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CNN Live Event/Special
America's New War: White House Press Secretary Holds News Briefing; Pentagon Issues Deployment Orders; Stocks Continue to Fall
Aired September 19, 2001 - 14:12 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.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Aaron, as criticism swells on Capitol Hill, behind me, about the failure of intelligence to prevent what happened last Tuesday, a sweeping investigation is now under way, led here in Washington, looking at who was behind it, how did it happen. Our own Eileen O'Connor has been following that story for days now.
Eileen, bring us up to the moment.
EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, federal law enforcement and aviation officials have been looking at the possibility there was at least another plane that was targeted for hijacking on September 11th. Now, there were three flights of particular interest, two out of Newark and one out of Boston. They were grounded due to mechanical problems. Bound -- they were all bound for -- two of them were bound for the West Coast.
The one out of Boston, we're being told, has been discounted, that authorities believe that that one is in the clear.
Now, the hijackers, according to sources, were clearly targeting planes that were going on longer flights because they had bigger fuel loads for long hauls, maximum explosive power.
Now, the attorney general, John Ashcroft, says they do not have clear evidence yet as to which if any of these planes might have been involved.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We cannot rule out that there may have been additional aircraft targeted. We cannot rule that out. And that's the extent of the comment that I would make on that at this time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(on camera): We know through sources that authorities are most interested in American Airline Flight 1729 that went from Newark to San Antonio. Why? Because sources say that the two men taken off a train in Texas after their flight from Newark to San Antonio was diverted. Well, they had tickets on that flight. They had box cutters on them, in their possession, similar to ones that the hijackers used to takeover the planes.
Now, also we know from that conversation through sources that air traffic controllers were able to hear from the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania after the passengers said they wanted to takeover the plane -- well, the sources said they heard on that conversation that the hijackers tell someone onboard, "We have other planes, we have other targets."
Now this after everyone onboard already knew that the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon had been hit. So it would appear by some evidence that a fifth plane was targeted -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Eileen, do your sources characterize this investigation as the kind that could go on for months and months or the kind of thing where they could get a break that would give them truly the pretty good part of the picture of how this all came about last week?
(on camera): Well, they know that while they might get a break and they are already getting some breaks, those two off of that train from San Antonio are, I'm being told by sources, cooperating, and that's really helping them. They went to their home and they're tracing out from there what they think is another cell or a cell and people that were supporting these people.
The problem is, Judy, this is going to be a big, long-term investigation. They have decided that this is a wide, wide network that stretches all over the world. And so it is not going to be just a few months, because they've got to look beyond just these terrorist attacks and look at other things that they now believe were planned or could be planned in the future.
They're relooking at testimony and court cases to look at warnings that they had discounted as too crazy before, and now they're looking at them again -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right. Eileen O'Connor, who's been following this investigation and will continue to do so.
We want to tell you again we're waiting for the daily White House briefing. Ari Fleischer talking with reporters every day about this time. We're told that could happen any minute. We've got a camera there and our reporters. And of course, as soon as it gets under way, we will take you to the White House.
In the meantime right now, we want to jump over to the Pentagon, where CNN's Bob Franken has been following preparations there for whatever the military will have to do to fight this new war -- Bob.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, first, CNN's Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, has learned from Pentagon sources that a so-called deployment order has gone out which would result in the relocation of American military planes around the world. It said, quote, "to support the president's military objectives."
Now, no details are available, but the sources are saying it could include what's called an air bridge, which could be used for refueling. It's a deployment order, CNN has learned from Pentagon sources, that it has gone out.
Now, at the same time that is going on, of course, there is a major operation at sea. We saw it at Norfolk, Virginia today as the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is a massive aircraft carrier, took off, headed for the Mediterranean and points that are not specified after that. The Mediterranean, of course, is in the same region as two other battle groups, and that's what's significant about this. While the ship and its support group of about 14 other ships, while it is heading to an area on schedule -- it was set to deploy at this time -- what is different is the ship that it was replacing is not coming back. The Enterprise is going to stay in the Arabian Sea. There is still another ship in the Persian Gulf.
There are a total of five battle groups out there right now, which is much more than there would have been of course prior to what has happened in the last week or so.
So at any rate, the Theodore Roosevelt is now at sea. It has the capability of just about any sort of military action that you could do from a ship.
