Return to Transcripts main page
CNN Live Event/Special
How Anthrax Attacks Have Affected U.S.; Is the Threat From Overseas, or Homegrown?; How Will the Airline Security Bill Impact Passengers?
Aired November 03, 2001 - 12:00 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must never flinch in the face of adversity, and we won't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN ANCHOR: From the war front to the home front, we'll look at how anthrax attacks challenge the president's homeland security team and the U.S. health system. We'll talk to doctors who can answer your phone and e-mail questions. We'll ask experts how fear and anxiety can strike a country and an individual.
And we'll report the latest on the anthrax investigation and the debate on whether the terrorism source is homegrown or from overseas.
Plus, a holiday travel preview: Passengers holding back; the tourism industry awash with bargains; and how the congressional airline security vote hits home.
All just ahead as CNN continues its coverage of America's New War.
I'm Jeanne Meserve in Washington.
Joining us today is CNN medical correspondent Rea Blakey.
And we want to hear from you. Give us a call or e-mail us. The address is email@example.com.
We'll talk about the anthrax probe, the public debate over how the government has responded, how to cope with anxiety and fear, and more in just a moment. But first, a check on the latest developments in America's new war.
The intensive airstrikes have been reported today on Taliban forces in northern Afghanistan. Strikes also are reported near Kabul. Northern Alliance commanders tell CNN the bombings near the strategic city of Mazar-e Sharif are aimed at Taliban troops. The commanders say they've captured portions of another city south of Mazar-e Sharif, but the report cannot be independently confirmed. The Pentagon says one of its helicopters on a search-and-rescue mission made a crash landing in Afghanistan. The Taliban says it shot down the chopper, but the Pentagon says bad weather is to blame. The crew was rescued. We're told none of the crew members suffered any life-threatening injuries.
Osama bin Laden lashes out at the United States and the United Nations in a videotape broadcast today by the Arab-language TV channel Al Jazeera. On the tape, bin Laden claims the United States has no proof to justify its attacks in Afghanistan. He calls the United Nations an instrument of crime against Muslims and says Muslim leaders who work with the U.N. are, quote, "hypocrites."
Bin Laden goes on to say those claim to be Arab leaders and remain in the United Nations, they have become unbelievers of the revelation that was given to Mohammad. Those who refer matters to international legitimacy have become unbelievers in the legitimacy of the Koran.
The U.N. General Assembly convenes next week and some Arab leaders are expected to attend, but it is unclear if bin Laden is referring to that meeting. Al Jazeera says it does not know when or where bin Laden recorded the tape. Bin laden's reference to the bombing in Afghanistan does suggest the tape was recorded after the bombing campaign began on October the 7th.
A "New York Post" employee has become the nation's 17th confirmed case of anthrax. A skin lesion on the patient had earlier been suspected as skin anthrax, and tests have now confirmed that diagnosis. The city's health commissioner believes the source is an anthrax-laden letter that arrived at the newspaper last month.
President Bush discussed the anthrax scare during his weekly radio address this morning. CNN's White House correspondent Kelly Wallace is near Camp David with the very latest.
Kelly, fill us in.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hello there, Jeanne.
Well, for the very first time, President Bush devoting his entire radio address to the anthrax situation in the U.S. The president, it appeared, trying to reassure Americans about the situation. This after his administration has faced some criticism over its handling of these cases, for at times releasing conflicting information.
The federal government also criticized for not responding quickly enough to the threat. In particular, you will recall a main D.C. postal facility, lots of concern about not testing workers there right away. Two workers eventually dying of inhalation anthrax.
In this address, Mr. Bush saying the federal government learning new information every day. That, in fact, in the beginning, health experts did not believe that anthrax spores could actually be released from a sealed envelope. He said we know now differently. Now, Mr. Bush also made it clear the administration does not know who is responsible for, what he calls, a second wave of terrorist attacks in the United States.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BUSH: We do not yet know who sent the anthrax, whether it was the same terrorist who committed the attacks on September the 11th or whether it was the other international or domestic terrorists. We do know that anyone who would try infect other people with anthrax is guilty of an act of terror.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WALLACE: Now, Mr. Bush also followed up on a direct appeal by FBI Director Robert Mueller yesterday for the American people to try and help law enforcement authorities try and solve these cases.
The president touting once again that $1 million reward being offered by the FBI and the Postal Service for information leading to the arrest and conviction of what he called the anthrax terrorists.
Now, Jeanne, this speech, this radio address, appeared to be a bit of a preview for a speech that Mr. Bush will be giving on Thursday. This is being billed as a major address to the American people on homeland security issues. We are told by senior administration officials that the president thinks it's vitally important to continue to talk to the American people about the nature of the threat, of the threat of terrorist attacks in the United States and the U.S. response.
Jeanne, back to you.
MESERVE: Kelly, any word on whether the president will be consulting this weekend with his national security team about the military effort?
WALLACE: He did, Jeanne. He met with his National Security Council this morning for about a half hour, beginning his Saturday the way he typically does now, chairing a video teleconference with his team. Condoleezza Rice up at Camp David with the president, also his chief of staff there; the rest of his advisers joining from Washington.
Jeanne, back to you.
MESERVE: Kelly Wallace near Camp David, thank you.
And as we just reported, heavy airstrikes in the north, but the skies are quieter further south in Kandahar. That's where we find CNN's Kamal Hyder. He joins us on the phone.
Kamal, fill us in.
KAMAL HYDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jean, the skies over Kandahar seem to be clear for tonight. There was some air activity earlier in the day, but no bombing runs on Kandahar. We are told that some propaganda pamphlets were thrown into the Kandahar and Yelmand area. People have been able to get ahold of some of these pamphlets, apparently with a photograph of Mullah Omar's vehicle (ph), along with a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) saying that the eye in the sky is always looking at them -- Jeanne.
MESERVE: Kamal Hyder in Kandahar, thank you.
And joining us now, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Dr. Fauci, thanks a lot for coming in...
ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You're welcome.
MESERVE: ... to talk, of course, about anthrax.
MESERVE: The most mysterious case at the moment, that of Kathy Nguyen, the hospital worker in New York who died of inhalation anthrax. Any new clues in that mystery?
FAUCI: No, none at all actually. There is no new evidence to link that New York hospital case to what we have now seen as a pattern of cases related to the Postal Service.
So there are a number of options that people are speculating about. Either this is an outlier that we will ultimately find is related to the mail service situation, or it's the sentinel case in a new pattern that is evolving.
The evidence, or at least the information that would argue against that is that if that's the situation, you would expect to see other cases of unexplained anthrax, which we have not seen up to now. That doesn't mean they're not going to happen, but they have not occurred up to now, which means that, thus far, this still does remain an unexplained isolated case.
REA BLAKEY, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dr. Fauci, with that in mind, I mean, obviously it could be a sentinel case.
BLAKEY: If it's not -- this is all anthrax all the time. President Bush has addressed his radio speech this week specifically to anthrax.
Do you feel if the administration is really doing enough to try to get the message across to the American people, especially in light of the fact that there is no current director of NIH at this time?
FAUCI: I don't think that has anything to do with the relationship of the director of NIH to...
BLAKEY: You don't think it would make people feel more...
FAUCI: Absolutely not. I think this is a question of public health. I think the administration is certainly putting on what we call a full-court press about trying to get that information out as quickly as possible. The truth is, this isolated case itself is really still a puzzle. And you have to admit it's a puzzle.
The intensity of the investigation, of trying to find out if there is any clues, any leads -- workplace leads, personal leads, leads of interactions with other people -- that are all being intensively investigated. And right now it still remains a mystery.
MESERVE: It has been reported that the anthrax from what she suffered was the same strain as has been seen elsewhere.
MESERVE: How big of clue is that? And could there be further genetic tests that would differentiate the strains somehow?
FAUCI: Right. See, to examine it over the timeframe that it's been examined since that statement was made, I think really tells you just generally it's the same type of anthrax.
I think if you want to do forensic, really detailed forensic investigation, as if the powder that was in one particular envelope is exactly the same, you would have to do very sophisticated genetic analysis of the microbe, and I don't think we've had time to do that thus far.
MESERVE: But will that be done?
FAUCI: Absolutely. There is no question about that.
MESERVE: And how narrowly would that focus the investigation? Could you trace it back, let's say, to anthrax from one particular laboratory?
FAUCI: Likely not, likely not, because the ability to take what we call stock strains and then grow them up in large amounts and create a component of it that would be able to be used as spores, has so many possibilities of being shared over a period of years among groups.
FAUCI: It could be made in one place and used in another, it can be bought, it can be stolen. It's going to be very difficult to precisely say where this is coming from, unless we get very lucky.
BLAKEY: Could this remain an unsolved mystery then?
FAUCI: It's certainly conceivable that it would remain unsolved. You have to have that open as a possibility.
MESERVE: The New Jersey case of the accountant -- someone who's not associated with the postal service, but has a case of cutaneous anthrax -- what does that case tell you? Does it tell you that there's a real possibility that there's cross-contamination going on in the mails and all of us who receive mail could be at risk?
FAUCI: Yes, see, I think we have to be careful about making that leap from the possibility of cross-contamination with a letter to everybody in the United States being at risk, because that's really rather a majestic leap that, likely, doesn't have much...
MESERVE: Well, can you make a smaller leap, though?
FAUCI: Certainly. OK...
MESERVE: Could you take a smaller one?
FAUCI: No. What you could say is that the cutaneous anthrax in the New Jersey case hasn't been directly related to the original mail, but now we're seeing that she lived in a township in which there was a contaminated postal facility. There was now indication of anthrax in the mail slots. So, clearly, it appears that you don't have to make such a jump to say this was related to mail contamination.
Generally -- and again, we've learned that you can't say absolutes -- but if you look at the mail that has gone out and gone back and forth among the facilities that were contaminated facilities, and you don't have any indication at this time of people who received mail in their home and got anthrax of any type, certainly not inhalation and no cutaneous anthrax, you have to make the conclusion, although you continue to want to be very vigilant, that the odds of that happening have to be vanishingly small.
