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Lou Dobbs Tonight
London Terror Attacks
Aired July 07, 2005 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everybody. Tonight, cities all across the United States are on heightened terrorist alert after the worst violence against London since World War II. Suspected radical Islamist terrorists today launched a series of coordinated bomb attacks against London's mass transit. The attacks took place on the first full day of the G8 summit in Scotland attended by President Bush.
Right now, and it is still early, London police are confirming at least 37 people were killed in the attacks, more than 700 others were wounded.
The radical Islamists targeted three subway trains and a double- decker bus. The victims were commuters on their way to work in the city's morning's rush hour. British police and authorities had no intelligence that the attacks would occur, and they received no warning of the attacks.
A senior London police officer described today's terrorist bombings as a "callous attack against innocent members of the British public." The police commander said the terrorists deliberately set out to kill and to injure as many people as possible.
We begin our coverage in London. ITN's James Mates reports.
JAMES MATES, REPORTER, ITN (voice-over): Ever since September the 11th, we were told this day was inevitable. Today, all the alerts, the scares, the predictions became a quite appalling reality.
Without warning, without provocation, four blasts ripped through London's transport system at a time of the morning when the bombers knew the buses and trains would be full, almost beyond capacity.
Ten to 9:00 in the morning a bomb rips through a train between Liverpool Street and Aldgate. Above ground, no one is sure if this is an attack or an accident. There are reports of a crash. Another suggests power surges were to blame.
Those on the train knew exactly what it was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We knew it was a bomb straight away. So just tried not to panic, really.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What were people doing? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We broke the door to our carriage down. And then there was so much smoke and it was black everywhere. There was no lights. And we just moved quickly down, down through the carriages.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So much smoke, people panicking. And people started to calm down. People wanted to get to the back of the train, away from the danger area. But there was nowhere for them to go. And then they took us off the train and made us walk all the way back past it all, dead bodies on the track, the train blown open.
MATES: The way the emergency services were responding soon told Londoners that this was no ordinary accident. Soon after half-past 9:00, the second explosion, this time at west London's Edgware Road.
The bomb was on one tube train; two others were caught up in its blast. In their first attack, the bombers had killed seven. At Edgware Road they took another five, quite innocent lives, and injured scores more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just put out (INAUDIBLE). And the next thing I know there's a large flash of light.
I felt a burning sensation in my hands. Put my hands up to my face. And I was on the floor by that point.
Yeah, yeah, I can't recall anything prior to that, any -- any noise, any bang. And as soon as I realized, you know, that there had been an accident, got up, had a look around, saw where the exits were.
The train was at a complete standstill. The lights were out. There was a lot of smoke in the carriage.
MATES: Just seven minutes later, bomb number three, again, deep underground between King's Cross and Russell Square stations. This was to be the deadliest attack of them all.
One carriage completely wrecked. Inside it, 21 lay dead, with many, many more suffering horrific injuries.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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 there was a burning smell. And everyone, kind of long story short, thought they were going to die.
People started saying prayers, praying to god, panicking, breaking the carriage windows with their bare hands, anything to get oxygen into the carriage, because the more people tried, the more distressed they became.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw these silver lines across my face, which I believe was the glass, and this yellow flash. And then I was being twisted and thrown to the ground. I had no idea what happened. There was a rushing sound. And there was just total darkness. Some light came into our carriage, and then there was a lot of panic, a lot of screams.
We had to walk back past all the carnage where the explosion happened. It had thrown some people out. And the damaged carriage was several feet further up where the train had stopped.
There was one body under some of the metal sheet, and he wasn't moving. He had his trousers blown off.
There was a couple of other -- there was a couple of others who had their clothes stripped from them as well, but just about moving on the track. And then in the carriage, there was people covered in blood and people trying to hold their heads, and give them some -- give them some help.
MATES: If anyone now doubted what we were seeing was a coordinated series of terrorist attacks, confirmation came just 10 minutes later. A number 10 bus passing through Tavistock Square was torn apart by a bomb placed near the back on the upper deck. It was full of people recently evacuated from Russell Square tube station.
These amateur pictures show just the empty seats open to the sky.
James Mates, ITV News.
DOBBS: The four bombs exploded within one hour as Londoners were traveling to work. The first bomb exploded near Aldgate East Station at 8:51 this morning. Seven people were killed.
The second bomb went off in a subway tunnel near King's Cross Station at 8:56. Twenty-one people were killed in that blast.
