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Making His Care; How Safe Are We?; 9/11 Remembered; Missing Maddie; The Battle Continues; Minding Your Business

Aired September 11, 2007 - 10:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: CNN exclusive. The director of the FBI six years after the 9/11 attacks. Why Osama bin Laden is still on the run and delivering a new taped warning today.

ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: It's relatively easy to hide an individual or a small group of individuals in a series of mountains.


CHETRY: We're live from the war on terror's front lines in Afghanistan.

And battle lines.


GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, CMDR., MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ: What I provided was an assessment. I'm not an optimist or a pessimist anymore, I'm a realist. And Iraq is real hard.


CHETRY: The top commander and top diplomat in Iraq say some troops can come home, but not right away.


RYAN CROCKER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: This process will not be quick and it will require substantial U.S. resolve and commitment.


CHETRY: Top lawmakers from both sides join us today.

Plus, spies on the sidelines? An NFL team accused of stealing signals on this AMERICAN MORNING.

And welcome. Thanks for being with us on this Tuesday, September 11, 2007. I'm Kiran Chetry.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning from Washington on this patriot day. I'm John Roberts. Another big day here with Ambassador Ryan Crocker and General David Petraeus testifying before the Senate about the way forward on Iraq. We'll have all that news for you today.


CHETRY: Also, it's been six years since the attacks on America. We're getting a sense now of how Americans are feeling on this day marking six years since the worst terror attack in U.S. history on American soil. A brand new CNN/Opinion Research poll released just a moment ago asked Americans if they think the U.S. is safer from terror today than before 9/11, 2001. Thirty-eight percent say the U.S. is safer, 29 percent say we're about as safe as we were and about a third feel less safe. When asked who is winning the war on terrorism, 31 percent say the U.S., 19 percent say the terrorists and nearly 50 percent say no one is winning.

Well, as the cities of New York, Washington, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, honor the lives of those lost six years ago, Osama bin Laden is now making an attempt to have his voice heard today as well. There is a new tape. It was released early this morning. And it appears to show bin Laden honoring one of the 9/11 hijackers. It's the second bin Laden tape in a week. Bin Laden speaks for 14 minutes on this one, followed by the hijackers' videotaped will. CNN is trying to confirm that the video is authentic. The voice and the picture seem to be identical to the one released last week.

So how safe are we and what is being done to hunt down Osama bin Laden? We have an exclusive interview with the director of the FBI coming up. We're also going to be talking with Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend. That's coming up in our next half hour.


ROBERTS: Looking forward to all that.

Today it's the Senate's turn to hear from and question the U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and the ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker. Today's questions and answers may help Republicans on the bubble make up their minds. Does this progress report put them in the president's camp or push them over to the anti-war side? Petraeus told the House yesterday that the current strategy is working.


GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, CMDR., MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ: The military objectives of the surge are, in large measure, being met. In recent months, in the face of tough enemies and the brutal summer heat of Iraq, coalition and Iraqi security forces have achieved progress in the security arena.


ROBERTS: Well, congressional correspondent Dana Bash joins me here.

From the political perspective, this is all about soothing the queasy stomachs of Republicans who are sitting on the fence here about the Iraq War, do they tip one way or the other. In terms of how that testimony went yesterday, what happens with those Republicans?

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, this does give them a lifeline, if you will. This allows Republicans, who have been very queasy, who made that abundantly clear to the president several months ago, the ability to go home and make the case to their constituents that, you know, there is a plan for troops to come home.

However, having said that, you know, if you look at it on a broader perspective, it's kind of like a political roarshack (ph) test, John, because for Republicans, they say, you know, as I said, you know, well, you know, this is exactly what we should be doing. We should be listening to the guy sitting there with four stars on his shoulder.

For Democrats, they say, wait a minute, this is nowhere near what we want, nowhere near what we really need to actually end the war. Starting -- bringing troops down to pre-surge levels by next summer is so different from what Democrats have been demanding, which is a deadline for total troop withdrawal by that time.

ROBERTS: Right. But at least it's some sort of a timetable that Republicans can take out there to the American people, to the constituents and say, yes, this is going to end at a date certain, at least from the so-called surge perspective. Does it really emasculate Democrats in their attempts to peel off these Republicans, get 60 votes in the Senate, maybe 67 to override a presidential veto? Do they still have a fight?

BASH: It is going to be much, much harder for Democrats to do that. They knew coming back from August recess last week that they were going to have a big problem, and that is why you already, even before General Petraeus uttered one word here on Capitol Hill, you already saw Democrats quietly reaching out to Republicans, who have been openly critical of the president's plan, to do something that Democrats never even thought they would have to do now, which is compromise on this.

ROBERTS: Well, we'll see how it goes in the Senate later on today and we'll see you back here in just a little while.

Dana Bash, thanks very you.