Now, as we say that, there is absolutely the possibility that there may be other letters that is go into the mail, and you have to keep heads up for that. But based on what looks like the initial assault from the letters that we've identified, there doesn't appear to be a major risk at all of contamination from a letter that would then come into your home.
But you have to keep an open mind. At the same time you say that, you can just give the general public honestly that it looks like the risk has to be vanishingly small.
MESERVE: OK. Dr. Fauci is the man with the answers, and he's here to take your phone calls and e-mails. Please send them in. We'll continue our conversation with Dr. Fauci when we return. Stay with us.
MESERVE: And welcome back to our special edition of "America's New War."
CNN medical correspondent Rea Blakey and I are talking to Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health -- Rea.
BLAKEY: Dr. Fauci, I'm going to try this one more time, because I realize this is potentially sensitive territory for you, but the point being that there have been a number of people from the administration who have spoken out on this anthrax issue. And then the question becomes, for the general public, wouldn't it help if there was one voice united, whether it be the director of NIH, whether it be somebody at FDA, whether it's Secretary Thompson? We need one person to give America the lowdown on this, no matter what it is, don't you agree?
FAUCI: Well, and that's exactly what the Office for Homeland Security is. And Governor Ridge, obviously -- that's a new office -- is rapidly consolidating to get the unified message out.
But there are so many sub-issues involved in this, scientific issues, public health issues, a variety of others, that there are people who are there to give information out.
I'm an infectious disease person, I'm a public health person, so I can hopefully help in not only educating, but answering questions and alleviating some concerns.
The CDC, Jeff Copeland, the director of the CDC, an extraordinarily knowledgeable person in this, is also doing that.
So you can't just say to have only one person say something. You have to have people you unified message. But that is being consolidated and is consolidated in Governor Ridge's office, and that's what I think we're going to see a lot more of.
BLAKEY: Well, I think the thing is it's a little bit behind the curve for the average person. I mean, you know, we're in the middle of this thing now three weeks.
FAUCI: Right. And?
BLAKEY: And we need...
FAUCI: The question?
BLAKEY: ... some cohesiveness here.
FAUCI: Yes. Well, I think there is cohesiveness. You're dealing with a situation that is a moving target. It is very difficult to say that you're going to know tomorrow what it is that's going to happen two or three days later. This is a...
BLAKEY: But we've got to be prepared and anticipate.
FAUCI: We are -- of course, you have to be prepared and anticipate. But remember, you're dealing with a moving target. You have an invisible substance by an unknown enemy. That is unprecedented, and I think you have to realize that that's unprecedented.
MESERVE: There was some criticism earlier on in this whole process, that there wasn't enough candor from federal officials...
FAUCI: Right, right. MESERVE: ... that they weren't putting out to the information to one other, much less to the American public. Have you seen that change? Has there been an improvement in the communications flow?
FAUCI: There is no question in my mind, Jeanne, that there is a major improvement in the communications flow. There are, obviously, different agencies that are involved now.
And the tightening of the communications, in the positive sense -- I don't mean by restricting -- but, the communications, certainly, at the Department of Health and Human Services, we have a conference call every morning, with the secretary himself leading the call, going around people from the CDC, the FDA, the NIH, talking about what's going on. The secretary...
MESERVE: What about the military? Are they interfacing, too?
FAUCI: The military interfaces with the secretary. So what we have is that the Department of Health and Human Services and the agencies that answer to the secretary are in, every single day, officially and unofficially, in communication. And then, the secretary then takes that to the Office of Homeland Security with Governor Ridge.
So there is much tighter interaction and communication going on, for certain.
MESERVE: We do have e-mail that's come in for you. Let's read that. This asks, "Will there ever be a national effort to provide anthrax vaccinations for citizens?" What's the answer?
FAUCI: Well, the answer is, right now, no. Because, first of all, the anthrax vaccination, the supply, is really quite limited.
MESERVE: Then it's a problematic vaccine, too, isn't it?
FAUCI: Well, you know, it may or may not be. It's an approved vaccine. Obviously, there's been a lot of concern, justifiable or not, about toxicities. It's a proved vaccine. It has proved to be effective, certainly against the kinds of anthrax that we have been, prior to these events, exposed to.
It certainly is something that the military needs to take and be seriously considered for availability.
The other thing is that there's consideration. No decision made that a good public health approach is that, when you're dealing with people who are what we call "first responders," the people who do the labs, the people who do the decontamination, there's consideration, no decision has been made, but I think appropriate consideration, to try and get anthrax vaccine for those individuals, because they're constantly being potentially exposed to anthrax. You can't keep those people on antibiotics indefinitely.
So those are the kind of people that you think about, first, who you might want to vaccinate. BLAKEY: I want to ask you a question about the antibiotics that people are currently on. We've got Cipro and we've got a number of people that are on doxycycline, following up on that.
BLAKEY: Are there major concerns about having a significant percentage of the population on these antibiotics, in regards to noncompliance?
FAUCI: Well, I would say, in regard to noncompliance, I think the concern about having large numbers of the population on antibiotics for which there really is no justification to be on, there are two major issues that can emerge.
FAUCI: First of all, these are antibiotics that are not without toxicity. So if you have hundreds of thousands of people on antibiotics for which there really is no good reason, just a concern that they might be at risk, you're going to have potential toxicities for the individuals in question; but then also, depending upon the antibiotic, the possibility of the emergence of resistance by microbes that you would like to have good antibiotics against for a variety of other medical conditions.
Now, Cipro was the one that comes to mind. Cipro is an excellent antibiotic against some powerful microbes. If all of a sudden we lose Cipro as a major drug, that would not be good from the standpoint of other diseases that you might be exposed to.
If someone is truly at risk, you should not hesitate to treat them prophylactically. Certainly, if they get infected, you treat them. But we've got to be careful that there is an indiscriminate distribution and people taking it only because they happen to be looking at CNN and hearing somebody talk about anthrax, and saying, "Whoops, I'm getting concerned and throw down my antibiotic." That's a problem.
MESERVE: I want to ask you about smallpox, which many people are saying could be...
MESERVE: ... the next bioterrorist agent. You're not going to know in a smallpox situation that you have a problem until someone is symptomatic.
MESERVE: At that point is it too late to start a vaccination program?
FAUCI: The answer is not. And it's a somewhat complicated issue. The first thing you want to do, and we're doing this quite rapidly now -- and we discussed this at a Senate hearing just yesterday -- and that is to really scale up so that we have smallpox vaccine available. And that's happening very rapidly. Once you have it, the decision is made, what do you do with it? Now, you asked the question, the time that you have. If there is a case of smallpox, for example, if I had smallpox and I exposed the both of you, you have about four days to actually get vaccinated. And the vaccination itself would likely protect you, if not from infection, certainly from serious disease.
So there is a grace period of a few days. Now, when you have widespread possibility, that's going to be logistically difficult to do.
But if you have the vaccine available, there are a number of strategies. And the classic public health strategy is, for example, if a case emerges somewhere -- Washington, New York or what have you -- the CDC approaches. You identify, isolate, do quarantine where appropriate, do contact tracing, and vaccinate around the group so that you can contain it within a particular area.
If it's multi-focal, then you have to do that on a broad scale, namely if it comes up in multiple different cities.
MESERVE: There are risks to the vaccine. What is it...
MESERVE: ... six in a million, that actually die?
FAUCI: Yes, anywhere from one to six in a million would die.
BLAKEY: Is that an acceptable risk?
FAUCI: Well, it depends. Again, they get to balancing the risk- benefit. And that is going to happen if, in fact -- and I hope we never get to that -- when you have the vaccine, the decision will have to be made, should you preemptively vaccinate people even though there is no one indication that there is a case there? That's open for good honest debate as to whether you should do that or not.
The other question is, do you allow people to get the vaccine who are willing to take a risk? If you have index cases and there are smallpox that's more than just a theoretical threat but actually occurs, then there's no question you embark upon a vaccination campaign.
But the question that I know is going to be coming up, when we get the stores, is, do you preemptively do that? And that needs to be debated in a transparent way where the American people understand the risks and the benefits.
MESERVE: Dr. Fauci, thank you.
FAUCI: You're welcome.
MESERVE: And just ahead, handling the anthrax attacks. What can you and your government officials do to prepare? Two public health experts talk about anthrax and take you questions when we return. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. IVAN WALKS, CHIEF HEALTH OFFICER, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Most of us walking down the street, opening our mail, taking care of our families, we want clear guidelines. If anthrax is in the air and it's bad for me, it's bad for me. But telling me how many spores are going to infect me, I don't know how that helps the American public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: Dr. Ivan Walks, chief health officer of the District of Columbia, talking about the difficulties of informing the public.
Joining us now are two people well versed in the successes and failures of the public health system: From Baton Rouge, Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones. He's an anthrax expert at Louisiana State University. And from New York, Laurie Garrett. She is an journalist and author of the book "Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health."
Dr. Hugh-Jones, I'd like to start with you. I understand that your lab has been subpoenaed. Can you tell us what law enforcement was looking for?
DR. MARTIN HUGH-JONES, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY: Oh, they were subpoenaing everybody who were licensed by CDC -- I think something like -- I've been told somewhere between 60 and 100 people. They basically wanted to know which cultures we had and who had been our visitors in the last two years, their birth dates and Social Security numbers. Rather tricky when you have Chinese and Italian visitors, but...
MESERVE: But you managed?
MESERVE: And cooperated.
BLAKEY: Dr. Hugh-Jones, I want to ask you a question, you having really probably the utmost knowledge in the country about anthrax. I heard this analogy that it's possible -- and you tell me if this is correct -- that anthrax can sift through the air much like an aroma. Is that accurate or not?
HUGH-JONES: Well, when you've got a properly made weapon preparation, yes, it just floats through, and that's what it's designed to do.