Seven people killed in the third explosion at Edgware Road Station at 9:17.
The fourth and last bomb exploded on a double-decker bus near Tavistock Square at 9:47, killing at least two people.
In all, in less than an hour, those coordinated bomb explosions killed at least 37 people. That number is expected to rise. More than 700 others were wounded.
Britain's capital has for years been a center of activity for radical Islamist terrorists, despite what many consider to be a sophisticated and highly-effective domestic counterterrorism intelligence and law enforcement. U.S. terrorism suspect Zacarias Moussaoui and confessed shoe bomber Richard Reid both studied at the same mosque in London.
A foiled terrorist plot to spread ricin in London three years ago was believed to be led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, now wanted in Iraq.
The rise of radical Islamist terrorism in Britain and Europe may well have severe implications for the United States.
Bill Tucker reports.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Death to Tony Blair!
CROWD: Death to Tony Blair!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Death to George Bush!
CROWD: Death to George Bush!
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was the scene in London six weeks ago: a pro-terrorism rally outside the U.S. embassy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nuke, nuke Washington!
CROWD: Nuke, nuke Washington!
TUCKER: Such open expressions of radical Islamic hatred not uncommon in Europe. But increasingly those words are translating into murderous acts by militant Muslims across Europe.
The Madrid train bombing in March of last year, where 191 were killed. Other attacks were believed to have been prevented with the arrest of suspected members of terrorist cells in France and Britain. The murder of a Dutch film director who made a film about Muslim violence against women.
For those who track radical Islamist groups, Europe has long been seen as a favorite base of operation.
JAMES PHILLIPS, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Al Qaeda's most dangerous recruits have come from Europe. For instance, the Hamburg cell provided many of the foot soldiers for the attacks on 9/11. And I think in the long run, Europe is one of the most dangerous fronts in the war against terrorism.
TUCKER: There are now an estimated 20 million Muslims living in Europe, many of whom live in communities isolated from mainstream European culture. It is that isolation which can create fertile grounds for recruits to radical Islamists' cause. And that has implications for America, as well as Europe.
MATTHEW LEVITT, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE ON NEAR EAST POLICY: They are a threat to us in the United States. Terrorist groups have used Europe as a launching pad and as a place to recruit operatives for operations abroad, not only 9/11, but there's a very broad movement to radicalize, recruit and dispatch operatives from Europe to go and conduct attacks in Iraq and elsewhere.
TUCKER: And here in the United States, one of the more visible responses to today's attacks has been the increased police presence at commuter hubs across the United States. And the Department of Homeland Security has heightened the alert level for all bus and rail transportation -- Lou.
DOBBS: Bill Tucker. Thank you.
After the London terrorist attacks, President Bush today urged all Americans to be vigilant. President Bush is in Scotland for the G8 summit. The White House says the president has no plans to leave the summit early, or ahead of schedule.
Suzanne Malveaux is in Gleneagles, Scotland, and reports -- Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, all eight flags of the countries represented here are flying at half-staff tonight. British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived here several hours ago, returning to the summit essentially to finish what he started. He is trying to get those eight nations to pay attention, to focus on giving aid to Africa, as well as global climate warming.
Now, it is fair to say, of course, it is clear that those themes have taken a back stage here to the central theme. That is, a renewed commitment to fighting the war on terror. We saw each one of those members come forward between their meetings in front of the cameras to all express their resolve and condolences.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty and those who kill, those who have got such evil in their heart, that they will take the lives of innocent folks. This is -- the war on terror goes on.
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It is through terrorism that the people that have committed this terrible act express their values. And it's right at this moment that we demonstrate ours.
JACQUES CHIRAC, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): This is an act of terrorism which, once again, inspires us with horror. These are totally inhumane acts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We not only regret, but we condemn, severely condemn this event. And no doubt that they brought cohesiveness to the 13 nations that were together this morning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Temporarily in Blair's absence, it was the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, who took his place in some of those meetings. Some of the more public photo ops were canceled. They were not seen as being appropriate. There were even some security forces that were diverted from here to London, where they were better used, better served. And earlier in the day, President Bush made a video conference call, secure conference call from his suite to make sure that he was coordinating efforts between his national security team, homeland security, to make sure that everything was taking place in the United States, being handled. And Lou, the main goal here that we're hearing from these leaders is essentially they did not want to give the terrorists the satisfaction of canceling this summit -- Lou.