I had the chance to talk with some soldiers who served in Iraq and get their perspective on the general's testimony on whether the troop build-up is working. Here's what they had to say.


CAPT. ROSE FORREST, VOTEVETS.ORG: The surge is a military solution. I was stationed in Ramadi, capital of al Anbar, just this previous year, and I saw the big improvements that took place in al Anbar. And those were diplomatic changes. Those were changes with the Army and the Marines working with local leaders, building a local police force. It had nothing to do with the surge. So I don't think that the surge had anything to do with the substantial improvements that were made in al Anbar. STAFF SGT. DAVID BELLAVIA, VETS FOR FREEDOM: I think it's without a doubt that the surge has accomplished something. I mean the point of the matter is, Rumsfeld was all about the DOD having the end- all solution to what was wrong with Iraq. And today we're seeing Department of Labor coming in, Agriculture coming in. People understand that the key to Iraq might not be -- you know, obviously it's instability, but it's also -- they don't have a central bank. And when a soldier wants to cash a check, he's got to go and hitch- hike and go home to Mosul or Kirkuk. And these are all issues. But centrally, when you look at the surge, you're seeing bad guys getting blasted (ph).


ROBERTS: It was a great conversation with some really interesting perspectives from these Iraq War veterans. And you can see more of that roundtable coming up at 8:00 Eastern here on AMERICAN MORNING.

It turned out that Democrats didn't go after General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker as aggressively as expected. Not like the exchange between Armed Services Chairman Democrat Ike Skelton and the Republican Foreign Affairs Committee Member Dan Burton. Take a listen to this.


REP. DAN BURTON, (R) INDIANA: I see a number of people in the audience that I anticipate will be making a disturbance. And if this occurs during the testimony by our honored guest, I hope that you will be very firm and get them out of here.

REP. IKE SKELTON, CHAIRMAN, ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: You don't have to lecture me on -- they'll be gone.


ROBERTS: And in a subsequent conversation that was picked up by an open mike, Skelton actually dropped the f-bomb over what Burton said. Capitol Police escorted the protesters from the hearing room. Four of them were arrested, including Cindy Sheehan. Quite (ph) a dust-up there yesterday there.


CHETRY: Yes. Certainly a lot more excitement than you usually see on Capitol Hill, for sure.

Thanks, John.

Well also new this morning, another terror scare in Germany. Security tight at the American base at Spangdahlem after someone called in a bomb threat last night. That person apparently threatened to blow up the base. German police say they're working on tracing the call. It comes just a week after three people were charged in a plot to blow up military bases and other western targets in Germany. Now to a CNN exclusive. An interview with FBI Director Robert Mueller about the ongoing terror threat against America. CNN's Kelli Arena talked with Director Mueller. She joins us now.

Kelli, good to see you this morning.


You know, Director Mueller says that he has what he calls substantial concerns about a possible terror attack, even though he says there's no specific intelligence suggesting that any attack on the U.S. is imminent. He just can't ignore what's going on around the world and says the U.S. homeland remains very much a target.


ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: We've been particularly concerned over the last several months. And if you look at the attacks that have happened in Glasgow and London, the arrests that were made most recently in Germany, Denmark, you understand our concern. At the outset of the summer, I put together a task force to pull together within the government various capabilities that has been running nonstop since the beginning of the summer and the threat period is certainly not over.


ARENA: Now, besides al Qaeda and related groups, Mueller says he's also concerned about extremists living in the United States. He confirmed that there are ongoing investigations of individuals with suspected terror ties living right here in the United States, but he wouldn't offer any specifics.


CHETRY: Also, of course, today, yet again the release of another bin Laden audiotape with some still pictures as well. What does he say about that? Does he think that the release of these tapes are signaling any type of precursor to another attack?

ARENA: Well, you know, Mueller said that there hasn't been any correlation between tapes and attacks in the past and he thinks that the same holds true this time around. He says there's no doubt that the U.S. is a target, but he says that al Qaeda is really only part of the threat that the U.S. is facing. He says related groups, independent extremists also pose just as serious a threat.


CHETRY: All right. Kelli Arena for us in Washington this morning. Thank you.

ARENA: You're welcome.

ROBERTS: Former Secretary of State Colin Powell says in an upcoming interview that terrorism is not the biggest issue of our time. Talking with "GQ" magazine, Powell said that immigration issues are more important. Powell says America's image has suffered abroad and that the best way to fix it is to keep the borders open and return to being known as a country that is "kind, generous, a nation of nations."

U.S. nuclear experts are in North Korea today. They will spend five days checking out North Korea's nuclear facilities, looking for the best way to disable them. This is considered a good sign that North Korea will follow through on its agreement to shut down its nuclear program.

And Hillary Clinton's campaign is giving back $850,000. The money was raised by Norman Hsu, who is now under investigation for allegedly violating election laws. She was accused of reimbursing donors for their campaign contributions in order to get around limits on those donations.


