Skip to main content
Search
Services


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CNN BREAKING NEWS

London Terror Bombings; Ambassador Manning Interview; Admiral Loy Interview

Aired July 7, 2005 - 17:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Police say they were shocked but not surprised. Terror bombings in London, leaving dozens dead, hundreds more wounded. Our special coverage continues right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: LONDON TERROR, a CNN special report. Multiple bombings in the British capital, the deadliest attack there since the Second World War.

Target, mass transit. Mass casualties on British trains and a bus. America goes on alert.

Who's responsible? Has al Qaeda opened a new front? We'll hear from top intelligence experts, our CNN special report, LONDON TERROR continues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Thanks very much for joining us for our special coverage. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

One after another in the heart of the morning rush hour, the blasts shook the heart of London. In the span of less than an hour, four explosions ripped through three subway trains or stations and a bus packed with passengers. The red double-decker bus, a symbol of London, was torn apart by the blast, which left the nearby buildings splattered with blood.

As dazed passengers streamed from the Underground stations, rescue workers rushed to help the victims. As of this hour, authorities say the death toll stands at 37. Seven hundred people were wounded.

In this country, the Department of Homeland Security immediately raised the alert level for mass transit systems to orange or high. Authorities are stepping up the search of trains, buses, and terminals.

Let's go straight to our correspondents covering this story.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is on the scene for us in London. The attacks may have been timed to disrupt the G-8 summit in Scotland. Our Elaine Quijano is there. CNN's Mary Snow is in New York, where residents may be wondering who's next.

Paula Hancocks, let's begin with you on the scene in London. Give us the latest.

Unfortunately -- go ahead, Paula.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: ... King's Cross Station which is usually one of the busiest stations of the London transport network and usually this road that I'm standing on would be streaming with cars, but at the moment, it is like a ghost town in this area.

This is the area where 21 people lost their lives earlier on this morning in that explosion on the Piccadilly Line. This is one of the Underground lines which is the deepest of the London Underground system. So the police are saying that it took them the longest to try to get to all the casualties down there, and it also was the one Underground line where it took the longest to evacuate everyone from.

Now this isn't the first time that we've had tragedy here at King's Cross Station. Back in 1987, 27 people died after there was a fire that started underneath an escalator.

Now many people have survived the actual bomb that went off on that Piccadilly Line, and they have some horrific stories to tell.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we left King's Cross Station, within two to -- 15 seconds, there was a large bang. People were physically ejected out of the chair. The flashes of lights on the side of the two carriage. Smoke immediately billowed into the carriage. It filled it. People started to scream because it was a burning smell. And everyone, just kind of a long story short, thought they were going to die.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANCOCKS: London Underground estimates that about 900 people would have been on that train at the time of the explosion, and 500 trains at the height of rush hour would have been going from one end of London to the other.

Also, not far from here around the corner at Tavistock Place there was another explosion. This was the last of the four explosions on a double-decker bus. It happened almost an hour after that first explosion, the first three on the Underground, this one on a double- decker bus.

Eyewitnesses say that the whole roof of this double-decker bus blew off. The metropolitan police are saying that it's possible that there could have been a suicide bomber on this particular bus that could have been trying to target the Underground. They say that it is unusual that there would be three on the tube, on the Underground train system, and maybe this fourth would have been destined for that, too. On this particular bus, two people died, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Paula Hancocks, on the scene for us in London. Paula, we'll get back to you. The British prime minister, Tony Blair, President Bush among other leaders in Scotland attending the G-8 summit when the attacks took place. CNN's Elaine Quijano is joining us now live from Gleneagles in Scotland with more -- Elaine.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello to you, Wolf.

In fact, British Prime Minister Tony Blair is now back here at the Gleneagles resort in Scotland. It was just about an hour or so ago that we saw him return here to the resort to rejoin the other members, the other G-8 leaders who are here.

Now, the world leaders, in fact, continued on with their meetings even after news of the explosions in London broke. One U.S. official saying that what he witnessed was a renewed sense of purpose, a renewed sense of determination among all of the leaders to proceed on with their work.

Now all throughout the day, we heard statements from various world leaders condemning the attacks, but we also heard, in particular, from Prime Minister Blair and President Bush, two very strong allies together in the war on terror, each of them issuing statements that were forceful and resolute.

(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.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATS: 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)

QUIJANO: And one U.S. official pointing out the cohesiveness of the group symbolized by the image of the world leaders all standing together, a couple of times, both when the joint statement was issued and also standing literally and figuratively behind British Prime Minister Tony Blair as he condemned those attacks.

