new normal" that we kind of hate to keep talking about, but people are sort of seeing this is happening. It happens in Israel, it's happening now in London, and getting a sense it could happen even in the United States, to be on the lookout to prevent it from happening.
M. O'BRIEN: You know, we were talking to one of our analysts earlier -- one of our security analysts, and he said, you know -- he made that parallel between the summer of 2001 and the summer we had up until this morning. The focus on sharks, the missing people, all of the things that seem to occupy our attention in that summer were -- seem to be repeating themselves. And that was ominous to some people who look at these things and make it their business. I don't think the summer's going to be the same after this.
WALLACE: No, and we talked about this earlier I think, Miles. Some people were getting concerned, certainly law enforcement officials, some terrorism analysts. You heard them getting a little more vocal about a concern about complacency in the United States with the fact that it has been relatively quiet.
We talk about that thing called chatter, and you have heard from U.S. officials things seem to be quieter, not a lot of chatter. It will be four years in September -- hard to believe, but four years since the September 11th attacks, so there's sort of a growing sense of are we getting more complacent. And obviously that will change today.
M. O'BRIEN: Kelly Wallace with our security watch. We appreciate that and we'll be checking back with you very shortly -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: An update now on some numbers now. Thirty-seven people now confirmed dead. We're watching pictures as well of Condoleezza Rice. She had statements just a few moments ago and we're going to bring those to you in just a moment. Condoleezza Rice, we should also mention, offering to Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary, any assistance that the United States can offer.
Already a small team of FBI agents will be heading -- or already are heading to London to help in the investigation there. Although at this point, it is not exactly clear what specific kind of help they will be offering.
Let's listen to some of the words that Condoleezza Rice had to say.
Obviously, we're having a little technical difficulty. Let's see if we can fix this audio problem so we can hear what the secretary of state has to say, as she has just come out of the British embassy in Washington D.C., again, offering just moments ago to Jack Straw any kind of aid that the U.S. can offer.
No audio, obviously, so we'll move on and we'll see if we can fix that, because I think it will be interesting to hear what additional comments she has to say.
She has ordered apparently a review of all U.S. facilities overseas. They need to conduct a review of all their security, and embassy emergency security committees have been meeting throughout the day after these presumed terror attacks in London. The State Department also says additional security measures, or a tightening of security, might be implemented as a result of the reviews that are now under way. Let's listen to the secretary of state.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I have come to express on behalf of the American people our solidarity with and concern for the people of Great Britain, and particularly the people of London, on this very sad day.
This is obviously an attack that demonstrates the barbarity of the terrorists with whom we are dealing.
I want to express our sympathy and our prayers for the families of those who have died and our prayers and wishes for the recovery of the injured.
I also want to say that, of course, we have no better friend and ally in the struggle against terrorism than Great Britain.
I know that as difficult as this day is, and the kind of agony that it produces, the United States having been through this kind of agony, that it will, in fact, only strengthen the resolve of Great Britain, of Prime Minister Blair and his government, and of the people of Great Britain, to make certain that terrorists know that they cannot win.
RICE: We remain resolved in our determination to root out this scourge against humanity and against civilization.
These were simply innocent people, many of them on their way to work on a beautiful Thursday.
And so to the people of Great Britain, again, our deepest sympathies and our solidarity.
Thank you very much, Ambassador.
DAVID MANNING, U.K. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: May I just say a word in reply, because I would like to thank the secretary of state very much for coming here today. Her solidarity is enormously appreciated.
And I would like to say, too, to the American people that the support we've had this morning has been enormous and overwhelming. And we're very touched by it. And we do feel very close to the American people. We know what you have all been through. And we have a great solidarity together.
Can I also take the chance to thank my European colleagues in this town and many other diplomatic colleagues who have also expressed their support for all Britain today?
The prime minister has spoken in London. He's made it absolutely clear that we are going to be full of resolve in dealing with the terrorist problem. This is a barbaric act, but we will not be shaken by it. We have got to deal with terrorism. We will deal with terrorism. And it may take time, but we will win.
He said himself that it is a particularly cynical thing to do, to launch these attacks on the day when the G-8 leaders are grappling with issues which we hope will move the world forward: poverty in Africa, climate change, the Middle East.
And of course, these people want to move the world backwards. And that's exactly why they have launched these attacks. But they will not prevail. We shall prevail.
And it is enormously encouraging to know that we have such a close bond with our American partners.
Thank you very much.
O'BRIEN: ... secretary, along with the United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Jack Straw there making remarks -- oh, I'm sorry that was Sir David Manning making remarks there. What we heard words -- and we've been hearing them really all morning, and all afternoon -- resolve, determination, solidarity, coming really from anyone and any politician who has had an opportunity to weigh in on the London terror attacks. Also, certainly from London, words of the overwhelming gratefulness, gratitude, of the support by the Americans as well.