CHETRY: Well, it's time now to check in with our AMERICAN MORNING team of correspondents for some other stories new this morning.

And some changes planned for the ceremony to honor victims of the September 11th attacks in New York. Our Alina Cho is live in lower Manhattan today.

Hi, Alina.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Kiran, good morning.

It is the sixth anniversary. And for the first time, the anniversary's ceremony will not be held here at Ground Zero. It will be held in the park behind me, about a block away. The reason? They did not want to delay construction. And though the site of the ceremony is not far from here, it is certainly a symbolic difference and families will be taking note of that.

Now those family members will begin arriving here within the hour. The ceremony, as it does every year, will begin at 8:40 a.m. Eastern Time. And as in years past, there will be four moments of silence, twice to mark the times that each tower was hit, twice to mark the times that each tower fell.

The names of all of the victims will also be read, but this year the rescue and recovery workers will be reading the names, not family members. That is a first. But families will be able to descend the ramp behind me and lay flowers in a small reflecting pool at the lowest part of Ground Zero.

Now among the dignitaries who will be here today, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Clinton will not be speaking today, but Giuliani will be. And that certainly has been a point of contention. Critics have said Giuliani is using the anniversary ceremony as a photo op to prop up his presidential campaign, while supporters say Giuliani would be here even if he did not have a formal invitation.

Now as for the status of the rebuilding, a lot of people wondering why there is still a giant hole behind me nearly six years later or six years later to be exact, rather. When asked about this, the principals would only say there have been bumps in the road and there will be no more false starts.

Keep in mind, there will be four towers eventually built behind me, including the centerpiece Freedom Tower. That is now at street level. That is slated to open in 2011. The memorial is slated to open in 2009 and the museum in 2010. But keep in mind, Kiran, this is a $16 billion project on 16 acres. It is a complex project. Perhaps the most complex in U.S. history. Some have likened it to building a Rubik's cube. And so that is the reason, developers say, that there will certainly be delays.


CHETRY: Alina Cho at Ground Zero for us. Thank you.

And a new message from the parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann. Our Monita Rajpal is live in London at our world update desk.

Good morning, Monita.


You know, we understand that while Kate and Gerry McCann can't be speaking to the public about the case, that's under Portuguese law as they are now being named -- now they have been named as suspects, Gerry McCann has gone on the website that he created when Madeleine went missing four months ago, saying that they had nothing to do with her disappearance.

Meanwhile, Portuguese police have confirmed to CNN that they will be handing over their dossier of the investigation to Portugal's public prosecutors. Now the public prosecutor will have to go through this very thick file of information and the file will contain lengthy statements taken from both Kate and Gerry McCann, as well as all those interviews that were taken by the police of people who were at the resort at the time that Madeleine disappeared. Plus, of course, there will be the mountains of forensic evidence that they will have -- the prosecutor will have to go through.

Now that forensic evidence, of course, is causing some conflicting reports. There are reports, conflicting reports, indicating that the DNA that was found in the car that was hired by the McCanns was that of Madeleine McCann. That's what the police are saying. But there are other reports that are indicating that it was not a full sample. That indeed that it may have come from a toy or transferred from clothing. Again, the public prosecutor will now decide whether or not the information n this dossier is enough evidence to charge the McCanns, whether or not no action will be taken or whether or not police will have to go back and get more information. Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. Monita Rajpal at our update desk in London. Thank you.


ROBERTS: Well, the New York Jets may have felt like the New England Patriots knew exactly what they were going to do in their game on Sunday. Well, maybe they did. That story is coming up.

And it was the first front in the war on terror. Six years after 9/11, where does it stand now? Live to Afghanistan to check the facts, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHETRY: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING on this Tuesday, on this September 11th. Some "Quick Hits" now.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says that we are better prepared for terrorism today than we were six years ago. He does say that he is still concerned about weapons of mass destruction making their way into the United States.

And according to our CNN/Opinion Research poll that was just released a few minutes ago, 57 percent of Americans think that terrorists will always find a way to try to attack, no matter what the government does. Forty percent do not.

We also have an update on the Pentagon's 9/11 memorial. At this time next year, there will be 184 polished steel benches in place, each of them bearing the name of one of those killed in the building or on Flight 77. That was the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.


ROBERTS: In the months following the 9/11 attacks, coalition troops ran over the Taliban and sent al Qaeda on the run in Afghanistan. Now, close to six years later, militants are trying to take back what they lost and Osama bin Laden is still releasing taped threats to America. Another one came out overnight. Our senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is with U.S. troops live along Afghanistan's border with Pakistan. He joins us now.

Nic, what's the mission that the troops are on there?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the mission is to secure the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Over my shoulder here, that's Pakistan. That is where the U.S. National Intelligence Estimates say that Taliban and al Qaeda are regrouping.

