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Aired September 18, 2001 - 04:30   ET


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: Shelley Walcott. Last Tuesday, tragedy struck America. Now during the past week the United States Justice Department has identified 19 suspected hijackers. Investigation is taking federal agents across the globe.

PAUL HAYNES, CNN CO-HOST: The FBI is putting much focus on Osama bin Laden who is believed to be in Afghanistan. Now Afghanistan's Taliban leaders are meeting to decide his fate. Joel Hochmuth reports.


JOEL HOCHMUTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Osama bin Laden's fate could be decided with in the next two to three days. Bin Laden of course is the prime suspect in the terrorist attacks in the United States last week. He is currently thought to hold up in Afghanistan. Leading Islamic clerics from the country's ruling Taliban are gathering in the capital city of Kabul to decide whether to hand him over to the U.S. or to some other country. CNN reporter Nic Robertson reports by videophone from Afghanistan.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): They will of course be discussing the issue of what to do about Osama bin Laden. They'll be discussing the issue of how Afghanistan should respond, if attacked by the United States or another country. One of the options, they will be considering is whether or not to declare a Jihad against America.

HOCHMUTH: At this point, it seems unlikely that Taliban will hand over bin Laden; since, they have all ready said that he is not responsible for the attacks. They have resisted U.N. calls to do so for years. Officials from neighboring Pakistan are in Afghanistan trying to persuade the Taliban to change its mind.

ABDUL SATTAR, PAKISTANI FOREIGN MINISTER: The visit is an 11th hour attempt to convey to the leadership that there's no time.

HOCHMUTH: But that the Taliban would resist international pressure, comes as no surprise. The Fundamentalist Islamic movement has been at odds with much of the world since it's rise to power at the end of the Soviet occupation in 1989. During a bloody civil war, the Taliban captured the capital city of Kabul in 1996 and now controls almost all of Afghanistan. The regime's extremely strict religious policy has earned it almost universal condemnation. For the most part, women aren't allowed to go to school or work, and they can't go out without wearing veils. Men have to grow long beards and can't wear western clothes. When the Taliban sparked International protest earlier this year when they ordered ancient Buddhist statues destroyed.

Just how much military resistance they could muster if they refuse to hand over bin Laden remains to be seen. The Taliban commands an army of only about 40,000 to 60,000, and its fleet of Soviet Era jets is aging. It owned some SCUD missiles made famous in the Gulf War, but these reportedly are for display purposes only. Still, as the Soviet Union found out in the 1980s, defeating Afghan troops is easier said than done. Jill Dougherty has that.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here, more than twenty years ago in the treacherous mountains of Afghanistan, Leo Korolkov fought a war like no other. His assignment was to train Soviet Special Operations commandos, similar to America's Delta force.

LEO KOROLKOV, SOVIET SPECIAL SERVICES (through translator): Modern weapons, rockets, laser guided missiles; they're useless against these mountains.

DOUGHERTY: Leo was there when Soviet troops moved into Afghanistan, and he was there when they left, after a decade of fighting and 15,000 deaths.

KOROLKOV (through translator): I feel sorry for the people who are going to be thrown into those deserted mountainous regions where the enemy knows every single rock, every cave. No maps, no computer training can prepare you for it.

DOUGHERTY: As for finding Osama bin Laden, Korolkov says there are a million places he could hide. Just like the Mujahedeen, he and his men tried to find during their war. Diversionary tactics, terror, suicide attacks were the way the enemy achieved his aim. Leo says he saw Afghan fighters shot to ribbons still clutching their weapons and firing until their last breath. Many of them, he says, used drugs before launching operations.

But they were, he says, the most effective force he has ever seen. Honed on 20 years of continual war. They were also well supplied with Stinger missiles provided by the Soviet Union's cold war foe, the United States. Russia expected to stay a few months in Afghanistan; it ended up fighting for 10 years. It was a searing lesson Leo says, that scarred Russia just as Vietnam tore at the soul of America. These fighters can bring any country, he says, even a superpower; be it Russia, the United States or Europe to the brink of catastrophe.