BLAKEY: And so, does that mean...
HUGH-JONES: But that is not what we have had in this case.
BLAKEY: You don't think that's what has occurred here? Why? HUGH-JONES: Well, the accounts by General Parker are that it's separate spores. There is some evidence of silica in it. But weapon strains have other capacities to them. They have chemicals to take away the surface charge. They're usually engineered to be antibiotic resistance, and have some other capacities as well. This is not the case here.
MESERVE: Well, we have a phone call on the line, this one coming in from New York.
Go right ahead with your question, please.
CALLER: Jeanne, Rea, Dr. Hugh-Jones and Dr. Garrett, good afternoon.
It seems that cable news television coverage has been nothing but wall-to-wall anthrax for the last couple of weeks. Meanwhile, word is circulating in media circles that the NORC Media Consortium Florida recount shows that Gore won decisively. Has the press dropped the...
MESERVE: Have we dropped the ball?
Well, certainly we've been doing a lot of reporting on anthrax, but it's not that exclusively. I can tell you that the second half of this program is going to be about airport security. So that's a bit different for you .
BLAKEY: If I might ask a question of Laurie Garrett, I just wanted to ask you in regards to your book, you talk about public health really being in a very fragile state. And we hear so much more now about public health than we have probably in the last 20 years.
Laurie, give the American public a sense of what we're up against.
LAURIE GARRETT, AUTHOR, "BETRAYAL OF TRUST": We have a totally exhausted public health system right now at the local level, the state level, the federal level.
The best way to think about it is we're in the World Series, but it's not a seven-game decisive series. It's a marathon series that's going to run for a couple of thousand games. Our players are on the field. They're good players. They're totally exhausted, and we have no one on the bench. We have no bench depth.
In some states, we have only one person in the entire state on staff to do laboratory analysis of bacterially contaminated samples. In 13 states, we have no capacity to communicate by computer within the health departments.
We are in desperate straits in terms of our public health infrastructure. It's been weak for a long time. Now it's being challenged on a level that requires heroic effort on the part of all the public health workers, and they're exhausted.
BLAKEY: Have you seen some specific instances in this situation where the public health system has failed?
GARRETT: I wouldn't put failure. I think that's too strong a word. I think that the anthrax spores have proven to be enemies we poorly understand. We're reliant on, for the most part, very old scientific information and a lot of which is classified and is in the hands of our military going back to the 1940s and '50s when we had a bio-weapons program. It's a very uncomfortable situation for public health people to be in.
And as Dr. Anthony Fauci told you earlier, a man who all of us who have been involved in the AIDS fight to two decades have come to admire deeply for his calm and his reassurance and his scientific vigor, there he was saying to the nation just moments ago on CNN that we have a lot of black boxes yet to fill, that there is a great deal that we don't know. And there were are on the front lines, battling this enemy that we very poorly understand.
MESERVE: And we're going to be back in just a moment with Dr. Hugh-Jones and Laurie Garrett to talk more about the anthrax scare an how the U.S. is coping. Give us your calls and e-mails.
MESERVE: And please send us your e-mails. There you see CNN.com, AOL keyword CNN, to learn more about this situation we're facing. An important source of information about the news of the day, the terrorism investigation and how public health authorities are responding, all found online at CNN.com, AOL keyword CNN.
We'll get back to our guest in just a moment, but first, the latest developments in America's new war. Here are the latest.
U.S.-led airstrikes bombard the front lines in northern Afghanistan today. Just north of Kabul, bombs hit in and around a village. Meanwhile, Northern Alliance commanders are claiming a substantial victory against the Taliban. They say they captured a large area outside the strategic city of Mazar-e Sharif, but that report cannot be independently confirmed.
An important discovery in the anthrax case of a New Jersey bookeeper. Authorities say anthrax was found in her office mail-bin. Authorities suspect her mail may have been cross-contaminated at the post office, where tainted letters were processed.
Officials want safe skies over game six of the World Series tonight in Phoenix, so the FAA is banning aircraft from flying too close to the Diamondbacks' ballpark. Similar rules were also in place at Yankee Stadium for Series games between New York and Arizona.
And now, back to our conversation and your phone calls and e- mails on the anthrax scare for Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones of Louisiana State University and author and journalist Laurie Garrett.
Let's first take this e-mail question. Dr. Hugh Jones, this looks like this could be one for you. From Lynn in Atlanta: "Isn't anthrax naturally occurring? In other words, are we finding so much anthrax because we are looking for it?" What's the answer?
HUGH-JONES: Well, if that were the case, I wouldn't be doing any research.
We are working very hard on the ecology of the disease and the organism around the world and in North America. And to find it in the field, we are essentially looking at graves of dead cows. And even then, to get it out of the soil is a prolonged and difficult process.
So you're not going to find it swabbing a telephone in downtown New York or even a parking lot in Brusly, Louisiana. It's only in a few places, well-known places maybe for those working in the area, but it's just a handful of places out in the countryside.
BLAKEY: Sir, I'm wondering about the Ames strain, in particular. We heard that it's identified as being very similar, if not that exact strain. What can you tell us about that? Who has access to it? And how difficult is it to control that particular strain?
HUGH-JONES: Well, it's like any other strain that's -- apparently, it was first identified in 1980. It was shared with the people at Fort Detrick. They ran some trails with it, challenging the vaccines at the time. It performed -- it has a resume like any actor in Broadway. But a number of laboratories wanted to use it to see how it challenged their vaccines, their antibiotics.
We've also found it in the field recently in a goat farm in West Texas. In '97, it killed a number of goats. So it's still out there, quite apart from those of its descendants or predecessors that are circulating through research laboratory.
MESERVE: Laurie Garrett, let me ask you a question about the public health system. We heard Dr. Fauci a few minutes ago saying the system was changing, it was adapting. Are you seeing the kind of changes that need to be made, or is the U.S. still very vulnerable to a bioterrorist attack?
GARRETT: Just two days ago in Washington, I was part of a panel speaking to members of the Senate. And Dr. Michael Osterholm, who's one of the world's experts on the public health response to bioterrorism, made a very cogent point to address what you're asking. He said, "Look, we've given billions of dollars to bail out the airlines industry since September 11, but not one additional dime has official been appropriated to pay for and underwrite the costs of the heroic efforts in public health since October 4, when the first case emerged in Florida."
The truth of the matter is, yes, there's a greater commitment to trying to consolidate the information at the top levels of the federal government. But in terms of their capacity to respond at the local level, my goodness, I'm hearing from around the country of people who have cots in their laboratories and are sleeping 'round the clock; haven't seen their families and their children for days on end.
We're looking at departments that are devastated by hoax calls and devastated by the fearful calls, legitimate but proving to be negative for anthrax. Consider Honolulu: My goodness, they have one person, trying to process dozens and dozens of alleged anthrax samples, and, meanwhile, they have a bona fide epidemic of dengue fever introduced from Asia, and they don't have the time and the personnel to be able to address the problem without exhausting your entire public health force.
GARRETT: We're seeing things like this all over the country. Are we in better shape than we were on October 4? Yes, because now the system is vigilant, it's alert, there's more discussion and education. But we don't have any more people to deal with it. We don't have any more personnel. We don't have any more laboratory capacity. All of that is running on fumes right now.
BLAKEY: So, at that point, Laurie, are we -- where do we go from here, if we're running on empty and we're just three weeks in? What happens, you know, six months from now if this continues?
GARRETT: Well, I think that's a really serious question. How much longer can the system take this level of exhaustion? And what happens if the next shoe to fall is something more serious?
You know, this is a very crude technology that's been used: a few spores stuck in an envelope mailed through the system. They leak here and there. It becomes a very imprecise trail to follow, very difficult for scientists to get to the bottom of.
But what if they release something a little more high-tech, something -- I don't even want to suggest it because I'm so nervous about putting ideas in someone's head -- but something that would essentially create an epidemic? Then you would find out just how weak the bench is in our playing field of public health.
MESERVE: Dr. Hugh-Jones, I wanted to go back to the subject with which we started this show, which was the case of Kathy Nguyen. I wonder what your theories are on how she might have contracted anthrax.
HUGH-JONES: One, I've got no idea. But it reminds me of my professor of epidemiology, Ken Nuell (ph), a New Zealander, a great teacher, who, in teaching us about investigation, said, "Yes, all those at the middle of the epidemic, they're great. But they're very difficult to get leads from. Go and look at the outliers first because they just have those one or two parameters that ensured that they got sick. Those in the middle share dozens of parameters, and you don't know which ones are important."
But this lady off on her own, she did one thing that brought her into contact with it, and what was that one thing? And this is a very important thing to discover.
MESERVE: And hopefully we will soon.
With that, our thanks to Dr. Martin Hugh-Jones and Laurie Garrett.
When we return, some insight into the emotional impact of America's new war on terrorism. And remember, call us, send us your e-mail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: This is a task that's going to take time. Victory will require that every element of American influence and power be engaged. Americans have seen tougher adversaries than this before, and they have had the staying power to defeat them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld this week: The military campaign will take time; a solution to the anthrax mystery will take time.
And all at the price at the national sense of security. A sense of well being has been replaced by one of loss, of fear and anxiety.
Joining us now, two people with different perspectives. Rona Fields is a clinical psychologist practicing in and around Washington, and Gerilyn Ross is a psychotherapist and author of the book, "Triumph Over Fear."
Thank you both for coming in.
Dr. Fields, let me start with you. Fear is a weapon. Has it been an effective one in this case?
RONA FIELDS, PSYCHOLOGIST: I think we're still waiting to find out. Fear is the objective of terrorism, fear and the disintegration of the society and the target population.
We are not easily disintegrated. We've got a wonderfully thick background and foundation of civil society and a thick foundation of an inclusive democracy. So the dynamic that is intended to be affected by terrorism is going to be, I think, a long time, if ever, taking hold of the larger society.