This is the Afghan side. The military checkpoint is just around here, just to my right. On the mountainside there, you can see, quite literally, the border. You'll see no fence on the border there. That's because there is nothing to stop Taliban, al Qaeda, other people crossing from Pakistan into Afghanistan.

And the troops here have secured a road, along with Afghan national border police, and they now monitor that road and they know that it has stopped some of the bad guys here from getting around, from re-supplying in the towns here. They have been attacked at this base. They have repelled the attack. And while we've been here today, they have been shelling the mountainside because they believe there was some insurgents up there. So this is still an active location, but it is very much right on the forefront in the war on terror today.


ROBERTS: Bin Laden tapes coming out in recent days, Nic. Everybody is wondering where he is hiding. This morning Afghanistan's foreign minister said bin Laden's no longer in Afghanistan. Does that square with what you've been hearing from your sources?

ROBERTSON: Well, you know, when you talk to the soldiers here, are you hunting Osama bin Laden, are you tracking down al Qaeda? Yes, absolutely. Sure, if they've come across him or al Qaeda, they will capture them or kill, whatever the situation is.

But what they're really doing here, they say, is trying to stabilize and secure Afghanistan for the Afghans so that they won't tolerate people like bin Laden and al Qaeda, and that's how they're pursuing their mission here. When the Afghan foreign minister says bin Laden is not inside Afghanistan, he may be correct, he may be not. He may be working more off hunches than factual information.

For the U.S., who has perhaps the best intelligence gathering here at the moment, it's nobody knows and has an exact place (ph) where Osama bin Laden is. The best estimates have been that he's just across the border inside Pakistan.

Now what's interesting, the foreign minister today didn't accuse Pakistan of harboring Osama bin Laden. The ministers -- Afghan ministers have done this before. Afghanistan and Pakistan are under huge U.S. pressure to cooperate better along this border, to better stop Taliban and al Qaeda movements. And it seems that the foreign minister here, while saying Osama bin Laden is not in Afghanistan, he's not accusing Pakistan. And that may be a sign that some of that U.S. pressure is paying off, trying to get the Afghans and the Pakistanis to work closer together.


ROBERTS: And in the meantime, bin Laden remains elusive and now the majority of Americans think that he will never be captured or killed.

Nic Robertson for us hard along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan this morning.

Nic, thanks.


CHETRY: Beefing up airline security, your "Quick Hits" now. The Homeland Security Department will announce some new rules to increase security for private planes. Pilots coming from overseas will be required to give passenger names and birth dates an hour before takeoff so that custom agents then have time to check those names against terror watch lists. A similar rule will take effect for commercial planes in February.

Well, CNN has learned that the three terror suspects in Germany arrested last week may have been tipped off. According to an unnamed source close to the investigation, the suspects overheard a police officer say they were on a federal watch list while at a traffic stop. Still, they were arrested before they could carry out any plan.

A jump in oil prices. In fact, the biggest in seven months. This as OPEC considers whether or not to hike production. Ali Velshi is "Minding Your Business." He'll have the latest on that for us.

Plus, they say all is fair in love and war. Not in football. The New England Patriots accused of spying on their opponent. What they did and the price they could pay. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


ROBERTS: Coming up to 25 minutes after the hour. Welcome back to the most news in the morning here on CNN.

Help wanted tops your "Quick Hits" now. After a jobs report last week that sent the Dow into a tailspin, a new survey shows one out of four employers is looking to add positions by the end of the year, while just 9 percent are looking to make cuts.

And do you want your MTV without your VH1 or your MTV2? The Federal Communications Commission is considering forcing cable companies to stop bundling channels into tiers or groups. If they do away with it, you'd be able to pick and choose your channels and pay for them separately. Potentially save some money there.


CHETRY: Yes, sometimes too many choices not good either though.

Well, the New York Jets may have a perfectly good reason for losing 38-14 to the New England Patriots. The Patriots are accused of spying on their opposing team. The NFL is now looking into whether the Patriots were videotaping signals by Jets coaches to the Jets on the field. Now that's, of course, a violation of league rules. A video camera and tape were confiscated by the league from a Patriots employee during Sunday's game. Now according to ESPN, that same employee was removed from a game last year. We'll have to see what else shakes down from that one. Got to win fair and square, while, Ali? That's not fair.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I agree with you. Yes, no spying.

CHETRY: Twenty-five past the hour now and we're looking at the jump in oil prices.

VELSHI: Yes. Well yesterday we talked about how gasoline prices are up for the first time in several months. Now we've got oil prices going above $78 yesterday. In fact, settling in at its second highest level ever.

This is for a number of reasons. One is OPEC has been keeping a pretty tight rein on oil production. OPEC is now discussing maybe easing up on that a little bit. But there's a split in OPEC. A couple of companies that are not big fans of the United States, Iran and Venezuela, are arguing against increasing production.