Jill Dougherty, CNN, Moscow.


HAYNES: The investigation into last week's attacks is moving forward. At least, 75 people are in custody is either material witnesses or for possible immigration violations. President Bush has told the U.S. military to get ready, but the plan of action is still top secret. Later, David Ensor will look at the fight against the terrorism. But first, "Who is the master mind behind such attacks?"


MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Well, the evidence is still being examined; one name tops the list of suspects. It's a name that's been on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list since 1999, Osama bin Laden. The 44-year-old bin Laden through to a spokesman denies any involvement, but U.S. Intelligence agencies say his fingerprints are unmistakable.

In western intelligence circles, bin Laden has been well known for years for this document, a call for Jihad or Holy war. But Osama bin Laden doesn't come from a family of extremists. He was born to the son of a billionaire Saudi businessman.

The 17th of 52 children, some of them live in United States. His father built the largest construction business in Saudi Arabia. Osama joined the family operation at a young age, developing an expertise in demolition. But in 1979, the religious 23-year-old left his comfortable life and took a radical turn. That year the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, and bin Laden joined the Afghan opposition offering money, equipment, and know how. By 1986, bin Laden was running training camps and leading his own troops into battle.

When the war ended, bin Laden founded al Qaeda, a multinational terrorist network. Its members used the most up-to-date technology; satellite phone, e-mail, fax to coordinate their activities from all over the world. It grew thousands of volunteers. When the Gulf War broke out in 1990; an outraged bin Laden began to target a new enemy, America.

He declared a holy war against his new enemy, and a set of demands that hold to this day; bin Laden wants U.S. troops out of Saudi Arabia, he opposes U.S. bombing campaigns in Iraq, he's against U.S. support of Israel, and he objects to U.S. backing of Arabs nations, he deems un-Islamic, such as Egypt. In the next decade, Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda organization would be implicated in a series of attacks on Americans at home and abroad.

In 1992, the first American victims, 18 service men killed in Somalia, a Muslim nation embroiled in famine and civil war. 1993; a bomb at the World Trade Center, 6 people killed and thousands injured, bin Laden denies any involvement, but he was named one of many unindicted coconspirators. 1995-1996, bin Laden possibly linked to two bombings in Saudi Arabia, 24 U.S. troops dead. 1998, bombs at two U.S. embassies in Africa killed 224 people. Bin Laden has been indicted as the mastermind behind the attack. 2000, the bombing of the USS Cole killed 17 U.S. sailors. Osama bin Laden is the principal focus of the investigation.

For the last several years, bin Laden is believed to be in hiding in the remote mountains in Afghanistan, where he is beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement. The country is dominated by the Taliban, a movement of religious students turned warriors who have imposed their harsh interpretation of Islam. In 1997, bin Laden tried to explain the logic behind his tactics.

OSAMA BIN LADEN (through translator): The U.S. today has set a double standard calling whoever goes against its injustice, a terrorist. It wants to occupy our countries, steal our resources, impose agents on us to rule us, and then wants us to agree to all this. If we refuse to do so, it says, we are terrorists.

BOETTCHER: And he made clear, he had no intention of changing his ways or his future plans.

OSAMA BIN LADEN (through translator): You'll see them and hear about them in the media. God willing.

BOETTCHER: Mike Boettcher, CNN, Atlanta.

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A key part of the campaign against Osama bin Laden and his group is being waged, as Vice President Cheney put it "in the shadows".

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT: We'll also have to work in the sort of -- there's a dark side that you will spend time in -- the shadows and in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly.

ENSOR: The U.S. intelligence community is working overtime to stop any additional attacks and to gather evidence on who hit New York and Washington.

(on camera): Since the attack on September 11, U.S. Intelligence officers are most certainly not talking much about their new work in public, and so nor were we here. But you can gain some general insight into how the intelligence war is being waged by listening to intelligence officers in interviews conducted with CNN, back before last week's tragedy.

(voice-over): Chase Sprandon (ph) a 30-year CIA veteran was for 25 years, a covert operations officer, a spy.

