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CNN Newsnight Aaron Brown

Special Edition: Are We Safer?

Aired July 22, 2005 - 22:00   ET


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins. A special edition of NEWSNIGHT is next. But first, the latest on another terror attack. This time, in Egypt, where at least three explosions, one of them a car bomb, killed at least 30 people, injured 107 others early Saturday. They struck the Red Sea Resort of Sharm el-Sheik and nearby Na'ama Bay, both popular tourist destinations. No word yet on who might be behind the attacks. We'll keep our eyes on this developing story here for you at CNN.
In London, it has been a day of fast moving developments. British police today releasing photographs of four men they believe are connected to yesterday's attempted bombings on three subway trains and a bus. Here's CNN's Nic Robertson.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Four security camera images of four suspects. The quick to emerge leads in the London bombings rushed out because the men are still on the loose.

ANDY HAYMAN, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER: The image we're now showing shows a man running away from the northern line at the Oval Underground station at approximately 12:34 hours yesterday.

ROBERTSON: Precise information of what the four men linked to the bombings did, laid out in detail.

HAYMAN: A device was left at the rear of the top deck of the route 26 bus.

The image that's now showing of the third person we want to identify, shows a man leaving Warren Street Underground.

ROBERTSON: Significantly, the image of the fourth man revealing him carrying a backpack before the attack.

HAYMAN: He was wearing a dark shirt, and trousers. And was later reported to be wearing a white vest.

ROBERTSON: Armed police and bomb disposal experts raiding properties believed connected with the attacks. And only a few hours earlier, police shot and killed a man in Stockwell tube station, a mile from the site of one of the failed attacks. They say he was under surveillance.

SIR IAN BLAIR, METRO POLICE COMMISSIONER: As I understand the situation the man was challenged, and refused to obey police instructions.

ROBERTSON: Police later confirming he was not one of the four bombers. Launching an aggressive appeal for information about the four men, whom they warn are extremely dangerous.

Police arrested one man in Stockwell connected with the botched attacks. Not confirming, though, if he was one of the bombers.

(on camera): The rapid pace of developments does seem to indicate that police are making significant progress. However, they warn getting to the people behind the attackers may still take some time.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


COLLINS: Another note on the London bombings we need to tell you about. Earlier this week, CNN aired a photograph of a man Pakistani intelligence and immigration officials had confirmed was one of the suspected London bombers: Hasib Hussain. We obtained the photograph which has had been broadcast on Pakistan from our CNN affiliate in Pakistan and from the Reuters News Agency. We now have information the passport photo may be of another man, also named Hasib Hussain, who is not a suspect and is not in any way connected to the bombings. CNN truly regrets this error.

Now a special edition of NEWSNIGHT.

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again. This is Friday, July 22nd, 2005. For most of us, so far, just another summer Friday. But sometimes tragedy turns certain days into dates, December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day. 9/11, just two weeks ago in London, July 7th, 7/7.

Four years ago, 9/11 led to a broad review of the state of U.S. of intelligence and homeland security. It's now a year since the 9/11 commission released its report. And tonight, we'll spend the hour on what we've learned and done and what we haven't. On what has changed, and what has not.

The commission focused on many intelligence failures in the years before 9/11, dots not connected, information not shared, warnings not heeded. It also recommended major changes, including many at the FBI. And so we begin, with CNN's Kelli Arena.


KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dina Corsi is very clear about how important her job is.

DINA CORSI, FBI SUPERVISORY INTELL. ANALYST: On 9/11 no one here lost a husband. They didn't lose a daughter or a wife. They lost 3,000. And we all take that responsibility very personally. And it is not something we're ever going to forget.

ARENA: Corsi is a veteran intelligence analyst for the FBI. She works alongside field agents from beginning to end on investigations, but it wasn't always that way.

CORSI: We've had analysts in the field for a long time, we really sense the existence in the local and the FBI. But what we're doing now is making a concerted, concentrated effort to make the analytical cadre more a part of the cycle.

ARENA: Building a strong analytical core is seen as vital to preventing another terrorist attack. Analysts are the people who connect the dots, pointing field agents in the right directions. FBI analyst Barbara Tipton was recruited ten months ago.