BLAKEY: Well, isn't it true that studies show that basically even when fear is used as a weapon that societies some back? It doesn't last for long. People get back into their routine. They develop some level of comfort again.
FIELDS: Yes. There is a difference this time, however. The difference is that we're in acute shock from the World Trade Center bombing, the Pentagon, you know, attack. And...
BLAKEY: The anthrax letters.
FIELDS: ... we keep maintaining this acute level of shock, so that we don't get a chance to go down to register eventual post- traumatic stress disorder. We're in acute stress.
MESERVE: Gerilyn Ross, let me ask you about what we're seeing in terms of manifestations of fear. One hears about antibiotics. One hears about antidepressants. I think there is a big demand for these things. Does that reflect the fact that the American public is having some problems coping here?
GERILYN ROSS, AUTHOR, "TRIUMPH OVER FEAR": Well, certainly we are. I mean, we can't deny the fact that we're feeling anxious, we're feeling sad, we're feeling angry. But these are very normal feelings.
And it's very important for us not to pathologize or medicalize these feelings, because when people now are feeling weepy, they're having trouble sleeping, they're feeling that they don't want to open their mail, we don't want to say to these people, "You have a mental illness. You need to get help." What we want to say is, "Here's what's normal, and here's where you need to watch." So, for example...
MESERVE: Well, what's the line?
ROSS: OK, that's a very important point because the line is when the anxiety becomes irrational, it interferes in the person carrying out the normal daily tasks and functions; and where the person is not going to work, not taking care of their kids or becoming so consumed with it that they're not functioning.
But that's going to be a very small percentage. Most of us, as Dr. Fields says, are going to continue on with our lives. And what we need to do is pay attention to ourselves and to our loved ones to see if that changes.
FIELDS: ... the worried well. And unfortunately, the worried well are not covered by medical insurance for getting our mental health needs met. And this is the great flaw in the infrastructure of the system, as Dr. Fauci was talking about and Dr. Garrett was talking about -- the problems in the infrastructure.
Right now in the mental health system, there is no coverage for the worried well. And we're going to be the worried well for a long time. And a lot of us, Dr. Ross and myself included, are working very, very hard to see that we don't become the worried sick.
But if you want to see a therapist, the therapist has to either lie and say, "You're sick," or you have to be really sick if there is going to be mental health coverage.
BLAKEY: Well, I'm just curious. Don't you anticipate that this segment of worried well will blossom as we get more and more alerts and standbys and we're told to be diligent and be aware and yet, you know, go shopping and go to baseball games? I mean, how do we manage this?
ROSS: What we're seeing, what we're seeing are people right now having a lot of symptoms and developing a lot of coping skills. We have, as a society, a lot more resilience than we give ourselves credit for. And actually, I see -- in my practice, it's really interesting, I'm actually getting lots and lots of calls from the media about how to help people deal with stress and anxiety that they're feeling now. I'm not seeing a whole lot of new people coming in, because most people, I think, really recognize what's normal.
What we are concerned about are the people who, before September 11, had anxiety disorders, had depression, had trauma. These people are going to be more vulnerable now. But for most people, most people are going to get through this OK.
FIELDS: Don't you feel that we're in -- you know, a lot of people are in a state of denial and that it will kind of hit after a bit?
ROSS: I think it's so fascinating that all of us have such different reactions. I've talked to many patients or friends or colleagues who are totally denying it and saying, "I feel perfectly fine, this isn't going to affect me," and then their spouse or their colleague is totally hysterical.
I think we have to respect the fact that we are feeling very different things from each other and also different things than many of us have ever felt before.
MESERVE: And Gerilyn Ross, Rona Fields, stay with us.
We'll be back for more of your viewer phone calls and e-mails in just a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(MALE VOICES ARGUING)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: An angry standoff yesterday between the heroes of New York: Firefighters marching on ground zero jostling with New York City Police. The flashpoint: the mayor's decision to reduce the number of firefighters allowed at the World Trade Center site.
Welcome back. We're talking fear and anxiety with clinical psychologist Rona Fields and author Gerilyn Ross.
Dr. Fields, let me ask you about that video that we just saw. Are we going to see more anger like that expressed in other places?
ROSS: There is already anger like that expressed in many places. One of the consequences of this prolonged anxiety or fear and the anger we're feeling, which is typical of a manmade disaster in contrast to natural disasters, is a lack of trust, an erosion of trust, and feelings of -- well, feelings expressed with the persons nearest to us. One of the long-term consequences of post-traumatic stress, of course, is difficulty in intimate relationships, having a great deal of trouble letting anyone get close to you.
In that case, some of the inherent kinds of xenophobia between two organizations burst forth. There's a tightening up of relationships and identification with your own identity group. This is exactly what a lot of us are trying to inhibit or otherwise prevent when we're going out and doing these stress-reduction techniques with these guided discussions, because it's very corrosive in the workplace...
BLAKEY: Well, it's going on...
ROSS: ... and it happens in the workplace. One of the things that I'm finding is that in places where there's a very multi-ethnic, diverse population, these are the places, the workplaces, in which it's more likely to happen.
BLAKEY: And more pronounced.
ROSS: And more pronounced.
BLAKEY: Well, let me ask this question. What about the coping skills here? I mean, obviously, we all have to work in whatever workplace we're in. We've got to deal with people on an ongoing basis. Now, maybe it's not anger, but maybe it's fear and anxiety. How do we burst through and cope?
GARRETT: Well, one of the real important things we need to look at is, what are the things that we do have control over, and take control over those things. I think what's frightening so many of us right now is the fact that we feel we don't know -- we don't know who the enemy is, we don't have closure on it, we don't have control.
So I've been, you know, thinking a lot about, what are the things that we can take control of? For example, I know I got in the mail this lovely little postcard from the post office saying, "This is what you should look for. If you feel uncomfortable or suspicious, call this number. Wash your hands."
And somebody in one of the networks recently said, "Wash your hands, and while you're doing it, sing `Happy Birthday.' That's 15 seconds; that's what you need to get rid of germs."
GARRETT: I love that. When you're going places, for example, if you go to the airport, I really think people need to -- I hate the word "empowered," but the people need to feel empowered to do what they need to do to feel safe. So if you're going to the airport, rather than say "I'm not going to go because it's too scary," say, "OK, if I see something that makes me feel uncomfortable, I'll report it. You know, I'm not going to hold back." So I think all of us have to have that sense of taking the control and doing what we can do when we can, keeping ourselves safe, but, at the same time, carrying on with our lives.
And the other thing is many of us have not been eating right, sleeping enough, getting exercise. These are all the things that keep us mentally and physically stress-free normally, so now is more the reason that we need to do these things.
MESERVE: And we have a phone call coming in from Arizona.
Go right ahead with your question.
CALLER: I just had a question as far as children. I have three grandchildren. And my daughter is, like you say, you know, anxiety over anything when it comes to the children, you know, sending them to the schools or, you know, to public events. Every little bump that comes out of them, she's, you know, worried it might be anthrax. How do I tell her to calm down and not to, you know, carry on the fear to the children?
MESERVE: OK, Dr. Fields, I know you were having a little trouble hearing that question, but you can jump in. It had to do with children and their reactions to this.
FIELDS: Well, I -- one thing I just want to say is that when you -- the caller said, how do I tell them to calm down? I don't think we can really tell people how to calm down as much as show them by our own actions.
And one of the things that you might do is to talk with your daughter and ask her, what specifically are the fears? What are the questions that children are answering? What do you need to do to be safe?
If you need, for example, to go to the school and find out for yourself, that your daughter needs to go to the school and find out for herself what procedures are in place, that there is a problem, then she needs to do that. Even if it feels like it may be excessive and she may be annoying the teacher, we need to take responsibility to get the information that we need.
And then, as far as calming down, I mean, that's where she needs to look at her sleep and her eating and her exercise and looking at what are the possibilities and probabilities.
It's really important, though, to listen to what people are saying, see if you can isolate what they're really afraid of. Because most of us have specific things. Some are afraid of the anthrax. Some are afraid of the bombings. So we need to look at the fear, face it head on, and then take steps to bring it down.
MESERVE: And with that, our thanks to Rona Fields and Gerilyn Ross,
CNN medical correspondent Rea Blakey, thanks a lot for joining us.
And coming up in our next hour, homeland security. Is the government sending the public mixed messages? We want to hear from you. Send your e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have an answer from one of our guests here.
MESERVE: We'll also get two views on the best way to make air travel safer. Plus, tourism is hurting. What is being done to lure back consumers? All when CNN's coverage of "America's New War" continues.
MESERVE: And welcome back to our special coverage of "America's New War." I'm Jeanne Meserve in Washington. Let's hear from you at email@example.com.
Just ahead, we'll talk to three mayors about how they respond to terrorism warnings and now much they keep the public informed. Two congressmen will debate this week's action on airline security. And we'll ask experts how to revive the lagging tourism industry.
But first, a check on the latest developments.
Osama bin Laden lashes out at the United States and the United Nations in a videotape broadcast today by the Arab-language TV channel Al Jazeera. On the tape, bin Laden condemns the U.S.-led bombing campaign and claims that it is targeting innocent Afghan civilians. He calls the United Nations an instrument of crime against Muslims and says Muslim leaders who work with the U.N. are, quote, "hypocrites."
Bin Laden goes on to say those who claim to Arab leaders and remain in the United Nations, they have become unbelievers of the revelation that was given to Mohammad. Those who refer matters to international legitimacy have become unbelievers in the legitimacy of the Koran.
The U.N. General Assembly convenes next week and some Arab leaders are expected to attend, but it is unclear if bin Laden is referring to that meeting.
Al Jazeera says it does not know when or where bin Laden recorded the tape. Bin Laden's reference to the bombing in Afghanistan does suggest the tape was recorded after the bombing campaign began on October 7.