The message quite clear here out of the Gleneagles summit that in fact, whatever differences may have existed between these world leaders, they are certainly united now to confront terrorism -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Elaine Quijano, covering the G-8 summit for us in Scotland. Elaine, thank you.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is responding to the bombings by raising the terror alert for mass transit systems. The alert went from yellow indicating an elevated threat to orange indicating a high threat.

The homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, says that, while there's no specific credible information pointing toward an attack on the U.S. mass transit system, he's concerned about a possible copycat attack.

(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)

BLITZER: Homeland security officials say the orange alert applies to regional and inner city passenger trains, subways and metropolitan bus systems.

The London attack is striking a nerve in New York. City and state officials are trying to reassure residents that extra precautions are being taken in the wake of the bombings. At a news conference, the mayor, Michael Bloomberg, said New Yorkers know all too well what London is experiencing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY: It 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: New York Governor George Pataki has ordered state troopers to ride mass transit and the police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, says there will be an officer on every rush hour train today and tomorrow.

But are New Yorkers taking any comfort from those precautions? CNN's Mary Snow is on Wall Street in Lower Manhattan with that part of the story -- Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, despite that extra security, almost everyone we spoke with today said they know that their safety can't be 100 percent guaranteed. Most said they went on with their regular daily commute, but some refused to get on the subway today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW (voice-over): Some say they were scared, others angry. Many New Yorkers working just blocks from Ground Zero say the attacks in London reminded them all too vividly of 9/11.

SIMON SCHAMONN, WORKS IN FINANCIAL DISTRICT: As you can imagine being down here, coming to work every day, it does bring back some horrifying memories.

SNOW: Security in the financial district, already tight, was beefed up. The police department's daily emergency response exercise shifted focus to the subway. Extra officers were deployed on subways, ferries and buses, where inspections were stepped up.

The city reports subway usage was normal, but clearly nerves were rattled.

SANDRA VIDAL, WORKS IN FINANCIAL DISTRICT: I think a lot of people were worried on the train. A lot of people definitely were talking about it and they were saying, you know, the time that it happened in London, the same as -- the same as 9/11. So everyone was kind of just looking at their watches and worried.

SNOW: Others are resigned to believe that another attack here is a question of when, not if.

EVELYN ANDINO, WORKS IN FINANCIAL DISTRICT: I think that the next time it's going to be underground. I don't think it's going to be, you know, outside. I really do think -- feel that way, you know.

SNOW: But as one commuter put it, New Yorkers are a tough lot and have learned to accept risk.

DAVID WEILD, WORKED IN FINANCIAL DISTRICT: I don't think it's new to New Yorkers and I think we've -- we've weathered all previous storms extremely well. I'm sure New Yorkers will weather anything that's thrown at us exceedingly well.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: One 9/11 survivor I spoke with said she just came back to Lower Manhattan just a few weeks ago to return to work here and she said she was determined to get onto the subway this morning, saying that she was not going to be held back by terrorists -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Mary Snow on Wall Street for us in New York. Thank you, Mary.

Officials around the world are taking note of the London bombings, perhaps nowhere more so than in New York City, which still bears the scars of 9/11. For more now, we're joined by the New York City police commissioner, Ray Kelly.

Commissioner, thanks very much for joining us.

RAY KELLY, NYPD COMMISSIONER: You're welcome.

BLITZER: Give us your immediate reaction. What are you doing in New York now, for example, that you weren't doing yesterday? KELLY: Well, we've increased doing what we have been doing. We've just added more personnel to some of our standard programs. One thing we were not doing is having a police officer on every train at rush hour. We'll have that -- we have that now at this evening's rush hour. We'll have it tomorrow morning and tomorrow evening. That's something, as I say, that we haven't been doing. But we're reinforcing a lot of the programs that we think have been successful so far.

BLITZER: But let me get to the bottom line, Commissioner. What if somebody walks into one of those subway stations carrying a bomb or wearing a bomb on his or her vest? What's to stop that person from going down those steps into a train and blowing himself up or herself up?

KELLY: Well, we can think of thousands of scenarios that would cause injuries, kill people. There are no guarantees, as so many people have said, in a post 9/11 world.

We think we're doing everything that's prudent, everything that we reasonably can do to protect the city. I wish we could have a cop, you know, on every train all the time or one on every station all the time. It's simply something we can't do.

We rely on intelligence. I think we have a fairly sophisticated analytical system. We work closely with our federal partners. I think what we're doing has worked so far, but hey, no guarantees.

BLITZER: Well, what about what some have suggested? I know it's very expensive. It would be difficult. Getting metal detectors at the entrances to the subway stations? What about that?

KELLY: I just don't think that's practical. It is mass transit, meaning we're moving lots of people in a short period of time. I don't think logistically that you could do that. I believe it's not feasible. You'd have lines, you know, around the block.