That was, of course, Condoleezza Rice talking about that terrorists can't win and the resolve of the Americans is strong and, again, a team of FBI agents on their way now to London to help in the investigation. Other aid has been offered by the secretary of state. Any aid that they should require is what we're told.
Suzanne Malveaux is at the site of the G-8 Summit, which goes on with the world leader meeting there, even though the prime minister, who's hosting the summit, has actually come back to London to meet face to face with his security team.
Let's get right to Suzanne for the latest reaction from there.
Suzanne, good afternoon to you.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Soledad, hello.
Of course, we're hearing a lot of the same things you're hearing here at the G-8 summit, a lot of world leaders moving forward, coming forward to express condolences, as well as resolve. As you know, of course, Blair left just hours ago attend to matters in London, and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has been sitting in on sessions in his place. The second session continuing as we speak.
Earlier the talk, of course, was all about aid to Africa, climate change. Many of the disagreements, even if you will, earlier in the morning between the president and Blair. No talk of that now. We have heard between these sessions, these formal session, world leaders have come forward to the mics. They've put out written statement, all expressing a sense of unity, a sense of purpose here, and also making the war on terror a top priority.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: 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 would impose their fanaticism and extremism on all of us. We shall prevail, and they shall not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: And, Soledad, as you know, it was Blair who was one of the first leaders to pick up the phone and to call to express and offer his condolences after the September 11th attacks with President Bush, and clearly White House officials say the president wants to reciprocate that as well, to really give him a sense of support here, also, of course, in his time of need. Both of the leaders standing shoulder to shoulder. Many of the others as well saying this is a time to show a sense of unity, a sense of resolution in all of this.
Many of the differences and disagreements they had that were expressed this morning, they're putting all of them aside, not acknowledging them at all, saying, look, we're going to be even more resolved to put forth communique that show a sense of unity here.
It is a difficult task, as you for these world leaders to convince people that, yes, it's business as usual. It is anything but business as usual, but they're certainly hoping by putting out these positive statements, standing side by side, that at least they'll send a unified message against those terrorists -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: You get that sense as they not only verbalize the sense of unity, but also just visually, when you see them all standing together, absolutely deadly serious, frankly, listening to the remarks of Tony Blair from a little bit earlier. It will be interesting, Suzanne, to see how that actually pans out over time. Because we saw something very similar, frankly, after 9/11, where I think there was this huge outpouring of support, a sense that people would work together. And then of course over time, things can change.
MALVEAUX: And that's absolutely right. And one of the things that was interesting this morning is that we heard from Russia's Vladimir Putin. He put out a statement as well, and he talked about the need to make this a top priority. He said that we're doing too little when it comes to fighting in the war on terror. As you know, Russia's going to be head of the G-8 for next year's summit, and they will be allowed to set the agenda. It will be very interesting to see if they actually put that at the top of theirs.
S. O'BRIEN: Suzanne Malveaux is reporting for us this afternoon and covering what's going on with the G-8.
We have to imagine, Suzanne, as well that there will be more statements. We've heard from Jacques Chirac. We have heard from President Bush. We have heard, obviously, from Tony Blair, but there are many of the leaders of other nations who we have not heard from yet, who I'm certain will want to voice their condolences as well.
MALVEAUX: And we've heard from Paul Martin from Canada. We've heard from Vicente Fox as well. We've heard from Berlusconi, many people. Even those, even world leaders who aren't here at this meeting are actually putting forward statements expressing their condolences here. Obviously this is something where they want to present this as the most important issue here.
It seems really like it was days and even perhaps another place when we were talking about world aid to Africa, when we were talking about the differences over the Kyoto Climate Treaty. Of course, they'll be putting out those statements, but at the same time, the one thing that they really want to do, an accomplishment in and of itself, is simply to let this summit continue, to let it go on, that that is the one statement, perhaps the strongest statement they can send to the terrorists -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: All right, Suzanne Malveaux for us. Suzanne, thanks. And of course we're going to continue to check in with you throughout the afternoon. Thanks a lot.
Let's bring you up to speed if you're just joining us or if you want to be caught up on some of the changes and the details that we are now getting out of London. It is just about 2:00 here in New York, which means it is 11:00 a.m. on the West Coast of the United States. And in London, 7:00 p.m., so just toward the end of rush hour, if it were a normal day, which of course it's not. Most of the folks have gone home.
About 3:00 in the afternoon, the members of Scotland Yard and other security forces were advising people to go home, head home as soon as possible, because in many cases they were going to be walking.
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