Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom


Aired December 18, 2001 - 04:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

SUSAN FREIDMAN, CO-HOST: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Susan Freidman.

MICHAEL MCMANUS, CO-HOST: And I'm Michael McManus.

Our show was interrupted yesterday for live coverage of the reopening of the former U.S. Embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul. The U.S. resumed its official diplomatic presence there on Monday.

FREIDMAN: That's right. The American flag is flying over the former U.S. Embassy in Kabul for the first time in almost 13 years.

CNN's Jim Clancy reports on this latest symbol of progress for the United States in the war against terrorism.

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. Marines raised the very same American flag that had been lowered here on January 30th, 1989, thrusting its colors into the gray winter skies over Kabul.

Still bearing the scars of conflict, an embassy window reflected those colors for the first time a dozen years.

A cold drizzle almost led to postponement of the event, but the U.S. special envoy flung off his coat, declaring rain a good omen for the flag raising and for drought-stricken Afghanistan.

AMB. JAMES DOBBINS, U.S. ENVOY TO AFGHANISTAN: The United States returns to Afghanistan today at the head of a great international coalition, a coalition committed to rooting out terrorism and those who support it. But the United States also comes ready to join with the rest of the international community in assisting with the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

CLANCY: Looking on, foreign service nationals, Afghans who work or used to work at this embassy, and braved rocket fire, mobs and shouting to stay at their post. Their children, some of them holding small American flags, behind roads of diplomats and Northern Alliance ministers. General Fahhi (ph), the defense minister, an interior minister, Kanu Ni (ph), heard what the U.S. expects of their interim government. DOBBINS: This new Afghan government will be led by a new generation of Afghan leaders, who have a historic opportunity to lead Afghanistan into a new era. As they do so, they can be assured that the United States will be there with them.

CLANCY: The embassy building was hit by a missile, many of its windows broken. A nearby annex was gutted by fire during a Taliban- era rampage. Still, as a truckload of supplies arrives from the airport and the moving in progressed, diplomats remarked the Taliban had ransacked but not looted, everything from books and photos to the ambassador's fine China, crystal and silver service remain in place.

What has changed is the understanding that no matter how remote a nation may seem, how impossible its problems, nothing good will come by ignoring its plight.

(on camera): The raising of the American flag mean a lot to a lot of people. But perhaps ambassador Dobbins said it best, when he said it really signifies that the U.S. is back and means to stay, stay engaged diplomatically, politically and economically in this war-torn country.

Jim Clancy, CNN, Kabul, Afghanistan.


FREIDMAN: U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says that while the war in Afghanistan is preceding according to plan, it's far from over. That's one core message he's been delivering the last two days during his trip to Asia and Europe.

More now from CNN military affairs correspondent Jamie McIntyre who's traveling with Rumsfeld.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Rumsfeld arrived in Brussels with a caution: that while the Taliban have been toppled from power and al Qaeda forces are on the run, the war is by no means over.

DONALD RUMSFELD, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: There are still a lot of Taliban in the country, and there still armed. And it's going to take time and energy and effort, and people will be killed in the process of trying to find them and capture them or have them surrender.

MCINTYRE: Rumsfeld told reporters traveling with him to Brussels that 30 or 31 al Qaeda or Taliban have been captured over the last 24 hours, as fighting continues in the White Mountains near Tora Bora.

The U.S. continues to bomb fleeing forces from the air, and U.S. Special Forces and Afghan troops are searching caves and tunnels for the elusive Osama bin Laden.

QUESTION: Did bin Laden escape from the Tora Bora area?

RUMSFELD: That presumes he was there. QUESTION: Yes, it does.

RUMSFELD: Since we did not know that with precision, and we don't know if he's there now, it would be difficult to answer the question.

QUESTION: Are you saying you don't know where he is?

RUMSFELD: I am saying that it is a question mark as to his exact location. There are people who continue to speculate that he may be in that area, or may have been in that area, or that he may be somewhere else.