It is a massive anti-aircraft -- an aircraft carrier. It has 5,000 members of the crew itself, 25,000 in the entire battle group -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bob Franken reporting very interesting developments from his colleague Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon about a deployment order going out that would include the relocation of U.S. airplanes around the world -- Aaron.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Judy, quickly to Pakistan, again Nic Robertson has made his way across the Afghanistan-Pakistani border. He's in Quetta now.
Nic, we've got -- we're waiting on a briefing. Quickly what have you been able to report?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, we've seen a lot today that gives us a real insight into what the mood -- the insights into the mood in Afghanistan at the moment. In Kandahar itself, normally the streets are absolutely bustling. In the last couple of days, we've really seen the amount of traffic there really diminish, and today the streets were almost empty. Many stores there closed.
Now on the highways to the border, we were looking out for refugees to see if there were a lot of people fleeing the country. But we didn't see that. Not a lot of people heading toward the border. And as we got closer to border, we ran into a couple of the Taliban checkpoints.
BROWN: Nic, I'm going to...
ROBERTSON: Usually these checkpoints. BROWN: ... I'm going to -- I'm going to interrupt you here. The White House is beginning its briefing, Ari Fleischer. We'll check (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in a moment.
ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Good afternoon.
The president today spoke with South Korean President Kim, early this morning. President Kim reiterated the deep condolences of the Korean people and the government. And said that South Korea will fully cooperate in the anti-terrorists effort, in the spirit of the United States-Republic of Korea mutual defense treaty. He also noted South Korea's readiness to participate in the international coalition.
President Bush thanked President Kim for South Korea's support and concerns for American people, and said we will stay in consultation about the war against terrorism. They both look forward to meeting in Seoul next month.
The president also spoke this morning with President Mbeki of South Africa. President Bush expressed his appreciation for South Africa's offer of search and rescue teams and medical assistance to help in America's recovery. President Mbeki offered his condolences and said that President Bush is taking on an important task to mobilize a global coalition against terrorism.
The presidents acknowledged the common threat of terrorism to both the United States and South Africa. And President Bush explained his effort to go after terrorists sanctuaries as well as countries that sponsor such evil.
Earlier today as well, the president had a meeting of his National Security Council. He met with the president of Indonesia, and the two presidents condemned the attack on the United States and pledged that they would strengthen existing cooperation in a global effort to combat international terrorism. They also reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of religious freedom and tolerance and relations within and among nations.
As the leader of the world's largest Muslim population and the third largest democracy in the world, President Megawati joined President Bush in underlining the importance of differentiating between the religion of Islam and the acts of violent extremists -- which is what took place in New York and here at the Pentagon in Washington -- emphasizing that Islam is a religion of peace that neither teaches hatred nor condones violence.
President Megawati encouraged President Bush in his stated purpose of building a broad coalition across religious lines and cultures to deal with these new and dangerous threats.
And President Bush noted also that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the United States. President Bush assured President Megawati that the American people respect Islam as one of the world's great religions, and that the United States will join hands with freedom-loving people around the world of all religions to combat international terrorism. The president will meet with the foreign minister of Russia this afternoon. He will meet with the foreign minister of Germany this afternoon.
And he will also meet with a bipartisan leadership group coming down from the Congress, including Speaker Hastert, Majority Leader Daschle, Minority Leader Gephardt and Minority Leader Lott, to discuss recent developments with the attack on the United States, as well as to discuss the important issues on the domestic agenda, particularly concerns about the American airline industry and a possible economic stimulus package, as well as whatever else may be on the minds of congressional leaders.
Finally, the president has noted the speech of President Musharraf today in Pakistan. The United States is very pleased with the cooperation of Pakistan. And President Musharraf's speech is an indication of the strong relationship between the United States and Pakistan to counter terrorism.
QUESTION: Is the president definitely for a stimulus package? Is it just a matter now of what it is? Does he think it's time now to give businesses tax breaks after giving individuals tax breaks?
FLEISCHER: Well, the president, first and foremost, wants to work with Congress and work closely with Congress, and that's why he's looking forward to this meeting with the leaders. And he wants to hear what the Democrats say, the Republicans say. And he wants to see how narrow or how wide the differences may be, because we are in a new era where the differences, really, between the two parties are narrowing out of a sense of trying to help the country. So he wants to work with Congress.
He has talked about a variety of plans that could include tax relief, that include some areas of spending. Certainly, the $40 billion of which a large portion will be spent in one-year period of emergency assistance to deal with the consequences of this attack, will have a stimulative affect on the economy.