BARBARA TIPTON, FBI ANALYST: We look at trends. We look for suspicious activities. We look for pieces of a puzzle that, when finally put together, might indicate some issue that we need to pay more attention to.

ARENA: Tipton and other analysts now go through training at the FBI academy, just like agents do. This class focused on psychological profiles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Purely analytical.

ARENA: There were now more than 2,200 analysts, that's more than double the number on September 11. There are more opportunities for promotions and higher pay. And the FBI has increased information sharing with other agencies, putting out more than 11,000 intelligence reports since 9/11.

To speed communication, FBI analysts now work in the same room as their CIA counterparts in the new National Counterterrorism Center.

MAUREEN BAGINSKI, FBI INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: Everyone understands and equally understands that they have a particular mission to fulfill. And that together is the only way this adversary is going to be defeated.

ARENA: Maureen Baginski's job is to drive the FBI's intelligence upgrade. She says it's working.

BAGINSKI: I can show you every day -- every one of our reports have a customer feedback page on it. And I receive all of those personally. And I could show you some stellar comments from customers who comment on how well-written our reporting is, but more importantly, how actionable it is.

ARENA: Lee Hamilton, the vice chairman of the September 11 commission, says the FBI is headed in the right direction, but he still sees gaps.

LEE HAMILTON, VICE CHAIRMAN 9/11 COMMISSION: Their biggest failure by far is in their information technology system, their computer system, which they have acknowledged publicly, has not worked, after the investment of scores of millions of dollars. That's a very dramatic failure.

ARENA: Hamilton says what the FBI needs most is more time. But one intelligence veteran says even that may not do the trick.

JOHN GANNON, FRM. CIA INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL: Even if I give you time, you're never going to get there until there is -- until Maureen Baginski has budgetary authority, has the personnel authority really to control a directorate of intelligence and the people in it.

ARENA: Changes in the works don't go that far, but there are plans to continue the reorganization.

ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: I see it as an acknowledgment and a furtherance of the development of the FBI to respond to the threats of today.

ARENA: As Britain recovers from terrorist attacks planned by its own citizens, there is a more urgent need for first rate domestic intelligence gathering here in the United States. And that falls squarely on the FBI's shoulders.

Kelli Arena, CNN, Washington.


BROWN: The attempted terror bombings just yesterday in London were a stark reminder that cities and their massive transportation systems remain vulnerable in the new normal, even at times of heightened security. In the wake of 9/11, the commission charged with identifying vulnerabilities asked for changes that go well beyond the FBI.

So where are we now? And is it enough? Here's CNN's Jeff Greenfield.



JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It looked like a very familiar Washington image: the somber faces, the table, the microphones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On September 11, 2001...

GREENFIELD: But this group was gathering to investigate as unexpected as unbelievable an event as any this nation had lived through. The first attack on the U.S. mainland since the war of 1812, and the most deadly attack on American civilians ever.

In many ways, the commission's report reflected the uniquely terrible event it chronicled. Written in gripping prose, it recounted not just the horror of the day but the mass of ignored warnings, missed opportunities.

(on camera): But now, a year after the report what about its concrete recommendations? What's been done? And are the steps that have been taken really steps that will lead to a safer America?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That I will support and defend...

GREENFIELD: We have a much more powerful national intelligence counsel headed by the new director of national intelligence John Negroponte. And that council will soon change the way intelligence is presented to policy makers, highlighting differences to make sure that possibly key insights are not buried in consensus.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: The terrorists seek to destroy not only our lives, but our entire way of life.

GREENFIELD: The new secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff has taken one small but symbolic step, ending one of the most criticized of post-9/11 rules, the one forcing passengers headed to Washington's Reagan National Airport to remain seated for half an hour. He's also engaged in a major reorganization of that huge agency. A good idea, says the Heritage Foundation's James J. Carafano. Because?

JAMES CARAFANO, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: They pulled the department together, shortened the chain of commands. I mean, I do think it was the right thing to do. I think over the long term, it will bring us greater security.

GREENFIELD: But as the events in London reminded us so vividly, the possibility of a terror attack is something no bureaucratic structure alone will stop.

And for critics of homeland security policy, like Steve Flynn of the Council on Foreign Relations, what's not being done bears directly on the possibility, indeed the probability of another attack.