DOBBS: But the terrorists did succeed, Suzanne. Tony Blair, the prime minister, as host of G8, had pushed the war in Iraq and global terrorism from the agenda, focusing instead on aid and debt forgiveness for Africa, and global warming. All of that carefully prepared agenda now upside down. Global terrorism back to the top, correct?
MALVEAUX: That's absolutely right. And it was interesting, as Russian President Vladimir Putin said, that more needs to be done to focus on terrorism. As you know, it is going to be Putin, it's going to be Russia, that's going to host the next G8 summit next year. It will be very interesting to see if in fact that is top on the agenda.
DOBBS: Suzanne Malveaux from Gleneagles, Scotland. Thank you.
These pictures are just in to CNN. Just moments ago, at the State Department, the British flag, the Union Jack, was raised atop the State Department. It was then lowered to half-staff in tribute to today's victims of the London terrorist bombings.
Up next, more on why the G8 leaders did not have the war on terrorists and radical Islamists at the top of their agenda until today.
And a heightened state of alert in this country tonight. We'll tell you how law enforcement agencies will protect our mass transit systems.
And broken borders and terrorism, the gaping holes in our border security that leave this country vulnerable to terrorism. A special report.
And the Pentagon considering a major shift in military strategy to protect our homeland from radical Islamist terrorist attacks. That story coming right up.
DOBBS: Today the terrorist bombs exploded in London on the first full day of the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. And incredibly, radical Islamist terrorism was not among the major elements on the agenda of the G8 summit. Today's bombings altered the agenda.
Kitty Pilgrim reports.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Terrorism was buried in the list of official topics at Gleneagles. This summit was about African aid and global warming. Way down the agenda, almost as an afterthought, combating terrorism. G8 leaders will take stock of current actions and consider next steps.
This year, the terrorism discussion was left to the second tier, a small meeting in June, with only G8 home secretaries and interior ministers. And it isn't until next year that G8 world leaders plan to concentrate on train and subway terrorism when Russia takes over the rotating G8 presidency.
Right after the London attack, a shocked Prime Minister Tony Blair.
BLAIR: It's particularly barbaric that this has happened on a day when people are meeting to try to help the problems of poverty in Africa and the long-term problems of climate change in the environment.
PILGRIM: One world leader after another expressed condolences. But even then the official agenda was not changed.
Going into this summit, President Bush was widely criticized by his counterparts for his aggressive posture on fighting the global war on terror in Iraq. Today, President Bush grimly reminded...
BUSH: The war on terror goes on.
PILGRIM: ... the G8 has clearly lost focus. Right after 9/11, members committed to raising $20 billion to fight terrorism for the next 10 years. And an extensive plan was put in place after the G8 summer in Evian, France, in 2003.
But this summit saw no such focus.
Terrorism should have been higher on the list of topics. G8 member Japan was a victim of a subway attack in 1995. In 2004, a bomb in a Moscow subway killed 39 and wounded 129. And Europe was the scene of deadly bombings on commuter trains that killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,500.
PILGRIM: G8 countries, because of their enormous power and financial clout, have the ability to cut off terrorism funding. A Spanish interior minister today said that he expected Britain to call an urgent meeting of the interior ministers of the European Union because of this attack -- Lou.
DOBBS: Kitty, thank you very much. Kitty Pilgrim.
Even after today's terrorist attacks in London, America's broken borders remain a major vulnerability in the U.S. war against terror. Our southern border is wide open to illegal aliens, and is also this nation's greatest vulnerability to terrorists. But the Border Patrol still has not increased security.
Casey Wian reports.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since September 11, the United States Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have shifted their main focus away from catching illegal aliens. According to the national Border Patrol strategy unveiled this year, the priority mission of Customs and Border Protection is to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States.
REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA: We've already captured 85,000 non-Mexicans already trying to sneak into this country illegally this year, 85,000 this year. As I say, 1 percent of them are terrorists. Just 1 percent. We are in grave jeopardy of suffering the same kind of attacks that they experienced in London.
WIAN: The threat is clearly real. In February, a top Homeland Security Department official told Congress several al Qaeda leaders believe operatives can pave their way into the country through Mexico.
Just last month, we reported the arrest of an Iranian national in Arizona who's charged with running an illegal alien smuggling ring out of his dry cleaning and tailoring business. Investigators say he smuggled as many as 60 Iranians into the United States through Mexico with phony visas.
