Thursday, August 10, 2006
Early morning call prompts mad dash
A lot of you ask how we operate....

When my phone rang this morning, I looked quickly looked at the clock: 4:15 a.m. Nothing good ever happens at 4:15 a.m.

It was our vice president of news coverage. Did I know about the terror plot? Where was Anderson?

The assignment desk had already set up a conference bridge -- a kind of discreet party line -- for CNN managers to dial into to sort out the story and the logistics of getting London staffed-up. After all, many of CNN International's considerable resources were already dedicated to the Middle East.

As for Anderson, after 28 days in the Middle East -- Cyprus, Lebanon and Israel -- he was driving down from Israel's northern border toward Tel Aviv to start a long weekend break. When I found him, Anderson and his cameraman Neil Hallsworth already had sketchy details of the breaking terror story and were looking into ways to get from Tel Aviv to London.

Heathrow airport in London was shutdown. So we looked at flights to Paris and Budapest and then connecting to the Eurostar train. We figured that with air travel paralyzed rail would be a sure way to get Anderson to London.

As it turned out, all of the connections were dicey at best, so we arranged a charter jet to a small airfield in the United Kingdom, added a couple of additional CNN producers to fill the seats, and before long, the plane was in the air. All of this happened before 6:30 a.m.

Anderson should be on scene and reporting from London by mid-afternoon. Of course, we will continue our extensive coverage from the Middle East as well. John Roberts will anchor our coverage from there.
Posted By David Doss, "360" Executive Producer: 11:47 AM ET
  32 Comments
Isn't it odd how some "terrible" thing always seems to happen (or not happen) as Americans are gearing up for elections and especially when Republican encumbents are in danger of losing their seats? The Politics of Fear strike again and all the major news organizations are eating it up.
Posted By Anonymous Marion Meacham, Fort Myers, FL : 12:02 PM ET
Mr. Doss,

Your hard work does not go unnoticed. I woke up this morning, turned on the news, and heard the story about the terrorists. I get on the AC360 website and there is a message saying Anderson will be in London. You guys are truely amazing and I thank you for all you do.

I know information has been limited thus far, but I did hear 21 people were arrested. Is there any word on how many planes were supposed to be targeted? I think it's safe to say the public wants more information, and as a frequent flyer I think that is the only thing that will put my mind at ease.
Posted By Anonymous Sam, Los Angeles CA : 12:06 PM ET
Are you all mad? And I mean that in the nicest way of course because I do appreciate how hard everyone at CNN works but...

How about a story on sleep deprivation? Or what about post-traumatic reporter disorder?

Just my two cents.
Posted By Anonymous Tikka, Seattle, WA : 12:12 PM ET
David - It is amazing how you guys can "scramble" to get Anderson and his crew to London so quickly for this story. I look forward to his report.

I'm not a frequent flyer, but I hope this is all over soon. Chicago's O'Hare Airport already had tough security, now it's going to be much worse.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie, Chicago, IL : 12:12 PM ET
Amazing, thank you for keeping us informed. It reminds us that terror and the intent to hurt are not just issues we watch on TV.

I look forward to learning all the angles of this story, especially the mission to uncover the plot, what preemptive measures are being taken, and what this means to national and international security.
Posted By Anonymous Lynn, Chicago, IL : 12:16 PM ET
I hope that everyone is able to make their flights safely and get home to their loved ones. Thankfully the threat was caught in time before any horrific disasters, but still caution must be observed as their could be others. May God bless all who travel!
Posted By Anonymous Brenda, Flint MI : 12:16 PM ET
As a US Citizen working for a major US airline (not included in the terror plot) and on vacation in Sweden, I am not worried. I am gald to see the two governments on the UK and USA are working together and that the USA is sending more Air Marshalls to the UK. What I worry about, rightfully so, is how the traveling public will react to this in the USA now? Just when the US airlines are recovering, this is the last thing we all need. My hope is the traveling public will remain calm and continue to travel. After all, isn't that what a summer vacation is all about?
Posted By Anonymous Jason Wade, San Diego, CA : 12:24 PM ET
I find it fascinating how quickly the news business operates. Just a few hours ago when watching the coverage, I thought well I guess "360" will be about the terror plot but reported from Isreal...that would be kind of odd. However, you guys seem to be on top of things and doing a great job....as always stay safe.
Posted By Anonymous Willa Johnson, Dandridge, TN : 12:25 PM ET
Oh here we go back to all the fawning. Do these people not realize that they are just doing their job? When I do a super duper job today auditing, I know I'm not going to get the same kind of attention from the masses and that's okay, I don't need a pat on the back every time I do a good job.