My feeling is, until we catch him -- which we will -- we won't know precisely where he was when we catch him.

MCINTYRE: What U.S. troops have found is more intelligence about al Qaeda, including large caches of Chinese ammunition -- raising the question of how it got there.

The U.S. is still trying to sort out who has been captured and who has been killed, and who may have gotten out of Afghanistan. At the airport in Kandahar, U.S. Marines are building a detention facility where some prisoners will be held until the U.S. can interrogate them.

One thing the United States wants to know is whether any opposition groups helped Taliban or al Qaeda leaders escape -- either as part of a surrender deal, or in return for bribes.

Rumsfeld warned if any new officials of the Afghan government were involved in letting terrorists or their backers get away, the U.S. would not, in his words, "be terribly friendly to their aspirations."

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, Brussels.



LESLIE DAY: Hi, my name is Leslie Day, and I'm from Lawrenceville, Georgia, and I want to ask CNN, how does the government decide what to tell the public and what not to?

MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD, (RET.) CNN MILITARY ANALYST: This is the age-old question of what to say and what not to say.

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECY.: Who's getting ready to deploy? Where are you off to? Yes, you have to shoot me if you told me, right? Just checking.

SHEPPERD: It's absolutely essential in an open society that you give the citizens information that allows them to maintain their public support of military activities. They need to know what you're doing with their sons and daughters. At the same time, the military has to maintain what they call, "opsec," they're operational security. In other words, you don't want to give enough detail to an enemy that they can use it against you.

The secretary of defense through his public affairs establishes what each of the services can say and do. In other words, they issue press guidance and what can be said and the guidelines that goes along with it. And then each of the services puts out the information.

Then the networks get talking heads like me, retired military people that basically know how to balance information. We try to put out information and explain the military activities to the public without giving away operational details.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK, (RET.) CNN MILITARY ANALYST: We don't want to do anything that's going to assist the enemy. We don't want to do anything that's going to make it harder for the president and his team to make these terrible decisions that they're confronting right now.


MCMANUS: Some experts say the war in Afghanistan may last as long as the Cold War. If that turns out to be the case, what would be the implications from a social or economic standpoint?

CNN's Kitty Pilgrim takes a look.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush has said repeatedly this isn't going to be a quick war or any easy one. He said it again on Monday.

BUSH: Osama bin Laden is going to be brought to justice. It may happen tomorrow, it may happen in a month, it may happen in a year.

PILGRIM: And in terms of defeating all terrorist threats, scholars are now drawing analogies to the Cold War -- a conflict that lasted decades.

The analogy because both are fought not over territory, but over ideological differences.

TOM NICHOLS, NAVAL WAR COLLEGE: It is just as important a conflict as the Cold War was because we're fighting for our way of life. There's no second prize here, and there's no second chance. Either our way of life is going to prevail or their way of life is going to prevail. Just like in the Cold War, this is about freedom versus tyranny, and we just can't afford to lose.

PILGRIM: Some Islamic experts say the United States has already made impressive headway in undermining the ideological underpinnings of al Qaeda by the show of force in Afghanistan.

For example, in his videotape, bin Laden makes the comment that if people see two horses -- one weak and one strong -- they will naturally be drawn to the strong one.

HILLEL FRADKLIN, ETHICS & PUBLIC POLICY CENTER: He's exactly correct. That's the way of the world, and it's especially so in parts of the world where more or less everything turns on power and force, as it does in many parts of the Muslim world. We have shown such considerable power and force, I think makes us the strong horse and on Osama bin Laden's own logic, many people will fall away from him and fall away from the terrorist groups.

PILGRIM (on camera): In terms of a duration, most agree that this conflict could last for years. In terms of cost, Cold War planners had to provide for any number of conflicts around the globe. In this one, so far the United States has control over when and where to fight terrorism next.