And The Associated Press this week reported that since 9/11, thousands of people have been smuggled into the United States from special interest countries, those with close links to terrorism.
MICHAEL CUTLER, FMR. INS SPECIAL AGENT: It just seems that the administration is far more concerned with securing the borders of Iraq and Afghanistan than they are with securing the borders of the United States. BORTAC units, that is to say, the Border Patrol Tactical Unit, which is an elite unit working for the Border Patrol, have been sent to Iraq to help us beef up the borders of Iraq. Why we're not making a comparable effort here is something that mystifies me.
WIAN: The Border Patrol has added 1,200 agents since 9/11, tripled the number on the Canadian border, and now has about 11,000 uniformed personnel. Congress has approved another 1,500 next fiscal year. But the agency is struggling to fill even half that number of jobs, and this month started a recruiting campaign.
The Border Patrol is relying mostly on improved technology, such as remote sensors, unmanned aerial vehicles, and better identification systems to combat the terrorist threat.
WIAN: Here at the border crossing near San Diego, Homeland Security officials are asking the public and their agents to be extra vigilant as they go about their daily business. But they're not adding manpower or doing anything else out of the ordinary, they say. One official called it an alert state of dark yellow -- Lou. DOBBS: Dark yellow. Casey, thank you very much. Casey Wian reporting.
Coming up next here, securing America, how U.S. security officials are preparing to stop a possible terrorist attack in this country. We'll have that live report.
And then a new possible strategy for our military all around the globe. Why the Pentagon is now considering freeing up military resources overseas to fight the prospect of terrorism at home.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: This country is on a heightened state of alert tonight after the terrorist attacks in London. The Department of Homeland Security raised the terror alert level for U.S. mass transit systems to code orange, the second highest alert level.
Jeanne Meserve is in Washington with the story -- Jeanne.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Lou, heightened security was visible on transit systems across the country this morning, even before the threat level had been formally raised. More police, many of them heavily armed, more explosives-sniffing dogs, more patrols of bridges and tunnels. And that was just what you could see. Much more was going on behind the scenes.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said raising the threat level was prudent in light of al Qaeda's history of launching simultaneous attacks. But he said there is no specific intelligence that transit systems in the U.S. are targets. He also said much has already been done to improve security in that sector.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We operate from a baseline of preparedness that is much, much stronger than it was prior to 9/11, and frankly, stronger than it was prior to Madrid. So I think that's something which ought to reassure the American public, whether they travel on trains or whether they're on other forms of transportation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: In New York City, which has been on threat level orange ever since 9/11, the extra security extended far beyond buses, subways and trains.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (R), NEW YORK CITY: We've also stepped up our coverage of New York's waterways. NYPD helicopters are patrolling the harbor, sea marshals are riding our boats, accompanied by bomb-sniffing canines. All Staten Island ferries are being escorted by NYPD and Coast Guard patrol boats. We've increased our police presence in the St. George and Whitehall Ferry terminals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: Since 9/11, a great deal of money, more than $18 billion, has been spent on aviation security. But according to the American Public Transportation Association, public transit had received only a fraction of that, $250 million.
The Department of Homeland Security argues that cities had the option of spending their urban security grant dollars on mass transit but didn't. Expect the disagreement to continue. Today there are members of Congress and others saying the administration must spend more money and more attention to protect public transit systems, which today's events demonstrate remain a target -- Lou.
DOBBS: Jeanne, thank you. Jeanne Meserve from Washington.
When we continue, we'll be going live to one of those train stations on heightened alert tonight.
And then, eyewitness to terror. A normal morning commute turns deadly in an instant. The worst attack on Londoners since World War II.
And target Europe. Radical Islamist violence on the rise. All of Europe in the crosshairs of radical Islamists.
And searching for signs of Osama bin Laden. Fears tonight that al Qaeda's terror master is behind today's attacks. I'll be talking with a leading expert on bin Laden and the al Qaeda next.
DOBBS: Commuter railways and subways all around the country are on heightened alert as the evening rush hour begins. Kathleen Koch is at Union Station in Washington, D.C. and has the report -- Kathleen.
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, more than a million people every day ride the buses, the railways and the subway here in Washington, D.C. every day. The London attacks didn't seem to faze them, but security has been ramped up here.
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: Secure the train, make sure that there's no bags unattended or whatever, and we'd like to let the train operator proceed while we continue (INAUDIBLE), 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 safe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's definitely something you worry about. But not much you can do about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just part of living in D.C., I guess. You (INAUDIBLE).