STEVE FLYNN, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: The question is, will we be resilient as a society when we face this or will we turn ourselves upside down every time a terrorist decides to do their worst?

GREENFIELD: For Flynn, that means spending much more attention and money on securing ports, chemical facilities, hospitals, transit systems, where the U.S. is most vulnerable. And it means a better balance between the sum spent at home and the massive expenditures abroad. Money spent on the theory that if we fight them over there, we won't have to fight them over here.

FLYNN: We're willing this year to spend close to half a trillion dollars on national security, basically our Pentagon and our intelligence community and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we're really talking about much smaller numbers when we're talking about providing support for emergency responders.

GREENFIELD: But others, like Carafano, say the emphasis abroad is exactly the right priority.

CARAFANO: The point is that terrorists go after the things that are easy. So if you harden something, if you throw billions of dollars into trying to turn a port into a little Maginot line, the terrorists are just going to go attack the easier thing. So the preponderance of your resources really needs to be in preventing the acts to begin with.

GREENFIELD: So maybe the fundamental question is not are we doing what the 9/11 Commission recommended, but were those recommendations on target for what must be done to prevent and to cope with what may be next?

Jeff Greenfield, CNN, New York.


BROWN: Now a year later, are the 9/11 Commission recommendations still on target? And are they being implemented?

I spoke earlier with Lee Hamilton, who served as vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission and serves now as president of the Woodrow Wilson Center.


BROWN: Is the American political system as urgent as it needs to be today, a year after your report, and four years after 9/11, to do the jobs that need to be done?

LEE HAMILTON, FORMER VICE CHAIRMAN, 9/11 COMMISSION: I find myself distressed, four years after these events, that we still have a very long list of vulnerabilities, and I think that government officials, though very well-intentioned, many of them have worked very hard, still lack the kind of urgency that we think is necessary to give the American people the security they deserve. In both the legislative and the executive branches, we think a greater sense of urgency is urgently needed.

BROWN: I will admit that I am probably more cynical than are you, OK? But I get the feeling sometime that all this homeland security money these days is seen as just one more big pile of pork to be distributed out as if it were highway construction money pork, or port pork, or bridge pork, or whatever kind of pork gets out there, and that nobody says, OK, I get it, that, you know, we got a ton of dough to build highways, and if you're the chairman of the committee and you come from wherever, you get a bigger chunk of it. But this is homeland security money.

HAMILTON: You're on the mark. I find it appalling, really appalling that homeland security funds are still, these many months later, still being distributed on the basis really of politics.

Now, there is some good news here. The House has passed a good bill, which means that if enacted, that the money would be distributed and allocated on the basis of the assessment of the risk. The Senate has passed a bill also, not quite as good in our view as the House bill, but I'm reasonably sure that soon, and maybe by the end of the year, on this particular question, we will have a big correction. Slow to act, progress is being made, and I think it's being made in the right direction, but nonetheless, makes me nervous that this much time has elapsed before we've gotten it done. BROWN: The report --final question. The report said famously a year ago, we are safer, we are not yet safe. Would you say a year since, we are safer than we were a year ago, but we are hardly safe?

HAMILTON: Yes. You go to any department of government, and they'll give you a long list of things that they have done, even in the last year, to improve things. I think they're very well- intentioned. Good steps have been taken. We've not had that attack. All of that is very much on the plus side.

But not enough yet, I think, has been done. Take one example, chemical plants that are across the country, or trains going through urban areas with explosives. These are correctable things that should have been done months ago, have not yet been done, and the result is more risk to Americans.

BROWN: Congressman, in every respect, thank you. Thank you for your time today, and thank you for your good work over the course of putting the report together, and thank you for staying engaged in it in the years since. The country owes you a lot.

HAMILTON: Thank you, Aaron.

BROWN: Thank you, sir.


BROWN: Much more ahead on the program tonight, starting with the question that could be key to stopping terrorism -- what's in a face?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need eyes, nose, corners of mouth, typically, for facial recognition.

BROWN (voice-over): We've got the picture, but do we have their picture, and are pictures enough?

COLEEN ROWLEY, FORMER FBI AGENT: There are these higher principles, and if you're in government service, it is to the public and to the Constitution.