U.S.-led forces pounded positions along the Taliban front lines in northern Afghanistan today. Northern Alliance commanders say the bombings targeted Al Qaeda positions in the hills. The Northern Alliance also claimed it forces captured large portions of an area near the strategic city of Mazar-e Sharif. The group says hundreds of Taliban fighters had either defected or been captured. The claims could not be independently verified. Pentagon officials say an unmanned U.S. Air Force surveillance plane is missing over Afghanistan. They say it was lost during bad weather. But the Taliban claim their fighters shot down a reconnaissance aircraft. There is no plan to try and recover that plane.
And the office of Pakistan's leading daily newspaper reopened today. They were closed after receiving a letter believed to contain anthrax. The head of Pakistan's health institute says his agency will test three people suspected of anthrax exposure. The government also wants to conduct further tests on three more suspicious envelopes examined by a private lab.
This week California Governor Gray Davis warned of credible threats against major bridges in his state, but federal authorities said those threats were uncorroborated. It was the latest example of the challenges facing homeland security.
Joining us now to talk about this is Oakland, California, Mayor Jerry Brown; across the country, Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Sharpe James; and down the Gulf coast, New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, who is also the president of the United States Conference of Mayors.
Thanks all, for joining us.
Mayor Morial, let me start with you. Did Gray Davis make a mistake in issuing this warning? Would you have done the same thing?
MAYOR MARC MORIAL, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA: Gray Davis did the absolute right thing. He had information with respect to a specific threat, even though it had not been corroborated. On the side of caution, he advised the public in California that there was a threat. He mobilized his National Guard, and people took precautions.
Imagine if he had had the information and something had in fact occurred. So I am quite surprised that people would second-guess what the governor did under these circumstances.
John Ashcroft and the federal government have -- and I think they've done the right thing too -- are communicating non-specific threats when they thought it was necessary so that people would be vigilant.
And although it's uncomfortable for us to be in an environment when these sorts of things are communicated, I think that continued vigilance by the public is certainly enhanced if leaders, when they exercise good judgment, communicate these threats to their constituents.
MESERVE: And, Mayor Brown, this is course has a direct impact on you in Oakland. Do you have any quibble with what the governor did?
MAYOR JERRY BROWN, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA: Well, that's one way to put it.
I don't see that we're getting any additional information when we get either this generalized warning from the White House or we get a more specific but still very general warning from the governor of California. The fact of the matter is, bridges and nuclear power plants and other places are subject to threats yesterday, today and into the indefinite futures.
So when you get these immediate superficially additional threat warnings and with some kind of plausible specificity, it gives you a sense that there's something different. In fact is, there is nothing different.
It's dangerous -- it was and it is. And these reports -- because I saw the information myself -- there were specifically of low probability and not corroborated. So if you call them reliable, that's just not accurate.
MESERVE: So you would have just done nothing different, said nothing to the public?
BROWN: Well, I think the -- let me make a more subtle point here. I would say that people should be on the alert. They are at risk. We don't know how much.
And these specific shows of force with the military and all the rest of it, you know, a lot of it is to create some feeling of security that something's being done.
But if you really stand back and ask yourself, you know, ruthlessly and honestly, what increment of protection are you really getting here and what increment of risk are we responding to, you have to be -- say, you know, this is puzzling. We're not quite sure about that.
We know there's a problem, and, therefore, authorities want to create an impression that, you know, they're handling it. And the truth of the matter is the American people are vulnerable. The war has been brought home. We're in a very dangerous situation. How dangerous, we don't know.
I think the important reassurance point is that America is very powerful, very strong. And we are not in any risk to our national identity or our national security. But individuals are at risk of death from terrorist attacks of one kind or another.
So we got to pull together as a nation, but not panic or perhaps take too seriously some of these great public relations demonstrations that have less -- there's less there than meets the eye, I'm afraid I have to say that.
MESERVE: Mayor James, would you say that what Governor Davis did was a public relations demonstration?
MAYOR SHARPE JAMES, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: No. I believe that we do have to be on alert. And I believe there is a national fear among American people today, and we have an obligation to pull all of our resources and all of our agencies together to bring calm to the people. Right now, small business is hurting in all of our cities. People are not traveling, not going to the restaurants, not going to our entertainment center. And, therefore, there's an economic loss.
And I think we all have a moral obligation to assure the public that we do have an alert plan against an invisible and unknown enemy and that we do have a response plan. This is being demanded by the American people.
Heretofore, when we had a false alarm at city hall, you would have to counsel people to go out, you have to beg them to go out. Today on any announcement of any threat of any unknown circumstances, the people of three blocks away from city hall, you have to counsel them to come back into city hall.
So I think there is a real issue here of fear of terrorism, of fear of the unknown. And it's up to us as municipal leaders to develop plans, action to combat this fear and to resume some normalcy in our lives, as being stated by Mayor Giuliani.
So, all of these calls, all of these needs are necessary. And the only issue right now at the municipal level, it costs money -- money for additional police personnel, money for additional fire personnel. And the one that goes unnoticed is the health demands. Everyone wants their letters and everything inspected.
MESERVE: Mayor, how much is it costing your city to do all this?
JAMES: Is that...
MESERVE: That is to you, Mayor James. Do you have a figure?
JAMES: I'm sorry? We, right now...
MESERVE: I asked...
JAMES: ... our budget, we're, you know, -- we're millions of dollars beyond a predicted budget. And then everyone says, well, the public is willing to pay for it. Well, I think we have to draw a thin line. The public can only pay so much.
We do not know what we're defending against. We do not know the enemy. And, therefore, we can't reduce personnel. We can't target any possible wrongdoing.
The issue of terrorism, that it's an unknown act at an unannounced time, unannounced location. And, therefore, you need 24- hour alert, you need more police, more fire personnel, more emergency medical workers, more health department personnel. And the question comes, how much can a local municipal budget afford without any federal assistance?
MESERVE: Let me turn to...
MESERVE: ... Mayor Morial.
You've got a huge port down there in New Orleans to protect. I imagine your bill is also extraordinarily high.
And I know when the U.S. Conference of Mayors met here in Washington a few weeks ago, you turned to federal officials and said we need financial help. Have they given you any promise of that?
MORIAL: We haven't heard back from them.
But let me tell you what we've asked for. We've asked for a Homeland Security block grant that would come directly to cities and allow mayors to shape the use of that money around individual needs.
I've got things that are specific to my community. Oakland does; Newark does. Every city has specific needs.
And I think all of us see, on one hand, upward pressure on our budget: the need for additional police overtime, the need for fire, rescue and hazardous materials units to be strengthened and enhanced. Mayor James mentioned, and I agree, the top public health response protocols that you need to put together.
And on the other hand, because of the softening of the economy, because aren't traveling as much, we see a diminution in our sales tax revenues. So we're catching it from both sides.
What I hope the federal government would see, Homeland Security Director Ridge and others, is that the police, fire and EMTs are domestic troops in this national and international war against terrorism. And strengthening them ensures that they'll be able to do these additional duties while at the same time we can fulfill our responsibilities to our citizens to provide safety and security in neighborhoods, do correct fire response and have good EMS systems.
Because the normal problems that cities face haven't gone away. We are just taking on new and additional responsibilities. And I think if the airlines are helped, the cities ought to be helped.
MESERVE: But, Mayor Morial, if I could follow-up for just a minute. There is a huge federal bill for homeland security as well. How optimistic are you that they're actually going to come across money for localities?
MORIAL: Well, we're going to keep on talking about it. I think what the public has witnessed with Mayor Giuliani, New York police and firefighters is that local officials, local police, local firefighters, local mayors, we are on the front lines in this fight against terrorism. Because it was targeted at our cities, at the buildings in our cities, at people in our cities, at facilities in our cities. It's going to be local government. It's going to be at the city and county unit that the most immediate response is needed.
Witness Washington, D.C., where the public health director there and Mayor Anthony Williams have done an excellent job. All of the treatment and evaluation of the postal workers in Washington is being carried out at a public hospital owned by the city of Washington.
So we hope that the federal government hears our call. We're going to continue to talk about it. It is very real. We have put together a national action plan. And I hope to be in Washington this week talking to members of the Senate...
JAMES: Mayor Morial...
JAMES: I think that the one thing, while we're all very proud of our national response and we want to make sure the perpetrators of this crime pay their debt, we must never draw the line, we win the war abroad and lose the war at home.
And I think that's the...
MORIAL: That's right.
JAMES: ... cry from the American people. They like to see bombs being dropped on the enemy, but when small businesses are going out of business, when restaurants are closing, when Broadway shows are closing down, and when I receive a call that a duty-free shop at Newark International Airport laid off two-thirds of its staff and is now asking for help, we must always be conscious that we must win the war at home, while people are looking at CNN and other news, seeing that we're winning the war abroad.
And they're seeing stores closed down, people going out of businesses. We have to have a domestic package to address the needs here at home.
More and more we receive anthrax calls, 500 a day. Someone has to investigate -- health workers, the fire department, HAZMAT, the police have to investigate.
This is additional costs here at home. And we must come up with a domestic package to assist our needs here in America. We must win the war abroad and the war here at home, which is a fiscal war.
MESERVE: And I want to jump in right here because we have an e- mail coming in from a viewer.
Mayor Brown, I think this one may be for you.
This says, "While the security for aircraft and airports has increased due to September 11, how has the security for subways, trains, et cetera, been affected? And what has being done to protect those people using these to travel?"
You, of course, have the BART system out in San Francisco getting heavy use right now with the scare over the bridges. What's being done to protect those subway systems? BROWN: We have transit police at both ends of the tunnel that when the transit goes under the San Francisco Bay. Heightened alert there, a lot of security. And that's good.
I want to go to this point, though, of what about the long-term here?
Yes, we need a domestic package. Very important to pull the American people together.
And these alerts that show up in anthrax, a bridge scare. Next week, it'll be something else. I mean -- and then, every night, you know, "America Fights Back," "The War." How long can people be at such a state of frazzled excitement and alertness?