And what sets off a metal detector? You know, change, keys, all of those things. I think it's just unrealistic.

There are some risks that we're just going to have to accept in our post-9/11 world. We're doing a lot to reduce those risks, but we're never going to eliminate them.

BLITZER: What are you being told, commissioner, about these attacks in London? As far as the spillover about what should happen here in the United States, from federal authorities?

KELLY: Well, we're not certain from any authorities what's going to happen in the United States. They're still analyzing the information that has been gathered over there.

We have our own personnel there. The British authorities have been very cooperative, have been for a long time. We work very closely with them. And they're still sorting through the wreckage. And indeed, there are one location that they haven't been able to fully reach as yet to do an analysis. So we're getting information, but we can't rush it. We'd like to know everything, you know, right now, but it's just not possible.

They're doing their examination. We have some information. We don't believe so far, at least in looking in-depth at two of the locations, that suicide bombers were involved. But two other locations where they're still sifting through the wreckage.

BLITZER: Does this have the hallmarks, from your perspective, of al Qaeda?

KELLY: Yes, al Qaeda or al Qaeda spin-offs or franchise groups. You know, there are a lot of groups that signed on to al Qaeda and al Qaeda philosophy. It may not necessarily be hard-core al Qaeda, but groups that are associated with them. Yes, I think it's reasonable to assume. At least that is a reasonable investigative premise to go forward for.

BLITZER: One final -- one final question. Commissioner, anecdotal evidence are you getting evidence that New Yorkers are reluctant to use mass transit, whether buses or subways today, that they're deciding they're either going to walk or go in cars?

KELLY: No, not so far. The information we have is that the ridership this morning, and, of course, this event happened before our rush hour period this morning, was about the same as it would be on any workday. This evening, people have to get home. It appears to be the same level. We'll monitor that tomorrow.

New Yorkers are tough people. They realize that there are certain risks that they have to assume. I think they also realize that the government is doing everything that we reasonably can do to protect them.

BLITZER: Commissioner Ray Kelly of New York City, good luck to you, Commissioner. Good luck to all the people of New York. Thanks very much for joining us.

KELLY: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: And just ahead, an update on Americans in London. We'll go live to the State Department for the latest information on how many Americans were injured in those terror attacks.

Plus, the devastating effects of a bomb on a bus. Our senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows us what can happen in an attack like the one that occurred in London today. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We'll have much more on the London terror attacks in just a moment. First, though, we're getting some news in on Hurricane Dennis. A new report that's just come out this hour, says it's now a dangerous Category 3 storm with winds near 115 miles an hour. Hurricane watches and warnings are now up in the Florida Keys as Dennis closes in.

The National Hurricane Center says Dennis could grow even stronger before it makes landfall in Cuba tomorrow. We're watching Hurricane Dennis for you.

We're also watching the terror attacks in London. U.S. diplomats are working to determine the fate of Americans in London. Let's check in with our State Department correspondent, Andrea Koppel.

What do we know, Andrea?

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, what we know is that, fortunately, no Americans appear to have died in today's blast. The State Department has confirmed that two Americans, however, were injured and two others are believed to have been injured but that has yet to be confirmed.

For the State Department, there are other really profound concerns today. As they look forward beyond today's attack, and among the questions that are facing people like Secretary of State Colin Powell (sic) and others is, will today's attacks in London impact Tony Blair, the British prime minister's, resolve to keep his 8,000 troops in Iraq?

What impact will this have on the British public, and their resolve to continue to support the efforts of the British forces in that country?

That, perhaps, is among the reasons why in the next few minutes here at the State Department, just outside the State Department officials will be raising a British flag in solidarity with their close ally and another reason perhaps that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, went over almost immediately today to sign the condolence book at the British embassy.

It you'll remember, Wolf, after the attack in Spain, the close U.S. ally, Prime Minister Jose Aznar withdrew not just -- he lost an election and his -- the man who replaced him withdrew all Spanish forces from Iraq -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Andrea, as you know, a lot of tourists, a lot of Americans who want to go overseas, they go to the State Department web site to check out travel advisories. Any indication that that advisory for Britain is about to change?

KOPPEL: You can count on it, Wolf. Anytime there's been any sort of a terrorist attack of this kind or lesser, the State Department will issue a travel advisory to all Americans advising them as to what they should be on alert for. In the case of London, I'm sure they would say stay away from public transport. There is a number in addition that we should tell our viewers about. Here at the State Department, a call center in case you think that you might know somebody who was in London and you want to alert the State Department or perhaps find out if the State Department has information on your loved one. That number is 188-407-4747 -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Andrea Koppel, thanks very much.