BROWN: A whistle-blower goes from chasing bad guys to chasing votes, on the campaign trail.

CAROL ROSS BARNEY, ARCHITECT: I thought that if I concentrated only on the bombing or only on a piece of it, that it wouldn't be as lasting, it wouldn't be as complete.

BROWN: Building, rebuilding what was lost in Oklahoma City, and in New York.

JIM WHITAKER, DIRECTOR, PROJECT REBIRTH: Six cameras, each taking one frame of film every five minutes, 24 hours a day.

BROWN: Witnessing rebirth, frame by frame, at ground zero. From New York, we'll look ahead tonight, because this is NEWSNIGHT.



BROWN: We already have e-mail and Ebay. Can e-passports be far behind? The 9/11 Commission called better passports "an essential investment in our national security." That's a quote.

It's easy enough to load a picture onto a chip and put it in your passport, and a picture may be worth more than a thousand words, but a thousand words may not be enough. Here's CNN's Jeanne Meserve.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Computer chips are in birthday candles and greeting cards. But chips are not in passports, chips that would contain biographical and biometric information, chips that would make passports more secure and harder to forge. These chips are not in passports because of bureaucratic and technical delays.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D), MISSISSIPPI: When I start to think about all of the deadlines the department has missed to move, I feel like I'm waiting for the cable guy.

MESERVE: In a so-called e-passport, the chip is barely discernible. It will contain a digital photo, a biometric chosen by the international organization which sets passport standards. When a computer reads the embedded image, an immigration officer can match it to the photo on the front page and the person at the counter.

JOEL SHAW, CSO CRYPTOMETRICS, INC: It will allow you to confirm that the person standing before you presenting that passport is the rightful holder.

MESERVE: A prototype containing my digital photo is used to demonstrate how passports could provide even more accurate security benefits, if partnered with facial recognition technology.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need eyes, nose, corners of mouth, typically, for facial recognition.

MESERVE: Facial recognition maps the face and matches it to others. It can be fooled by identical twins, the changing faces of children and plastic surgery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nose changes, cheekbone changes, would change the fundamental skull, that would be problems for facial recognition.

MESERVE: Someday, facial recognition might allow digital passport photos or photos taken at an immigration checkpoint to be run against terrorist data bases. Cameras might pick known terrorists out of a crowd and send alerts to law enforcement. But there is a problem. Right now, terrorist data bases use a different identifier.

RICHARD FALKENRATH, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: The picture is not that useful because we don't have a picture data base of terrorists. We have databases of names and databases of fingerprints, but we don't have any of pictures.

MESERVE: At a congressional hearing some asked why fingerprints weren't mandated on e-passports along with or instead of photos. Officials say some people would resist.

ELAINE DEZENSKI, DHS: And oftentimes there is the perception that if you're fingerprinting travelers it's akin to booking someone on a criminal charge.

MESERVE: Fingerprints are a tried and true technology, but they aren't foolproof either. An Oregon lawyer, for instance, was mistakenly held in connection with the Madrid train bombing based on a bad fingerprint match. To effectively close gaps in security, some think there needs to be a single biometric standard across all border protection programs.

REP. CHRISTOPHER COX, CHR. HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: You've got very quickly to move from these Balkanized different programs into seamless integration of information, and we've got to put that information at the fingertips of the people who are at the border.

MESERVE: The U.S. has begun field tests of e-passports and will require them of some visitors by October of next year. But because it takes a decade to replace passports already in circulation, a full deployment won't happen any time soon. For CNN's America bureau, Jeanne Meserve, Washington.


BROWN: As we said earlier, we're spending billions of dollars trying to make the country safe or at least safer from terrorism. But is that money aimed at the right target? We spoke earlier with Clark Kent Ervin, the former inspector general of the department of homeland security.


BROWN: It's been said a lot, I think, since London, that as we look at our own homeland security issues we tend to fight the last war, the last attack. And I think a lot of people were stunned at how relatively little the federal government, states and localities spend money, but the federal government spends on mass transit, and I think there's a perception that if a bomb went off in a subway, in New York, you know, the death toll would be small, and I've seen projections that if there's a breach of the tunnel, that the death tolls could be enormous.