This thing may go on for six months, a year, two or three years. We don't know. We've got to settle in for the long term and realize, yes, these casualties are serious. Four, five people have died from anthrax. In the same time, 500 people have died on the highway.
Death and suffering casualties is part of the equation, and we have to have the courage, the faith and the confidence to carry on. And that requires our leaders -- governors, mayors and the president -- to speak in measured terms. Let us know as much as we can.
There's quite an education that has to go forward, even on the part of the experts, on what to do about things like anthrax and bridge threats and nuclear power plant threats.
But we have to get steady here. We have to calmly prepare to face down this crisis, not for a week or a month, but for several years. We're involved throughout the world. The hatreds of the world are blowing back against us, and we're going to have to operate on many levels, in a very deliberative way, to sustain our way of life and protect the American people.
MESERVE: And we have to take at break right now. When we return, your phone and e-mail questions. New security around the Golden Gate Bridge and other bridges in "America's New War." Ask us about that and more with the mayors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY DIRECTOR: Obviously, Governor Davis though that one thing that he could do to enhance the security of people using those bridges was to make a public announcement. We did not encourage him to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, pointing up stresses between the Feds and the locals about what to make public and what to keep secret. We're continuing our conversation with three mayors: Jerry Brown from Oakland, California; Sharpe James from Newark, New Jersey; and Marc Morial from New Orleans, Louisiana.
We have a phone call coming in from New York.
What's your question for us?
CALLER: Yes. I'd like to know what the mayors think about raising taxes on corporations and rich individuals to help pay for the cost of homeland security and public health.
MESERVE: Who wants to take a crack at that one? Mayors?
JAMES: I think that would be the wrong response that we try now to target any one group for increased taxes and what have you, at this time. I think the beauty of our response is that there's been a unified front. The minute we say one side pays for these unknown costs and escalating costs, we will divide that calm that we have today.
I think all of us need to contribute. Government has a responsibility. Corporate America has a responsibility. But I don't think that we should try to tax any one group and say, it's your responsibility, it's your obligation. We would break the truce that we had today that has made this response a unified one. And so, I would be opposed to that at this time.
BROWN: Well, I'd like to comment on that.
MESERVE: Go right ahead.
BROWN: First of all, you know, that trillion-dollar tax break that everyone was hailing last year, 60 percent of it went to the top 2 or 3 percent of the people. And now, in this present stimulus package, there's another gimmick called the alternative minimum tax, which they want to repeal, that affects the very richest and most powerful people in the country.
We got people laid off. You still have 10 million people working full-time below the poverty line. In this crisis, we need to pull our country together, and that means sacrifice should begin at the top, and you've got to even out some of these gross inequalities in the nation. And I'd say it's a good time for some social equality here to take the forefront.
As we ask everyone to sacrifice and buck up under all these threats, we better make sure that the morale and the sense of solidarity is deepened and in no way jeopardized by an unequal bearing of the burden.
MORIAL: Jeanne, I think that it would be a mistake if the fiscal stimulus package adopted by the Congress was tax cuts only. It would send the wrong message to the American people. And I think what I support is a tax-cut package that might be a third or a half of the fiscal stimulus package, with some direct spending and with some help for workers.
This country has responded in a unified way, in a bipartisan way. And I sense a little bit of partisanship creeping back into the discussion in the debate over aviation security and the fiscal stimulus package. And I hope that that doesn't happen.
A good aviation security bill would federalize all those workers. A good fiscal stimulus package could include some tax cuts, but also some direct spending and some help for workers.
And I think the voice -- I hope that the Congress will listen to the voices of mayors who are close to the American people, in terms of what they're going to do in this very difficult period.
MESERVE: Mayor, listen to our next segment. We're going to have a couple of members of Congress on. I suspect you're going to hear some disintegration of that bipartisanship in that segment.
But right now we have a call on the line from California.
What's your question?
CALLER: Good morning. Mayor Brown, I'm calling from Hayward, California, as a matter of fact.
Listen, my comment is, we know that Osama and the Taliban know that we're coming and they have nothing else to lose. I believe that the American public is aware of that. My question is, how come you can't get the people more involved, like in civil defense, the way they used to have civil defense people back in World War II and stuff?
Break the towns and cities up into sectors, have civil defense people get us involved. That's what we're looking for is something that we can do to help.
BROWN: OK. Excellent point. We're going to do precisely that in Oakland. We have a program called CORE, Citizens of Oakland Responding to Emergencies. We have trained 10,000 people over the last decade to respond to what we had -- the Oakland fire when 25 people were killed and 3,000 homes destroyed.
So we're going to expand that program and go block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, getting one or two captains that will be trained specially and have the responsibility of alerting their neighbors and working in time of emergency, which could be terrorist attacks, it could be fire, it could be an earthquake.
So we're on that track. We're not there yet. I don't want to overstate it, but that's our goal. And I think you've hit the nail on the head. The citizenry themselves in this democratic society have to be the major pillar of this homeland defense.
MESERVE: Mayor Morial, I wanted to ask you a question. At that meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, one of the things I heard mayors complaining of was the information flow, or lack of information flow, from federal officials to state officials and also mayors like yourself. Has that situation improved at all?
MORIAL: Well, there have been some problems. Many mayors have reported problems. We've have a good relationship here in New Orleans. And the attorney general and Tom Ridge have committed to try to improve the information flow.
But, you know, Jeanne, traditionally, federal and local law enforcement work together only on specific projects or in specific instances. So what you're trying to do in this new war against terrorism is change the culture of cooperation between these two levels of government.
MORIAL: And I think that the attorney general should, as he's done, continue to reinforce, and the FBI director should continue to reinforce, that need.
But there were some problems in the early days with respect to the ongoing criminal investigation related to terrorism and also the communication of specific threats or general threats that might be targeted at our cities, but I think it's improving.
But we've got to be vigilant.
MESERVE: OK, Mayor Morial, Mayor James and Mayor Brown, thank you all three for joining us.
MORIAL: Thanks, Jeanne.
MESERVE: And just ahead, sharp disagreement in Congress this week about whether the federal government should take outright control of aviation security. We'll hear from two members of Congress when we return.
Let us know your thoughts. Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
MESERVE: And we have some new information on how the Bush administration is responding to Osama bin Laden's recent statement.
Osama bin Laden lashes out in this statement at the United States and the United Nations. It's in the form of a videotape broadcast today by the Arab-language TV channel, Al Jazeera.
On the tape, bin Laden condemns the U.S.-led bombing campaign and claims that it is targeting innocent Afghan civilians. He calls the United Nations an instrument of crime against Muslims and says Muslim leaders who work with the U.N. are, quote, "hypocrites."
Bin Laden goes on to say, those who claim to be Arab leaders and remain in the United Nations, they have become unbelievers of the revelation that was given to Mohammad. Those who refer matters to international legitimacy have become unbelievers in the legitimacy of the Koran.
The U.N. General Assembly convenes next week and some Arab leaders are expected to attend, but it is unclear if bin Laden is referring to that meeting.
On the tape, bin Laden praises those who support the September 11 attack on the United States. He does not confirm Al Qaeda involvement in those attacks, but he does not deny it either.
Al Jazeera says it does not know when or where bin Laden recorded the tape. Bin Laden's reference to the bombing in Afghanistan does suggest, however, that the tape was recorded after the bombing campaign began on October 7.
CNN White House correspondent Kelly Wallace joins us now from near Camp David with the latest Bush administration response -- Kelly.
WALLACE: Hello there, Jeanne.
Well, senior U.S. government officials describing this videotaped statement by Osama bin Laden as a, quote, "act of desperation." Further, they say that bin Laden may have made a, quote, "grave error," and may have irreparably damaged himself and Afghanistan's ruling Taliban by taking on the United Nations, in particular taking on Arab countries and Arab leaders which belong to the U.N.
Senior U.S. officials telling CNN, quote, "Bin Laden must believe that the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Lebanon and even Iraq are infidels."
U.S. officials say they believe bin Laden is feeling the pressure of the military campaign. They go on to say, "By launching this attack against the other Arab nations, he's alienating millions of moderate Muslim." He's basically attacked, these officials say, every Arab country.
Now, Jeanne, as you know, and as we're reported a few days ago, the administration has set up what it calls a coalition information center. There is an office at the White House linked to an office in London. Soon there will be an office in Islamabad. The goal is getting this kind of information out to the European nations, out also to Pakistan and to the people of Afghanistan.
I'm told by U.S. officials, this message, this response from the Bush administration is getting out to those offices and getting dispatched right away .
As for President Bush, Jeanne, as you know, he is at the presidential retreat at Camp David. He did meet with his National Security Council earlier this morning, chairing another video- teleconference. Dr. Condoleezza Rice, his national security adviser, is with him at Camp David, so she obviously will be briefing him throughout the weekend on developments such as this one.
But that's the latest from here. Bush administration saying that bin Laden may be acting out of desperation and may have hurt himself dramatically by taking on Arab leaders.
Jeanne, back to you.
MESERVE: Kelly Wallace, thank you.
And joining us now, two members of Congress: From Eugene, Oregon is Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio, and in Atlanta, Republican Congressman Bob Barr.
I'd like to get reaction from you both to this latest tape from bin Laden.
Congressman Barr, why don't we start with you?
REP. BOB BARR (R), GEORGIA: Well, thank you.
I think it's unfortunate that there are vehicles in the Middle East and elsewhere that will give a forum to Mr. bin Laden. Although, I agree in this case, some of his statements are going to be inflammatory to some of the very Arab nations on some of these terrorists rely for support.
MESERVE: Congressman DeFazio, your thoughts?
REP. PETER DEFAZIO (D), OREGON: Well, in the past he has received support from a number of the nations that he's now attacking and the leaders of those nations. So I don't think this helps his cause a bit.
MESERVE: OK. And now I want to turn to airline security. Here we are almost two months after airplanes went into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and still no airline security bill has been passed and signed into law.
Congressman Barr, is Congress being derelict here?
