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CNN Newsroom for October 12, 2001

Aired October 12, 2001 - 04:30   ET


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Tom Haynes.

Well, four weeks have passed since the devastating terrorist attacks on America and United States President Bush says America is making substantial progress in the war against terrorism. U.S. military forces unleashed another round of air strikes Thursday aimed at Taliban military sites and other targets inside Afghanistan. The attacks began in Jalalabad and continued in and around Kabul. Thursday night, President Bush gave America an update on the war against terrorism.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The men and women of the United States military are doing their duty with skill and success. We have ruined terrorist training camps, disrupted their communications, weakened the Taliban military and destroyed most of their air defenses.

We're mounting a sustained campaign to drive the terrorists out of their hidden caves and to bring them to justice. All missions are being executed according to plan on the military front.

At the same time, we are showing the compassion of America by delivering food and medicine to the Afghan people, who are themselves the victims of a repressive regime.

On the law enforcement front, terrorists are being swept up in an international dragnet. Several hundred have been arrested. Thousands of FBI agents are on the trail of other suspects here and abroad. Working with countries around the world, we have frozen more than $24 million in Al Qaeda or Taliban assets.

We are aggressively pursuing the agents of terror around the world, and we are aggressively strengthening our protections here at home. This week, we established America's new Office of Homeland Security, directed by former Governor Tom Ridge. Americans tonight can know that while the threat is ongoing, we are taking every possible step to protect our country from danger.

Your government is doing everything we can to recover from these attacks and to try to prevent others. We're acting to make planes and airports safer, rebuild New York and the Pentagon. We must act to stimulate a slow economy, to help laid-off workers. And we must fund our military.

This is a time of testing -- this time of testing has revealed the true character of the American people. We're angry at the evil that was done to us, yet patient and just in our response.


HAYNES: In Washington this week, freedom of speech and national security clashed head-on like they often do in times of war. At issue in two instances (ph) whether information is getting out that could potentially be damaging to the United States and helpful to supporters of Osama bin Laden.

NEWSROOM's Joel Hochmuth fills us in.


JOEL HOCHMUTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The news leaks angered President Bush. He accused lawmakers of spilling sensitive information that could put at risk U.S. troops operating against suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden.

BUSH: When the classified information first seeped into the public, I called them on the phone and said I -- this can't stand. We can't have leaks of classified information. It's not in our nation's interests.

HOCHMUTH: Mr. Bush was particularly angered by a "Washington Post" article disclosing intelligence reports that there's a 100 percent chance of more attacks on U.S. soil. In response, Mr. Bush announced only eight leaders of Congress would receive such top secret briefings. The controversy has left ruffled feathers, even though Mr. Bush now says his administration will include the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees in future briefings.

The Bush administration is also concerned about videotaped statements from bin Laden and other leaders of his al Qaeda terrorist network.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: At best, Osama bin Laden's message is propaganda, calling on people to kill Americans. At worst, he could be issuing orders to his followers to initiate such attacks.

HOCHMUTH: American television networks have agreed to screen them first rather than airing them as they feed in. There's concern these messages could contain hidden instructions for terrorists around the world.

BERNARD HAYKEL, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: Anything in what he said could be a message. I mean any word or verse of the ground, as I said, or nod or if a finger pointed in a certain way could be -- could be a message. And since I'm not on the inside, I can't possibly tell you which one it is. HOCHMUTH: That's not such a farfetched idea. In World War II, the Nazis used propaganda to send coded messages to German U-boats. And in 1968, the crew of the USS Pueblo used defiant hand signals to show all was not well in North Korean captivity.

CNN national security correspondent David Ensor brings up an example from the Vietnam War.

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: During the Vietnam War, a prisoner of war, an American prisoner of War, Jeremiah Denton, who later became a U.S. senator, blinked his eyelids on camera, and he blinked morose code for torture, which was a way of sending, obviously, a clear message about how he was being treated.

HOCHMUTH: Still, officials from Al-Jazeera, the television network based in Qatar that receives the videotaped messages in the first place, defends its decision to air them.