Right now the U.S., or the world, uses about 86 million -- barrels of oil per day. There are some concerns at OPEC that if they start producing more oil and lowering prices, that prices are going to go down further than they expected because this whole sub prime mortgage crisis in the United States is actually going to cause people to spend less money and to buy less oil, perhaps to drive less and make different choices.

So right now we're looking at oil prices at close to a record high. We're looking at gas prices back on the upswing. Not near a record yet, because the record is over $3, but not looking good. Again, yesterday we discussed that after Labor Day you're supposed to see these things -- demand sort of fall off and prices get lower and we're just not seeing that right now.

CHETRY: All right. Ali, thanks. We'll see you in a couple minutes.

By the way, here's a story coming up that you can't miss. It's been six years since 9/11. And as we've been saying this morning, a newly released tape appears to show Osama bin Laden speaking once again, 14 minutes long, honoring one of the 9/11 hijackers.

ROBERTS: Yes, well Waleed al-Shehri is his name. It's the second bin Laden tape that we've seen in recent days. The last one came out at the end of the week. White House Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend, when she was on with Wolf Blitzer on "Late Edition," said that that tape shows that bin Laden is virtually impotent.

I would expect, Kiran, that those were very, very carefully chosen words for maximum impact in the terror community. Fran Townsend going to be joining us live coming up in a few minutes here on AMERICAN MORNING. You're looking forward to that. I know I am. We'll be back with that and more just coming up in a couple of minutes.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: A picture of Ground Zero in New York this morning, six years after the attacks of 9/11. And work going on there in earnest now to rebuild the foundation for the Freedom Tower going in. Also a brand new transit terminal for all the subways is under construction. Rebirth, really from the ashes of September 11th down there in the heart of New York City.

And welcome back to "AMERICAN MORNING." It is Tuesday, September the 11th. From Washington, D.C., I'm John Roberts.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: I'm Kiran Chetry. John, I happened to be down there in the area with my husband yesterday, in the area, bustling, a lot of rebirth, a lot of new construction projects and condos going up everywhere, people want to be back down in that area. And it is great to see after so many years of seeing basically a pit, you know, with fencing around it.

ROBERTS: Yeah, took a long time, but finally coming back to life. As we remember 9/11 today, the government is trying to prevent the next terror attack. Top counterterrorism officials testified before a Senate committee yesterday. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says the government is better prepared to disrupt a terror plot now than it was six years ago.


MICHAEL CHERTOFF, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: It is clear to me that we are much safer than we were prior to September 11, 2001. It's also clear to me that we have more work to be done, because, as you said, Mr. Chairman, the enemy's not standing still. They are constantly revising their tactics and adapting their strategy and their capabilities. And if we stand still or worse yet, if we retreat, we are going to be handing them an advantage that we dare not see them hold.


ROBERTS: And the director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell, also said eavesdropping on potential terrorists helped break up a major plot that targeted Americans at Ramstein Air Base and elsewhere in Germany -- Kiran?

CHETRY: Well, since 9/11, there haven't been any more terror attacks in the United States, but there have been some in Great Britain and thwarted attacks in Germany.

CNN's international security correspondent Paula Newton joins us in front of 10 Downing Street.

What are they doing today and what is the buzz as we're six years from the September 11th terror attacks here in the U.S., Paula?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You know, Kiran, the reality, when it comes to actually thwarting terror attacks, it's much different here in Europe.

You know, since 9/11, Americans have been confronting terror and al Qaeda abroad. Not so here in Europe. When Europeans have to have their terror battlefield right here on home soil. (BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

NEWTON (voice-over): Few could have predicted that the fallout from 9/11 would land so squarely on Europe's doorstep. From the Madrid train bombings in 2004 to the 2005 terror attack in London, to all the failed plots ever since, multiple attempts to strike vulnerable transport services in several countries. The doctor's plot earlier this summer that attempted to blow up car bombs. And the most recent arrests in both Denmark and Germany. Much of this points to a persistent brand of terror infecting Europe with one very threatening terrorist profile.

UNIDENTIFIED TERRORIST: I and thousands like me have forsaken everything for what we believe.

PETER CLARKE, COUNTERTERRORISM CHIEF, GREAT BRITAIN: Of all the things I've seen over the past few years, one of the most worrying has been the speed and apparent ease with which young men can be turned into suicidal terrorists.

NEWTON: Britain's top anti-terror cop admits he and others in Europe have only recently come to grips with the threat of homegrown terror. Undeniably, few ever thought Europeans would attack their own.

BOB AYERS, SECURITY ANALYST: They won't foul their own nest, I think was the prevalent philosophy at the time. Well, 7/7 proved they were wrong on that.

NEWTON: What makes Europe so vulnerable? By its very nature, the European Union is supposed to promote easy travel, easy access between member states, and add to that a Muslim minority that is far less integrated than in the United States.

AYERS: They stay in their own community, and they reinforce each other's perceptions of the unfairness of Western civilization of the Islam.