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.
CHARLES RAMSEY, D.C. POLICE CHIEF: 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.
MAYOR ANTHONY WILLIAMS, WASHINGTON, D.C.: I'm confident of 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.
KOCH: Transit officials have also stepped up their warnings to passengers to be on the lookout for suspicious packages and individuals. Even passing out cards like this one to subway riders attending the Washington Nationals game today, asking them to alert police if they see anything unusual -- Lou.
DOBBS: Kathleen, thank you. Kathleen Koch.
In Britain tonight, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says today's bomb explosions in London have all the hallmarks of an al Qaeda attack. Tonight, and it is still early, London police confirm that at least 37 people were killed in those attacks, more than 700 were wounded.
The radical Islamists targeted three London subway trains and a double-decker bus. The victims were commuters on their way to work in the city's morning rush hour. British police and authorities had no intelligence that these attacks would occur. They received, they say, no warning at all of the bombings.
The number of casualties in today's terrorist attacks, the highest in London since the Nazis attacked the British capital in World War II. The terrorists exploded bombs at four locations at the peak of the morning rush hour. Survivors described their harrowing ordeal to reporters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please move to safety. Please start moving down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we left Kings Cross station, within two to three -- or 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 there was a burning smell. And everyone thought they were going to die. People started saying prayers, praying to God, just panicking, breaking the carriage windows with their bare hands. Anything to get oxygen into the carriage, because the more people tried, the more distressed they became.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We could hear the screaming coming from the carriage just in front of us who took the full blast. And there was people trapped, twisted. There was bits of the carriage missing, seats missing. And people covered in blood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a mighty bang. Everything went dark there for a second, and so much smoke, people panicking. And then people started to calm down. People wanted to get to the back of this train, away from the danger area, but there was nowhere for them to go. Then they took us off the train and made us walk all the way past it all. Dead bodies on the tracks. Train blown open.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I followed the bus, thinking I could catch up with it, as it went slowly down the street and maybe I could get on it. I was about 25, 30 meters away from it when it just completely blew up into thousands of pieces that looked to me as if though there was no bus left at all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was past the bus. I heard the explosion and I turned back and looked, and saw the sort of top rear end of the bus had been blown off, and smoke everywhere, and debris and people running.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just feel I'm a very, very lucky man. I was nearly on would have been sort of feet away from where it went off. I was within 10 feet, but fortunately, in the next carriage, so I just feel very, very lucky. I've seen some terribly injured people today.
DOBBS: Joining me now is the former deputy director of the CIA and CNN national security analyst, John McLaughlin. John, let's start with the fact that the al Qaeda has not claimed responsibility, certainly yet, for these bombings. What do you make of it?
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, there are no credible claims. There's the one Web site that everyone's been talking about all day. I think we need to keep an open mind here, but as we do, as most people have said throughout the day, nearly all of the evidence and all of the indicators here do point to an al Qaeda operation, or an operation by one of their affiliates.
DOBBS: And the -- and what defines this -- these attacks as al Qaeda in your judgment?
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, a number of things, Lou. They bear the same characteristics as the attacks that we've seen that were al Qaeda or al Qaeda affiliated in places like Madrid, Istanbul, Bali, Casablanca, in that they were targeted against indiscriminate killing of civilians in multiple locations with small explosions.
There's that. There's the fact that it apparently had significant planning behind it in order to have this timed so carefully with the G-8 summit, which would be an important symbolic event for al Qaeda, for a variety of reasons. And there's the fact that the targeting here is in one of the financial capitals of the world. One of the goals of al Qaeda, of course, is to damage us financially, and this is one way that they think they would be doing it.
DOBBS: John, as you look at the horror that we've all now witnessed here today, as we look to those injured in these barbaric attacks, is Europe particularly vulnerable to this form of terrorist attack, more so than the United States?
MCLAUGHLIN: I wouldn't say more so than the United States, but I would say that Europe is more vulnerable than most people understand or believe. If you just look over the last six months or so, there have been a number of important arrests in Europe of terrorists, including people affiliated with a group called Ansar Al-Islam, which is in turn linked to Zarqawi, who operates in Iraq. So he has people affiliated with him reaching into Europe. And if you look at Britain itself, the first thought I had this morning was, this is one of the countries in Europe that is most careful and assiduous in combating the terrorism. They've had major victories against terrorists in the last year, including the wrap-up of two big networks, each of which had a reach of sorts onto the North American continent. And yet, these people got through.