CLARK KENT ERVIN, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I think that's right. It's such a concentrated area. There's so many people who take mass transit on a daily basis, something like 33 million people daily. That if the attack were timed the right way, if the explosives were deadly enough, it could kill thousands. And so I do not count myself among those who think that an attack on the subway, an attack on mass transit generally, is an attack that we shouldn't take as seriously as another 9/11 style attack.

BROWN: If I read Secretary Chertoff's comments the other day, everybody wants more money for everything, but I didn't read it as him saying this is wildly out of whack.

ERVIN: I think that's right. And I must say that I do think it is wildly out of whack. He's certainly right that we can't protect ourselves against every conceivable threat, but we know that mass transit is a very, very vulnerable target, and so I think it's likely going forward, particularly after London, that we might see an attack. So that being this imbalanced, something between $18 to $20 billion since 9/11 to secure aviation and a fraction of that, literally, $250 million on the federal side in the mass transit area is a great imbalance and it needs to be corrected.

BROWN: I want to talk about a couple of things quickly. Everybody stands in line at airports, was it your view as inspector general that we had, to the extent that humans can, we'd solved that problem? I mean, there's always -- somebody's always not going to pay attention I suppose.

ERVIN: The fact is that we're still vulnerable. One of the things I did as inspector general in '03, was to send undercover investigators to attempt to sneak guns and knives and explosives through the screener work force. Can't give you the exact results, but suffice it to say that they were very poor. My old office did the very same thing at the end of last year and continued that work into this year and reported on it in March, just a few months ago, and the results were virtually the same. So in this critical area we remain vulnerable.

BROWN: Is it money? Is it ingenuity? Is it cooperation? Is it political will? Is it all of those things?

ERVIN: I think it's all of those things. And underlying all of those things is what we've lacked to date, and that is a sense of urgency. Our resolve, our sense of the threat, the enormity of the threat and what we need to do to close the vulnerability gap does not match the resolve of al Qaeda. They take this much more seriously than we do.

BROWN: It's good to meet you.

ERVIN: Nice to be here.

BROWN: Very nice to meet you. Appreciate the conversation today.

ERVIN: Thank you.

BROWN: Thank you.


BROWN: Coming up on NEWSNIGHT tonight, it will always be ground zero, but it is changing almost every day, adding something new.

Also tonight, a new life, a new building, and a stark memorial. Helping heal the scars of another terrorist attack. Looking ahead, because this is NEWSNIGHT.



DAN QUAYLE, VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States of America!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dan Quayle burst onto the national scene in 1988 when the young senator from Indiana was named George Bush's running mate. The TV sound bite was never quite the same.

QUAYLE: There is nothing that a good defense can not beat a better offense.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Still famous for his verbal missteps, even now there are entire Web sites devoted to Quayle's quotes. Some Quaylisms became legendary, including his criticism of TV character Murphy Brown's single motherhood. And Quayle's unique was of spelling potato.

QUAYLE: Add one little bit on the end.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 1992, Quayle and President Bush were voted out of office, changing the young vice president's life.

QUAYLE: That night I said, well, now I've got to figure out what I'm going to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Quayle has written three books, and gone on the speaking circuit. But when he failed to capture the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, he left public life for good.

QUAYLE: Do I miss politics? Of course I do. But that's behind me. I had a good run at it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Quayle is now chairman for Cerberus Global Investment and spends much of his time traveling. With his three children now grown, Quayle and his wife Marilyn, make their home in Arizona.



BROWN: Ten years ago, another date that will live in infamy, the 19th of April, 1995, the Oklahoma City bombing, the deadliest terror attack in America, until 9/11. You may have forgotten how many people died in Oklahoma City, 168 people that day. And unlike 9/11, this was not al Qaeda, this was Timothy McVeigh. This was all American terrorism.

There will always be an empty place in Oklahoma City, but CNN's Candy Crowley reports there has also been rebuilding.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the chairs that memorialized those who died here, you can see what was built for the living.

CAROL ROSS BARNEY, ARCHITECT: From the very beginning this was a commitment building. It meant that things weren't -- they'll change but they'll change for the better, that they were going to be back in Oklahoma City.