YOSRI FOUDA, AL-JAZEERA-TV: For the very first time, the whole world gets to see the face of bin Laden after September 11, gets to see bin Laden commenting on this. Although he didn't acknowledge that him or his organization did it, he praised those people who did it.

HOCHMUTH: Because bin Laden will almost certainly issue more statements in the future, the issue will not go away.

ENSOR: In a first amendment country, in a country that believes that the media should get -- let the public decide, let the public see what the messages are from all sides, network executives have some difficult decisions on their hands.


HAYNES: We turn now from difficult decisions to difficult tasks. Imagine the challenges facing the U.S. military. For example, landing a plane at 180 miles an hour on a floating deck only a little bigger than a football field is hard enough, but when you're an exhausted Navy fighter pilot returning from a bombing run over Afghanistan, you need all the support you can get.

Walter Rodgers reports on one of the most critical jobs aboard an aircraft carrier.


WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the end of the day it comes down to this, an exhausted pilot returning after a bombing run over Afghanistan. Landing at 150 miles an hour on a postage stamp in mid-ocean, these Navy pilots make it look easy, but it's the landing signal officers, LSOs, talking the pilots down safely who make the difference between disaster and a second chance.

The landing signal officers are themselves pilots spending their day off working to keep other pilots alive. It's extraordinarily dangerous work. Some of these pilots have been flying for over 12 hours and sometimes they miss on the first pass. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he's probably pretty tired, so he probably just wanted to get aboard and get a greasy hamburger and go to bed. A couple of wave-offs isn't unheard of.

RODGERS: Holding what's called the pickle, they flash light signaling either a go ahead or an abort and Navy pilots get critiqued and graded on every landing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nighttime landings are so hard because you have no visual reference of the horizon, especially when there's no moon. It's really easy to lose your orientation coming down the shoot at night.

RODGERS: These LSOs are there to give the pilots a little extra help. They use psychology sometimes, trying to get inside a stressed out pilot's head to get them down safely, one pilot talking to another.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, when there's no where else to go, it's really easy to fall back on thinking about the other alternative and that would be to eject, so coming aboard at night isn't so bad.

RODGERS: They say there's a lot of satisfaction in this, helping a brother pilot get back safely onboard, and then seeing another $60 million aircraft gets put to bed safely each night.

Walter Rodgers, CNN, aboard the Carl Vinson in the Arabian Sea.


HAYNES: Well service to your country in the United States can begin as early as high school. And whether you're a student enrolled in the ROTC program or a military reservists, the new war on terrorism could mean an imminent call for duty, as you'll see in these next two reports.


UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While preparing their bodies and their minds, San Diego State's Air Force cadets are getting extra course work on the evening news. Images of the Air Force in Afghanistan could be a glimpse of what their careers have in store for them.

GABE BROWN, AIR FORCE CADET: I knew pretty early on that I wanted to become a pilot in the Air Force.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Gabe Brown is a prime example, the lumbering C-17 could soon be his office. Despite the danger, his desire to fly has not changed.

BROWN: I still want to be an officer, I still want to practice leadership and, you know, the same intentions I have -- I did when I came in, I still do today.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: The careers these young men and women will pursue in the Air Force at times may be secondary to their roles as leaders.

JENNY RAMIREZ, AIR FORCE CADET: It is real intimidating because they are going to be looking for me -- for me to lead and I don't want to make any mistakes. I don't want to go in not knowing.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: This class will graduate a variety of Air Force officers. For Adrianne Rosario, leading is only part of the mission. As a nurse, her reward will come by helping others.

ADRIANNE ROSARIO, AIR FORCE CADET: I want to help. I want to be out there helping however I can. If it's helping military or if it's helping civilian or, you know, helping whoever, that's what I want to do.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Right now these cadets are the ones getting help from their instructors, teachers who are also learning how to deal with an officer's role in the aftermath of an attack on U.S. soil. The first order after the September 11 attacks, no more cadets in uniforms. That lasted a week.

MAJOR TOM REPPART, CADET COMMANDER: We feel like that people like to see us in uniform. It gives them a sense of security that the military is here. And I think that San Diego State has been very receptive of us.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: And it seems of those now serving as officers that had the class of 2002 feeling they've made the right choice.