Kitty Pilgrim, CNN Financial News, New York.



UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: The tension between war and justice is evident throughout history. Two thousand years ago, the Roman poet Cicero defended a friend in court claiming that when one is threatened, any means of securing safety is honorable. Inter arma, silent leges, he wrote, in times of war, the law falls silent. And during the major wars in the history of the United States, the law, if not silent, has become fairly quiet in the name of national security.

As the possibility of war with France loomed in 1798, the U.S. Congress headed off the threat when it crafted the Alien and Sedition Acts. The laws made it a crime to write, utter or publish anything scandalous and malicious against the government.

Critics at the time said the Sedition Act violated the First Amendment, and many believed it was drafted to silence critics of President Adams, particularly in Thomas Jefferson's Republican Party. When Jefferson became president in 1801, he pardoned all those convicted under the law. Congress rescinded the act in the same year.

Another Sedition law was enacted to quell dissent during World War I. This act made it illegal to use the U.S. Postal Service to send any printed material considered treasonous or urging insurrection. President Woodrow Wilson banned some newspapers and magazines from the mail. The act also led to a landmark Supreme Court case when the justices unanimously upheld the conviction of a man who handed out leaflets that urged men to resist the draft.

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln limited the writ of habeas corpus. The legal term literally means you have the body. It's the right of a defendant to appear in person before a judge when accused of a crime. The so-called "great writ" prevents the government from jailing people at will. The U.S. Constitution allows for the limitation of habeas corpus in times of war, but Lincoln was faulted for acting without congressional approval. During World War II, civil liberties groups say the War Powers Act censored free speech, and those same groups are quick to remind us of the interment camps where, after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Franklin Roosevelt held more than a 100,000 Japanese-Americans. As an 11-year-old boy, current Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta was one of those detained in the camps. Both Mineta and President Bush have remarked that they don't want Muslim-Americans to suffer a similar experience in this new war on terror.

Already, the Bush administration is girding itself for future legal battles, looking to history for precedence as it establishes the broadest powers possible to catch terrorists before they strike again.


FREIDMAN: While the Bush administration works to uphold and protect American liberties during this time of war, it also must figure out what to do with people who take their liberties perhaps a little too far. Since September 11, there have been a number of controversies about both written and spoken words.

CNN's David Mattingly tells us about a few people who are paying a very dear price for things they said after the attacks.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On September 11, shortly after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, history professor Richard Berthold said something he continues to regret.

RICHARD BERTHOLD, PROFESSOR: Anybody who blows up the Pentagon gets my vote, a pathetic attempt at a joke. Clearly, a sarcastic remark.

MATTINGLY: It was a remark he uttered in front of not one, but two freshmen lecture classes at the University of New Mexico. A double case of what he admits was bad taste, bad timing, and bad judgment.

BERTHOLD: I just said something that was incredibly callous. And people have this anger, you know, what can I do with this anger? Well, that little son of a bitch. And bingo, you focus it on me.

MATTINGLY: What followed was a furious backlash of national criticism, more than 1,000 hate e-mails, letters demanding his firing, death threats.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This right here?

MATTINGLY: And the threat of violence from a biker in his own driveway.

BERTHOLD: He came charging at me screaming obscenities. And I ran into the house, which seemed like the sensible thing to do at the time and never heard from him again. But it was kind of a wake-up call.

MATTINGLY: A wakeup call, a reality check, a harsh demonstration of the limits of free speech in a time of war.

GREGG EASTERBROOK, SENIOR EDITOR, "NEW REPUBLIC": The whole point is that free speech must be free, but it cannot be without cost. You can say what you want and then you accept the consequences.

MATTINGLY: Among those paying a price, ABC's Bill Maher.

BILL MAHER, COMEDIAN: We have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly.