And the president's also prepared to listen to ideas about regulatory changes.
QUESTION: Such as?
FLEISCHER: I'm not going to get into specifics. Let them have their meeting, and then, as the president makes up any determinations or as agreements are reached with Congress, we'll have more to indicate.
QUESTION: Ari, we know that the United States made specific requests/demands of Pakistan and that Pakistan is cooperating. Can you say whether in some of these meetings or in separate phone calls the president is yet at the stage where he is making specific requests of various countries in the area of cooperating in this war? FLEISCHER: It varies. It varies from country to country. I think it's a safe assumption that in some cases the answer to that is yes, in other cases that it's developing, and it will continue to develop as plans are made.
QUESTION: Can I just follow up? Can you say which countries have had various requests made of them?
FLEISCHER: No, I can't. I cannot.
QUESTION: Does the president feel any increasing pressure to act militarily? We see a new poll today, for example, that shows over 80 percent of Americans favoring some sort of military action.
FLEISCHER: As the president said last week, that while this attack may have begun by our enemies, it will end in a manner and at a time of America's choosing.
And I think the president is keenly mindful of the fact that this has to be done right.
It cannot be done early. It cannot be done late. It has to be done for the right reasons at the right time and because the response will be effective.
And this has been another reason why he's also mindful of the patience of the American people. The American people are patient people. The American people also want to see action.
The president is going to be guided by a very resolute sense of the only action that should be taken is action that will work, that will be effective and will be effective through the long term.
And so therefore whatever series of steps you take -- and I urge you to think beyond just the traditional military -- will be taken at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way as the president sees fit.
QUESTION: What do you mean by beyond just the traditional military?
FLEISCHER: Well, I keep reminding you that there're other steps that are financial, that are diplomatic, that are political. So I just think as you all approach this issue you need to consider that mindset that this is not -- this is, as the president points out, a different kind of war. It's a new war of the 21st century, and there will be more elements to it than only traditional military.
QUESTION: When you say it has to be done right, are you talking about going after one person? And do we contemplate any change in our foreign policy that might have contributed to this?
FLEISCHER: The president has said that this is more than -- much bigger than any one person. This deals with all terrorist networks that contribute to this form of terrorism and those who harbor terrorism. The president has said that he sees in this an opportunity to do something for the next generations so that people will not have to suffer these terrorist attacks that have culminated in an attack on the World Trade Center.
QUESTION: ... we could break diplomatic relations with any nation?
FLEISCHER: I'm not going to get into any possibilities or hypotheticals, but the president has indicated currently they involve...
QUESTION: ... what will you do, you would invade their country?
FLEISCHER: I'm not going to get into any of the specifics, but I've indicated earlier that it can involve things that are military, things that are diplomatic, things that are political, things that are financial, all of the above.
QUESTION: Ari, last week officials were saying, Secretary Powell in particular, that the U.S. would present convincing evidence to other governments and peoples around the world when we acted to show the justice and accuracy of our actions.
This morning you seem to indicate that, in order not to compromise how we're gathering information, we might not do that. Did I read that right?
FLEISCHER: I think the question was put to me, one, about the United Nations, will you go to the United Nations before you take any action and present evidence to the United Nations? I was also asked if I had anything that I could contribute publicly here from this podium about proof that we have. And that's the context of my answer.
But the president will, of course, work with our allies and other nations as we make plans and move forward.
QUESTION: And so we will be presenting that convincing proof to other governments...
FLEISCHER: Well, you know, we're going to build alliances and coalitions, and that means interesting interplay always with different nations about how much they want to contribute, how much they will do based on their own desires and their own abilities. And that's going to vary from nation to nation. So I don't think you can make any one inference about sharing of information, for example, across the world.
It will be different elements with different nations.
QUESTION: And one more on this. Given what a shadowy and nebulous creature we're dealing with, and the terrorists network, is the administration finding it hard to forge those links from these atrocities to specific individuals?
FLEISCHER: Well, that's a question of what evidence have you gathered? And I'm not going to get into the process of the evidence gathering.
QUESTION: Is it hard to prove this kind of thing, though?
FLEISCHER: Well, I think it's always accurate to say that the war on terrorism is a shadowy one. The terrorists do operate in a shadowy way. And that's why the president, from the beginning, has recognized that this is the, as he put it, new war of the 21st century. And that will be reflected in the actions he takes.