CROWLEY: When Carol Ross Barney started out as an architect, security was door locks. When she won the contract to design the new federal building in Oklahoma City, she faced the raw emotions of a deeply wounded city and knew challenges to build buildings against the threat of the unknowable: secure but open, a friendly fortress.

ED FEINER, FRM. GENERAL SERVICES ADMIN. CHIEF ARCHITECT: The goal was that we are a brave society, that we stand by our principles of freedom and access. This is democracy. And these buildings must be open to their owners, who are the American people.

CROWLEY: The Oklahoma City bombing left a legacy of new regulations for all federal buildings coast to coast, setbacks, at least 20, preferably 100 feet from the street, barriers to keep vehicles from ramming the building, shatter-proof windows, a building that could withstand a major hit. An estimated 80 percent of those killed in Oklahoma City survived the blast, they died when the building collapsed.

BARNEY: I wanted to design buildings where you would be able to remove one major structural member without causing the building to fail. So that's pretty hard to do. The way to think about it is kind of design a three-legged table.

CROWLEY: She wanted to build for and into the future. She wanted a structure about the totality of Oklahoma, not a single moment.

BARNEY: I thought that if I concentrated only on the bombing or only on a piece of it, that it wouldn't be as lasting, it wouldn't be as complete.

CROWLEY: She wanted, Oklahoma City wanted a living, breathing, working office building that incorporated the lessons of tragedy without being about tragedy.

(on camera): When you were designing this building, did you say to yourself, you know what I'd love to do, but I can't do that, because that would...

BARNEY: No, actually, we did the opposite. We'd say, you know what we'd love to do? How can we do that and still meet the security requirements?

CROWLEY (voice-over): On three size sides of the building, the reinforced walls are unforgiving concrete, made with Oklahoma rocks.

BARNEY: The stone is integral in the wall. It's part of the wall. It's not applied to the wall.

CROWLEY (on camera): So it doesn't come shooting out.

BARNEY: Right, it's not fastened to the wall, it's part of the wall.

CROWLEY (voice-over): Part of the courtyard is a babbling stream filled with boulders from a nearby buffalo ranch.

BARNEY: You can see our eating area out there. That's inside security. So in a way, this is a modern moat, but it's beautiful.

CROWLEY: And since aluminum sunscreens can turn into shrapnel, these are made of you awning-like fabric which would shred. And everywhere there is light, windows, glass.

BARNEY: You'd think you couldn't do a building with this much glass. But you can. It's very special glass. All of the injuries happened from flying glass from the blast impact. So this window is designed so that it will break like your car window rather than traditional glass, into little pieces.

CROWLEY: From the southeast corner of the new federal building you can see the monument grounds where the Murrah Building once stood. The offices belong to Housing and Urban Development, the department that lost the most that day in April of 1985.

BARNEY: The second floor space here is HUD. And they were just, oh, my God, they had a community of survivors that were just terrified coming to day care. That's their training room. And they put it there. And so we said well, aren't you worried about having training and having to look at the memorial? They said yes, oh yeah, we need blinds. They never close the blinds either. So I think that's good. I mean, if a building can heal -- help heal people, that's good.

CROWLEY: Candy Crowley, CNN, Oklahoma City.


BROWN: Here in New York, we don't yet know what in the end will take the place of the Twin Towers. In truth, it's been quite a scrum. Some plans for ground zero have approved, some are being disputed still. And some are still being drawn.

Meanwhile, in parts of that 16 acre hole in the ground, construction is under way. In an ongoing and unprecedented effort called Project Rebirth is keeping an eye on things thanks to a filmmaker and a team of very patient cameras.


JIM WHITAKER, DIRECTOR, PROJECT REBIRTH: On 9/11 I was working in Detroit, I was working on a film. And you know, my reaction was shock, and disbelief, and then, you know, I think like everyone else, so much, you know, pain.

It was about a month-and-a-half after September 11. And I woke up and I said to my wife, I want to go down to ground zero. I want to go down there to feel it, to experience it on my own, so that I could understand it for myself, and that in the future, if we had a baby, I could be able to say to my child look, this was the experience of that time.

In a span of about 20 minutes I went from this feeling of dread and anxiety and unease to kind of a feeling of, you know, it's going to be OK. Like one day, it will be OK. And it was in that moment that I got the idea for what has become Project Rebirth.