As we've heard, one of London's famous double-decker buses was among the targets today. And unfortunately, experts know all too well what kind of damage a bomb on a bus can do.

For more on that, we're joined by Kelly McCann, our security analyst, and CNN senior medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He's at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

Let's talk to you, Sanjay, first. The location -- the location of these kinds of attacks. Let's talk about that double-decker bus that all of us are so familiar with in London. A hundred and seven people can actually get into those buses, 107 total: 73 on top, 33 on the bottom. Plus the driver. That adds up to 107 people in a relatively small area. What does that say to you, Sanjay?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, there's lots of information on these sorts of injuries, Wolf. A lot of it comes from war-like situations. A lot of it comes from other types of bombing on buses. It's sad that we have so much data on this sort of thing.

Wolf, let me quickly show you an actual schematic from a bus, an actual bus explosion. This one took place in Jerusalem. Give you a sense of what happens here. It's, again, sad a diagram like this even exists, Wolf.

But take a look at that orange spot in the very middle. That's the site of an explosion on a bus. All the dark squares, those are the people who died. The lighter squares are people who were moderately injured and then the orange squares further away from the explosion are the people who are only lightly injured.

But you can get a sense here, Wolf. What happens is there are several different waves to an explosion. There's a primary wave, which basically is just the blast injury. It causes head injuries, lung injuries. It may blow out your eardrums and may hurt your gut, as well.

The secondary sort of injuries are from shrapnel and debris being blown around on the bus. You can imagine that.

The third wave is sort of the people themselves actually being moved around.

Here is the most likely cause of death. This is actually from a blast injury to the brain. The brain, this is just an animation but still disturbing to look at. The brain sort of moving around within the skull, subsequently getting some swelling. And that's probably one of the most likely causes of death in a situation like this, Wolf. BLITZER: Sanjay, in addition to being a surgeon, a medical doctor, you've also been an investigator. What are people going to be looking at specifically right now to try to determine what happened and what lessons can be learned?

GUPTA: Yes. Some of the most -- some of the most disturbing details to talk about, Wolf, but a couple things.

One is that you may have heard that a lot of the deceased are sort of being left in place for further investigation and examination. Two things that they're really looking for here.

One is by determining where bodies ended up, you might get a better sense of exactly where the explosion was and exactly what kind of explosive device it was, as well. That's a purely investigative piece of information they're going to collect from just examining where bodies ended up.

But also, you know, the whole process of identification, as you can imagine, with an explosion this strong, the bodies may -- body parts may end up in different parts, as well. And to be able to identify them does require investigation. Actually trying to piece together bodies is, again, a gruesome thing. It's difficult to talk about, Wolf, but it's a necessary part of what crime scene investigators, criminal scene investigators do, as well.

BLITZER: Sanjay, stand by. I want to bring Kelly McCann in, our security analyst. Kelly, what can people do to protect themselves in this kind of environment?

KELLY MCCANN, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: First you have to understand what the terrorist is looking to do so that you can look for manifested behavior.

He's going to try to determine regularity, patterns of regularity. He's going to look for security forces. He's going to look at the times of day where density is high so it makes a better target.

His demeanor, you know, how he is towards other passengers. We know that, for instance, in some al Qaeda camps, people were trained past that. In other words, how to appear to not be nervous, how to appear to be calm, even though they may have been being martyred there moments from then.

Other things that might make sense...

BLITZER: Let me just press you on that point. Shouldn't you be watching all the passengers all the time when you go on a subway or a train or you go on a bus? You simply have to look at all the people surrounding you?

MCCANN: It's called situational awareness. And I don't mean to mean that people should be paranoid but you should have situational awareness. If it's summer and someone comes in, in appropriately dressed with a very heavy jacket that might be a little bit too long, you've got to ask why would that person dress that way? Why -- what could they be concealing?

If they seem to be struggling with a package that's a little bit too heavy for the average commuter. As I said earlier in the broadcast, some of the bombs in Jerusalem have been between ten and 20 pounds, easily transportable but not light like a briefcase might be.

BLITZER: And of course, if you see a package that's unattended, you immediately have to alert authorities, the bus driver or whatever.

MCCANN: Absolutely, and a lot of people don't do that, Wolf, because they're self-conscious about it. They think or try to hope their way out of an attack. You've got to report those things.

BLITZER: Let me bring back Sanjay. Sanjay, before I let you go, I saw some video of security personnel or first responders in biohazards suits and responding to the situation in London. Give us your assessment. What was going on?

GUPTA: Well, this is an important part of any kind of investigation, as well, Wolf. But I'll preface it by saying there's been no indication there was any sort of bioterrorism component to this.