BARR: Not at all. I think it would be irresponsible for Congress to just rush something through without really thinking very hard about it. After all, we're not dealing with a simple problem here. We're not dealing with a problem that can be solved with a flick of the finger. It will require some very, very deliberative work in the Congress. And what we're trying to do is to get it right.
I know there were some, including Mr. DeFazio, that got very shrill on the floor of the House. I think we need to be a little bit cooler about it and sit down and simply realize that we're dealing with some very complex issues here. We're trying to give the president the flexibility that he needs in order to make sure that this will work over the long haul and so that we meet the evolving threat that we're faced here. This is an evolving threat, and we need to have some flexibility worked into the mechanism.
MESERVE: Congressman DeFazio, is that your read on the situation?
DEFAZIO: There's only one major item of contention. Most -- there's broad agreement on most everything else -- the sky marshals, reinforcement of flight-deck doors, airside (sic) security, new screening.
But the key comes down to the failing screening system. We have had privatized security screening for 30 years in the United States. And in the last five years, they have committed a violation which they have been successfully prosecuted for by the FAA every day. One of the major companies is under criminal indictment for the second time in two years.
And what the Republicans do is dress that up, they put their workers in federal uniforms, they give them federal badges, they're going to deputize them, but not allow them to arrest anybody, and they're going to say this is a new system. It won't be a new system. Those companies inherently failing the American people, and they've been doing that for 30 years. You need to totally overhaul this federal law experience agency.
If we need armed federal law enforcement agents at the doors of House of the United States Representatives in the Congress, why don't we need federal law experience agents at every airport check-in point, doing the screening of people and the baggage that goes onto the planes?
MESERVE: Congressman Barr, what's the answer?
BARR: Well, the answer is not to mix apples and oranges. The security needs at a federal building, such as the U.S. Capitol or the president's residence, has nothing do with how we meet the security threats of the airports. And it's that sort of silliness that mixing apples and oranges that detracts from the debate.
What we need to do here is what every other nation that has tried the route of completely federalizing and mandating one-size-fits-all has done. Countries such as Israel, that has very, very good airport security.
They have gone back to a system -- and this is what the president has asked for and we, on the Republican side, are trying to give him -- a system that has very, very serious federal oversight that we have not had before. We're not doing the same thing as before, but gives the president flexibility you have a federal umbrella, federal rules, federal regulation that have to be adhered to, but you give the president the flexibility to use a mixture of private and federal citizens and law enforcement to get the job done and to meet the evolving and different needs from one airport to the next.
MESERVE: Congressman DeFazio, why isn't that good enough for you?
DEFAZIO: Well, look, in Israel -- and I don't think Bob would agree with what they do there -- everybody gets an intensive background check. When they buy a ticket, they're intensively interrogated. Many are strip-searched. Their baggage is fully searched. And they fly fewer planes in a year than we fly in a day in the United States. There's no parallel between those two systems, and I don't think Bob would go for that kind of intrusion into peoples' personal lives.
But back to his point about the threat against the Congress or against other federal facilities. Now, I'm not aware that, you know, there has been an actually executed threat against the Congress. There has been against our aviation system, in fact. Planes were used as weapons of mass destruction. Innocent people in the planes -- air crews, passengers -- died, as did people on the ground.
There is a real and ongoing threat. It is so documented. The FAA gets hand grenades, fake hand grenades, guns, bombs. They test the system every day. We already have federal oversight.
And the biggest company, Argenbright, what is more stringent federal oversight than probation and $1.5 million fine? They just violated their probation. They're going to be fined again, and they're going to be put on extended probation. They've got to go.
MESERVE: We have an e-mail here coming in from a viewer by the name of Roy. He's in New York, and he asks this question: "Is it wise to have military personnel with fully automatic weapons stationed at crowded airport terminals? Wouldn't it be wiser to have them on the plane, sitting at the cockpit door?"
Congressman Barr, you want to take a crack at that?
BARR: What we're trying do and we're doing in this airport security bill have mixture of different types of security -- different types of weapons, different types of personnel at different places in the system -- so that we don't have all sorts of folks running around with automatic weapons.
The viewer's absolutely correct: We have to flexibility so that we have the right type of guard at the right place with the right type of the weapons, rather than a one-size-fits-all, which is what the other side wants.
MESERVE: Congressman, DeFazio, let me ask you about those national guardsmen that are...
DEFAZIO: Well, let me just respond to that.
MESERVE: OK, jump in there.
DEFAZIO: I don't think it's appropriate that -- the National Guard has a lot do and there's a lot of places we should deploy them, like at the Umatilla Chemical Weapons Depot here in Oregon or at nuclear plants. I don't think they're appropriately used in the airports at all.
DEFAZIO: I don't think that's a place for them. They're not law enforcement.
MESERVE: Congressman Barr, are they effective in the airports? Many travelers I've spoken to say they have the impression that they're simply there for show; they don't have anything to do with the actual security screening. BARR: I think it has to -- again, it varies from airport to airport. Those that are at Reagan National Airport just outside of Washington, D.C., are National Guard. They are armed, and I think they exert a very important influence on what happens to that airport.
Other airports, the threat may be very different, and you would want to have a civilian law enforcement authorities very present rather than military types.
MESERVE: We want to listen to a piece of sound here. Flight attendants repeated their call this week for more jetliner security.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAT FRIEND, PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION FOR FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: We have fortified the cockpit door. We have changed procedures to ensure that we will indeed have pilots able to land their aircraft, but we have put no defensive capabilities into the cabin. The flight attendants have had no upgraded training, no personal defense training, and we have no defensive devices in the cabin for use to defend either ourselves or our passengers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: Congressman DeFazio, what do you have to say to her?
DEFAZIO: She's absolutely right. And many of those measures could have been taken in the last seven weeks.
The Republicans are saying, "Well, hey, if we can't agree on this bill, if we can't overcome the 100-to-zero vote in the Senate, if we actually have to have federal law enforcement at the screening places, the president will do it by executive order."
Well, why hasn't he taken some of those steps in the last seven or eight weeks to help those flight attendants on the crews on those planes to put in -- mandate new training? I mean, they're still watching the 1970 tape "Take me to Cuba." I mean, this is in an incredible failure of the system.
MESERVE: Congressman Barr, I have heard several people say that this whole debate on airline security in the U.S. Congress wasn't about protecting people, it was about protecting the companies that currently do airline screening. What do you have to say to them?
BARR: Those folks have not been listening to the debate. This is very much about how best to protect the traveling public.
I met with the president on Thursday right before the House passed the version of the bill that he favored, and he urged us also to put aside whatever rhetoric there might be out there, that focuses on one narrow aspect of this, and that focuses on those issues that aren't directly related to security.
This is a legitimate debate. And to say that simply because we engage in a legitimate debate over how best to institute federal policies is a partisan debate is really unfair.
What we're trying to do is to hash out differences so we come up with Peter's help and with the help of others on both sides of the aisle, the very best overall approach. And that's what we're doing to ensure that the traveling public has much better security than they had on September 10.
MESERVE: Another e-mail coming in, this one from New Mexico. Debra (ph) asks, "I would like to know what the billions of dollars we're giving the airlines as a bail out is for. And if a good piece of it is not to either retain employees or compensate laid-off employees, why not?"
DEFAZIO: Well, in fact I opposed the bailout bill. And I tried to offer an amendment, which was not allowed, to give at least extended health insurance coverage to the employees be laid off and to put in place new security measures. I was only offered that as a procedural motion, a motion to recommit. I got 174 votes.
We were told by Speaker Hastert and Minority Leader Gephardt in a colloquy that we would get to those employees real soon, within a week or a few weeks, the speaker said. Well, it's not been almost eight weeks and we haven't gotten to those employees yet. But the airlines have gotten the $5 billion bucks cash up front, and they're beginning to apply for the other $10 billion in loans.
MESERVE: Congressman Barr, as we going to get to those employees?
BARR: Well, the money that we have provided both in direct assistance, as a result of the ordered stand-down of the airlines in the first few days after September 11, is going to keep those airlines afloat. In keeping the airlines afloat, you necessarily are giving them the means to continue to retain these employees. So that's very important for those employees.
There are additional monies that are available through loan guarantees as well, to keep the airlines afloat and to keep those employees employed.
MESERVE: How long is it going to take the House and Senate to compromise on this?
Congressman DeFazio, why don't I direct that to you first?
DEFAZIO: Well, I had hoped that we would appoint conferees the night before last and meet over the weekend and try and get a bill done quickly. I understand we'll appoint conferees when the House next goes back into session on Tuesday. I would hope that we would immediately begin to conference and try and work out the differences.
But remember, the Senate voted 100 to zero for federalized screeners. John McCain and Kay Bailey Hutchison, two Republicans who will be on that conference committee, are saying they're not backing down.
BARR: I don't see if we have an honest conference, how we get to any other result than federalization.
MESERVE: Congressman Barr, how long is going to drag out, and what's the compromise going to look like?
BARR: It's not dragging out, as it is. These are not terms that are helpful for the debate. This is a very deliberate, very serious negotiating process. We have moved a great distance. The president is very much engaged. He will remain very much engaged, in order to reach a compromise.
And again, I think it's important to keep in mind that the bill that we passed in the House doesn't deny the president the ability to go as far as he, in his judgment, deems necessary in terms of federalizing the security work force. It simply gives him the flexibility so that he can work within a spectrum to fashion the very best remedy possible.
MESERVE: And we have a phone call coming in from Arizona.
What is your question for the congressman?
CALLER: Thank you.
First, I do want to say that I was not strip-searched when I flew El-Al. And I personally feel that our Congress, at this point, has been somewhat negligent in not passing the bills for airline security, when there is a perfect example of what has worked for over 30 years with El-Al Airlines. They have not had a hijacking in decades. They have good security. They have bank-vault doors on the cockpit so no one can get in. They have two flight crews.
What is taking so long to make our skies safe again?