QUESTION: On the question of evidence, I mean, obviously, it would be helpful to the U.S. and those that it's asking to cooperate, to help demonstrate that this is not a war against Islam, it is based on specific evidence. That would obviously help the Pakistanis, it would obviously help a number of other people we've asked to participate in this with us.
Is the administration inclined in some way and in some forum or even privately in a one-on-one basis to provide whatever evidence or some kind of evidence so that those who are also exposed in this battle can make the case that they have seen convincing evidence and that it's real?
FLEISCHER: Well, I think all you have to do is listen to President Musharraf's speech today. And based on the information that Pakistan is aware of and the conversations that Pakistan has had with the United States, they are taking action that the United States government is appreciative for.
And so, I think the questions about evidence, for example, many of the nations around the world are already ahead of your questions. They are already working with the United States very productively and cooperatively.
And so, I think you have to ask yourselves the question of, are the other nations around the world asking the same questions that you are? And I indicate that many of those nations are beyond what you're asking.
QUESTION: I don't think there's any question that our allies are prepared to believe this. What we're talking about are people who are not necessarily our allies, and those who try to make the argument that the administration is simply waging war on Islam.
Is there anything you can do to soften those views? Or do you just chalk those people up as being beyond the pale in terms of your ability to convince them otherwise?
FLEISCHER: Well, I draw your attention to the meeting today, of course, in the Oval Office with the president of Indonesia; the conversations that the president has had with other Arab nations and Muslim nations. And those conversations have been very productive. So that's -- again, I'm trying to draw you off of that question a little bit, because it's not really reflective of what the United States is hearing from nations around the world.
And to get to Terry -- to the degree there are any such concerns, different nations will have different issues that get addressed on a host of issues and I think that's not surprising.
QUESTION: You're confirming that you have shared information with Pakistan and some other countries?
FLEISCHER: No, I'm not confirming that. I said that you could take a look at the statements that were made by these nations. And they're satisfied with the actions that we are taking or requesting, and we're satisfied with their response. So I'm saying these nations have moved beyond your questions.
QUESTION: President Musharraf said that, in his opinion, the United States need not seek any further authorization from the United Nations General Assembly or the Security Council to act militarily because of the resolution passed last Wednesday. Does the administration agree?
FLEISCHER: You've been asking me that question for two days, and I pointed out to you that, under the United Nations charter, the United States has the right to self-defense. And of course, there was a Security Council resolution also.
Whether or not any other action will be taken at the United Nations is not a determination the president has made at this point, which is the same answer I gave yesterday. QUESTION: All right, let me ask you this. On the scope of this global effort, you said yesterday, first, that it was against terrorism generally; then you said, against terrorist organizations that pose a direct threat to America. A moment ago, you said, seeking out a campaign against people -- terrorism that affects people.
Is it still the administration's position this is only a campaign against organizations that pose a direct threat to Americans?
FLEISCHER: It's all of that. And that's why the president has indicated in this new war of the 21st century against terrorism, the United States, in concert with our allies and coalition partners, will target terrorism and those who harbor terrorists.
Terrorism presents a threat to people who love freedom and democracy throughout the world. And that was what I added to my statement yesterday, if you recall.
QUESTION: But is this a coalition against terrorism activity in, for example, Spain or Ireland or India?
FLEISCHER: We talked about this yesterday. This is a worldwide attempt to combat terrorism, where terrorism threatens people who cherish freedom and where terrorism is a threat to ourselves and to our allies and to our friends. QUESTION: Given the president's sense of urgency to help bailout the airlines, does he also feel it necessary to provide direct financial aid to other industries, such as the insurance industry, reinsurance industries, hotels, motels, tourism, state of Hawaii, that are also having financial difficulties that they can trace directly to the aftermath of the terrorism activity?
FLEISCHER: On the domestic consequences, the president is looking at this, at least initially, in two distinct groups. There is, one, the airlines, which clearly have been directly and adversely affected as result of the attack on the United States. The president is considering what appropriate remedy is proper and wise and in the taxpayers' interest for the airlines to help them deal with the consequences of the attack.
More broadly speaking, the president is also, as he will today, talking to members of Congress and to his advisers about what steps could be taken to help the economy in general. And, of course, any steps that would help the economy in general could also have an impact on various industries.
QUESTION: But what about, like, hotels and restaurants located in New York or Washington that could show you proof that they've also lost money as a direct result of...