They do their job and get paid extremely well for doing it. Knock it off people.
Posted By Anonymous Em, Toronto, Ontario, Canada : 1:21 PM ET
Damn these bloody terrorist and how they have taken our freedom away as travelers.
It�s just a constant reminder that every one of us needs to be vigilant and pay more attention to that middle east looking fellow next to us.. I still watch out and mourn at the recent lives lost in Bombay and elsewhere.. Thank you CNN for advising us on all the needed precautions, while putting your lives at risk..
Posted By Anonymous Bharti, Eagan Minnesota : 1:26 PM ET
It's good you could use a charter plane. I think that's the future of the airline industry. While I can live with the new domestic (U.S.)restrictions, I would think twice now about flying to/from the UK since I couldn't have on board with me my Ipod, or even a book or magazine! My prediction is that within about 10 years, only the uber-wealthy and some key executives will fly, and they will be flying charter, personal or company-owned planes. If businesspeople can't travel w/ their laptops, or have access to their cell phone or Blackberry while cooling their heels in an airport terminal, how can they get work done? They'll legitimately say they could be more productive in their home office via a videoconference, etc. and not fly at all commercially! Same with parents and young children: how do you keep those kids entertained on a 6 or 8 hour flight to/from the UK? This is a serious blow to the entire travel industry, in my opinion.
Posted By Anonymous Cathy, Plano, Texas : 1:27 PM ET
I hope that, in the excitement to beat other news organizations to the story, you will not compromise security by telling us details of how the plot was uncovered. If there are undercover agents involved, their heroic work should be celebrated by being kept confidential. The public does NOT have a right to know, even if some mid-level official slips up by revealing something meant to be kept secret.
Posted By Anonymous Charlie, Lakeville, CT : 1:41 PM ET
I admire the quickness on you guys, to be able to move to London in less than 2 hours, while just 2 hours before,you were covering the crisis in the Middle East.
Posted By Anonymous Federico, Buenos Aires, Argentina : 1:43 PM ET
I was just reading in the Philly Enquirer this morning about how Anderson had been in the Middle East for almost a month with no plans of returning home anytime soon! Thanks for being so committed to the story and I hope you all stay safe!
Posted By Anonymous Emma Russell, Downingtown, PA : 1:48 PM ET
It seems to me the terrorists have won yet again, even if they did not manage to destroy any airliners or kill passengers, look at the disruptions they are causing. I am glad I am no longer a frequent flyer. Gone are the days when we could drop of the rent car and make a flight in less than 30 minutes.
Posted By Anonymous David, Russellville AR : 1:59 PM ET
After having just returned from Ireland this past Saturday, I was pretty surprised at how close I came to being caught up in this whole mess trying to return home. I'm not surprised, however, that Anderson and crew are eager to be where the action is :-)

As for the conspiracy post above re: this being timely for elections, I can understand the suspicion, but should we have done nothing and let people die instead?

Best of luck for safe journeys to Anderson and the rest!
Posted By Anonymous Dave Sumers, Tinley Park, IL : 2:04 PM ET
Life on the edge can be tough - but there is always the private jet in case of real trouble. I just hope Anderson is keeping them honest for us, as he says he is.
Posted By Anonymous Ken Phoenix AZ : 2:14 PM ET
We are already in WORLD WAR III.. We just have not realized it yet!
Posted By Anonymous Peter G. Aurora, Ontario : 2:17 PM ET
Why does Anderson have to be IN London? You aid "their" cause by rushing to the scene of every terrorist incident. Will MI5 give Anderson more info if he is there? Are your London based correspondents incompetent? Why do we need Anderson there to spend two hours tonight telling us the same story over and over and over.
Posted By Anonymous Bruce Toplek, Dallas Texas : 2:18 PM ET
I am sitting here in the UK watching the latest news unfold regarding flights to the US and the travel disruption at the airports. The news should be no surprise and we are all I am sure, grateful for the vigilance of the Police - thank God the plot was discovered and stopped.