MESERVE: Well, gentlemen, what is taking so long?
DEFAZIO: Good question. We bailed out the airlines within a week, sent them $15 billion, but we were not allowed to put any security measures on that. And until this last Thursday, the House had not considered one single security measure.
Two weeks ago, Tom DeLay said he wasn't going to let the bill come up, because he wouldn't yet get the right result. And, to him, the right result was maintaining the private security companies.
It became a political football. That's unfortunate. Security shouldn't be.
We can meet with the conference next week with the Senate, and I think we should have a bill by Friday and get it on the president's desk.
MESERVE: Congressman Barr, quick response?
BARR: If we can get away from that sort of rhetoric, I agree with Mr. DeFazio. What we ought to be doing is listening to the president, listening to our leaders on both sides, in coming up with a compromised bill.
Again, we have come a long way, and I think it's unfair to say that we haven't. That is a very, very complex set of circumstances, and we want to make sure we get it right, rather than have to come back and keep reinventing the wheel.
MESERVE: OK, Congressman Bob Barr and Congressman Peter DeFazio, thank you both for joining us.
BARR: Thank you.
DEFAZIO: Thank you.
MESERVE: And just ahead, the impact of America's new war on tourism. Are bargain-basement prices enough to get Americans traveling again? We'll talk with two industry insiders when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: We're discussing the new unemployment numbers, and it's not good news for America.
The attacks of September 11 have deeply affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Not only has it shattered the lives of those who have lost life, the attacks have threatened the livelihoods of American workers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: President Bush yesterday on the economic impact of the terrorism attacks. Hard-hit, the travel and tourism industries.
Joining us from Orlando, Florida, Fred Lounsberry. He's the incoming chairman of the Travel Industry Association and is also the executive vice president of marketing and operations at Universal Studios in Florida. And in New York, Richard Copeland. He is the president of the American Society of Travel Agents.
Mr. Copeland, let me start with you. Should Congress have acted much more swiftly on an airline security bill?
RICHARD COPELAND, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ASTA: Yes, they should have. The traveling public will not get traveling again until the airports are safe and the airlines are safe. What they should do with the legislators is put them in a room, look the door, and say, "You're not coming out until we have an air safety bill that's needed for the U.S. economy." Got to get people traveling again. That's the only way to do it. MESERVE: Are people traveling again? What do the latest statistics show you?
COPELAND: Well, for the first four or five days after September 11, no one traveled. Over the first month, travel was probably down 60, 70 percent. I would say it's getting better over the last month, but you're still 30, 35 percent off from what it was at the same time last year.
MESERVE: And what does that mean to you industry?
COPELAND: That means that billions of dollars have been lost. People aren't traveling. They're cowering in closets. The terrorists are winning on the travel aspect. And we've got to pick up Mayor Giuliani from New York City's line that you have got to get back to your life as it was before September 11. People have got to start traveling again.
I think once the security bill is passed, you will see travel agents disseminating information to their clients that it's safe travel.
And there is nothing by value out there. You can get trips for prices you couldn't have heard of or could have afforded two months ago. Now is the time to travel again.
MESERVE: Fred Lounsberry, let me get the picture from your vantage point. Does it look the same?
FRED LOUNSBERRY, INCOMING CHAIRMAN, TRAVEL INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION: Yes. We saw here in Florida, immediately after September 11, an immediate drop -- virtually non-existent. It's been slowly trickling back, but the key element is certainly faith in the security system at our airports as a first step in restoring confidence in travel.
We have seen a lot of drive-market activity, residents staying much closer to home. But still, getting people back in airplanes is critical to getting tourism back on its feet.
MESERVE: Mr. Lounsberry, do you believe that it's safe to travel right now by air?
LOUNSBERRY: Absolutely. I've travel probably more since September 11 than I have the six months prior just because this is a busy time of year in travel and tourism.
But I think the airport security bill, which you have been discussing earlier today, is a critical piece of restoring public confidence in travel.
MESERVE: Mr. Copeland, are you picking up from clients any resentment of the increased security measures? It certainly has increased waiting times in some airports and made for inconvenience.
COPELAND: We have found no resistance on that level. One of the things about the American public is they're very resilient. There is a feeling of confidence. I have been at airports eight or nine times over the last three or four weeks. There is a wonderful feeling when you see an armed presence, heightened security. You see the dogs walking around.
If you go to foreign airports and most places in the world, you will see nothing but soldiers walking around with guns. There is nothing wrong with that. Our lives have changed significantly since September 11. The American public will accept heightened airport security, that they want it.
And you will see that once this bill is passed, once these new measures are put in place, you're going to see people traveling again and the American public very confident.
I mean, it's your patriotic duty to get into the skies in the coming months.
MESERVE: OK, we're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we will continue our discussion. Stay with us.
MESERVE: We are continuing on our conversation about how the travel and tourism industries are coping.
Right there, you see a satellite picture of Hurricane Michelle bearing down on the state of Florida.
Mr. Lounsberry, this can't be helping the outlook for you down in Florida.
LOUNSBERRY: Well, we always hate to see those kind of satellite photos, but hopefully it'll miss us.
MESERVE: Tell me just how grim the picture is for the travel industry right now in Florida. Obviously, it's a huge part of the economy there. I'm wondering how many people are being affected and how it is rippling throughout the state.
LOUNSBERRY: Well, travel and tourism is not only big for the state of Florida -- as our number-one industry here -- it's the first- , second- or third-largest industry in 29 of our states. So it's far from being just a Florida issue.
In Florida, we've taken action with our governor, Governor Jeb Bush, putting through a $20 million injection into travel and tourism marketing and promotion to begin getting the message back out about now is the best time ever to travel to Florida.
And on that note, special offers on our FLA-USA website are what are really worth seeing in Florida, what bringing people back into the state and getting people motivated to travel. Still, we need the air component to come back quickly to bring it back to where we were prior to September 11.
MESERVE: And, Mr. Copeland, you were you talking about the dip in travel. Are you sure that it's security related, or could it be that the economic slowdown is simply having an impact on travel? Or is it a combination?
COPELAND: Well, I would say it's combination.
But, you know, we had this happen once before, back in 1991 with the Gulf War. And at that point in time, people stopped traveling. You know, there was feeling that Baghdad was 500 miles from London and people just stayed home.
So even though the economy was soft before September 11, it's all related to September 11. But it is rebounding, and we're working very hard now. All around the country, travel agents are hard at work, explaining to their clients that it is safe to travel.
You know, there have been more people killed on the highways in the last 60 days. Should we stop driving our cars? We got to get around this.
We've got to get over this anthrax fear. The media is definitely overplayed. All you hear negative news. Let's hear a little positive news.
We're going to try to do that. This week, the American Society of Travel Agents is in New York City. We're having our World Congress, which is being held in New York over the next four days.
You're going to see people from all around world in New York City. We're going have Mayor Giuliani as our keynote speaker. And we're going have the president's mother, and she's agreed to bring along her husband. So Barbara and George Bush will be in New York telling people it's safe to travel. We're in New York at ground zero. It's time to come out of the closets and get back to life as it was.
I'm going to say to you that by Thanksgiving you're going to see a major change in tourism in the United States. And Christmastime is going to be wonderful. It's time to travel.
MESERVE: Well, I wanted to ask you about the holidays. Just how critical is that period for the travel industry, and what do bookings look like?
COPELAND: Well, Thanksgiving is probably the heaviest weekend of the year. We anticipate probably about a 25 percent drop over last year.
But keep in mind, last year was the millennium year. It was one of best years ever in travel.
It's going to hurt, but certainly, it is going to be a start. And I think by Christmastime, you're going see people back in the air.
Certainly, if we get the security bill passed by next week, it'll be a major shot in the arm for the travel agents all over the country to be talking to their clients again. Get out there and travel. There's nothing but value out there. You can have a wonderful time. Let's get on with our lives.
MESERVE: Mr. Fred Lounsberry, are these offers of great bargains working? Are those reeling customer in?
LOUNSBERRY: Most definitely. I think one of the -- since the air travel really diminished substantially after September 11, most of the convention and visitors' bureaus, states' attractions here in Florida really turned to encouraging residents and drive-market visitors to get out and come visit Florida.
And as a result, you will find deals that you won't see again for some time on the various Web sites. I mentioned FLA-USA. Also the seeamerica.org is promoting "See America Day," which is next Sunday, which the national parks will be open at no charge, as well as a lot of great vacation deals. And on our own universalstudios.com Web site, deals from $49 per person, including theme park tickets.
LOUNSBERRY: So, there are lot of good deals out there.
MESERVE: We'll let everybody do their shopping on the Internet or wherever.
But I want to ask you both, what happens if there is another incident? What happens to your business?
Mr. Lounsberry, why don't we start with you.
LOUNSBERRY: Well, I think, unquestionably, it would be a significant setback. I think the confidence that is slowly coming back and what we're seeing, the travel trickling back, even by air, would definitely be set back. So I think it definitely would set travel back if that was to happen again.
MESERVE: Mr. Copeland, is "setback" a strong enough word?
COPELAND: Well, September 11 changed our lives forever. And we have to be prepared, as we're doing right now, for what may come in the future.
Just to give you an example. Many, many years ago in World War II, every single night the people in the UK, in Britain and in London, used to go to bed at night waiting for the bombs to drop. That went on for several years. They survived, they prospered.
Something like that might happen. Certainly it would be a temporary setback, but the resiliency of the American public is such, and as the president has said, "We are not going to let the terrorists win."
If something unfortunately should happen, we will go on with our lives. It's the American way. And I may be sounding patriotic, but that's the thing that we have to do. We have to go on with our lives and not succumb to anything that these terrorists...
MESERVE: And I have to wrap you up there. Fred Lounsberry, Richard Copeland, thank you both for joining us. COPELAND: Thank you.
MESERVE: And thank you for watching CNN's continuing coverage of America's new war.
I'm Jeanne Meserve in Washington.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com