CHASE SPRANDON, CIA OFFICER: Your own personal choice would be not to spend time with these terrorist, but the mission is to go out and find information in advance to keep this bad guy or the terrorist from committing some horrible terrorist atrocity.

ENSOR: Over at the National Security Agency, they are working flat out too, eavesdropping on communications of all kinds from phones to encrypted computer messages looking for threats and clues. What we were told about that last March is even more true now.

RICHARD BERARDINO (ph), NSOC DIRECTOR: The real problem is the volume in data, the volume of data that we had to deal with and the filtering and selection process.

ENSOR: Massive computers help with that work, but it still comes down to listeners who must be talented linguists like Everette Jordan.

EVERETTE JORDAN, NSA LINGUIST: I saw in a movie one time, it said NSA had this big computer that looks in for keywords like bomb or something like that. We're here to tell you that if there is somebody who's trying planning to do bad to the United States, U.S. government, or their concerns worldwide, they're not going to say "bomb". And, chances are more often than not, they would talk around something, they will call it "the matter" or "the issue", and we have to again put it in context, who's talking, to whom you're talking.

ENSOR: At the White House, Richard Clarke, a Special Adviser to the president is the government's coordinator for transnational threats, the job he also held last year when he offered us this prescient comment.

RICHARD CLARKE, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: If there is terrorism incident in the United State, then obviously we weren't ready. Our goal is to prevent them, but we're never going to be in a situation where we can say with high confidence that one might occur.

ENSOR (on camera): All these men are soldiers in the war in the shadows, a war in which U.S. Intelligence officers could yet be asked to take covert actions against an elusive and dangerous foe.

David Ensor, CNN, Washington.


WALCOTT: And America is learning more than it ever cared to about the war in the shadows. The last week's terrorist attacks just caught many of us off guard. Many of us who live here in the United States just never imagined that anything like this could ever happen here, but the truth is Americans at home and abroad have been the victims of terrorist attacks, here's a look back at the last ten years.


WALCOTT (voice-over): Terrorism, it is clearly the threat to U.S. national security, the new face of war in the 21 century. Terrible images from New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania have shocked people across the globe and driven home the reality of the dangerous world, we now live in. But while many Americans grapple with the disbelief that something like this could happen here, the truth is terrorism is hardly a new phenomenon, in fact, attacks against Americans have gradually escalated over the last ten years.

Terrorism on U.S. soil first made headlines on February 25, 1993; the target then had also been the World Trade Center buildings in New York. An explosive device exploded on the second level of the parking basement. The attack killed six and injured more than a 1,000. The mastermind -- Ramzi Ahmed Youssef, a Pakistani militant trained in Afghanistan.

Youssef was captured in 1995 and brought to the United States for trial. FBI agents say he bragged that with more funds and equipment, he would have made sure the towers were destroyed. Youssef was sentenced to 240 years in prison leaving terrorism experts to wonder, if the sentence would only add fuel to the ideological fires of Muslim radicals worldwide. Terrorist networks that many U.S. Intelligence officials believe are headed by Saudi Billionaire, Osama bin Laden.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK, NATO COMMANDER: Osama bin Laden represents a complete terrorist network. He will have one or more state sponsors, countries that he's either based in or working in collusion with. There will have been passport support, communication support.

WALCOTT: Bin Laden is one of the FBI's most wanted men. He and his associates are been sought by the U.S. on charges of international terrorism, including the 1998 bombing of American embassies in Africa and last year's attack on the USS Cole in Yemen. It is his name that usually heads up the suspect list, especially when terrorism hits the United States. Like, when a truck bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.

The U.S. federal authorities eventually linked that attack to Timothy McVeigh, a Gulf War veteran who latter admitted to the bombing. McVeigh was executed on June 11 of this year. His chilling legacy increased awareness of the vulnerability of federal buildings including the White House. In 1995, out of fear of a bomb attack to the home of the president, Pennsylvania Avenue was closed to the public, and concrete barriers were installed around the White House. Also that same year more evidence of the vulnerability of seemingly secure locations, when a car bomb exploded at military headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Five American service personnel were killed.