BROWN: We always get excited when we see, you know, the Air Force in action all the time. So, yes, you know when we see -- when we see the Air Force, you know, doing their jobs, doing it well, we get excited about that.

LT. COL. TOM SMEDLY, U.S. ARMY RESERVE: I'm a lieutenant colonel in the reserves, and I'm currently in charge of a teaching battalion, but come 1 November, I'm going to move and be in charge of facilities over a five state area.

ERIK JOHNSON, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): Although Mr. Smedly has not yet been called up, he has been asked to report to battalion to take extra security measures and prepare for the possibility of active duty. If the time comes for Mr. Smedly to serve his country, he is not expected to have to travel too far.

Many students here at Evers Sinclair (ph) High School are familiar with Mr. Smedly either as a teacher or as a coach. And if the situation arises, the students here at the high school feel very confident in his abilities as a soldier and as a leader.

TAYLOR MARSH, AGE 18: I feel pretty good about it. He's a very intelligent person. I think he'll do just fine whenever he does it.

ASHLEY OLCZAK, AGE 17: It makes me feel kind of proud that I know someone that is in the reserves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he'd be a good leader.

JOHNSON: All students are confident in Mr. Smedly's abilities, and as Christine Waller puts it, she would be proud to have him representing our country.

CHRISTINE WALLER, AGE 18: I think Mr. Smedly would do an awesome job fighting for our country. I know that the country would be in good hands. Just being around him so much in class, he's a great leader. And if it's guys like him that are going to be fighting for our country, go USA.

JOHNSON: There are a wide variety of opinions about what the United States should do in response to the horrific terrorist attacks. Everyone seems to have some idea or another and Mr. Smedly is no different.

SMEDLY: I've been thinking about this long and hard and my thought is we have to do something. I wasn't sure that simply getting bin Laden would be sufficient.

JOHNSON: This has been Erik Johnson for CNN Student Bureau, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


HAYNES: Well, as you can see, military service is on the minds of teachers and students alike. Since September 11, many young people across the U.S. say they are willing to fight for their country. Others, however, still have questions about what provoked the terrorist attacks and what can be done to prevent terrorism from ever happening again. A group of students in Atlanta recently grabbed the ear of a congressman to discuss these and other questions.

Michael McManis reports.


MICHAEL MCMANIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The military response to the events of September 11 have started and so has the reaction to it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After the activities that happened on September 11, the question then becomes how is our security -- how are our security problems just going to change?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The intelligence community, FBI, CIA have let the people down because of how they have seemed to, like, overlook things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Law abiding citizens that just walk around everyday don't deserve to have their intrinsic rights taken away just because it's wartime.

MCMANUS: These Atlanta area students were given the chance to pose their questions and concerns to a person with an open ear and a strong voice. REP. JOHNNY ISAKSON (R), GEORGIA: Well now is a great time for us to talk about foreign policy and foreign aid, about national security and about terrorism.

MCMANUS: Congressman Johnny Isakson, he led the forum on national security and terrorism which brought representatives from 37 schools together for a day of discussion.

ISAKSON: We talked about topics, break into discussion groups, then I get a lot of suggestions from the kids and I get a lot of questions from the kids and it really helps me to understand what's being talked about around the kitchen table at home.

MCMANUS: Scheduled before September 11, the meeting took on a deeper meaning after the attacks.

JESSI CARSTENSEN, STUDENT: I think this discussion has also been more emotional than it would have been and also a lot more pertinent than it would have seemed to many of the people coming here.

MCMANUS (on camera): Though most of the conversations dealt with the consequences of the attacks, some looked for positive lessons.

TIM MORRIS, STUDENT: We've come together as a whole. We -- I mean the nation has never been as tight as it is now so that -- that's a big plus.

JAMES WILLIAMS, STUDENT: I think our country has gotten a lot less focused on the business of everything and a little bit more focused on individuals and the importance of individual lives.

CLAIRE LOCKMAN-BOYCE, PRINCIPAL: This opportunity has become, oh, paramount in getting children, high school students an opportunity to think, reflect and expound on this national crisis.