What they're trying to do, Wolf, is a fairly -- fairly straightforward investigation. Swabbing surfaces, looking for any potential biocontaminate. They may use detectors, as well. Just testing the air.

The problem with this, Wolf, is that it's not the most sophisticated testing. You may not find something, even if it was released. And that's not to scare people, but what might happen is if people start to what we call cluster a few days from now with some sort of respiratory illness or some sort of rash, you might have a sense then that a bioterror weapon of some sort was released.

Again, nobody is saying that that happened. But that is pretty standard precaution after some sort of explosive device has been detonated, Wolf.

BLITZER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, helping us understand this story as he always does. Sanjay, thank you very much.

Kelly McCann, thanks to you, as well.

Up next, what U.S. intelligence agencies are doing today in the wake of the London terror bombings. CNN has an exclusive interview with the director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center. He's had a very, very busy day. We'll have that. That's coming up.

You're looking at these live pictures of London. It's 10:27 p.m. local time. A horrible day in the British capital.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: CNN's coverage of today's London bomb attacks continuing. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. It's now after 10:00 p.m. in London, a full 12 hours since the last of four explosions targeted the city's vast transit system. Bombs went on off on three subway trains or stations and one bus.

Authorities say at least 37 people were killed and more than 700 people have been wounded. The British prime minister, Tony Blair, blamed Islamic radicals for the attacks and said they appear to be timed to coincide with the start of the G-8 summit in Scotland.

He said Britons will not be intimidated. A group calling itself and I'm quoting now, "The group of al Qaeda of Jihad organization in Europe," claimed responsibility on a Web site, but that claim could not be verified independently.

The British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, says neither police nor intelligence agencies had any advance warning of today's attacks. Joining us are CNN National Security Correspondent David Ensor. Ensor's had some remarkable access to U.S. officials today. David, tell us what you know.

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, for the first time, Wolf, the eye of the storm, so to speak, for U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies is a new place in Northern Virginia: The National Counter-Terrorism Center. And CNN got an exclusive look at it yesterday and a tour with the director of that agency.

Now, this is a place where they pull together analysts from all of the agencies; from the CIA, from FBI, from Homeland Security and they're supposed to be able to, with this high-tech equipment that you see, to pull in data from all of the different data points that they have.

They can put together -- the whole idea is connecting the dots. As was pointed out by 9/11, the U.S. government sometimes new things that the other hand didn't know. So, the idea is to put it all together in one place and try to stop terrorism. Here you see the -- Director Brennan taking me on a tour and he described for us how this high-tech room, the operation center, is supposed to work.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BRENNAN, NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER: We might have up there classified imagery that we would have, as well as then, information that comes from clandestine sources that we'll overlay on top of that imagery to show us, in fact, where the threats are emerging. And to correlate the information that comes from technical sources, human sources, imagery and other things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ENSOR: So, there is in addition to that, a conference room and here you see that, where everyday, twice a day, at 8:00 in the morning first time, the representatives of all of the intelligence agencies get together, either in this room or by tell he conference. The White House is also on. And as you can see, it's fairly high-tech. They can look at any kind of intelligence in realtime, they can see pictures, you know, from the sky, from anywhere they need to on those screens which pull up out of the equipment there. They can also teleconference with the White House, with anywhere else they need to in realtime.

BLITZER: Is this terrorism center at a location that's publicly known or is it one of these undisclosed locations, David?

ENSOR: They've kind of asked that we not publicize the address. It's been -- it's publicly known that it's in Northern Virginia. Chances are people will know where it is fairly soon. It's very well protected; very, very secure.

BLITZER: Is it deep underground.

ENSOR: No, but the building, I'm told, the outer skin of the building is actually heavier than the whole building is. It is incredibly reinforced; Oklahoma City standards.

BLITZER: Which makes a lot of sense.

John Mclaughlin is with us, our CNN national security advisor, former deputy director at the CIA.

What do you make of this new format for dealing with these terror threats that's been established? Is this just bureaucratic gobbledegook or is there something that we've learned from 9/11 that we're doing now, that we didn't do before?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the main challenges in intelligence today, Wolf, have little to do with organization and structure and everything to do with fusion of data. And what this place is, is designed to fuse data.

You have upwards of 20 different databases from around the federal government flowing into this one place and a number of people who are authorized to see all of that data. So, the idea here is: People who see everything.

BLITZER: So, in other words, to make sure that the left hand of the U.S. government knows what the right hand of the U.S. government is doing; that everybody has access to all that information.

MCLAUGHLIN: Exactly. So, in practice, what you have is a group of CIA officers who are looking at FBI data, Coast Guard data, data from the Department of Homeland Security; a group of Coast Guard officers who are looking at a similar body of data and comparing notes with them. So, the idea here is, basically to see as much of the battlefield as you can and try and put that picture together.