NEWTON: For months, European intelligence reports have marked the continent as vulnerable to attack, a soft target for al Qaeda. Several countries now concede the threat to both Americans in Europe, and Europeans themselves, is as high now as it was in the lead-up to 9/11.


NEWTON: You know, Kiran, especially on continental Europe, you still tend to sense that state of denial, people thinking that it's really just Americans who will be targeted. That's certainly what we heard last week in Germany. Quite a marked change from how they feel here in Britain because of their involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. People here know they're directly in the line of fire -- Kiran?

CHETRY: Is there any evidence that Americans specifically are targets in Europe? NEWTON: There is certainly evidence of that in Germany, and you're starting to see evidence of that in places like France and Italy as well. But so far, Europeans have to come to grips that, along with Americans, they are very much a target. I think, though, that Americans will be well advised to look at some of the warnings on some of the State Department websites before they travel and really, you know, just keep safe in a lot of these European capitals.

CHETRY: Paula Newton for us in London, thank you.

ROBERTS: Today the Senate gets to question the U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. General Petraeus says he will recommend sending home 2,000 troops this month, possibly another 5,000 in mid-December, and reduce the total number of troops in Iraq to 130,000 from 160,000 by the middle of next July.


GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, COMMANDER, MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE, IRAQ: Be able to reduce our forces to the pre-surge level of brigade combat teams by next summer without jeopardizing the security gains that we have fought so hard to achieve.


ROBERTS: General Petraeus, though, says he won't make any predictions about bringing home more troops beyond ending the so- called surge after next summer. He says he doesn't want to project too far into the future.


PETRAEUS: Well, I did not provide optimistic words. What I provided was an assessment. In fact, you may have heard me say several times that I'm not an optimist or a pessimist anymore, I'm a realist. And Iraq is real hard.


ROBERTS: And it's day two today. Petraeus and Crocker testify at 9:30 this morning eastern before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and then go before the Armed Services Committee at 2:00 p.m. eastern. Of course, we'll have coverage of that all day long here on CNN -- Kiran?

CHETRY: And CNN's Michael Ware has long covered the war from our Baghdad Bureau. He says the general's recommendation is in line with the original plan for the troop surge.


MICHAEL WARE, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I'm struck by the way people, regarding General Petraeus' discussion of those troop levels until July next year, people are acting like he's just announced some sort of phased withdrawal. Well, no, not at all. That was the timeline for the so-called surge in the beginning. Indeed, it wasn't a surge. It was a one-year escalation of U.S. forces. And the clock was due to run out on that escalation in the summer of next year anyway. So that's not a revelation at all.


CHETRY: Petraeus is proposing lowering troop levels to 130,000 by next July, the same as it was before the troop surge.

And former presidential candidate John Kerry told Larry King last night that the military itself is not enough.


SEN. JOHN KERRY, (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I think the most important thing, Larry, was the fact that you had a general testifying as to tactical military gains, but a diplomat and person in charge of the politics, who really could not report on any progress in the one area that is going to resolve this crisis. Everyone has agreed there is no military solution.


CHETRY: Well, Kerry is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which Petraeus will testify before this morning.

ROBERTS: It turned out, Kiran, the Democrats did not go after General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker as aggressively as expected, not like the exchange between Armed Services Chairman Democrat Ike Skelton and Republican Foreign Affairs Committee member Dan Burton. Take a listen.


REP. DAN BURTON, (R), INDIANA: I see a number of people in the audience that I anticipate will be making a disturbance. And if this occurs during the testimony by our honored guests, I hope that she will be very firm and get them out of here.

REP. IKE SKELTON, (D), CHAIRMAN, ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: You don't have to lecture me. They'll be gone.


ROBERTS: And in a subsequent conversation that was picked up by an open mike, Skelton dropped the F-bomb over what Burton said. Capital police escorted out protestors from the hearing room.

There are some members of Code pink. Four of them were arrested, including anti-war protestor Cindy Sheehan.

This morning we're going to be speaking with two Senators who will be hearing first-hand from General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker today. Democrat Joe Biden, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, joins us next half hour. Then Republican John Cornyn, a member of the Armed Services Committee, will join us. That will be in our 8:00 hour -- Kiran? CHETRY: Other headlines new this morning -- a powerful bomb diffused by police in Turkey this morning. That bomb was planted in a van in a crowded section of Anchora. Police used bomb-sniffing dogs to find that vehicle.

Police in New Jersey searching for an escaped killer. Apparently, this person was able to just walk out of a psychiatric hospital. Authorities say 64-year-old William Enman, pictured there, escaped Sunday from a facility in Mt. Laurel with a backpack full of survivalist equipment. He was allowed to go for a walk on the hospital grounds unescorted and he never returned.