The best thing you could do is talk to people on the streets of the UK - we are a resilient bunch (we were all straight back to work after the London bombings and I am sure we will continue to travel and live our lives as normal - terrorists will never destroy our spirit)

Whilst you travel through the SE of England take an opportunity to enjoy the countryside. I live close to the Eurostar terminal in Kent, so if you want any ideas / locations to spend some downtime just shout. There is plenty of crappy TV to watch (no AC360 here !), we do have Starbucks and Pirates of the Caribbean is still on at the cinema.
Posted By Anonymous Sarah, Canterbury, UK : 2:20 PM ET
You guys are fantastic. I've always been a great fan of the show, but you continue to amaze... Figures it happens once Anderson finally was on his way to a break and probably some well earned sleep. Please be safe.

I get jittery each year as another September 11th rolls around, and this latest plot preys on those fears, reawakening us as a country to the horrors of 9/11/01, and brings a horrific potential for more violence to our imaginations and nightmares.

My fiance has to fly to Japan in early September and again in October, and I told him only days ago that I worried about him flying- especially at this time of year and even more so on international flights. He told me that he doubted the int'l flights would be targeted.

I hope our intelligence agencies continue their great work, and keep us safe as we try to work toward peace. God Bless.
Posted By Anonymous Andi Dennison, Gaithersburg, MD : 2:30 PM ET
Way to hustle, guys. Looking forward to 360 tonight.
Posted By Anonymous Kelli, Clayton NC : 2:45 PM ET
David

Regarding the "mad scramble" you had this morning. I will admit I'm impressed. Actually, I always have been. How on earth can the crews ever keep up with where they are, and what day it is? Okay, so they can't always tell what day/date it is. Schedules are there just in case everything goes the way it's supposed to, right?

I do still have the same questions I had before, perhaps you aren't at liberty to answer them in this manner.

How are decisions made as to when to pull the teams out, and who has input into that decision? How dangerous must a situation be before "evacuation" is mandatory? Are you always aware of everyones location, or do they tend to "wander" off the beaten path if something interesting pops up? When everyone is past being totally exhausted how is it decided who gets to sleep? Is it a case of RHIP in reverse?

Seriously, and I was from the beginning, everyone handles themselves in a professional manner, does some of the best work I've ever seen, and I don't think there's anyone who thinks we ask stupid questions. Okay, so they do think so, but at least they wait to laugh when we can't hear them!

I apologize if my manner is often flippant, but there's enough fear and tears. I can't dwell on it 24/7.

Your crews, top to bottom, are to be praised, and you should be quite proud of them!

Thanks CNN crew,for keeping things on our level!

Maggie
Posted By Anonymous Maggie, Grain Valley, MO : 2:54 PM ET
Talk about resources and access - Anderson Cooper live from London - sounds like a record album. Many thanks for following the stories. I would also like to hear more about the Congo elections, and the recent upping of killings of aid workers in Sudan.
Thanks again.
S/
Posted By Anonymous Stephanie H., Brooklyn NY : 3:05 PM ET
A few random thoughts...

Does this mean we'll soon have to fly naked, in a clear plastic poncho, without any luggage? Talk about an uncomfortable flight!

Our nation's preparedness recently got many D's and F's from the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, because many of there common-sense (and-- unlike NSA warrantless wiretapping-- legal) recommendations still have not been implemented. Bush and his Republican allies in Congress like to claim that they know best when it comes to national security, but look at the gaps they still have not filled in. Exhibit A: Katrina. We need to demand that the recomendations of the 9/11 Commission be implemented and funded immediately (you can call the White House and your reps via the listings on www.congress.org).

It is being reported that nine planes would have been targeted. That many civilians are dying because of the violence every two weeks in Iraq.

So, why do they hate us? We need to think about this, and what we can do to rebuild our trust and image in the Middle East as well as the rest of the world. The US should be a leader, not a bully, and we are getting nowhere (or at least nowhere good) by not engaging directly with countries like Syria and Iran, or anywhere else that does not fit into our profile of countries with which we will engage. We need to engage them in dialogue so we don't have to engage them on the battlefield (hmm...that almost sounds like something Bush would say, were he for peace, don't ya think?). We need programs that help bridge the gaps in cultural understanding and provide bread, not bombs.

The bombings in certain places, such as Bombay and Madrid (one in a station I used to use when I was studying there), receive much less coverage than those in London. Why are certain countries and people's lives valued more than others?

Energy independence is a matter of national security. While I am opposed to nuclear energy (which shouldn't be considered a "clean" energy when we don't know what we will do with the waste), there are many other things we can do, such as investing in improving wind and solar technology and implementing more of this technology now. We could also do more as individuals, such as by buying cars that are more fuel efficient and doing simple things around the home that could save energy (for example, unplugging microwaves and other appliances as well as turning off the computer monitor when not in use).