BLITZER: All right. So, deal with what it means today in the aftermath of the rush hour terror attacks in London, what does it mean for these analysts -- and we see David walking by in this new counterterrorism center with John Brennan, the new director -- what does it mean today for U.S. policy-makers and officials who are working to try to make sure this doesn't happen here?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the first thing that happens in a situation like this is all senior officials in the intelligence business are going to be on the phone to their counterparts in Great Britain.

Across the board, the default position here at a time like this is to share everything, particularly between two countries like Britain and the United States.

So, that data will be flowing into the United States. As soon as the British get it, they'll be making it available to our intelligence people.

BLITZER: Everything they will share with the U.S. or are there certain things they won't share?

MCLAUGHLIN: I am actually not aware of anything in a case like this they wouldn't share. In other words, there's complete transparency with a close ally like this, at a moment like this, on the data.

So, that's the first thing that's going on: Senior leaders are scraping data back and forth. The analysts that David walked by there, are going to be looking at data that's coming up on screens. Some of it will be American data, some of it will be coming from overseas, some of it will be from human sources, some from technical sources and they'll be trying to put it together to break the clues out of all of it.

BLITZER: And they'll go back and take a look at the so-called chatter to see if maybe analysts missed something.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, one of the first things you do in a case like this -- and I'm sure it's happening on both sides of the Atlantic -- is you go back and you look at all the things you had been looking at, to see if in the light of what's happened it looks any different.

It's -- it happens in all walks of life this happens. Once you see something before you, other things may take a different meaning. Also, people will be looking at things that they didn't have time to look at to make sure that we didn't miss anything and that will be important.

BLITZER: We're almost out of time, but David, put you're -- you're a great reporter, what are you hearing from your sources on the latest responsibility? Who did this in London today?

ENSOR: Well, they -- the default position is to believe al Qaeda or al Qaeda-connected groups were probably behind it, a possibility of Zarqawi involvement.

It's really too early to say who was involved. I would just tell you, if I can grab the moment, that we'll have a broader report on this NCTC exclusive visit on "NEWS NIGHT" at 10:00 tonight.

BLITZER: And We'll be watching. David Ensor doing some excellent work for us, as usual. Thanks very much. John Mclaughlin, thanks to you as well.

Here in the United States, Homeland Security officials are responding to the London attacks by raising the terror alert code for U.S. mass transit systems. The alert went up a notch from the code yellow, which indicates an elevated threat, to code orange, which indicates a high threat.

CNN's Kathleen Koch is over at Union Station here in Washington with more. And what it means practically for a lot of commuters in the nation's capital.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, some 1.2 million people everyday, ride both the subways and buses here in Washington, D.C. Now, the London attacks didn't seem to phase them, though security has been ramped up.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KOCH (voice-over): Bomb-sniffing dogs searching for explosives, heavily armed SWAT teams patrolling stations, even checking individual trains.

SGT. PETER SEPULVEDA, METRO TRANSIT POLICE: We secure the train to make sure there's no bags unattended or whatever and we let the train operator proceed and we continue downstairs. And we basically do this and secure the whole entire station.

KOCH: Subway riders in the nation's capital are not flinching at the precautions to prevent an attack here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a lot of extra presence around, so I felt pretty safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's definitely something you worry about, but really not much you can do about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is part of living in D.C., I guess. You accept a certain risk.

KOCH: On Capitol Hill, officers are stepping up screening of large vehicles, searching and boarding buses. Surveillance cameras have been activated across the city, as has the police department's emergency command post.

CHIEF CHARLES RAMSEY, WASHINGTON POLICE: We've combined our resources with bomb dogs and various other specialized equipment that we need, so that we can spread ourselves out and effectively cover the city.

ANTHONY WILLIAMS, MAYOR, WASHINGTON D.C.: I'm confident that the measures that we're taking, you can never -- you know, the terrorists have to be successful only once. We have to be successful absolutely all the time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOCH: And officials have also stepped up their warnings to passengers to be on the lookout for suspicious packages or individuals. Even passing out cards like this one, Wolf, to subway riders attending the Washington Nationals game today, asking them to report to police anything unusual that they see.

BLITZER: Kathleen Koch at Union Station, here in Washington. Kathleen, thank you.

The United States has tried to improve its aviation security since 9/11, but how much has been done to protect mass transit on the ground? Joining us now from Williamsburg, Virginia, retired Admiral James Loy, he's former deputy secretary of Homeland Security.

And here in Washington, CNN security analyst Clark Kent Ervin. He's the former inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security.