And in 1996, during the Atlanta Olympics, a pipe bomb exploded in Centennial Olympic Park, killing one person and wounding 111. The FBI suspects Eric Robert Rudolph in that attack, but he is still at large. As rescuers search for bodies after the latest attack in the U.S., Americans are now confronting what the rest of the world has faced for decades. How do you deal with the invisible enemy and launch an offensive against a war being fought in the shadows.


HAYNES: Attempting to shed some light on shadowy issues, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, he visited Emory University in Atlanta to hear what's on the minds of students.

CNN Student Bureau reports.


KATIE CARLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The terrorist attack against America sparked strong reactions from college students, like freshman Josh Kovach.

JOSH KOVACH, FRESHMAN, EMORY UNIVERSITY: My first reaction after this total shock of what happened was that, if there was a draft and we went to war today, I just -- I wouldn't care, that, just give me a gun and tell me where to point. CARLO: Josh was among the students attending a packed Town Hall meeting at Atlanta's Emory University with former President Jimmy Carter. Security was tight, the crowd large, spilling over into a second auditorium.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Secret Service will not allow anyone else in.

CARLO: Taking questions only from students, Carter echoed President Bush's sentiments that the United States must stand firmly against terrorists, even against the nations harboring them.

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: If some of those nations are reluctant to give up the terrorists, then our Navy Seals or others -- our striking forces supported adequately by other military, hopefully from other countries as well, have got to go in and get them.

CARLO: The former president also asked students not to stereotype Arabs along with those believed to be responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

CARTER: I'm afraid that one of the worst possible consequences of a terrible and unjust foul (ph) attack on us in the last few days has been that Americans might tend to lash out at those who worship Allah, and who happen to be Arabs, even though, there are a few of those who are guilty. And I hope that this doesn't happen.

CARLO: Will Glenn of Newnan, Georgia says he got the message.

WILL GLENN: That the enemy we're fighting, it's not an army. It's a group of people, small group of people sometimes that just hides in the shadows. And the only way to infiltrate that sort of society, that sort of underground organization is to go for their leaders.

CARLO: Carter's appearance at Emory University was a culmination of week of unnerving emotions that paralyzed campuses, all across America. But students say that having to hear the president somehow made things, a little easier.

EVAN DUCKER (ph), EMORY STUDENT: Initially, no one knew exactly what to do. Everybody felt a big sense of patriotism. Most people were confused. They didn't know where exactly to vent their anger, or what to do. I think, through this speech that Jimmy Carter gave to us today that he taught us, and he told us where to channel our actions. He told us that we shouldn't, we should be the bigger person to think about it...

BENJAMIN STREED, EMORY STUDENT: Just trying to sit down and say, "Hey, you know there is quite a lot to do than just going out and killing whoever you know, doesn't like us out there and I know a lot of students are caught up with their emotions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's so -- it's so scary. I talked to my parents, and I hear of all the security there, and I see on TV, places where I know people who work with them. There are all the time, and it's so scary to see, a war zone.

CARLO: So these college students are doing what they can to show unity. They united with the rest of the country by holding vigil(s), sending sympathy cards, and staging blood drives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It makes such a huge difference, and it's such a great feeling about all these people that can get together in such a time of crisis.

CARLO (on camera): Emory's community has come together in ways like never before. Students here continue to support each other, to grieve, and above all to hope.

Katie Carlo, CNN Student Bureau, Atlanta.



HAYNES: Well for the past week, the Red Cross has been front and center of relief efforts. Many people have chosen to do their part by donating their time and money. Others are giving literally from their hearts. The American Red Cross reports a dramatic increase in the number of people who are donating blood, and students are no exception.


HAYNES (voice-over): They came by the vanloads, students from around the Atlanta area wanting to help out, anyway they can.

MICHAEL CAMIPICHO (ph): You're powerless, you're helpless, or at least you feel that way. And, then you realize that you can do your part.