FLEISCHER: Well, that's why I was addressing the question of the economy in general, which, of course, has an impact on other industries. I'm not prepared to go down the line tick-tocking. I mean, who knows where you want to start and where you want to end? I've given you the answer that the president is focused on the airlines and then the economy in general, which, of course, has an impact on others and other sectors.
QUESTION: Most Latin American presidents have expressed messages of condolences and support for the United States in this perilous hour. Now it seems that the foreign ministers will be meeting here in Washington on Friday to invoke what is called in Spanish by the acronym PIAR, which is the Inter-American Reciprocal Assistance Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Rio, which was signed in September of 1947, in which these nations must come to the aid of all the nation members if one of them is attacked.
Did the United States ask for this meeting, or is this meeting a spontaneous thing?
FLEISCHER: Well, as you know, Secretary Powell is actually in Lima, Peru, meeting with the OAS General Assembly on September 11 when the attack took place.
But like all other regional security arrangements that the United States has, or that we are a signatory to, the Rio Treaty provides also a collective security mechanism through which we can coordinate our response.
We're gratified by the calls in the region to invoke the treaty, and look forward to exploring how its elements can be used. It's just another indication of how the world is speaking out and expressing unity and solidarity in a variety of ways with the United States in a way that will isolate the terrorists and enable the world to do combat with terrorism on a host of levels.
QUESTION: Ari, there's a press report I'm sure you're aware of that the pilot of one of the planes that hit one of the towers at the World Trade Center met last year with the head of intelligence from Iraq. Iraq denies it. Can you confirm that meeting took place?
FLEISCHER: I'm aware of the report, but I'm not in a position to confirm or give you any further indication on that.
QUESTION: Ari, the text of the president of Pakistan's speech, he said three things I wanted to see if you could confirm or elaborate on.
First of all, on the point you've been discussing, he said he was still asking the United States for evidence, which would seem to suggest that he wasn't completely satisfied yet with what he's seen concerning bin Ladden.
Second, he said that the U.S. has asked for intelligence- gathering logistics and permission to use airspace. He said nothing about actually placing troops on the ground there. If you could discuss that.
And thirdly, he also issued a warning to India not to take advantage of the situation. I'm wondering whether or not the U.S. has also expressed concern to India that it not take advantage of this in any way in Kashmir or elsewhere.
FLEISCHER: First, I'm not prepared to go into the list of all the specifics. President Musharraf did himself acknowledge three. I'm not prepared to go into whether there are any beyond that, but I will confirm those three.
On the first point, I read his speech, and I'm not aware of that statement, so if you could point that out to me, I'd appreciate seeing that.
But the president, as I indicated, is pleased with the actions taken by Pakistan. And certainly this is an important speech that the president of Pakistan has given to his people today.
And your third question?
FLEISCHER: And what about it?
QUESTION: The president of Pakistan indicating concern that India might take advantage of this, that they were on a high alert against India, the military was. Has there been any U.S. communication with India about not taking advantage of this, any intercession on Pakistan's behalf? FLEISCHER: The president did speak with President Vajpayee just the other day, and the president is aware of the regional implications of all the actions in this region. But the president is satisfied that the nations there understand the cause that they are all uniting behind, India, Pakistan, together with the United States. And the president is confident that that broader context will be the modality in which those nations operate.
QUESTION: Did he specifically ask the president of India not to take any steps related to Pakistan that would make the...
FLEISCHER: I'd have to go back and look at the exact phone call.
QUESTION: This morning the president talked about changing the mindset about war. Here you've been stressing, or at least mentioning, the other options like financial and other things that can be done. Are you concerned that perhaps too much of an emphasis has been given to the military or the assumption of a military attack?
FLEISCHER: Actually, I'm repeating the same thing I've been saying for three days. I continue to use that, because, again, I think it's so important for the American people, who have for so many years understood war to be a traditional war, as the president points out, that involves capital cities and movements of fleets and airplanes sitting in tarmacs, that this type of war is a totally different type of war.
And I was with the president all day on Tuesday last week, as you know, and as the president arrived back into Washington, D.C., and he got in his helicopter at Andrews Air Force Base and came back to the White House, it was late in the afternoon, early in the evening, and the way the helicopter comes into Washington, the president could see out the left window of the helicopter the smoke coming out of the Pentagon.
And the president, looking out the window, said out loud, and to nobody in particularly, he said, "The mightiest building in the world is on fire. What you're just witnessing is the war of the 21st century."