MATTINGLY: Maher apologized, but may not be back next season. The comment infuriated advertisers and local affiliates. Louisiana Congressman Republican John Cooksey also had to apologize for his remarks in a radio interview. He said "if he's got a diaper on his head and a fan belt around that diaper on his head, that guys needs to be pulled over and checked." Both comments were brought to the attention of the White House.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: It's a terrible thing to say. And it's unfortunate. And that's why there was a earlier question about has the President said anything to people in his own party. There are reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do. And this is not a time for remarks like that. It never is.

MATTINGLY: Untimely remarks also from Jerry Falwell, who blames secular activities of "pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, gays and lesbians" for making America a target.

JERRY FALWELL, CHANCELLOR, LIBERTY UNIV.: Right living promotes a nation to greatness. Violating God's principles brings a nation to shame. I didn't say like I should. That's why I apologized.

MATTINGLY: And the list goes on. Cartoonist Aaron McGruder, his comic strip "Boondocks" dropped by two New York newspapers after satirizing the U.S. government. Columnist Dan Guthrie of the Grants Pass Oregon "Daily Courier" fired, after accusing President Bush of hiding in a Nebraska hole during the attacks.

CLARENCE PAGE, "CHICAGO TRIBUNE" COLUMNIST: When terror does it work, it inspires many people to overreact in all kinds of ways. And that includes overreaction to statements that they don't agree with.

MATTINGLY: And objectionable statements abound. ACTA, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni published a list of 115 comments it considers unpatriotic made on 30 college campuses in 17 different states. Near the top of the list, the comment from Richard Berthold.

BERTHOLD: It shows how this has gotten out of hand. I mean, that remark has no importance whatsoever. It's only important to demonstrate that there's a university professor in New Mexico, who at least for a day, was a jackass. MATTINGLY: Berthold has sent -- apologized for his remarks. He's agreed to no longer teach freshman level classes. And he's accepted a reprimand from the university, but it's still not nearly enough to satisfy some of his critics.

BILL FULLER, NEW MEXICO STATE HOUSE: I want him to be either I want him to retire, or I want the university to fire him. One or the other.

MATTINGLY: Representative Bill Fuller of the New Mexico State Legislature leads the push to kick Berthold off the state payroll. Fuller, a retired army colonel, has two sons in the Army. The oldest works at the Pentagon.

FULLER: If you read the Constitution, you'll see that the freedom of speech, what it says is that you cannot be imprisoned for what you say. And it doesn't say a thing about you can't be fired.

We encourage you continue to fight for this professor's termination.

MATTINGLY: Three months after September 11, Fuller still gets anti-Berthold letters and phone calls.

FULLER: These are the positive letters.


MATTINGLY: Berthold himself continues to get calls and letters. Thought most now, he says, are of a more supportive tone like this one.

"Bad taste and being a jerk are rights we must protect."

BERTHOLD: Yes, well you know, that's essentially the message I was trying to put out. And bad taste, I don't know about being a jerk, but bad taste is certainly an American value.

EASTERBROOK: The nature of free speech, the whole reason we have it, is that there isn't a right or wrong, but there is a free debate about what ought to be right or wrong.

MATTINGLY: And since September 11, it seems no one is exempt from criticism anywhere on the patriotic spectrum.

Young Aaron Pettit was suspended from his Cleveland high school for posting pro-war material on his locker. He had go to court before he could go back to class.

The president of Harvard University was also criticized when he called on academia to support military service.

LAWRENCE SUMMERS, HARVARD UNIV. PRESIDENT: When we honor public service, it's particularly important to honor all forms public service, including the service of those who wear uniforms. MATTINGLY: And remember, the ACTA list of unpatriotic statements? That too has been soundly criticized and labeled a black list.

PAGE: We Americans, like anybody else, will turn our anger on each other. So, you know, anybody who disagrees very sharply or offers contrasting view may find themselves chilled.

MATTINGLY: As for Richard Berthold, the backlash has chilled his lectures, as he is careful now to avoid making more provocative statements.