I was still living in New York during 9/11. A few days later, as I walked by several kids playing outside, a plane flew overhead. The little girl near me and I both looked up at the same time, as a plane flying over our neighborhood was unusual and more than a little disconcerting, given the recent events. "Miss, why is that plane flying here?" she asked me I was caught off guard, but answered something like, "It is flying here to make sure things are even more safe for us." She sort of shrugged a satisfied "okay," and then continued jumping rope. My point being, those of us who have or teach kids need to reassure them in simple terms that will make them feel safe. There are articles on how to do this on the Red Cross Web site (www.redcross.org) as well as the Web sites of some psychology, pediatric, and religious organizations. And the best thing we can do for ourselves and our families is to create a family disaster plan, as then we can empower kids to be a partner in safety.

I hope we all stay safe, and I hope we don't give in to fear.
Posted By Anonymous Norah, West Chester, PA : 3:07 PM ET
Hi David,
Well, it seems the World is sure ravaged by complete chaos..On to another crisis you go..I guess it just goes to show us all..Hatred is alive and well..I've never seen so much HATE coming from so many places and so many people..And we are not exactly innocent here in this country..The hateful words I hear spoken in this country would curl your hair..I'm exhausted..I look forward to AC360 tonight to hear the facts..Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 3:15 PM ET
A bottle of Gatorade is not a weapon. The maniac who fills it with gasoline is the weapon. We have to stop focusing on banning items and start working more on banning terrorists. Early in the game, it was easy to ban guns and knives as obvious threats to safety under any circumstances. As the components to bombs become harder to detect, though, and thus require more and more pre-planning, the type of threat requires more and more input from a human element. it becomes more cost-effective to find the suspicious, no-fly listed, or other bad persons that may enter a particular premises and eject/arrest them immediately before they can do said harm.
Posted By Anonymous devin moore, hilliard, oh : 3:17 PM ET
The day after anti-war Lamont wins, there is another foiled terror plot. Fear, Fear, Fear. I am skeptical
Posted By Anonymous Kat, Toronto, Canada : 3:22 PM ET
Dear David,
The dedication of your team is unbelievable and without equal. It always seems to work like a fine tuned clock. However. if journalists and crews don't get a chance to recuperate physically and mentally from being in a war zone it could be harmful to them and in turn to the show. Don't misunderstand me, we love watching Anderson, John Roberts, and the other dedicated journalists who make CNN work, but assignments like this one have to be exhausting. Based on what I read in "Dispatches" and countless interviews, I know that it is virtually impossible to keep Anderson away from an important story, but sometimes maybe CNN should insist upon it. Hopefully at least Anderson and Neil can get some much deserved rest and relaxation in London. I hope John Roberts will get a break soon!
I can only imagine how many young journalists all of you have inspired with your dedication and perseverance. David, thank you for keeping us informed and allowing us to share your experiences through these posts. Take care of yourself and give everyone our best. Jo Ann
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio : 3:48 PM ET
It is amazing that this is happening again but yet a relieve that UK Officials caught it on time.

It is true ... before you know it only rich people will be able to afford to fly. We are in a time already where we need to pay for headphones on the plane and pay for an alcoholc beverage. I am only 26 but i remember the times in the early 90's where that was free.

We are going into a time where we won't be able to have carry on with us at all and check everything in.

Anderson, be safe and keep up the good work!
Posted By Anonymous Ellen, Atlanta GA : 3:58 PM ET
This is something we don't hear enough of and that's the backstory of the work you do...keep bringing us more from behind the scenes...Anderson's and the producer's points of view here are honest and informative in a way we can't get on air. Keep it coming guys. Godspeed to everyone.
Posted By Anonymous Stephanie, Denver, CO : 3:02 AM ET
Anderson, Can you please tell us why news organizations insist on revealing HOW one can make bombs with liquids and gels, how one can potentially carry out a terror attack on a plane, etc etc? I am amazed at the lack of responsible journalism on the part of CNN. All of this is on the Internet I am sure, but why does the media have to give anyone thoughts or ideas on how or where to attack? There are other crazies who watch the news (not only potential terrorists). Many of my colleagues had the same comments after watching CNN yesterday.
Posted By Anonymous Megan Kile, Limerick, PA : 11:10 AM ET
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