He understood right from the beginning that this is different, and the manner in which our enemies, in this case the terrorists, carry out the war against us is different -- hijacking airplanes with plastic knives and flying them into buildings in America.
And our response will be different. Our response will not only be the traditional senses that the American people have become accustomed to when it comes to war, but it will be all those other elements that the president has talked about involving financial networks, that involve diplomacy, sanctions, trade, the economy, politics, carrots, sticks. And there will be a host of items, a host of measures that go into this, and it will be different from things that people have seen before.
It will also involve the patience of the American people, because it won't be conducted in the same manner that the American people have seen on a limited basis, thank God.
QUESTION: Attorney General and (OFF-MIKE), they have been speaking only attacks against Arab-Americans but not against Indian Sikhs. And nobody has spoken yet, only except in this building, you have mentioned (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
And number two, in which category would you put Pakistan, which has been harboring terrorism into India's Kashmir and they had training centers even for Osama bin Laden and others?
FLEISCHER: Well, I think on your second point, that's why the president indicated that this is a chance for Pakistan. The president said that he spoke with President Musharraf and this is a time to see. Requests have been made, and now will be a time to see. And the president is pleased with what he has seen at this point.
On your first question, it's a vital question. And I think it's so important every day for everybody in government to continue to remind the American people, as General Ashcroft did this morning, that the American people should know no intolerance toward anybody based on what has happened. The fabric of our society is tremendously strong, but there are some weak edges, and everybody in our country has a role to speak out and do what we can to stop those weak edges.
QUESTION: Did you (UNINTELLIGIBLE) question because the Indian- American community, especially Sikhs, are really worried to come out because a number of Sikh priests have been also targeted in Fairfax, Virginia. And they are worried, and they had a vigil yesterday. They are asking that President Bush...
FLEISCHER: The president, when he visited the Islamic Center -- I understand you're making the valid point about the difference between religions. But the president was very touched when somebody explained that his mother was afraid to come out of the house because she didn't want to wear her traditional headwear. And she was fearful that if she did, she would be subject to violence. And that really touched the president, and it is the reason why the president spoke out as he did. And I think it's just something that every day, every way, people in positions of responsibility have got to address.
QUESTION: Ari, you're talking about war. During war time, we sometimes make changes both with legal immigration and illegal immigration. Are there any changes planned in how we're going to be treating immigrants to this country?
FLEISCHER: No, there is nothing that has been brought to my attention. I know, in fact, that the president is still committed to honoring his promise to work with President Fox on the immigration changes to deal with Mexico and the guest-worker program and ways of making America welcome to immigrants.
It's so important at all times to remember the things that make America strong, and immigration is one of them. We can be a nation of immigrants, but we can also be a nation of laws. And we have to be both. QUESTION: You mentioned yesterday that the response from the Taliban had been all over the lot. Is there any more clarity today? And if not, does that in itself indicate that they're not going to cooperate at this point?
FLEISCHER: No, there's been no more clarity today.
QUESTION: Ari, also in war times we've had a history of drafts. Is that something that's under consideration, or can we take it off the table?
FLEISCHER: No, there is no consideration of that at this time. And from my conversations with the Pentagon, it's not something they anticipate.
QUESTION: One Irish question and one British question, please. There were some references made about the IRA yesterday.
Does the administration believe that one side of that conflict is more guilty than the other? Does the administration believe the IRA is a terrorist group or the New IRA -- or the Real IRA?
FLEISCHER: Well, certainly, the Real IRA is listed on the official list of terrorist groups.
But, you know, I think the president said what he said for a reason. He is sending a message and he is rallying a coalition that those who engage in terrorism and those who harbor terrorists need to be worried about the actions that are our government will take.
QUESTION: Is one side of that conflict more guilty than the other? Is one more of a terrorist group than the other?
FLEISCHER: I don't look at it in a linear fashion.
QUESTION: Also, on Britain tomorrow, in a military sense, what do you plan to ask Prime Minister Blair to contribute, if you can?
FLEISCHER: Well, of course, as you know, I'm not going to indicate what military actions we'll request.
QUESTION: Ari, based on information you've gotten over the past week, what is the president's level of concern about additional attacks on U.S. soil?
FLEISCHER: Ongoing. I can't point to anything that would make it fluctuate up or down. But I can tell you that the president is concerned on an ongoing basis about maintaining security around the United States.
And that's why, for example, the Department of Transportation has been working with the air marshal program to protect aviation. That's why there have been such a beef-up in security at airports across the country.