BERTHOLD: I can't eat much more crow on this one than I already have. I admit over and over, these were the words of a unthinking jerk.

MATTINGLY: Yet after 29 years of teaching, he's thinking about retirement. The career he loves put in jeopardy by an act of ill- timed and inappropriate sarcasm.

David Mattingly, CNN.


ANNOUNCER: Teachers, make the most of CNN NEWSROOM with our free daily classroom guide to the program. There you'll find a rundown of each day's show so you choose just the program segment that fits your lesson plan. Plus there are discussion questions and activities and the guide highlights key people, places and news terms. Each day find hot links to other online resources and previews of upcoming desk segments.

It's all at this Web address where you can also sign up to have the guide automatically e-mailed directly to you each day. It's easy. It's free. It's your curriculum connection to the news. After all, the news never stops and neither does learning.

FREIDMAN: Are you one of the many people planning a trip over the holidays? Well if you haven't flown since the summer, this winter's trip will be very different.

MCMANUS: Yes, it sure will. Everything from arrival times to objects you shouldn't carry anymore are just a small part of the changes at America's airports. So with that in mind, I took a trip out to the world's busiest airport for some helpful tips for the holiday traveler.


MCMANUS (voice-over): Sixteen-year-old Anthony Milton (ph) is prepared for his trip.

ANTHONY MILTON, TRAVELER: I got my GameBoy Advanced, my MP3 Player and we went and stopped and bought a couple of magazines and stuff like that, just stuff to keep us busy where we don't go nuts on the way there. MCMANUS: On this day he's flying home to Texas with his parents who also packed accordingly.

MRS. MILTON (ph), TRAVELER: Absolutely.


MRS. MILTON: We packed a travel bag because of the delays so that if we had to stay overnight or a flight was cancelled (INAUDIBLE) prepared we have everything in our bag to make it through another 24 to 48 hours.

MCMANUS: They came prepared, but many in the travel industry say confusion at airports is caused because people aren't ready for what to expect.

JOHN KENNEDY, DELTA AIR LINES: Pack just what you need and check as much as you possibly can.

YOLANDA CLARK, ATLANTA AIRPORT AUTHORITY: We try to encourage people, particularly during the holidays, to be as prepared and take as many precautions before leaving to come to the airport because, obviously, it's the busiest time of year.

MCMANUS: Yolanda Clark helps make sure the world's busiest airport, Hartsfield International, runs smoothly. Tops on her list right now...

CLARK: Being prepared to deal with the additional security measures that are in place as well as the additional traffic volume that we experience this time of year.

MCMANUS: Since you can't meet your party at the gate anymore, Kennedy suggests a prescheduled meeting place as well as cell, pager or other contact numbers.

KENNEDY: My son, who's 11, travels every two weeks as an unaccompanied minor. He carries with him a piece of paper with all the emergency telephone numbers of both parents and grandparents.

MCMANUS (on camera): If you traveled this summer, your experience will be completely different this winter. Best advice, says travel experts, be prepared for delayed flights, carry-on regulations and long lines. But follow some tips and you should have a good trip.

(voice-over): Some helpful hints include arriving at the airport early, two hours before departure for most domestic flights.

Chances are you're going to end up waiting somewhere during your trip. Bring a book or a magazine and pass the time reading.

Most airlines aren't serving food onboard anymore. Try to bring a granola bar or some sort of snack that's easy to pack.

And chances are if you're bringing a bag onboard, it will be searched. Remember if it's sharp, it probably won't be allowed in a carry-on.

In addition, have your ticket and identification ready to go. You'll be asked for it up to three separate times before you get on the airplane. If you don't have a license, most airlines will accept a passport or a birth certificate.

One more thing to remember, especially over the holidays...

KENNEDY: Do not pack either in your checked luggage or your hand luggage wrapped gifts because there's a chance that they will be opened.

MCMANUS: As for Anthony Milton, he's looking forward to a safe flight home for the holidays.