MCMANUS (voice-over): The students ended the day by giving ideas and posing questions to Congressman Isakson.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Immigration regulations should be, you know -- do you think they should be tightened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think it's even possible for their to be an actual secure environment in the airports -- airport systems of America?

MCMANUS: Questions and concerns the congressman will be left to answer as he returns to Capitol Hill.

Michael McMaNUS, CNN, Atlanta.


HAYNES: Americans paused Thursday to remember those who lost their lives one month ago. In Washington, President Bush and first lady Laura Bush were joined by thousands of people for a service at the Pentagon. One hundred eighty-nine people were killed there last month when one of the hijacked planes slammed into the building.

In New York, recovery work at what has become known as ground zero halted briefly as workers stopped to remember the thousands who died there September 11.

Well America has done a lot of mourning and reflecting this past month. In the meantime, much has gone on in the world.

Garrick Utley takes a look at what you might have missed.


GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In any other month, the nation's attention would have been riveted on the tragedy in Texas September 15 when a tug pushing four barges brought down the Queen Isabella Causeway. Eight people died when their cars plunged into the water.

In any other month, the explosion of a petrol chemical plant in Toulouse, France would have dominated television screens. Twenty-nine people died, 3,000 were injured and thousands of homes surrounding this ground zero were destroyed. Officials say it was probably an accident.

And in any other month, the raising of the Kirsk and the recovery of the Russians who died in it would have touched our emotions even more deeply.

(on camera): But then this has not been any other month. Still, much has happened in our world that's had nothing to do with terrorism or new wars. Perhaps we've noted some events in passing while other events have merely passed.

What is news at a time like this?

(voice-over): Did you hear the news announced on September 19 of the first operation performed totally by remote control? The surgeons in New York City successfully removed the gall bladder of a patient in Strasbourg, France. In the future, patients anywhere may have access to the world's top surgeons.

If our attention this past month has been on this man with a gun and a beard and a dislike of American power, he's not the first. Fidel Castro has grown from young revolutionary to old revolutionary. And this past month it was discovered that one of his top spies was working for the Defense Department as its top intelligence analyst on Cuba. At any other time, Castro's spy would have been a major story, but this month the Pentagon and the nation had other concerns.

In China, the world changed this past month, not with a bang, but with one goal. China, for the first time, qualified for soccer's World Cup. There was great joy in China.

And then there is the story of 62-year-old Niad Bailage (ph), a cardiologist from Chicago with a wife and children. His dream was to row across the Atlantic Ocean alone. On Sunday, his emergency beacon was activated 230 miles short of the Irish coast. A search has found no sign of Niad Bailage.

(on camera): Since September 11, of course just about everyone has been searching for ways to cope with the tragedy and honor its victims, including the U.S. Postal Service. It'll soon issue this new commemorative first class stamp with the American flag and the words united we stand. The Postal Service also announced that it would request a three cent increase in the price of first class postage to 37 cents. You didn't hear about that, that's because the announcement was made on September 11.

(voice-over): One month later there is a deep desire for life to return to as normal as possible, but return to what, to following every move of Congressman Gary Condit and wondering about what did happen to Chandra Levy?

And what are we to make of the fact that the one month anniversary of this national tragedy will be marked by, among other things, the debut of the latest "Survivor" series. Cultural commentators will offer their views as will television viewers. Perhaps we should just let the timing speak for itself as this still speaks to us one month later.

Garrick Utley, CNN, New York.


ANNOUNCER: Teachers, make the most of CNN NEWSROOM with our free daily classroom guide to the program. There you'll find a rundown of each day's show so you choose just the program segment that fits your lesson plan. Plus there are discussion questions and activities and the guide highlights key people, places and news terms. Each day find hot links to other online resources and previews of upcoming desk segments.

It's all at this Web address where you can also sign up to have the guide automatically e-mailed directly to you each day. It's easy. It's free. It's your curriculum connection to the news. After all, the news never stops and neither does learning.

HAYNES: Earlier in the show we met some American young people contemplating the future of their country in the wake of the terrorist attacks. We shift gears a little now to focus on some Hispanic students, students involved in a leadership program to help them better represent Hispanics in the broader world community.