DOBBS: MI5, considered to be the most -- certainly the most sophisticated domestic agency, their counterterrorism agencies and units all highly regarded in this country. What gives you pause when you consider what happened today in London, and what might happen in this country?
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, of course, you know, Britain could be said to be batting .700 or .800 here against terrorists, but of course, when you're fighting terrorists, you can be batting .900 and still lose, if they get through this one time.
The implications for us, I think are to be, as everyone has said throughout the day, extra vigilant, and in the case of Britain, to realize that the two other groups that have been wrapped up there did have a reach into the North American continent. The Al-Hindi network, which was wrapped up last August, was responsible for the casings that were done of financial institutions in the city you report from, and in New Jersey and Washington.
MCLAUGHLIN: And the other big group they wrapped up, the one that had a half-ton of explosives squirreled away, was connected to a person, a Pakistani Canadian, who was living in Canada, and helping them with that operation. So those two groups failed, but they had a reach back into the United States. This group succeeded. Without being alarmist, I think we should be alert to the possibility that they may have some affiliation with people here.
DOBBS: John, thank you very much. John McLaughlin, we thank you.
MCLAUGHLIN: Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: Coming up next here, why the Pentagon may be overhauling its overall global security plan, focusing on a new strategy, one to protect the homeland.
The rise of radical Islamist terror. I'll be talking with an intelligence expert who oversaw the CIA's operation against Osama bin Laden.
And we're also following other news tonight. Florida's Governor Jeb Bush has declared a state of emergency. Hurricane Dennis is barreling across the Caribbean, headed toward the coast of Florida. The latest details on what is now a dangerous storm when we continue.
DOBBS: Tonight, global radical Islamist terrorism is forcing changes in the Pentagon's long-term strategy. The Defense Department is considering a new plan that would free more military resources for homeland security. The proposal would move the United States away from the so-called two-war strategy.
Lisa Sylvester reports from the Pentagon.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The U.S. military has been playing a greater role defending American soil since the 9/11 attacks: The National Guard called to protect our nation's airports; fighter jets scramble when planes stray into restricted space; the Navy, working with the Coast Guard to intercept cargo.
Now, the Pentagon, taking into account the new reality, is considering scrapping its policy that says the United States should be able to fight two major wars simultaneously. Instead, the Department of Defense would reserve forces to fight only one conventional war and free up more troops to fight terrorism abroad and at home.
JAMES CARAFANO, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: I think if you look at the needs that we have for what we want the military to do for home security and look at kinds of things we do in Iraq, those task lists are actually fairly similar. So, you could build a rather robust force in the National Guard that you could use for homeland security and you could use for the away game as well.
SYLVESTER: That means possible changes to the shape and size of the military: More agile, special operations troops; more communications and intelligence experts; and it means rethinking priorities.
LAWRENCE KORB, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Should you spend more on national missile defense than you do on the entire Coast Guard? Where is the threat going to be greatest? Is somebody going to launch a ballistic missile at you with a return address or are they going to try and smuggle a nuclear weapon in, in a container?
SYLVESTER: Critics say that even though the two-war strategy may not be realistic anymore, it has worked as a deterrent.
SYLVESTER: Eliminating the two-war strategy is only one option on the table. The Pentagon will make its final decision when it submits its Quadrennial Defense Review to Congress early next year -- Lou?
DOBBS: Lisa, thank you. Lisa Sylvester.
Tonight, radical Islamist terrorists have carried out, successfully, four coordinated bomb attacks in London. Joining me now, to talk about preparations for possible terrorism in this country: Police Chief John Timoney. He's served in senior police positions in several major cities including Philadelphia and New York City. He is the chief of police in Miami, Florida. Chief Money, good to have you with us.
CHIEF JOHN TIMONEY, MIAMI POLICE: Good to see you, Lou.
DOBBS: When you saw the attacks taking place in London, how did you react this morning?
TIMONEY: Well, I had multiple emotions. I had just been in London about a week-and-a-half ago for a week with the British police and the FBI on this whole issue of terrorism. A full one-week course held in the British Isles and we discussed quite a few things, including suicide bombers and why they'd never hit the west.
And then, of course, the upcoming G-8 Summit came up and what was -- how did that present a possible target for terrorists, was clearly on the radar screen. As a matter of fact, the British police sent an additional 6,000 police officers north-of-the-border to help the Scottish police, police the G-8 Summit.