Admiral Loy, let me begin with you. What has been done and what needs to be done to protect people on the ground as opposed to in the air?

ADMIRAL JAMES LOY, (RET) FRM. DEPUTY SECRETARY, HOMELAND SECURITY: Wolf, I think the personal experience that we encountered as a nation on 9/11 almost encouraged us to deal with it in the manner we had done so historically, which is to say we are very, very good at looking over our shoulder and dealing with last year's battle.

We poured billions of dollars into the aviation sector. It was a sector of the economy that was already marginal, if you will, with respect to stability. And our goal at the time was to be able to rebuild the confidence of the American traveling public in aviation.

Now we have in the aftermath of Madrid on a rail system and now in London with mass transit systems data points on the calendar which suggest a balance attendant to grappling with the transportation sector across the board is probably a very prudent thing for us to consider doing.

BLITZER: We're showing some video of what happened in London. But let's talk about -- this is actually Madrid that happened last year, March of last year, the pictures we're seeing right now.

Did the lessons of the Madrid train bombings really resonate, Admiral Loy, because a lot of experts have suggested that the mass transit system in the United States has really been the stepchild as far as the security situation is concerned?

LOY: Well, I think the resonance had an awful lot to do with the aftermath of Madrid and will again now in the aftermath of London. The reality was extraordinary outreach to the modal administrations in the Department of Transportation from the Department of Homeland Security.

Vulnerability assessments undertaken. A distribution of federal dollars into both of those networks by way of grants, bus grants and rail grants and port security grants.

The reality here, though, is those that are in a quest for 100 percent guarantee across an open society transportation network as widely spread as ours are really not going to be gratified at the end of the day.

Our reality is that we should be very much focused in a zero- tolerance manner on things like weapons of mass destruction in the hands of the terrorists, but we have to take a reasonable and practical approach that keeps our society open and engaged in a global marketplace today. And that does not mean, in a risk management world, abilities to provide 100 percent guarantees.

BLITZER: Let's bring in Clark Kent Ervin, the former inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security.

Clark, practically speaking, what would be the impact on commuters from going from the yellow to the orange level, from the elevated to the high level, that was imposed today by the secretary of homeland security?

ERVIN: I think they'll see ,and they're seeing, increased police presence, more surveillance, looking at trash receptacles and other storage areas, canine bomb detection units, the kind of heightened awareness that happened briefly after Madrid but was not institutionalized. I think what we need to see going forward is these measures put in place for an extended, continuous period of time.

BLITZER: Does this need to be done nationally? Because this is very expensive as you know, not only financially, man hours, women hours, if you will. Or should the Department of Homeland Security, the TSA and other agencies focus in on the major so-called cities, New York, Washington, L.A., Miami, because a lot of the smaller communities, smaller cities around the United States are going to feel a financial expense as well?

ERVIN: These kinds of activities are hugely expensive. There's no question about it.

So I'm of the mind that there should be a risk-based management approach to this, so certainly those areas like New York and Washington that are clearly at greater risk of attack should have greater measures imposed.

BLITZER: Admiral Loy, is that practical just to target, if you will, certain of the major cities in the United States without going to some of the smaller or medium-sized cities?

LOY: I believe indeed it is. I agree with Clark 100 percent.

The challenge is to establish a threshold of capability that is literally from coast to coast, but then to recognize the extraordinary risk and vulnerability attendant to what we might say is the 50 or the 100 largest target cities or target areas in our country, and recognize that as a legitimate utilization of federal dollars to assist them in securing their locale. BLITZER: Admiral Loy, thanks very much for joining us.

Clark Kent Ervin, thanks to you as well.

Up next, Sir David Manning, the British ambassador to the United States, he'll will join us for a live interview. That's coming up.

Also, this isn't the first tragedy London's faced. We'll take a closer look how the city has conquered adversity in the past. You're looking at these live pictures, London 10:45 p.m. local time. We'll take a quick break. More of our special coverage right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: 37 confirmed dead, 700 people injured in the terror attacks in London earlier today. Only yesterday, London was celebrating its selection as the site of the 2012 summer Olympics. Over the course of just barely one hour this morning, Londoners saw an exceptionally good week turn into an exceptionally bad week.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER (voice-over): London began the week on a high, riding a wave of optimism from the weekend's Live 8 concert. A buoyant Tony Blair headed to Scotland where leaders of the world's great powers were gathering to address his new signature issue, ending extreme poverty in Africa.

Back in London, thousands packed Trafalgar Square awaiting the decision on the Olympic Committee on which city will host the 2012 games.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the games of the 30th Olympiad in 2012 are awarded to the city of London.