It's a reminder that our open society has vulnerabilities. But of course, being an open society also has allowed us to be as strong as we are so that we'll be able to prevail in this conflict.
QUESTION: If I can just follow-up on that. There's some law enforcement concern that because some of alleged hijackers were booked on flights on the 22nd of September that there may be some kind of second wave out there. Is there any concern at the White House that there is a...
FLEISCHER: There's nothing I heard about any specific dates, information like that. But as I indicated, it's an ongoing concern where security is being beefed-up, stepped-up. And, you know, the events of the 11th have sadly brought home to all Americans that we have to be mindful of violence here within our own borders.
BROWN: Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman. The message out of the White House today, among others, one they've been repeating for a couple of days, the international community is coming together to stand with the United States, at least in the early going of trying to form a coalition.
As we were listening to Mr. Fleischer, our eye was on the lower right-hand part of the screen, watching the Dow drop below -- or drop 400 points now on the day, a little more than that. The Nasdaq having a tough going as well.
Christine Romans at the New York Stock Exchange -- Christine.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Aaron. Well, so far it looks orderly, but the numbers are telling a pretty bearish story overall. The Dow down more than 400 points. For the week now, these are more than 1,000 points of losses: 8,484 is the level right now on the Dow Jones industrial average. These are levels we have not seen since 1998.
In fact, when we look at the S&P 500 -- that's the broader look at the market -- it is down below the 1,000 level, something we haven't seen since mid-October 1998. That's a 4 percent loss today for the S&P 500, about a 4 percent loss as well for the Dow Jones industrial average.
And when you think about it, as these levels continue to ratchet lower, the percentage -- the percentage drops will get bigger if we continue to have selloffs of these point sizes.
We have more than a billion shares changing hands right now. Most of that volume is on the downside. The advance-decline line is negative as well. We have 26 stocks here at the Big Board trading lower for every five that are trading higher. That's what I mean by internals, when you say that it looks weak internally here.
Seven Dow components, seven stocks in the Dow Jones 30 have warned because of the impact of the World Trade Center disaster last week. Boeing an eighth one to come out with negative news, saying it's going to cut maybe 30,000 jobs as air travel wanes and demand for aircraft wanes as well. The Nasdaq composite now down more than 100 points here on the session. So it is heavy sealing here, Aaron, make no mistake about it. But just a cursory look at the trading floor, it still looks pretty orderly at this juncture. Back to you.
BROWN: Christine, we're approaching now that last hour of trading. Is there anything specifically that's happened in the last hour that's been pushing the market down or is it just the weight of everything that's happened over the last week continuing to bear on the market?
ROMANS: It's interesting, Aaron. One trader this week has been telling me that there's gravity working against this market, that if it can't mount a rally in the early going or extend the rally and that rally starts to fizzle, then you have the sellers jumping onboard overall.
I've been talking to a lot of fund managers and financial planners who are cautioning individual investors not to get panicky, not to try and sell in a panicky market. But clearly, there are sellers out there, and when the market can't find its footing in the first half of the trading day, the sellers are coming out of the woodwork.
BROWN: Christine, thanks. Christine Romans at the Stock Exchange, we'll keep an eye on that as we go to Washington -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Aaron, if there was any question that what happened last week has shaken this country to its very foundations, we're seeing it at the stock market. We're also seeing at the Pentagon, where new information coming out just now.
Jamie McIntyre joining us, Jamie, with a deployment order being issued?
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Judy. The Pentagon sources tell us that the deployment orders have been released now for the movement of aircraft, the major movement of aircraft to forward deploy in support of the president's operation, which has not been tentatively named "Infinite Justice," according to Pentagon sources, although the final approval of that name is still pending.
According to sources, there will be a major movement of more than 100 U.S. aircraft into the region presumably to bases in the Persian Gulf region, where they normally go, so that they are closer in case the president needs to call on them.
This also involves the use of refueling aircraft to create an air bridge to get those fighter craft across the Atlantic Ocean. Among the planes going include U.S. Air Force F-15/E Strike Eagles, F-16s, B-1 bombers. Also support planes such as AWACS and J-Stars, which are planes that use sophisticated equipment to track people -- I'm sorry -- track objects and vehicles on the ground. Also more surveillance aircraft, such as U-2s, all moving in to the general region.