CNN's Student Bureau's Anissa Medina reports.


ANISSA MEDINA, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): Omar Romero and Tony Contreras may very well become leaders in their communities after attending the Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session.

OMAR ROMERO, AGE 18: Thanks to LDZ, I came home with a renewed strength and a renewed confidence to work with my peers, and I'd have to say that's the best lesson I learned. MEDINA: The National Hispanic Institute sponsors the weeklong program. LDZ is an emotionally charged experience for attendees who walk away tired but inspired.

TONY CONTRERAS, AGE 17: LDZ gave me the courage to speak with confidence, not only amongst my peers but also within my community.

MEDINA: The Lorenzo de Zavala Youth Legislative Session enables young adults to interact with peers from across the nation. Throughout the week, they learn the legislative process, playing the role of senators, Supreme Court justices, Cabinet members and the highest elected office as governor.

They spend three days at the state capitol discussing relevant issues dealing with their cultural heritage in their communities. LDZ closes its session with an awards ceremony, a governor's ball and a college fair that brings together approximately 90 of the top colleges and universities from across the nation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is so incredible to see how we grow and develop and change in a matter of eight days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It means so much to people to be there. And I guarantee you, if another Hispanic young leader goes to this program, they'll come back a better person just as I did.

MEDINA: Ernesto Nieto, the founder and president of the National Hispanic Institute, says young people need to understand the importance of leadership in their own communities.

ERNESTO NIETO, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, NATIONAL HISPANIC INSTITUTE: Leadership is just not a word and an experience of a weekend, any child that comes to the National Hispanic Institute is going to have to spend anywhere from three to five to eight years being trained to better understand the community they're going to lead in the future.

MEDINA (on camera): Leadership potential is already budding in Omar Romero and Tony Contreras. Both are the head coaches for the Rio Grande Valley Young Leaders Conference debate team. Omar is the ROTC commander at Memorial High School and Tony is a senior class president at Nicki Row (ph) High School.

Anissa Medina, CNN Student Bureau, McAllen, Texas.


HAYNES: More on student activism now as we focus on a group of American young people lending a hand to those in need south of the border.

CNN's Student Bureau Neil Folger has that story.


NEIL FOLGER, CNN STUDENT BUREAU (voice-over): Thirty-seven high school students and 16 adult advisors from Snellville, Georgia built four new houses in one week on a mission trip in Tecate, Mexico. Everyday the group would awaken at the crack of dawn, load into vans and go to the work sites where they stayed for the whole day. Three and a half days of grueling work produced sweat, blood and aching muscles all around.

HEATHER IRWIN, AGE 18: The hardest day for me was the first day. We had to lay a foundation and mix and pour on concrete and we had to start from scratch. We didn't have concrete mixers or trucks to come in.

FOLGER: Hard work wasn't the only difficulty the group had to overcome.

ANDREW DIETRICH, AGE 17: One of our youth leaders had a detached retina one of the nights that we were out going to the town. We had the Santa Anna Winds, which is a windstorm and the winds were probably around 40 to 50 miles an hour.

FOLGER: In the final days of working, all groups put their finishing touches to the houses by stretching chicken wire around the house and putting on two layers of stucco. And after the stucco was laid and dried, it was time to say goodbye.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was hard to leave the families that you'd gotten to know.

FOLGER: For some of the students, going back to the United States was coming back to fresh water, cleansing showers and air conditioned homes. But for many, it just created an urge to go back again.

IRWIN: The end result of what you get from it is just -- it's beyond explanation. I can't explain it. You have to experience it by yourself or on your own.

LINDA SNYDER, DIRECTOR OF YOUTH GOOD SHEPHERD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH: There are lots of ways you can spend a week of your life. There are very few ways that that week can make a difference for somebody else's life for hundreds of years to come.

FOLGER: This has been Neil Folger, CNN Student Bureau, Snellville, Georgia.


HAYNES: And if you're interested in Hispanic art, you can head to and check out the story on murals.

And that is CNN NEWSROOM for Friday. Have a good and safe weekend, and we'll see you back here Monday. Take care.




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