It gave me the idea to put cameras around ground zero, six cameras, each taking one frame of film every five minutes, 24 hours a day. The cameras have been up since the six-month anniversary and the idea was that, as time progressed, we would be able to create a time lapse. Many of these cameras are housed in wooden houses, and the houses are air conditioned, and the wintertime there's a heater that goes on, and so rain, snow, we've really had no problems. What we're just trying to do with this is hold a mirror up to the sight, that we're just trying to reflect as objectively as possible what's happening there.

JOHN CAHILL, CHIEF OF STAFF, NEW YORK STATE: It is of enormous importance to the city and to this nation what Project Rebirth has undertaken right now.

(voice over): Sure, there are going to be stories to be told, and books written and magazine articles written, but to actually see through time lapse photography the redevelopment of the sight, there's nothing like it.

WHITAKER: There will come a time when, at some point, there will be a public ceremony where they say that the sight is completed and at that point when they cut that ribbon, Project Rebirth will stop the cameras and we'll have completed what we intended to do.


BROWN: Still to come on this NEWSNIGHT special, she was a poster child among whistleblowers. Now she's turning to campaign posters.

Also tonight, in the FBI and in New York, after 9/11. He has been on the front lines of the country's fight against terrorism. We'll hear how he thinks the fight is going. A break first, from New York, this is NEWSNIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BROWN: If you think about it, we're almost at the midpoint between when the 9/11 commission made its recommendations for countering terrorism in the country, and when voters in the country will make their recommendations for the next Congress. How well protected we all feel in the fight against terror will loom large at the polls. It has since 9/11. One candidate in Minnesota is running on the role she played in getting the commission started in the first place. When she told her bosses before 9/11, bosses at the FBI that the agency was not doing its job. Here's CNN's Joe Johns.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Former FBI agent Coleen Rowley jumped into the race for Congress as a Democrat, even though she voted Republican until 2004, when she says the president's response to 9/11 turned her away.

COLEEN ROWLEY, CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: People think that the tough or the showing your tough approach has helped security, but in fact, heads of the CIA, the defense intelligence agency, and even the FBI have recently admitted that the international terrorist threat has grown.

JOHNS: She's a tri-athlete, races several times a year, a mother, a grandmother, but she's most famous as a whistleblower for a secret memo to superiors that detailed the FBI's failure to follow up on pre-9/11 terror warnings. She wasn't comfortable in the spotlight at first.

ROWLEY: I can't -- I'm sorry, I can't comment.

JOHNS: But her testimony before the Congress helped to create the 9/11 commission and put her on the cover of "Time" magazine. In 2003, however, she was ridiculed for a second memo that warned the invasion of Iraq would lead to an uncontrollable spike in terrorism. Rowley is running in Minnesota's second district, kicking it off with a pancake breakfast for a few dozen well-wishers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe I know we can.

ROWLEY: I believe I know we can. Wow!


JOHNS: In the crowd, Gordon Haberman, he drove six hours to get here from Wisconsin. His daughter, Andrea, died in the World Trade Center. He's a Republican but appreciated Rowley's efforts.

GORDON HABERMAN, ROWLEY SUPPORTER: Every parent wondered what happened, every husband, every wife, and for many of us, that search continues.

JOHNS: Rowley's campaign message, that the Bush administration and the Republican leadership is taking the country in the wrong direction.

ROWLEY: That could we just changed the government ethical, the ethics in government, just a little.

JOHNS: She includes the president, and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who is fighting off ethics allegations, and the incumbent Congressman, former Marine Colonel John Klein. A Fourth of July parade in north Morristown. An all-American God and country kind of day. Klein is a solidly conservative second term congressman, a staunch supporter of the war and the president. Klein once carried the nuclear football for two presidents, a fact he ran hard on last time out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of his integrity, courage and strength and character.

JOHNS: He won by a convincing 16-point margin and doesn't sound worried about Rowley.

REP. JOHN KLEIN (R), MINNESOTA: When she blew the whistle, clearly the FBI had a lot of serious flaws, and she pointed one of them out, and that was probably a very good thing, frankly. So because she did something, you know, three or four years ago, I don't know how that translates into her running for Congress. We'll see.