ROBERTS: Six years now since 9/11, and is America really any safer? We'll put that question to the president's adviser on Homeland Security, Fran Townsend. That's coming up on "AMERICAN MORNING."


CHETRY: And welcome back to the most news in the morning. We're remembering the victims of 9/11 this morning. A live picture from Lower Manhattan, Ground Zero. Ceremonies will be taking place in about two hours. All 2,750 names of the people who died that day will be read aloud.

Also, here is a live look at the Pentagon. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Peter Pace will lead an observation there beginning at 9:30 eastern time. That was the time that the plane struck the Pentagon, killing 184 people.

And then, of course, we can't forget Shanksville, Pennsylvania. There you see a memorial out there with American flags up. At 9:55 a.m. eastern, the names of the 40 people killed on United flight 93 will be read. Bells of remembrance will ring and wreaths will be laid at that crash site -- John?

ROBERTS: Thanks, Kiran.

Coming up to 44 minutes after the hour now. Rob Marciano was covering the remains of that tropical storm on the Outer Banks of North Carolina yesterday. He must have decided to stay, because Jacqui various is joining us today and she's got interesting weather from Florida.

Good morning, Jacqui.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, good morning. Rob's dealing with nice weather over there in the Carolinas today. Not the case across the state of Florida. Yesterday we had quite a few reports of funnel clouds and water spouts and even one tornado in St. Luce, but it didn't cause damage there. We have an incredible picture from Ft. Pierce, Florida. That was an "AP" photo, and that is a strong-looking waterspout. Waterspout, basically the same thing as a tornado, but it's just over water as opposed to being over land.


JERAS: Kiran?

CHETRY: All right, Jacqui, thanks so much.

Well, six years after 9/11, the United States had diverted another major attack on American soil. But top counterterrorism officials say the U.S. still faces a persistent threat from al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups.

Fran Townsend is the assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and she joins me from Ground Zero.

Good morning, Fran. Thanks for being with us.


CHETRY: You know, let's start with this news. This morning Americans are waking up to another Osama bin Laden audio tape that they're checking out the authenticity of. While it's important to note that he is not successfully attacked us since 2001, he's still obviously out there, appearing to taunt the United States. And so the question comes up yet again, why can't we find him?

TOWNSEND: Well, Kiran, as you know, similar to the hunt for Eric Rudolph, as you recalled, on American soil, with American law enforcement, and it took us more than five years to find him and we had a big reward.

Obviously, catching bin Laden is a huge priority for us, and American military and intelligence assets are deployed against that. And I'm confident that eventually we are going to get him.

But we've had many successes against the network, and that's what's really important. We have taken out top al Qaeda operational leaders. We have strengthened our partnership with allies around the world that have allowed disruptions, like the recent disruption in Germany and Denmark, and tragically, we saw suicide attacks in Algeria as well.

CHETRY: I bring your attention to what you said about the allies, and of course, as we're learning with the German terror attacks, at least those authorities are saying there is some evidence that these men trained in Pakistan.

Pakistan, in a tough situation, they are our ally, but they also seem to be the breeding ground and home base for a lot of al Qaeda training. What is the status of us trying to wipe that safe haven out?

TOWNSEND: Well, as we know from the recently released national intelligence estimate, al Qaeda is taking advantage of a safe haven in the federally administrated tribal areas of Pakistan, and that's a huge priority for us to act against.

But we have to remember, Kiran, that we wouldn't have enjoyed many of the successes we've enjoyed without our Pakistani allies. Many -- Ramzi Bin al Shibh, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the mastermind of 9/11, those captures wouldn't have happened without our Pakistani allies. So we're working with hem to deny that safe haven to al Qaeda.

CHETRY: CNN poll also has some brand new poll and we asked Americans how satisfied they are with the way things are going with the war on terror. We had 39 percent saying yes, they are satisfied, 61 percent saying they are not. What can you say to assure Americans that the Iraq war is not a diversion from the larger war on terror?

TOWNSEND: Well, we know from al Qaeda's own statements, Kiran, that bin Laden himself views Iraq as a central front in the war on terror. We captured an individual, Mashadani (ph) -- coalition forces did -- who was running messages from bin Laden to the operational commander in Iraq.

It's critical that we confront them wherever we find them and Iraq is where they're fighting us now. And so we've got to continue to confront them. We can't abandon the battle space there.

CHETRY: All right. Well, the recent terrorists in Germany also brought to light the danger of sleeper cells. In your opinion, do we have sleeper cells right now ready to activate in the United States?

TOWNSEND: You know, Kiran, Director Mueller of the FBI testified yesterday that we have a number of ongoing investigations. Identifying, investigating, and disrupting terror plots is the single highest priority of the FBI, along with the help of other domestic agencies like DHS and our intelligence agencies. And we've enjoyed a lot of successes. Just here in New York, we saw the disruption of the JFK plot and before that, the Ft. Dix plot. And so we know that there are operatives here who seek to do us harm and we act against them.