TIMONEY: To instituted no-fly zones; a whole host of things. And then, it was a bit of a shock when I saw them hitting the subway system.
DOBBS: Chief Timoney, do you think that -- when you see 6,000 extra officers moving north to Scotland and -- do you think that, that act alone left London perhaps more vulnerable?
TIMONEY: No, I don't think so, because they came from different police forces and London has a -- about 25,000 police. I think they contributed two or three thousand to that.
No, I don't think that was the situation. It was -- you know, I've been in the subway system. It is vulnerable. It's wide open. People move about freely and it's -- we known all along it's a vulnerability, whether it's in New York or in London.
DOBBS: How vulnerable to you believe your city is? How vulnerable is Miami and what are you doing?
TIMONEY: Well, we -- obviously, early this morning we kicked into high gear: Opened up our emergency command center, put additional resources, personnel, equipment into downtown area and we were ready, up and running by 7:30, in time for the rush hour.
But, you know, my concern in Miami -- there are a variety of concerns. But when I take a helicopter ride along the coastline of the city of Miami and Miami Beach, you get to realize how vulnerable these coastal cities are. There are thousands of white yachts and recreational vehicles. Any one of them could be loaded with bombs and driven up the -- or flown up the Miami River or into, you know, where the cruise ship lines are. We're cognizant of that. We train for that. We plan for that, but that's a real vulnerability.
DOBBS: Chief Timoney, it's always good to talk with you, even with those disturbing concerns you're sharing with us tonight.
TIMONEY: Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: Thank you, sir.
TIMONEY: Thank you.
DOBBS: In other news tonight, also in Florida, Governor Jeb Bush has declared a state of emergency in the Florida Keys. Hurricane Dennis has just reached category three. That makes it a major hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 115 miles an hour. That is a major storm. The hurricane is on track to cross central Cuba and the Florida Keys, before moving into the Gulf of Mexico. That's expected to happen Saturday.
Still ahead here, radical Islamist terrorists escalating attacks all around the world. My next guest says today's attack in London should be a wakeup call for all Americans.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: Michael Scheuer is a former senior intelligence analyst with the CIA. And in that capacity, oversaw all CIA operations involving Osama bin Laden. He joins us tonight from Washington. Michael, good to have you here.
MICHAEL SCHEUER, FRM. SENIOR INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Thank you. Glad to be here.
DOBBS: Do you believe, based on what you've seen today, do you believe this is al Qaeda?
SCHEUER: I would be surprised if it wasn't, sir. It hit all three of their markers. It was a symbolic target. They hit on the first day of the G-8.
SCHEUER: They wanted to cause a lot of casualties, and they did. And most important, they hit the economic center of Britain. And they describe their war as the bleed to bankruptcy war. So it would be very surprising if this was not al Qaeda.
DOBBS: And are you surprised that with my five -- with the sophisticated effective law enforcement, and counterterrorism agencies at work in the UK, that they were able to pull this off?
SCHEUER: I'm not surprised, sir. They're very effective group. And I think we should remember that the British have stopped several of these attacks. And I think the lesson Americans should take today is that the MI-5 and the British system is probably the best in the world in terms of an urban center in London. It dwarfs anything we can do in the United States. And so the lesson we should have here is that America is more -- much more vulnerable than Britain.
DOBBS: And what do you see as our principal vulnerabilities, Michael?
SCHEUER: I think the fact that we haven't helped the men and women who do law enforcement by regulating the borders or changing immigration laws in order to find out who is in our country and prevent entry and exit. I think that's a major problem, sir.
DOBBS: And Michael, as we have reported here tonight, radical Islamist terrorism was not even one of the principal elements at the G-8 meeting until, of course, these tragic barbaric attacks today. What do you make of that?
SCHEUER: I make of the fact, sir, that unfortunately the politicians are very comfortable with preaching the idea that this is a very small group of people who are opposing us, and that they hate us for our freedoms and our liberties. The politicians really are at great fault for not squaring with the American people. We're being attacked for what we do in the Islamic world, not for who we are or what we believe in or how we live. And there's a huge burden of guilt to be laid at Mr. Bush, Mr. Clinton, both parties for simply lying to the American people.
DOBBS: Are you hopeful that we're going to see improved border security, improved homeland security, a real commitment?