HAYNES: Inside, they lined up by the dozens, as some waiting up to two hours to donate, bringing their homework to pass the time. But the wait didn't seem to matter -- not today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody's got to be -- got to do their part, you know, unite, and you know, go get through this together. Giving blood was so much more than, you know, just sitting there, doing nothing.

HAYNES (on camera): This was typically used as a classroom, but the Red Cross has opened it and brought in mobile beds for the overwhelming amount of people who wanted to come in and help out.

(voice-over): Usually 900 units of blood at day come from this branch of the America Red Cross in Atlanta. But, in the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, more than 2,700 units are being collected daily.

DAVID SAHMICH (ph): I have family and friends that live up in Manhattan; and just hearing them talk, hearing their reactions to this event, has prompted me to - I want to help out, as much as I can. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No matter like, who you are, you at least know somebody who's, you know, know somebody who's there, or could, you know, have a family member, and you just want to help.

HAYNES: To donate blood you have to be, at least 17; in generally good health, and you must weigh at least a 110 pounds. Official says the most needed are "O" positive and "O" negative, both universal blood types that can be transferred into anyone. Across the United States, Americans lined up to donate, reaching out to help fellow citizens in need.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I needed to do something. I felt like I, you know, it was my obligation, so I came out.


WALCOTT: Tragedy is uniting this nation. People are putting aside their differences, embracing each other, and reaching out to rebuild what's been lost.

HAYNES: Yes, and most notably, generations X and Y are stepping forward, showing their true colors that are red, white, and blue.


JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For a generation accustomed to fleeting fashion statements, for the moment, it's hip to be wearing the flag.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we drove in, and everything we've never even done this on the 4 July, like it's a step ...

BELLINI: Young people are flocking the nightly vigils around New York City expressing a mix of emotions, including one that many from the X and Y generations have never felt before -- patriotism, pride in being American, and pride in their governments.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know in my particular case, I have had lot of issues with the U.S. government in the past, I mean I'm gay; and they don't do a very good job, I think of, you know, supporting and including their gay citizens. And, this is the first time I've really been able to look at the government in an -- you know, important situation, and say they're doing a great job, and I'm -- you know, I'm glad to have them.

BELLINI: Older Americans have long wondered, do these kids have it in them -- the love of country, the willingness to sacrifice. Having grown up in safe and privileged times the under 30 crowd admits, they've never been tested.

BETANY MERTON (ph): As a generation, we don't really have anything that brings us together, because there hasn't been one world event that would do it for us.

BELLINI: Older Americans also have wondered, whether their MTV generation compatriots know how to be serious, to not be cynical. (on camera): Do young people care about anything other than that which directly affects them?

(voice over): MTV, apparently thinks so. It switched to network news coverage, the day of the disaster. CRL, the popular video countdown program with host Carson Daly for the first time in its history, played not a single video.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's celebrate the gift of life.

HILLARY ROSE (ph), MTV HOST: You hear a lot of kids, you know, all like, oh, the governments sucks and blah-blah; but right now, I'm very proud to be, you know, a voting member of our United States government.

BELLINI: Will the ADD generation lose interest quickly? MTV News reporter John Norris thinks, not.

JOHN NORRIS, MTV NEWS REPORTER: The idea of sacrifice, the idea of a threatening world is -it's foreign to them. I'm afraid that this - we'd may be on the brink of a real fundamental change in the kind of world we live in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We pretty much like the ways of America and like to go around here and it's America itself. Today, there is no reason, not to be proud of the whole thing because of how people reacted to it, you know (ph).

BELLINI: For the younger generation, patriotism stoked not necessary by tragedy itself; but by the way, Americans react when the time comes.

Jason Bellini, CNN, New York.


HAYNES: And for some helpful resources, of course, you can always get a There, you'll find links on how to deal with this tragedy.

WALCOTT: And, in addition, "fyi" also features historical perspective and analysis; and of course, stay tuned to CNN for continuing coverage, throughout the day.

HAYNES: And, that is NEWSROOM for today. Thanks for joining us.

WALCOTT: We'll see you tomorrow. Bye-bye.




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