CHETRY: All right. Fran Townsend, U.S. Homeland Security adviser, thanks for talking with us this morning.

TOWNSEND: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Will the Federal Reserve cut interest rates? Investors are watching. A lot of people asking the question. Ali Velshi "Minding Your Business," that's coming up on "AMERICAN MORNING." Stay with us.


ROBERTS: Coming up now to seven minutes before the top of the hour. Welcome back to the most news in the morning, the best as well.

The search for Steve Fossett tops your "Quick Hits." Investigators are advising citizens not to join in the search. A family website had asked for more volunteers to fly over the area in Nevada where Fossett went missing more than a week ago. Investigators are worried that could lead to more accidents.

However, Google Earth is inviting citizens to get involved, putting up new satellite images on its web site for users to examine.

The death of a Brigham Young University student is called a hiking accident for now. Police have found no signs of foul play in the death of 22-year-old Camille Cleverley. Her body was found at the base of a 200-foot cliff over the weekend. She had been missing more than a week.

And police in Portugal are expected to hand over the case of missing girl Madeleine McCann to prosecutors today. They will then have to decide whether to file charges against her parents, Kate and Gerry, who were named suspects late last week. Gerry McCann posted a blog entry late yesterday, saying, quote, "We played absolutely no part in Madeleine's abduction" -- Kiran?

CHETRY: Seven minutes before the top of the hour. Ali Velshi is here "Minding Your Business."

We've got one week before the Fed meets and there is a lot of discussion and debate on whether or not to cut interest rates.


CHETRY: I don't know. Leave it to the experts.

VELSHI: Here's the thing. A lot of people on Wall Street say they want a rate cut. In fact, some people want two rate cuts. A rate cut is thought of as usually 25 basis points, 1/4 of 1 percent. Some people are saying go for 50 basis points, cut it 50, you know, half of 1 percent.

And the Fed yesterday, Ben Bernanke and a bunch of other fed officials made speeches yesterday, all of which sort of sent the message that, calm down, cool down, we may not be getting that rate cut. They're trying to manage expectations about this.

Why would they be managing expectations? Why would the Fed not cut rates after everything that's going on? Well, a couple of reasons. One is that a rate cut is seen by some people as excusing all of the behavior that led to the subprime mortgage crisis. Money was cheap. Money was easy to borrow for companies and for potential homeowners, and as a result of that, a lot of experts say that's how we got into this mess. People who otherwise shouldn't have been investing, buying houses or buying subprime mortgages in bundles on Wall Street wouldn't have done that if money were a little bit more expensive, so maybe we shouldn't rush to cut rates.

On the other hand, investors are saying save us from this problem. It's only going to get worse and the only help is a rate cut.

So it's not obvious that it will happen. One week from today we will cover it closely to see what it means, and what it means to you. But the debate has started on whether or not there will be a rate cut. It will be the first time in more than a year if there is one, so it will generate some excitement. CHETRY: All right. Ali, thank you.


CHETRY: Your "Quick Hits" now. If you're confused by food labels, soon all you have to do is maybe look for a logo. The Food and Drug Administration saying it is considering easy-to-understand symbols to help shoppers make healthier choices. General Mills and Kellogg's both say they'll start putting them on cereal next month.

The fountain of youth may contain Vitamin D. There is new study out of Europe says taking Vitamin D supplements could lower your risk of dying by 7 percent. Research also suggests that it can reduce the proliferation of cells, which could lead to new cancer drugs.

Doctors are calling it a freak accident. Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett sidelined with a catastrophic spinal cord injury. Could better equipment have prevented this from happening? We're going to talk more about that with Sanjay Gupta coming up on "AMERICAN MORNING."


ROBERTS: It is just about a minute before the top of the hour. Coming up on our next half hour of "AMERICAN MORNING," a story you just can't miss. A tragedy for Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett, fighting for his life today after suffering what is described as a catastrophic spinal injury in his team's season opener. A devastating hit he took there.

CHETRY: It is. We're going to be talking to Sanjay Gupta about his chances for recovery and what new treatments are on the horizon for people with spinal cord injuries.

But also, something interesting. Take a look at this. This is going to be a new device that they may be using. It's a football helmet that contains sensors similar to those that you would find in a car air bag, let's say. They are calling it a third eye for athletes and for trainers. We are told it can identify impacts. It can tell you where the hit took place, how hard it was, and whether or not the player needs to come to the sidelines because of it.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta will tell us how that works and whether or not it could be a big help out on the field in helping treat and prevent injuries.

The next hour of "AMERICAN MORNING" starts right now.

New terror threats and a new bin Laden tape coming six years after the 9/11 attacks.

Plus, a CNN exclusive, the director of the FBI on the threat against America today and why bin Laden is still at large.

Hearts and minds:


PETRAEUS: The military objectives of the surge are in large measure being met.