JOHNS: Rowley also has her detractors. A former FBI agent once compared her to a spy. Rowley sees people who question her loyalty as defenders of the status quo.

ROWLEY: We also, at the same time, do have to acknowledge that there are these higher principles, and if you're in government service, it is to the public, and to the constitution.


JOHNS: But if her idea that Americans are growing tired of administration policies doesn't resonate here over the next year-and- a-half, the ex-FBI agent will have a tough time knocking off the ex- Marine. Joe Johns, CNN, Apple Valley, Minnesota.


BROWN: Ahead on NEWSNIGHT, getting more eyes and ears on the front lines for the fight against terror, trying to make the country safer for our children, next on NEWSNIGHT.


BROWN: It's a question we ask a lot and think about even more. Will there be another terrorist attack here in the country? In the wake of the London bombings, a CNN poll showed that a majority of Americans think it is likely eventually.

For nearly three decades, James Kallstrom was with the FBI, focusing on many high-profile terrorism cases. He retired before 9/11, but a month later, returned to public service, this time working for the state of New York. He is now Governor George Pataki's senior adviser on counterterrorism, and I spoke with him earlier.


BROWN: We've heard this so much, it's become one of the great cliches of the business you're in, that the terrorists only have to be right one time out of however many, and you have to be right all the time.

In truth, if somebody wanted to do what happened in London, despite all the money that's been spent, all the effort that has been made, do you believe you could stop them in the New York subway system?

JIM KALLSTROM, SR. COUNTER-TERRORISM ADVISER TO GOVERNOR PATAKI: You know, Aaron, I think we could stop it. But whether we could stop it consistently over time is probably very difficult in this wide open, free society that we have here in America.

BROWN: Four years out, are the lessons of 9/11 less intense, more forgotten than they ought to be?

KALLSTROM: I think overall, less intense, more forgotten. In places like New York City and New York state I think we still hear the vibration of the terror that day and the horror of that day. I think in this city and this state, and New Jersey and probably other places in the United States, we still have that adrenalin. We still remember the tragedies.

And when we see things in London, in Madrid and elsewhere, we know that the radical fundamentalist terrorist movement still has global breadth and reach, and it's not a hierarchical organization, that there are still people preaching this type of hatred around the world, and the challenging thing is when does somebody change from being a regular 16-year-old soccer player, and all of a sudden develop this hatred for the infidel.

BROWN: If I gave you a blank piece of paper and said, just write down three areas that make you most nervous, do you think you could pick the three most likely targets? Do you think you know where they'll try and hit next?

KALLSTROM: No, I don't. And I wouldn't want to do that, Aaron, because I think there's so many targets. I mean, I think the honest answer is, we don't know why they haven't done things that they could probably do. We don't know the answer. Surely, some of the reason is the effectiveness of our military. Some of the reason is the effectiveness of the FBI, CIA/law enforcement team around the country. Some of the effectiveness is the cooperation we're getting from our allies from the intelligence standpoint. Some of it is the rollup of a lot of the cells around the world. But that doesn't account for all of it.

And I think we need a more serious approach to those types of things that will, in the final analysis, protect us from the next event.

BROWN: Is it comparatively a more difficult task you are faced with now than when you were running the FBI office here? Is it more frustrating for you? Where does it fit in the scheme of your professional life?

KALLSTROM: It is a difficult task. It's -- I think we need, you know, a change in how we think about these things, and I would love to see some collegial approaches in Washington to solving some of these issues instead of everything is a catfight, everything is mud throwing, you know, everything is about the party.

Let's talk about the country and what we can do to make this a safer place. People give their lives and fight. I come to work every day, not for money, because I'm not even paid. I come to work every day to try to make this a safer, better place for my children, and my neighbor's children, and my brother's children, and everyone else's children. So I mean, I would love to see that the American people, I think, are crying out for a little statesmanship in Washington to solve some of these problems and put aside all of the political bickering.

BROWN: It will sound corny, but godspeed.

KALLSTROM: Thank you.

BROWN: Thank you.


BROWN: Jim Kallstrom. We'll wrap up this NEWSNIGHT special in just a moment.


BROWN: That's our report for tonight. Good to have you with us. We'll see you again next Monday. Have a wonderful weekend and a good night, for all of us.