A. MILTON: I still consider flying safer than driving.

MCMANUS: He's ready for his trip from the curb all the way to the cabin.


FREIDMAN: Some great information for the holidays. And for even more, head to

MCMANUS: That's right. Our Web site will give you some additional links and tips for traveling over the fast approaching holidays.

And now that we have the important business of traveling out of the way, time for a laugh. You've probably noticed a satellite delay between news anchors and reporters overseas. Trust me, if we could get rid of that delay we would.

FREIDMAN: We sure would. But until we do, here's Jeanne Moos on a sometimes awkward few seconds of silence.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nod your head if you've noticed.


MOOS: Coverage of the war in Afghanistan has given birth to pauses that are beyond pregnant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Dan. Hi, Rick -- Nick, what's the word?

MOOS: The word is delay. Satellite delay, or as this viewer calls it...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: delayed head bobbing.

MOOS: Silence isn't just golden, it's funny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we expect a swift fall of the Al Qaeda network?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: can we expect a swift fall of the Al Queda network?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could you repeat the question?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pardon, can you repeat your question?

MOOS: The real Christiane Amanpour doesn't bob her head while reporting from Kandahar.

(on camera): Does the satellite delay get on your nerves?

AMANPOUR: Yes, it does.

MOOS (voice-over): but there's not much engineers can do about it, since Afghanistan is on the other side of the Earth from the U.S.

ARNIE CHRISTENSON, CNN SATELLITE OPERATIONS MGR.: We're generally using two satellites, so it's a double satellite hop back to the United States.

Two TV satellites and one for the phone. CNN bounces signals up and down and up and down and up and down like ping pong gone amok.

(on camera): What do you estimate the number of seconds is until you hear my voice?

(voice-over): It may feel like 60 minutes, but the delay's only three or four seconds. It could be worse for instance, when Larry King interviewed the Dalai Lama in India on millennium eve using a three-satellite hop.


LARRY KING, "LARRY KING LIVE": Your Holiness, do you expect to return to Tibet?

DALAI LAMA: Again, not very clear.


MOOS: But why waste all that silence. Next thing you know they'll be sneaking in subliminal ads.

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: What do you make of all that?

MOOS: Or you can use the downtime to identify the bird calls in Afghanistan.

Comedians can't keep quiet about the silence.

DAVE BARRY, HUMORIST: I'm thinking they're faking it. I think they hear it right away, but they just pretend they don't so they can think of a good answer.

MD ROCCA, COMEDY CENTRAL: Well, my colleagues and I have made it into a party game. We write down what we think the correspondent is going to answer.

MOOS: But what's a correspondent supposed to do while waiting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just keep a straight face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You do like a world weary seen and heard it all like that, not acknowledging and agreeing with what's said, but what a world we're in.

MOOS (on camera): Are you sort of fixing your face, arranging it in a certain way so you don't look kind of dumb waiting for the question?

AMANPOUR: No I'm not. If I'm looking dumb, I just can't help it.

MOOS: But wait, Geraldo's delay on Fox seems shorter, with a two-second delay, a correspondent barely has time to sip his coffee.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So alright, you got shot at, Geraldo, what happened there?

GERALDO RIVERA: We were doing a stand-up close, Bill.


MOOS: Apparently Geraldo's using only a one-satellite hop.

Among the casualties in Afghanistan, dead air.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's bad in Jalalbad; get it?


AMANPOUR: Bad in Jalalabad.


I don't get it.


FREIDMAN: Well we promise no delays in bringing NEWSROOM to you every day.

MCMANUS: Yes, that's right, Susan, no delays -- no delays at all. And now on to satellites of a different type, the shuttle Endeavor touched down yesterday at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Endeavor had been orbiting Earth for the past 12 days.

And we invite you to stay with CNN throughout the day. For now, I'm Michael McManus.

FREIDMAN: And I'm Susan Freidman. We'll see you tomorrow.