SCHEUER: No, sir, I'm not. I think it's too politically dangerous. You know, the politicians very seldom put protecting American lives first. They put themselves first. They like to cater to international opinion. It's a disastrous situation for America, and unfortunately there's no sign of change. DOBBS: Kofi Annan today, Michael Scheuer said, quote, "let us not allow the violence perpetrated by a few to deflect us from addressing the aspirations of billions of our fellow men and women." Remarkable.
SCHEUER: Yes. It's a remarkable situation, sir. We continue to minimize the threat, and minimize the size of the enemy. And it only can lead to America's defeat. And certainly many more dead Americans.
DOBBS: Well, hopefully that will not occur. But we take your warning and we thank you for it, Michael Scheuer.
SCHEUER: Mr. Dobbs, I'm very appreciative to be here.
DOBBS: We'll continue in just a moment with how the United States should respond to the rise of radical Islamist terrorism. My next guest is General David Grange.
DOBBS: Today's terrorist attacks in London almost certainly the work of radical Islamists. Radical Islamist terrorists have sharply escalated their attacks against this country, our interests overseas and all around the world. I'm joined now by General David Grange. Tonight he is in Fort Benning, Georgia, where today he was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame. First of all, general, congratulations.
GEN. DAVID GRANGE, (RET) CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: General, I want to turn to the Rangers in just a moment. Are we, as Michael Scheuer said, are we not sufficiently taking this war against terrorism to the enemy?
GRANGE: Well, I think we are. In fact, down here in Fort Benning, the home of the infantry, the home of the Ranger force, the Rangers have been in contact with the enemy, forward deployed since 9/11. For over three years the Rangers have led the way around the world. So yes, they are taking the fight to the enemy.
DOBBS: Certainly the Rangers and many elements of our military. In your judgment, can we, should we be doing more?
GRANGE: Well, I think the more you can be on the offensive, it's better than being on the defensive. But you have to do some things on homeland security to improve defense. And I think that there's a lot to be done, but there were some people down here from, for instance, the Air Marshals today with us, and they're really working hard to protect Americans here in the country.
DOBBS: Well general, I want you to know, we're all very proud of you, and we're delighted to be able to call you friend, associate and colleague. Being inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame, what does it mean to you?
GRANGE: Well, it just means I'm part of a legacy that goes back to the French and Indian War where the Rangers were the spearhead, were the first to go in and fight the enemy throughout the history of this country. And they continue to do so today. And they'll continue to do so into the future. And to be among the legacy of that, those people recognized is quite a privilege and honor.
DOBBS: General, there's a competition, it seems almost impossible to me that there is a best of the best, if you will, competition. Tell us a little bit about that.
GRANGE: Well, the Rangers train hard, they train harder than any other outfit in the United States Army. But along with that, there's some additional things, and one of them is the best Ranger competition, where they bring in two-man teams from around the Army, around the world, and they go through a 60-hour excruciating competition for the best Ranger team. And I have those two men with me tonight.
DOBBS: Well, let's see. That's captain Corbitt McCallum? Sergeant First Class Gerald Nelson? Is that correct?
GRANGE: That's correct. And Sergeant First Class Nelson is right here with me. And I'd like to ask him what he thought the toughest part of this competition was?
SGT. 1ST CLASS GERALD NELSON, WINNER, 2005 BEST RANGER COMPETITION: Well, sir, the whole competition's very tough. It's a three-day competition, 26 different events that showcase what the Army's Rangers do today in combat and in training. The whole competition takes a toll on you.
GRANGE: How about yourself, Captain McCallum?
CAPT. CORBITT MCCALLUM, WINNER, 2005 BEST RANGER COMPETITION: I'd just have to say it was the night land navigation. Because you've been up two days straight, you're carrying 80 pounds on your back, and then you have to go for 12 hours. We cover about 26 miles.
GRANGE: OK. So you can see, Lou, it's tough. And these are the winners.
DOBBS: Well, they're winners. They're winner of a very special award named for your father. You and your father, the only two to be inducted, father and son into the Hall of Fame. Our congratulations, gentlemen.
Finally tonight, "New York Times" reporter Judith Miller is preparing to spend her second night in prison tonight for her refusal to disclose her confidential sources to a federal grand jury. Her first day in jail. We will continue to keep you abreast.
Stay tuned to CNN for our continuing coverage of the terror attacks in London. A special edition of "ANDERSON COOPER 360" begins right now.
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