BLITZER: A surprise victory over their French rivals. It was a good week for London until this morning when everything else seemed to fade away.

BLAIR: But our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world. Whatever they do, it is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Here in Washington, the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, visited the British embassy to sign a book of condolences. And joining us now is Sir David Manning, the British ambassador to the United States. Ambassador -- first of all, condolences to you and all the people of Britain on this horrific, horrific attack.

What is the latest information that you're getting from your government, the nature, the extent of this terror attack? SIR DAVID MANNING, BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: Well, first of all, can I thank you, Wolf, for inviting me on and for your condolences? And can I take this opportunity to repeat what I have been saying through the day, which is: We are enormously grateful to Americans all across this country for the wave of support and solidarity we've had?

We're very touched by it. It reminds us, of course, when we were together in that terrible moment of 9/11. And it is enormously comforting to know that we stand together on this.

I don't think that I can bring you more news about what has happened today than you have been covering yourself. We have seen these terrible images. We have seen that many people have died and been injured from these bombs.

And, at the moment, the clearing up -- the first assessment is still going on. So I think it would be misleading of me if I told you that I knew exactly what the final casualty total was going to be or how this was going to work itself out.

But we are working as fast as we can to come to a proper understanding of what happened and who did it.

BLITZER: Do we know the nature of the bombings? Were they suicide bombers? Were they remotely detonated bombs? What do we know about these four explosions?

MANNING: We still don't know how they were detonated. And, again, there are various theories. But, again, I want to be very careful in what I say, because I could so easily mislead.

We don't know yet. It's very early to give you a definite answer to that question. But we hope to know as soon as possible.

BLITZER: The British prime minister, Tony Blair, suggested it was the work of Islamist Jihadists, if you will, terrorists. Do we assume, do you assume, does your government assume this is al Qaeda or some sort of sympathetic spin-off from al Qaeda?

MANNING: Well, I think obviously al Qaeda is one strong possibility. But there are other possibilities. And if I may, I'd like to separate the word "Islamist" from "Jihadist" in this because I think it's very important that we don't fall for the suggestion that Islam is somehow an extremist religion.

And there have been many, many statements around the world, in my own country but also in this country today of solidarity from Muslim organizations and from Muslims who obviously absolutely condemn what has happened.

So I don't want to connect Islam with extremism here. That it's an extremist attack, yes, I'm absolutely clear about that. We are working now to try and establish who it is.

But, again, I think we need to be cautious if these first hours because if we convince ourselves that it must be one particular organization, then we may delude ourselves and not get onto the right track.

BLITZER: Was there any warning given, was there any indication this was about to happen in London?

MANNING: Well, not that I'm aware of at all, no. I think there was no indication that I'm aware of. And, of course, had we had an inkling of what was going to happen, we would have been trying very, very hard to stop it. But as far as I know, there was no warning.

BLITZER: Sir David Manning, the British ambassador to the United States. I'll end this interview with the way I started it. Our deepest condolences to you and all the people of Britain.

MANNING: Well, we're very grateful.

Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you for spending a few moments with us on this horrific day.

This isn't the first time Londoners have dealt with violence. Up next, a look at a city with a history of resolve in the face of despair as we look at live pictures from London just before 11:00 p.m. London Time.

We'll take a quick break. More of our special coverage right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: London was hurt by today's bombings, but the city has a long reputation of standing steadfast not surrendering. It's been through much worse.

CNN's Bruce Morton reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): London's been hit before, of course. The blitz during World War II when Hitler's luftwaffe tried to bomb the city into submission. They sent their kids away, they died maybe 30,000 Londoners, they won the war.

Since then, it's been terror, mostly the Irish Republican Army. Hit Harrods Department Store in 1983, a bomb in Brighton in 1984 aimed at killing then prime minister Margaret Thatcher, but she wasn't there when it went off.

Bomb at the Carlton Club, lots of conservative party folks there. 1991 bomb aimed at then prime minister John Major but he lived. Bomb at London Bridge in 1992, bomb at a train station. They've done that often.

April 1992, huge bomb in the financial district. And many more. Terrorists who have what the late Eric Sevareid called the special strength of the shameless, not warriors in battle, but attackers whose chosen targets are the innocents, the defenseless. London has seen much of this.

Bombs at train stations and crosses, bombs in the theater district. This bomb was at the city's Canary Wharf in 1996 and one man spoke for many.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; I don't know much about the politics of it, but it sounds very much like there's some determination to destroy people's lives. They don't really care what they're going to do to people, terrible.

MORTON: Right then, sir, and still true to do.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Please stay tuned to CNN for special coverage throughout the evening. "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" starts right now. Lou is standing by to pick up our coverage in New York -- Lou.

END

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines