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CNN Live Event/Special
America Under Attack
Aired September 13, 2001 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is a CNN Special Report, "America Under Attack." Hanging onto hope at ground zero.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If anybody has seen my brother, please, give us a call.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm looking for my (UNINTELLIGIBLE) nephew. He's 28 years old. He was on the top floor on the first building.
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ANNOUNCER: Families of the victims gather in grief. What does the United States do next? .
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GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a new kind of war.
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ANNOUNCER: But a war against whom?
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QUESTION: A candidate who resides in that region, were you speaking of Osama Bin Laden?
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Yes.
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ANNOUNCER: U.S. skies reopen, but as Americans try to return to normal, will normal ever be the same?
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UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: It looks like they are now evacuating the House of Representatives.
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ANNOUNCER: And standing strong in America, joining hands and hearts in the Heartland.
This is a CNN Special Report, "America Under Attack." From New York, here's Aaron Brown.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again. It is now more than 60 hours since the massive and devastating terrorist attack hit this city and Washington, D.C. Surely, these are the longest 60 hours in American life. It feels more like 60 days.
But in these hours, we have seen our national landscape change dramatically, New York's landscape changed permanently. And who can measure how our hearts, our sense of well-being, has been altered as well?
There's much to report in the next two hours. We will take you through the day and the night, where things are now, the events that have taken place all day long. And we will look ahead at how the government may strike back, and whether that strike, whatever it turns out to be, will have the desired end -- and end, not just to the people who committed this atrocity, but to terrorism itself.
Here are the latest developments. Tonight, the Justice Department has identified 18 alleged hijackers. Secretary of State Colin Powell points the finger of blame directly at Osama Bin Laden. A flight data recorder has been recovered from United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania. The FAA cleared some airports to open, and one person was arrested at New York's JFK airport for having a false identification indicating that he was a pilot.
But we begin first at the Pentagon. Another fire is burning there. We suspect this is a residual fire of what had been going on before. You can see the firefighters at the scene pouring water on the building that was damaged when the plane hit it Tuesday morning, and so many people perished. Again, this fire going on now at the Pentagon. We are not precisely sure of the source. They have been fighting fires at the Pentagon, really, for 60 hours, and they continue to fight it still. This going on now in Washington, D.C..
As we go along, on the streets of lower Manhattan tonight as, surely you know, the search goes on. It is a search that's being hampered by unstable buildings and by a fast-moving thunderstorm that is heading towards New York City.
The faces of evil: investigators believe they have identified the people who carried out the terror, but the search for those who helped them goes on the tonight. And in Washington, the State Department all but says it was Osama Bin Laden who backed the attacks, so what do you do next? How do you catch, how do you punish a terrorist?
And we will spend some time tonight looking at the country itself, its slow struggle to return to normal, or find some sort of new normal. There is a lot of ground for us to cover together.
We are inside this evening, off the roof that has been our home for these long days, because of the bad weather that is heading to New York. Heavy rains, high winds expected to hit, adding one more miserable element to the problems rescue teams face, as they desperately try to find survivors.
CNN's Gary Tuchman begins our coverage tonight from the streets near what just 60 hours ago were the magnificent towers of the World Trade Center -- Gary.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you, Aaron. Small fires continue to burn, smelly, smoky clouds continue to drift over lower Manhattan, and more that 1,000 rescue workers continue to try to look for survivors. But the rains are coming. They're expected to be heavy tonight, and that will present major problems.
I can't tell you enough how widespread the damage is at the site. The rubble of the World Trade Center complex looks like a mountain range. At some points, it's 75 feet tall. The streets in the surrounding area look like the blitz from World War II.
There are three buildings surrounding the World Trade Center complex, which are said to be structurally unsound. There are fears of a possibility of collapse, and that's making the search much more difficult. One-hundred-fifty to 200 other stores and businesses that aren't part of the World Trade Center complex are also destroyed or damaged.
Now, there is also debris everywhere. One of New York City's oldest churches, St. Paul's Chapel, it's a chapel, and also an old cemetery. There is debris, refuge, rubble, all over the church.
Now, no survivors have been found today. We are looking right now inside the World Trade Center complex towers. This was video shot by a passerby with an video camera today, and you are looking at the deep hole right there, what workers have to contend with on the scene. It's very emotional for many of these people who have been there, for the 4- or 5,000 people total -- there's about 1,500 at a time, but 4- or 5,000 people total who have been there say they've never seen anything like it, and hope they never see anything like this again.
There was some celebrating earlier today. Five firefighters, according to police and hospital officials, were rescued from the rubble. But as it turned out, these were not firefighters who were there since the collapse of these buildings. These were firefighters who fell in the rubble earlier today. When they came out, it was assumed by many of the people on the scene that they were in there since Tuesday. As it turned out, they were just recovered from slipping through earlier today. That, in itself, is good news. But the fact is, no survivors from this terrorist incident have been found today, and that's the bad news.
But there are rescue workers on the scene who we've been talking to, who are still convinced that there are people buried alive.
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JOSEPH LOPEZ, RESCUE WORKER: It's really frustrating, because you just want to go in and start tearing things out, ripping the sheet metal. The sheet metal workers are doing it, the steel workers are in there, the pipe fitters, everybody. Engineers, coned, I mean, just everybody.
And it's frustrating, because you have to stop. You hear whistles, signals for you to stop, because they think they hear a sound, a movement. They'll stop, I mean, total silence. And you know, it might be a false alarm, or if it is, you have to -- people are so buried down there, you have no idea.
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TUCHMAN: That rescue worker, Joseph Lopez, told us that he found parts from the United and American Airlines planes that crashed into the World Trade Center. He says he turned over those parts to the FBI.
He also says he found a Raggedy Ann doll, and he says that find broke his heart. Aaron, back to you.
BROWN: Just let these pictures go a bit, for as long as they do. That is certainly the first best look we've had at what that all looks like, and that is just -- that is remarkable, stunning stuff, isn't it? I mean, these office buildings, and then you get to those outside shots. I mean, you got to remember, there were 50,000 people coming to work and their buildings blew up under them and then collapsed. Look at that shot. Down to that. My goodness. My goodness.
At the other end of that search, there are, tonight, hundreds of scared and desperate people, hoping that a missing loved one somewhere in that wreckage is still alive. It's hard, when you look at, to imagine it. Forty-five hundred people listed at missing, more than that. Many of their family members have come to an armory in New York City looking for help.
That's where Elizabeth Cohen spent a very difficult and emotional day, and joins us again tonight -- Elizabeth.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, we are still here. They are staying open all night, 24 hours here at the armory on 26th and Lexington in New York, where families are coming to register information to find out about their loved ones, to find out if they are on the list of people who are in hospitals, or lists of people who are dead.
If you look, you also can see there's an impromptu prayer group going on. That is what that circle of people is. Like everything here, it is completely spontaneous. Someone said, "We are a band of brothers and sisters here today, all hoping for the same thing, hoping that our loved ones are among the ones who are still alive."
They have been hearing reports that people have been pulled out alive, and they are hoping that theirs will be one of them, or perhaps they're one of the John or Jane Does who are in the hospital. One woman said, "I can just hope that she's in a coma, so that's why she hasn't called me." Those are the hopes that people are feeling today as they register information, as they bring in dental records, about their loved ones.
We are here with a woman who is looking for her best friend. The woman who we're here with is Becky Lothan (ph). She is looking for her best friend, Julie Geiss (ph). Now, tell me about the last time you heard from Julie.
BECKY LOTHAN, FRIEND IS MISSING: Julie and I flew into New York on Monday. Tuesday morning she went to work in the World Trade Center. About 10 minutes to 9:00 she called me to let me show that she wasn't in the building, that was the first building that was hit by an airplane, but she saw that airplane fly into the building. She wanted to reassure me that she was OK. And at that time, I didn't have the television on, so I turned the television on and said goodbye. And about 10 minutes later, her building was hit.
COHEN: So tell me again, you talked to her between the two explosions.
COHEN: Tell me again what she said to you.
LOTHAN: She said, "I want you to know that I'm OK. I saw the plane hit the building." She thought it was an accident, and she said, "I just called to let you know I'm all right." And that was the end of that. That was the end of the conversation, and I turned the television on, and then about 10 minutes later, her building was hit.
COHEN: Can you hold up the picture, Julie (sic), for us?
LOTHAN: Sure. This is a picture of Julie. Julia is an AON employee, and we are from Kansas City. And I came up with her and we were going to go to a Yankee game and a Broadway show. Julie is originally from Nebraska. She has seven brothers and sisters, and a mother and father. If you see or know anything about Julie, please call this number.
COHEN: So, you are both from Kansas City.
COHEN: She was here on business.
COHEN: Can you tell me, when you went into the armory, was it organized, were people sympathetic?
LOTHAN: It was very wonderful. It was more than I ever expected. It was a lot of people, but it was very organized and people were very helpful. They had food and water, Cokes, anything you would want. They were very, very nice.
COHEN: You said it changed your opinion of New Yorkers.
LOTHAN: Yes, it did. The last time I was in New York, it wasn't really like that.
COHEN: Hold up the picture of Julie still because we want to make sure that she's seen. Tell me about the trip that the two of you...
LOTHAN: In January, Julie and I are going to Hawaii for a couple weeks, so that would be a nice thing for her to tell people when she gets out of this mess, that she was here. That would be something to talk about. I've AON On-line, the company she works for, has been very helpful. They keep me updated. Everybody in New York -- I've talked to the police department several times, and people couldn't be nicer.
COHEN: Tell me about Julie. We can see from the picture how beautiful she is. Tell me what she was like inside.
LOTHAN: Julie was president of a nonprofit charity organization in Kansas City called Voice, it was women with one voice. She gave a lot to charity. She was on a lot of different boards. That's the kind of person she was.
Unfortunately, Julie would probably have been the last person to leave her floor. She would have made sure everybody else was out before she was out. She was a very strong and tough woman, and if anybody could come through this, it would be Julie. So I have a lot of hope that she's going to be OK.
COHEN: OK, thank you very much.
LOTHAN: Thank you very much.
COHEN: Continue your search for Julie.
LOTHAN: And this is the number, if you see Julie, please call this number.
COHEN: OK. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Let's talk now, there are two young women here who are looking for fireman Bob Cordiz (ph). You are his girlfriend. Tell me about what you've been through today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, for the past two days it's been really hectic. I've been -- I work in by work in Jersey, so on Tuesday I was stuck there. I had no phone service. I couldn't get out to anybody. I was trying everywhere, hotlines, hospitals, I couldn't get through. And yesterday I made it home at around 12:00, and we've just been waiting for someone to call. I've been speaking with his mother, and we've just been waiting for somebody to call.
COHEN: And tell me about -- he was a fireman? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was -- he took risks all the time, didn't he?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. He just got transferred to squad one, in Brooklyn, and from my recollection, he was one of the first firefighters there. So I didn't hear from him Tuesday morning. I know, I spoke to him Monday night and he had told me that he was going in Tuesday morning, so I'm just waiting, waiting for him to come home.
COHEN: Thank you. Thank you. Tell me what he was like.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was a very, very strong man. He loved, he loves what he does, and he also works in a bar. And he just -- he was very outgoing and he had a lot of friends, and we're just waiting for him to come home.
COHEN: Thank you. Thank you.
Aaron, these are the stories that we have been hearing all day here outside the armory. These are people who are hoping. I haven't spoken to anyone who has said, "I've lost hope." Everyone says that they know deep inside that their loved one is still alive. And some of the posters, for example, say a mole on this side of the face, or the exact color of hair, because they're hoping that if someone sees them, that hopefully they'll report that to authorities.
And ordinary citizens have been so helpful here. I just talked to a gentleman who came down here just to look at all the pictures that are posted on the walls, because, he said, "Maybe I would know someone." Other people have walked this line. People are waiting for hours. And ordinary citizens are coming and saying, "let me stand in line for you, I'll hold your place. I'm sure you have many things to do. Perhaps you need to sit down and take a break." And they held their place in line. These are people who just did this of their own accord.
I spoke earlier today with a man named Vinnie Carmage (ph), who was looking for his father, Rocco.
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COHEN: And I have here with me Vinnie Carmage, whose father, Rocco, was in the World Trade Center. And can you tell me where he worked and when your family last heard from him?
VINNIE CARMAGE, FATHER IS MISSING: My father was a window washer on Tower 2, the observation deck. He worked the rig outside. He last called us at 9:15 a.m. from the 105th floor, where he said there was 200 to 300 people just on that floor, waiting for them to be told head down.
COHEN: And did he say that he was heading down, or did he feel safe? CARMAGE: He said, "Don't panic," to my mom. He said, "Don't get upset. Tell my kids I'm going to be OK, not to worry about it. I'm in God's hands. We're all going to be OK, don't worry."
COHEN: And tell me why today you're distributing these flyers.
CARMAGE: This morning, my mom woke me up early telling me that his name was on of the survivor lists on an Internet Web page, and that we can get the best information from the building behind us, the armory.
COHEN: And what happened when you went into the armory here?
CARMAGE: I have a case number. I looked it up to see if my dad was in any of these hospitals, and no luck. No luck yet.
COHEN: What's in your head now about what you think happened?
CARMAGE: I don't know. I know that my father -- he wouldn't have just left there. He wouldn't have just left everyone behind. He would have looked for his workers, he would have helped people out. He did it on the -- when they bombed it in '93, he helped a pregnant woman down the stairs.
COHEN: So he was in the building in '93, during the bomb?
CARMAGE: Yes, he was. He's been working there since 1973.
COHEN: Was he scared to go back and work in that building after the '93 bombing?
CARMAGE: My father went back the next day. They asked him to inspect the outside of the building and my father knew how to operate the rig, so he brought down all the workers to inspect the building.
COHEN: If you think your father might be out there somewhere, what would you want to say to him?
CARMAGE: I want to tell him that we all miss him, his little nephew, Luke, misses him. And that we are strong. We've got hope.
COHEN: Thank you.
CARMAGE: Thank you.
COHEN: Aaron, I've been talking to these families for two days now, and all of these stories are very much like this. People are just hoping that their relatives are out there somewhere, and they're begging us to talk about them, to show their pictures, hoping that if someone's seen them, that they might be able to identify them and give some information.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COHEN: Aaron, I've met so many people here like Vinnie Carmage and others yesterday, where families were registering information. And all I can say is that these people have super human strength that they are able to get it all together, come down here, fill out 10-page forms about their loved ones. And they are walking, they're traipsing the streets of Manhattan, looking for anyone who has information about the person that they love -- Aaron.
BROWN: Elizabeth, we are trained to be dispassionate, but we are not expected to be inhuman. You did terrific work today. I can only imagine how difficult it has been. Thank you for your efforts. Thank you. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen.
The toughest, absolutely the toughest conversations, interviews we've had to do are with people who are waiting, and they continue to wait. And to spend two days doing that is, it's tough work, guys.
I was asked by a reporter the other day how this was affecting me, and I told them that every time I close my eyes, I kept seeing the image of that plane hitting the second tower. It is an image burned in my brain and, I suspect, many of yours as well. None of the thousands of words that we've spoken are as powerful of that image. The images of this story are the pain, and oddly enough, they are also the promise that the pain will pals. Here's CNN's Beth Nissen.
BETH NISSEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A single image can have such power. This one photograph helped an stunned nation grasp what had happened after the Oklahoma City bombing. There's not a single iconic image to help a stunned world comprehend the human cost of Tuesday's attack. Most of the images are at remove, heavy machinery clawing at rubble, closed trucks carrying bodies to the morgue. Headlines and news reports are starting to be number the dead, but most of those lost are still shrouded without a name or face.
RACHEL YEHUDA, MT. SINAI: You could say hundreds of people died, and if you see one image of one man holding one dead person, it's an different kind of information, because it's more personal.
NISSEN: For so many, this one image personalized the human loss in New York this week. They looked at this picture and knew that there were thousands of souls like this one dark-haired man, thousands who went to work Tuesday morning and were dead just hours later.
Many family members of those lost in other terrorist attacks say such graphic images are vitally important, psychologically. One of those lost in the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland was J.P. Flynn, the brother of Brian Flynn.
BRIAN FLYNN, BROTHER OF PAN AM 103 VICTIM: It does start to make it sink in, when all of a sudden it becomes less this thing on TV, and more about, oh my God, there's J.P. He is gone. NISSEN: Many psychologists say vivid images of tragedies such as the Oklahoma City bombing can help people move past disbelief and toward grief, a grief that will slowly give way to acceptance, however painful it is, that allows them to go on with life, however altered it is.
Yet, researchers on traumatic stress caution that graphic images of death, especially those televised without warning, are not therapeutic for everyone.
YEHUDA: They may be retraumatized by an image. Information is a double-edged sword. How much is too much information?
NISSEN: And as traumatic the site of a human corpse is, the sight of a dismembered one is immeasurably worse. One of the reasons why there are so few pictures of individual victims at ground zero is that so few individual bodies are intact.
Those working in the debris say the scene is a horror.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You actually -- you've bend down and you pull up a shoe, there's a foot inside. There might be an arm laying next to it. You know, it's -- I've never seen nothing like it, never in my life. You know, only in the movies, and this is real life, what I'm talking about.
NISSEN: Day 3: The full picture of all that happened is still developing, and may always be in thousands of pieces.
Beth Nissen, CNN, New York.
BROWN: Our first look at the New York story today. The investigation into all of this moves forward, and it moves forward at a fairly rapid pace. And we've learned, just in the last few minutes, of a development we want to get to you right now.
CNN's Kelli Arena, who covers the Justice Department, joins us now. There was an incident at JFK, I guess it was late this afternoon, wasn't it, Kelli, where some people were detained? Fill in some blanks on this, because this is getting more fulsome, almost by the minute.
KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very disturbing, Aaron. Very disturbing developments, actually, at both JFK LaGuardia airports. Law enforcement sources tell CNN that at least eight people have been arrested for various issues, including fake documentation, some INS violations. One was even caught carrying a fake pilot's license.
Four of the individuals -- and this is where it gets interesting -- four of the individuals were actually seen in a New York City airport on the day of the terrorist attacks. They went to -- they were passengers with tickets, they went to the ticket counter. They were challenged, we are told, at the ticket counter, and bolted from the airport, ran away. They have resurfaced. They came back today again to JFK. They are now in custody.
As to whether or not this was another hijacking attempt, one U.S. official tells CNN, certainly this is being looked at, that a hijacking was thwarted.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is concern in our office that this may have been another attempt.
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ARENA: So, Aaron, the bottom line here, eight people -- at least eight people in custody, being questioned by FBI members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Back to you.
BROWN: That is remarkable, because you have to think of the brazenous of that, if these people were involved in that, and on the day the airports re-opened try and get on an airplane and get out of Dodge. That's incredible, if that's what it turns out to be.
BROWN: Kelli, thanks. Nice piece of reporting, thank you.
This investigation, as we say, moves forward. The Justice Department says it now believes 18 people in total were responsible for the four hijackings on Tuesday. CNN's national correspondent Mike Boettcher joins us from Atlanta with the latest on the investigation. And there's a lot happening.
MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, indeed, Aaron. As we just heard, a total of eight arrested at New York airports, that one person carrying that fake pilot's identification. We know four or five other people who were trying to check in for flights were arrested at Kennedy. And investigators around the country are trying to make sense of what exactly is going on. Are these people part of a continued conspiracy, part of an ongoing conspiracy, part of the past conspiracy, that brought down those four jetliners? It's a very difficult situation, as 4,000 agents are spread across the country, knocking on hundreds of doors.
And before it's all over, Aaron, they're going to have to knock on tens of thousands of more doors trying to get to the bottom of the conspiracy. We're told that the investigation being conducted overseas by intelligence officials is bearing some fruit, as they are looking across the Atlantic, in search of the identity of the group that these people, perhaps, belonged to. So, it's a very difficult investigation, but as we said, the main thing tonight are those people arrested at Kennedy Airport.
BOETTCHER (voice-over): At New York's LaGuardia Airport, police detained at least two other men for questioning. After the spate of arrests and detentions, all New York area airports were closed again. A few other airports in the U.S. have also shut down once more because of security concerns.
Attorney General John Ashcroft said FBI agents are making progress in their investigation, adding that they have identified the hijackers aboard all four ill-fated jets.
JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: The total number of hijackers, to our best estimate and our best knowledge, given the information at this time, on the four planes that crashed was at least 18. Unless contradicted by evidence, which we wouldn't anticipate, two planes had five hijackers and two other planes had four hijackers each.
BOETTCHER: Mohammed Atta, shown in this photograph, and Marwan Alshehhi are two of the men on that list of 18, according to federal investigative sources. Both held United Arab Emirate passports, but it's not clear if they are actually citizens of that country. The lives the two men led are the objects of an intensive international investigation, stretching from Florida to Germany.
In Hamburg, Germany, federal police launched an extensive search of an apartment shared by Mohammed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi last February. During an additional search of another Hamburg apartment, a woman was taken away for questioning. She clutched a baby in her arms as German police tried to hide her with a sheet. During the night, a total of eight apartments were searched in the Hamburg area.
Back in the U.S., in Pompano Beach, Florida, FBI agents converged on a small rental company called Warricks.
BOETTCHER: Across the country, several people have been detained by federal investigators as they search for leads in this case, but many of those people have been arrested. And right now, we're trying to get a fix for you, how many people are still in detention and where the fruits of those leads are taking federal agents -- Aaron.
BROWN: Mike, just a couple of quick things, I think. We use the term arrested, and then we say they're being detained, and I get == perfectly honest, I'm a bit confused which it is.
BROWN: Are they, in fact, have been arrested? Are they charged with anything?
BOETTCHER: They're not charged with anything, but because we tried to give you the most updated information -- that information from Kelli Arena came just as she got it, and she presented it to you. When this spot was put together, just shortly before that, all we knew was they were detained. Now they're using the word arrested, for fake documentation, I am told. And of course, we have that one pilot, or the person with the fake pilot ID, Aaron.
BROWN: And over the last several days, there have been a number of people who have been detained, held as material witnesses and the like. In some cases, these were immigration violations that they were being held on. Is it your sense that these -- is there sort of a charge of convenience? It allows the government to hang onto these people until they can figure out if, in fact, they have any relationship to this?
BOETTCHER: Well, in some cases it is, but they are obligated under the law to place those people in detention, under those INS laws, if they're found to be in the country illegally. But in cases where they think they have someone who is a good lead, they will use that, and it's been done before -- Aaron.
BROWN: Mike, thanks. Mike Boettcher in Atlanta is working the investigative side of this. We have more on that, but we need to quickly go to our senior White House correspondent John King because there is yet another breaking development there. John?
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Aaron, I wish we could tell you exactly what we have before us, but this has been a very confusion day here. We have had the security perimeter stretched out beyond the White House yet again, and just a few moments ago, out of the old Executive Office Building, and we can show you a picture of it, came some Secret Service personnel. That is a robotic vehicle that is part of the Secret Service bomb squad.
Now, it has sat inside the gate since it came out a few moments ago, so we're not trying to alarm anybody here, but this on a day in which the White House reestablished a much wider security perimeter around the White House. For the past several hours, a helicopter with a search light has been flying over the premises shining down a search light on the streets around the White House. That vehicle, just, oh, 45, 50 yards from me through a fence between the White House and the old Executive Office building and, again, we don't want to get anyone out of control here.
It came out, the officers are still sitting there, but yet again another sign of the extraordinary stepped up security around the White House tonight. This on a day in which we saw the president out in public, trying to reassure the American people. Tomorrow he will attend a national prayer service, ask the nation to pause for a moment of silence. That, part of the president's effort to get the country to look forward in a more reassuring mode, but the developments around here today a signal that this crisis will go on for some time to come.
KING (voice-over): The president choked up as he discussed the enormity of the challenge ahead.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think about the families, the children -- I am a loving guy, but I am also someone, however, whose got a job to do, and I intend to do it.
KING: Two days after the attacks, discussions with top security advisers include talk of retaliatory strikes, followed by a sustained international diplomatic and financial crackdown against suspected terrorists and their supporters. BUSH: Now is an opportunity to do generations a favor by coming together and whipping terrorism. Hunting it down, finding it and holding them accountable. The nation must understand, this is now the focus of my administration.
KING: Sources say military planners are discussing options for retaliating against the lead suspect, Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden. But one senior official said the administration was waiting to act because, quote, "There might be not one, but multiple organizations involved in this."
Another served notice that when the administration does act, it will not be a onetime affair.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't do it with just a single military strike, no matter how dramatic. You don't do it with just military forces alone. You do it with the full resources of the U.S. government. It will be a campaign, not a single action.
KING: The president and first lady took time to visit some of those injured in the attack on the Pentagon. Mr. Bush called Governor George Pataki and Mayor Rudy Giuliani to announce he will travel to New York on Friday to get a firsthand look at the worst of the devastation.
But this interfered with the White House effort to project a reassuring image. The security perimeter around the White House suddenly expanded because of new concerns of a terrorist attack.
Vice President Cheney left the White House and was rushed to the Camp David presidential retreat so that he and the president would not be at the same location.
KING: Now, these new and constantly changing security precautions here at the White House, part of what one of the president's closest advisers called, quote, "a transforming event for us and for the country." And, Aaron, what the president himself labeled himself earlier today, the first war of the 21st century.
BROWN: Well, you have this whatever this is going on on the White House grounds now with the suspicious. You have the Capitol evacuated late this afternoon, early this evening. You have a city that is absolutely on edge, where everything is taken seriously. There are some very similar scenes in New York going on. How does the president, how does the White House, how does anyone in Washington suggest to the American people that things are getting back to normal?
KING: That is an enormous challenge, Aaron, and they recognize that here at the White House. The president himself has personally tried to script the prayer service that will be held when he is in New York tomorrow, trying to offer reassuring signals to the public, but every time the White House tries to cast a more reassuring image, we have a recurrence of events like this. I want to emphasize, we see the robot from the bomb squad out here on the facilities, but still people, reporters, anyone with a White House pass free to come and go, so obviously not a crisis atmosphere. But you're right, the president is on the one hand offering reassuring words today, hours later they say National Airport will be closed indefinitely because of its proximity to the White House and the Pentagon. A very tough challenge for this president, not only in the days ahead, but they know here at the White House in the weeks and months ahead, as well.
BROWN: I suspect they do. John, thanks. Senior White House correspondent, John King.
Secretary of state today, by the way, was not mincing any words at all. He was pointing fingers and demanding cooperation. There was none of the nuance that one usually sees in the business of diplomacy. Andrea Koppel covers the State Department. She joins us now. It was quite a remarkable briefing, wasn't it, in that way?
ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It certainly was, Aaron. As you say, quite unusual for folks in this building, but that wasn't the only thing unusual that happened today on the diplomatic front, certainly, when you consider the very delicate way, the very careful way the U.S. has been dealing with getting information from the Yemeni government. That was the last attack against Americans last year, the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen.
Now, fast forward 48 hours to the very public way the folks in this building have been dealing with the government of Pakistan.
KOPPEL (voice-over): Tightening the diplomatic screws on Pakistan's president, the Bush administration presented a list of specific steps it says Pakistan must take. Among them, to share information on what it knows about Tuesday's attacks and Osama bin Laden's terrorist network; to close the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan; and cut off fuel shipments and, eventually, to provide the United States with use of Pakistani airspace if needed.
POWELL: We have not yet publicly identified the organization we believe was responsible. But when you look at the list of candidates, one resides in that region.
KOPPEL: Later, when pressed by reporters...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: When you spoke of the candidate who resides in that region, where you speaking of Osama bin Laden?
KOPPEL: For the first time, Powell saying publicly what many have said privately, that bin Laden's network, based in Afghanistan, is a prime suspect.
And as Afghanistan's neighbor and long-time supporter, Pakistan could play a critical role in finding bin Laden and shutting down his terrorist training camps for good.
Following another full day of intense meetings and conversations between U.S. and Pakistani officials, President Musharraf assured the Bush administration of Pakistan's unstinted cooperation in the fight against terrorism. He said Pakistan is ready to commit all of its resources to locate and punish those responsible for the attacks in New York and Washington.
GEN. BRENT SCOWCROFT, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: President Musharraf is in a difficult position. He has aided the Taliban for a number of years, but also he needs the United States very badly right now. We are improving our relations with India. He can't afford, I think, to antagonize the United States.
KOPPEL: State Department officials say early indications from Pakistan are, quote, "very positive." Still, Secretary of State Powell acknowledged that with economic sanctions in place, the United States has very little leverage to turn up the heat. But Powell also said that the United States could make life a lot easier for Pakistan, Aaron, if that government cooperates.
BROWN: Andrea, help me with this a little bit, because after these incidents, and I don't care where they happen, governments always condemn them and they say they're terrible and they're not going to allow it to go on, and then it goes on and on again, and it's the same players. So why does what Pakistan says now -- why should it be seen in any different way, if in fact it should be?
KOPPEL: Well, certainly the -- you're absolutely right to say that you -- it's one thing to say something rhetorically. It's another thing to back that with action. And the U.S. is by no means saying that they are writing the end of this chapter right now.
What they are saying is that they're hearing things publicly and privately from General Musharraf and other Pakistani officials that are encouraging. Now, they'll see whether or not they're backed with action.
BROWN: It's those private things we'd like to hear, I guess. Thank you, Andrea. Thank you for your work today.
From the State Department, we move on to the Pentagon. Thousands, think about this, thousands of reserves could be called to action in the wake of the incidents on Tuesday, that tragedy, to relieve the National Guard troops who are now on air patrol over the United States. The president has to make that decision.
Our military affairs correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, has more. He joins us tonight from the Pentagon. Jamie, good evening.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pentagon officials are trying to make two things perfectly clear. One is, it is the president's decision, it's not a Pentagon decision. And two, that decision has not yet been made. Nevertheless, Pentagon sources are telling us that the Bush administration is considering calling up thousands of reservists to bolster the U.S. military strength. Some of those would be used to fly and service the combat air patrols and some of the planes that are on strip alert around the country.
Now, Secretary Rumsfeld canceled the combat, the fighter jet flights over most metropolitan areas, but he has left the planes flying in the New York to Washington corridor for now. In addition, at 26 bases across the United States, planes, fighter planes, are on 15 minute strip alert. That means the pilots have to be nearby and ready to take off within 15 minutes, in case there was a threat to the United States.
Now, those planes are flown by Air National Guard and National Guard troops and they've been at it for a day or so now, two days now. And the Pentagon is looking at how they might give them some relief, by calling up some of the reserves. They also might use some of these troops to just, to bolster the efforts at disaster relief as well.
BROWN: Have we - have you heard anything from the other side of town, from over at the White House, that gives you any reason, one way or another, to know what the president will do or when the president might do it?
MCINTYRE: Well, I think a lot depends on, A, if they decide to continue to keep these fighter jets on alert, keep the ships at sea. I mean, that is designed to make sure the United States is protected and also to reassure the American public but, frankly, it's somewhat symbolic, so they might want to stand that down.
If they do carry out this campaign, this broader campaign that the United States keeps talking about, against terrorism, then that will require reservists. The way the U.S. military is organized these days, no major military action can be done without reservists who have specialties in particular areas. That's basically the way the war plan works.
BROWN: And, just -- and I assume that's because as the military has gotten smaller, right? I mean, the military is just smaller than it once was.
MCINTYRE: Absolutely right. Yeah, as they did that, the plans now rely on reservists for all kinds of things. Doctors, air traffic controllers, logisticians. And, of course, reservists are people who have regular jobs. They're civilians the rest of the time. But under law, the president can call them into service for up to two years, and he has the authority to call up to one million reservists. The last time this was done was in the Persian Gulf War. 265,000 troops were called up for the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Those reservists serving in the Persian Gulf War.
BROWN: And, just quickly, do you have any idea of how many, how many people we're talking about here that might be called up? Or where those people are? MCINTYRE: Well, it could be -- it would be thousands of troops. I'm not sure if it would be several thousand, or up to tens of thousands, and they'd be all over the country.
BROWN: OK. So, there's no particular units that -- ultimately, there would be particular units, but at least that we're hearing now, that might be called.
MCINTYRE: It could be spread all over the country.
BROWN: OK, Jamie, thanks. Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon this evening updating that. That would be a very expensive proposition and would just add to the price tag of what is already an extraordinarily expensive tragedy. And I don't honestly believe, though we hear numbers, 20 billion, 30 billion, anyone really knows.
We're about 43 minutes past 10:00 Eastern time. For those of you who might just be joining us, we'd like to update you briefly on where we have been tonight.
As Jamie McIntyre just reported, President Bush is considering activating some military reserve units for the first time since the Persian Gulf War. They would be used to assist in emergency response efforts. Congress has already agreed to double the $20 billion the White House has requested to pay for the recovery and the disaster relief area, so that's moving to the Congress now.
Three New York City, the three major New York City airports were closed again tonight after several security related incidents, including the arrest of a person reportedly carrying a fake pilot's ID. And Kelly Rena (ph) at the Justice Department reports that it may be that these people tried to board planes on Tuesday, may have been a part of the broader conspiracy. In any case, they're in custody and they are being aggressively investigated tonight.
And, also, Northwest Airlines abruptly canceled a few flights it had scheduled tonight, saying it had information indicating it was not safe to fly. President Bush has declared Friday a national day of prayer and remembrance. Mr. Bush is scheduled to attend a prayer service here in New York City tomorrow.
That, a brief update of where we have been in the first 44 minutes tonight. We've got an hour and 15 minutes to go. We want to go back to the airlines. As I -- the country, I think all of us, are struggling to get back to normal, and at the nation's airports, finding normal was not easy. Not for the airlines themselves. Not for the people who run the airports and not for the passengers, as the new rules that have rapidly been put in effect have slowed things down.
Here's CNN's Patty Davis.
PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Security tight as most of the nation's airports reopen. But not Reagan National Airport, where continuing concerns about flights near the Pentagon and White House kept it closed. Massive snowblowers parked to protect the control tower from a terrorist attack. At Washington Dulles Airport, passengers forced to dump razor blades, even knitting needles, anything like the knives terrorists used in Tuesday's hijackings. The terrorist attacks in New York and Washington not stopped some from returning to the skies.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I kind of, yeah, afraid of the airplane. But more than that I just, yeah, want to go home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am confident that the security precautions are in place and that despite what's happened life must go on.
DAVIS: The Federal Aviation Administration ordered airlines and airports to beef-up security, including a complete search of planes and terminals before they could open for business, no curbside check- in, no off airport check-in, no more knives in carry-on luggage, boarding areas restricted to passengers.
NORMAN MINETA, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: And in times such as these, we will use all available resources to insure the safety of our travelers.
DAVIS: The transportation secretary even talking about using the military's elite Delta Force Commandos on planes to help armed Federal Air Marshals stop hijackers. Airlines were warning passengers to arrive as much as two hours in advance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The old days where you could get to the airport at the last minute and, you know, run through to the counter and the gate and get on the airplane, those days are gone.
DAVIS: 1,200 flights had flown by mid-afternoon all across the country, from Los Angeles to Atlanta. The FAA giving the go ahead to commercial and charter flights, but not to private planes or any overseas carriers for now.
Analysts estimate airlines lost billions of dollars while grounded, at a time when airlines are struggling financially.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our highest priority is to restore the confidence of our passengers in this system. That is going to require patience on the part of our customers, but we also need to restore commerce in America.
DAVIS: The question now, will passengers return? Patty Davis, CNN, Washington.
BROWN: Almost immediately after the attacks, Arab Americans across the country -- this is disturbing and its not surprising, began feeling the backlash from it all. In North Texas, a mosque was damaged, an apparent firebombing attack; no one inside at the time. It was the third mosque attack since Tuesday. In San Francisco, blood was poured on the sidewalk of an Islamic community center in San Francisco. In Chicago, hundreds of people, many waving American flags, were held back by police as they tried to march to a mosque. And all over the United States Arab-Americans say they are tonight living in fear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm blown away, because I would expect that people realize that this is, this is not American. This is completely un-American.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Not left untouched, Arab-American children who, as you can imagine, like all children, they're in a somewhat different situation, trying to understand why people are so angry at them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM, 8 YEARS OLD: I am afraid that they might start being mean to Muslims like they did 200 years ago to black people. I'm just going to try that I'm kind and I'm innocent and I'm just a good person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And situations like that in New York City as well. Dr. James Zogby is in Washington. He's the founder and president of the Arab American Institute, a Washington-based organization that serves as a political and policy research arm of the Arab American community and he joins us now.
Dr. Zogby, good evening. Thanks for joining us.
DR. JAMES ZOGBY, ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE: Thanks, Aaron.
BROWN: I -- it's hard in a sense to know what to ask. I mean, I said at the beginning, it is very disturbing. It is not surprising. We saw similar things, didn't we, after Oklahoma City?
ZOGBY: Yeah, we did, and we expected it, and like you we weren't surprised, but we were afraid. There's a double tragedy in all of this for my community, because we were mourning and grieving like the rest of America. There were Arab Americans in the World Trade Center building and Arab Americans in the Pentagon and there are Arab American policemen and firefighters in New York right now working at that site.
And yet, we were taken from our mourning and had to be afraid. I got horrific death threats at my office, as did others in this town, and there were actual acts of violence, as you've reported. And so, it became a very difficult situation as we got pulled away from the body politic that we are a part of as American citizens and had to somehow be looking over our shoulder.
But I want to tell you that there's a good story here, a good news item from today. 24 hours after the threats came, today we had an incredible outpouring of support from the president and the attorney general, and the secretary of state, to senators who called me. Senator Kennedy and I talked to Joe Liebermann and Senator Harkin passed a resolution, a unanimous resolution in the Senate. Senator Edwards and Senator Stabenow, all called to say we want to support you, as did a dozen or so ethnic American organizations from Portuguese and Italian and Irish and Hispanic.
And then just our neighbors and friends. The local police department came by and has offered us protection. And even the office next door to us, Street Law (ph), is making lunches for people on my staff because they know they're afraid to go out. And so, it's almost like we got torn away from our grief, but now America has come to embrace us to say you can go back, you're a part of us, and you can grieve with the rest of us, and it's been a very, very heart-warming day.
We know that there's going to be tough days ahead, but there has been some good in all of this as well. As difficult as it is to imagine.
BROWN: And that's nice to hear. It does, as you were talking about it, it struck me that -- we've talked before, you're a well- known person in Washington, you've moved in the circles of the Capitol for some time, people know you there. There is a difference between official Washington says and does and sometimes what goes on in other parts of the country.
How many Arab Americans are there?
ZOGBY: There's about 3 1/2 million Arab Americans and they're -- they are all over the country and they are well-established, most of them are. The most vulnerable, of course, are the more recent immigrants. But I want to tell you, the Justice Department set up today a special project. We met with the assistant attorney general, Ralph Boyd, they've set up a special project on hate crimes and they're going to be active pursuing those who threaten Arab Americans, because just as the terrorists can't win, and we as a people will be unified and will defeat them, we will not allow bigotry to win either, because then America won't be America anymore. And that's one thing that cannot come from this is that we become divided as a people.
And so I'm proud of the way my country has responded. I'm proud of the way my community has responded, with blood drives and vigils and expressions of support for their fellow Americans everywhere. It has been a very difficult, a very painful time. It's not over. The scenes you showed tonight of people looking for closure, that may never find it, that will be with us for a long time, and yet, in all of this, America finds a way to be the unique and embracing country that it is. And I think that that's important for all of us to remember.
BROWN: Dr. Zogby, let me ask you one of those annoying questions. Take off your official hat, your representative of an institution hat, and just tell me if when you heard of what happened in New York and Washington, if you didn't close your eyes and say, oh, my God, I hope that was not an Arab who did it?
ZOGBY: You know, I didn't. I know people who did, and I've heard stories of people in my community and my own family who felt that, and prayed that it wouldn't because they knew what it would be.
But I must tell you, from my perspective, I was just riveted as everyone else was with the horror of that scene. I've been to that building. We almost opened an office in that building because a friend of mine has an office there and was going to open a New York office for our institute there. I know that there are dozens of Arab American offices in that World Trade Center, and so I thought of the horror.
Actually, what occurred to me was the people on that plane and the terror that they must have gone through as they knew that they were going to die. And only then afterwards, when the calls and the threats came, did I almost get jolted back to the unfortunate and ugly reality that some would accuse and point a finger, and realize then we had to issue statements and begin to talk about it in a different way.
But I want to tell you, I want a message to my community as well. You're right, in small and isolated towns, there will be people who will do ugly and awful things. But there will be many more who will reach out and embrace Arab Americans and I think that that's the important message of today. We can mourn with the rest of America, because we are a part of America, and the fact is that we will work together as one country to defeat this scourge.
BROWN: Dr. Zogby, it's good to talk to you again.
ZOGBY: Thank you.
BROWN: It's been a while. We wish you well, sir. Thank you.
ZOGBY: Let's talk on better times.
BROWN: In my business, it rarely seems to work that way, though does it?
ZOGBY: OK, thanks.
BROWN: We'll try. Thank you, sir.
BROWN: Good bye. James Zogby from Washington tonight.
In London today, this is quite extraordinary, an emotional, unprecedented ceremony taking place at Buckingham Palace. A military band played the Star Spangled Banner at a special changing of the guard. Of course, this was in honor of the victims of the terrorist attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Buckingham Palace today.
In New York today, a New Yorker, former President Bill Clinton, lent his support to the relatives and friends of the missing, and this too in its own way was a rather extraordinary scene, outside the armory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had two children in the military. He's their dad. He was in, on the first floor first thing the other morning.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Your husband?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and I need to know where he is.
CLINTON: They're still finding people. Don't lose hope.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much.
CLINTON: They could still find him.
This lady came up to me and she said, this is my husband, he's missing. He was in the Marine Corp. And two of his sons, two of our sons are in the military. You commanded them, and I want my husband back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: If you were president, what you would do now?
CLINTON: The important thing is that I'm not president. I'm a citizen, and I'm going to support the president. That's what I want every American to do.
They know what they have to do. They have to find the facts, and then they have to take appropriate action. And I can tell you this, having been the president, it may or may not be simple, easy and quick.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: Former President Clinton in New York late this afternoon.
Our senior analyst Jeff Greenfield is here and you've got a couple of things you want to talk about. Let me ask you something, just quickly.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Please.
BROWN: Because when I saw the former president in that scene today, I wondered if that wasn't going to spark some resentment by the people, by some people who don't like him very much. That he was trying to steal the stage, steal the spotlight, and he's not the president anymore.
GREENFIELD: It's possible. I mean, the politically sensitivities in a story this overwhelming -- the only one that I know that we've seen are, is the determination of the White House to shoot, to knock down any notion that he didn't get back to Washington quickly enough, when Bill Safire of "The Times" wrote about it. They gave him extraordinary information, so I assume that might play.
BROWN: All right. I want to get you quickly to where you want to go here. The messages coming out of the White House -- are we getting back to normal or are we not?
GREENFIELD: Well, I think it's beyond the White House. I think all of us are desperately searching for some signs of reassurance. I mean, the fact that there was such joy at the news -- which turned out, unfortunately, to be false -- that they found five firefighters, when you look at what that news would have been had it been true, five lives saved. 5,000?
GREENFIELD: I was thinking that maybe, maybe reassurance isn't really what we need now. I was thinking of Winston Churchill, who we all know as the man who rallied Great Britain in its worst hour. And he once went on the radio and said to his people: "The news from France is very bad."
And I think what he was saying was I'm going to level with you and tell you the seriousness of the situation so that you will know when I ask of you to be brave and to do this, you will know that I'm telling you the truth.
I think this -- this -- if you look at what happened not just Tuesday, no more than 60 hours ago.
BROWN: Yeah, a little bit.
GREENFIELD: But the fact that the stock markets have been closed since longer than the Depression. We have, you know, that we've vacated, -- evacuated the House and Senate. We need to face head-on how rough this is.
BROWN: The problem in part is -- I mean I don't want to suggest this is "the problem" -- is that every time we say something, do something that says this is really big, really bad, really awful, we are in a sense saying they won.
GREENFIELD: Well, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and took out the Pacific Fleet, they won a battle. They knocked the United States flat on its back for a while. The important message then and now is to know that eventually this will not be permitted to stand.
But they have, I said earlier tonight, that I think it's really way past time we stopped talking about this as a senseless act. From the perspective of the folks who did this -- evil, yeah; monstrous, yeah. Senseless, no. It was exactly what they wanted to do.
And part of I think what a great nation has to do is to assess the fact that we have been hit in a way we have never been hit in our history, because that's when you begin to measure what has to be done.
BROWN: So we accept this horrible reality. In fact, it seems to be something in modern political times we do very comfortably. We don't -- political leaders, at least not in the last 20 years or so -- have not been much willing to say it's really bad.
GREENFIELD: They haven't had to. I mean, except for Oklahoma City, which was -- which was -- part of what's gone on here is that a lot of I think the crises, when we talk about crises, they have been -- they have been not real. Even the Gulf War, which could have put many, many American service people at risk, turned out to be a walk- over.
And so we had it very easy. I said to you two days ago on the roof this may have been the day that America's luck ran out. That's something that we haven't had much experience facing, and we're telling each other everything is going to be different now. But I think it begins with a really honest assessment of what has happened, and what has happened, you know, it's not something you can say, well, yes, we took a blow. This is something that's going to require something we have not asked of this country, literally, in six decades.
BROWN: It's a very sobering way to look at this...
GREENFIELD: But it...
BROWN: I'm not suggesting for a moment it's not the right way to look at it. It is just the kind of reality that I think we resist.
GREENFIELD: Of course we do. And that's why we look for reassurance in the possible story of people being saved and the good works that people are doing. But if we're serious, if we're serious as a country about what has to be done, it begins by measuring what has happened. And you know, a friend of mine who I saw yesterday said, I was looking to you for reassurance. And I said, well, I'll be -- I'll be glad to provide some. You know, eventually this country is going -- is going to prevail. But...
BROWN: Not tomorrow. Thanks, Jeff. Senior analyst Jeff Greenfield joins us for a bit.
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