Now, under the rules that the Pentagon has in place, these units are going to be able to acknowledge that they've received their deployment orders and that they are taking off for parts unknown. But they will not be releasing their ultimate destination. The units will simply be able to say that they're being forward-deployed in support of the president's objectives, but no specific locations will be given out.
But again, Pentagon sources tell us more than 100 aircraft, including attack aircraft, will be moving forward to bases in the Persian Gulf region, where they will be closer to Afghanistan for possible use by -- if military action is ordered -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Jamie, we've been hearing from the White House and elsewhere that this is going to be a different kind of a war. It's not going to be the kind of war that was fought in the Persian Gulf 10 years ago, Vietnam.
And yet the weaponry that you're describing, the craft, the aircraft and so forth are the kinds of things that have been used.
MCINTYRE: Well, this is not inconsistent, because even if, for instance, the United States wants to launch commando-style raids into Afghanistan, they will still need air support. They will still need to have airstrikes to soften up the territory and to protect those troops as they go in and out, and to do that they need combat aircraft. So this forward moving of planes doesn't necessarily mean that the only action that will take place will be airstrikes. It could be that these planes would be used in support of troops on the ground.
But the key element here -- and this has been reinforced to me by many officials at the Pentagon -- is they -- they -- the main thing they need is good intelligence. If the United States has good intelligence about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden or any terrorist leader, and if they believe they can move against them they will. But this movement of aircraft is designed to give the president the maximum number of options so he has the forces ready in the region in case that intelligence gives the United States an opportunity to take action.
WOODRUFF: Jamie, what are you hearing about timing? How much do military leaders feel they are under time pressure to do something? It's now been eight days since last Tuesday's attacks. One has to assume that the people responsible have now had time to move from their original locations.
MCINTYRE: Well, again, the one-word answer to that that I keep hearing here is "patience." The United States is going to have a lot of patience. The military is not anxious to rush into something that's going to have an initial feel-good quotient, but then isn't going to look so successful in the days after.
And officials here are cautioning that the United States, the world, the American public are going to have to have patience and give the administration some time in order to take action that is intelligent and focused and has some chance of throwing off balance these terrorist networks that threaten the United States.
So don't necessarily look for immediate action unless again intelligence indicates that there's something they can do immediately.
WOODRUFF: But Jamie, specifically with what you described as a major movement of over 100 U.S. aircraft, when would this movement begin?
MCINTYRE: Well, that will be beginning within days. As I said, the deployment order going out, which is what we're reporting today, means that those planes will begin to move, possibly as soon as tomorrow. But don't forget 100 airplanes is a lot of airplanes. But one aircraft carrier has about 75 aircraft on it, and already the United States has two aircraft carriers in the region. It may soon have three aircraft carries in the region if the Theodore Roosevelt, which left from Norfolk this morning, in fact heads for the Arabian Sea or the general area around the Persian Gulf area.
So, that's a lot of firepower, both on Navy ships, and to augment that more, airplanes on the ground. And don't forget, a lot of what's important here is refueling. If you were going to launch airstrikes against Afghanistan -- it's a landlocked country -- they have to fly over Pakistan. And that would require planes to refuel in the air: tank up just before they go in and tank up again when they come out. And you have to have a good logistical support there. You have to have refueling planes in the air that can provide fuel for those fighter planes.
WOODRUFF: And Jamie, one more question about the location, you described this as moving 100 U.S. aircraft, more than that, into the region, and you said primarily we assume it's the Persian Gulf. How much do we know, are you being told about where these craft are headed?
MCINTYRE: Well, I'm being told nothing about where they're headed. But you can -- it doesn't take a lot to figure out that one of the logical places to send them so that they'll be closer is places where they have operated out of in the past. The United States has facilities for planes in the Al-Jabbar Air Base in Kuwait. They have facilities in Bahrain. There are bases in Saudi Arabia. There are places in Turkey. They're a lot of places where the United States operates aircraft out of where those planes could go and simply stage forward where they're just a lot closer if they're needed.
That would be the logical place for them go, but the -- again, the Pentagon is being very careful not to say, not to give any specific locations of where these planes are going.
WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's military affairs correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, joining us the phone with a very important development. That is his sources at the pentagon and elsewhere and the administration telling him that within the next days, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, a major movement, over 100 U.S. aircraft moving to the region, which you heard Jamie explain has to be most likely the area around the Persian Gulf, putting the United States in a position, when the time is right, to strike whether Afghanistan or whatever area it's believed those terrorists are residing.
Our coverage of "America's New War" continues after this short break.
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