Skip to main content /TRANSCRIPTS



CNN Newsroom

Aired October 17, 2001 - 04:30   ET


SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: And welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Shelley Walcott.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: And I'm Tom Haynes.

Investigators are looking for the source of anthrax that infected the 7-month-old son of an ABC news producer in New York. The baby visited ABC late last month, and doctors say he should make a full recovery.

WALCOTT: Now a letter sent to NBC in New York and one sent to Washington have tested positive for anthrax. Both have been traced to a post office facility near Trenton, New Jersey. Postal workers are being urged to take precautions and not panic.

Rhonda Rowland will show us the procedures health officials take in the wake of an anthrax scare.

But first, Eileen O'Connor has the latest.


EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Released by the Justice Department, the envelopes of the letters sent to NBC and to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, showed similar handwriting, and the same postmark.

ASHCROFT: We believe that there may be other envelopes, that this would kind of give people a hint, that if you see an envelope like this, that you don't recognize, you might want to be careful.

O'CONNOR: CNN has learned the NBC letter contained language threatening to Israel and the United States, and warned the recipient to take medication, it ended by praising Allah. Sources say the letter to Daschle was threatening as well.

In addition, both were processed at the same suburban New Jersey facility, a state that has caught investigators attention before. Some of the suspected hijackers, sources say, stayed in this apartment in Patterson New Jersey, before the attacks. And New Jersey is the home of Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman, in prison for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

Still, the FBI says it is drawing no conclusions. ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: While organized terrorism has not been ruled out, so far, we have found no direct link to organized terrorism.

O'CONNOR: Another thing investigators are pursuing, with the help of the CDC, the form, the concentration and the strain of the anthrax involved in each case.

MUELLER: To discuss at this point any similarities would be premature because those tests have not been concluded.

O'CONNOR: That information could help investigators determine the source, and whether this is state sponsored terrorism. Senators given a preliminary briefing say the letter sent to Daschle contained a high grade of anthrax. Sources say that means virulent.

SEN. EVAN BAYH (D), INDIANA: Clearly it suggests a level of expertise that's disturbing and that might also suggest the presence of some state involvement by a nation that had been involved in producing weapons of mass destruction.

O'CONNOR: Sources close to the investigation say that doesn't necessarily rule out individuals.

JAYED ALI, BIOWEAPONS EXPERT: I think it's still too early to tell whether -- definitely whether that is from a state sponsored source or that is from another terrorism organization that managed to acquire the material themselves, or develop it themselves or even steal it themselves.

O'CONNOR: In Florida, it's the dissimilarities to the New York and Washington cases that are confounding investigators. Differences in, the method of infection, in Florida, inhalation, not via the skin, as in New York. The effect, in Florida, deadly in one case, serious illness in another, sores and a good prognoses in the cases of infection in New York. And the delivery, in New York and Washington, it came in a powdery substance via letters. In Florida, it's unclear; there are no letters or packages to examine, though anthrax spores have been found at a Boca Raton post office near by.

DEL ALVAREZ, U.S. POSTAL INSPECTOR: We're relying on science to conduct this investigation. We actually don't have physical evidence that can tell us the origin of the anthrax.

O'CONNOR: Or how to prevent more from being sent.

Eileen O'Connor, CNN, Washington.



RHONDA ROWLAND, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The threat may come in the form of a mysterious letter, watermarked, excess postage, no return address, filled with a suspicious substance, a powder or sand. First step, local health authorities are notified. Next, local FBI agents, police or, hazmat personnel in protective gear arrive on the scene. The suspicious package is put in a plastic bag and taken to a nearby laboratory for testing. Immediately, lab technicians conduct so called rapid diagnostic tests to look for signs of the anthrax bacteria.

Then, if these preliminary tests strongly suggest anthrax, several simultaneous actions may be taken. The building or location where the suspicious substance was taken from may be evacuated and sealed off. People known to have been in the immediate area may be given a nasal swab test to see if they were actually exposed to anthrax spores. Environmental samples are collected from the location to try to determine exactly where the anthrax exposure occurred. The CDC headquarters in Atlanta is contacted, and samples are sent for confirmation.

DR. DAVID FLEMING, CDC: So you may be able to get a preliminary result on a sample, but to be absolutely certain that the result is correct, you want that confirmatory, more specialized test.

ROWLAND: Preliminary rapid tests are not necessarily accurate, because they cannot tell the difference between a harmless bacteria or the deadly anthrax germ. The CDC confirms the presence of anthrax. This sophisticated test can take up to a day or two to produce results. As soon as the CDC is confident anthrax exists, more simultaneous steps.

People, who may have been in the area, are given antibiotics protectively, to keep them from getting sick. The number of people tested with nasal swabs for exposure may be expanded. Antibiotics may be released from the CDC's national pharmaceutical stockpile. The CDC dispatches a team of disease detectives from Atlanta to the scene to assist local and state health authorities in the investigation.

DR. JEFFREY KOPLAN, DIRECTOR, CDC: Who has gotten sick and not just one person but are other people, you know, potentially ill? Where did it happen? When did it happen? And how did it happen? So these range of questions are asked and we try to gather information in a systematic way to get that information quickly.

ROWLAND: Tracking anthrax is not complete until those questions are answered, and the public's health is secure.


WALCOTT: Other countries also are on alert following the U.S. infections and exposures. Companies across Britain, for instance, have warned employees to be cautious when opening letters.

Margaret Lowrie has more now on the global effort to keep bioterrorism at bay.


MARGARET LOWRIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Britain, emergency officials say they're satisfied the government is as prepared as it can be to deal with the possibility of a bioterrorist attack.

BRIAN WARD, EMERGENCY PLANNING SOCIETY: I now have confidence with the government level that they have given the guidance response that they would provide and assist at the local level.

LOWRIE: Three people have tested negative for anthrax here, tested after having visited sites of anthrax cases in Florida and New York. Britain's Canterbury Cathedral has reopened after suspected powder sprinkled there tested negative. Officials say the government has the necessary stores of the antibiotic doxycycline used to treat anthrax here. Some reports say the government has enough to treat two million cases of anthrax, but the Department of Health won't discuss specifics for security reasons.

LIAM DONALDSON, BRITISH CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER: The other thing about anthrax is that it doesn't transmit from person to person so those exposed are the people who come in contact with it firstly, but it doesn't then pass on to anyone else. So we think that this is an area where we can put very effective plans in place.

LOWRIE: There have been anthrax scares now across Europe. Vienna airport was evacuated Monday. Eleven people are being tested in Poland after police and a TV station received suspicious mail.

In France earlier this month, the prime minister told the national assembly about the government's anti-terrorism plan called Biotox, which includes increased security at sensitive sites and making a military contamination center available for civilian use. More than 30 people are now under observation in France after coming into contact with mail containing unknown powder at four different locations.

In Italy, postal workers at Rome airport warn they'll stop work if they are not protected. The health and telecommunications ministries are trying to determine how to do that. Italy has already had at least one false anthrax alarm last week in Genoa. The Interior Ministry has a crisis unit continuously monitoring the situation.

Germany has had several scares. German press reports say tests proved negative on a letter with white powder sent to German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's office.

(on camera): So far, none of Europe's anthrax scares have proved positive. Officials stress they have no evidence of any specific threats to their own countries. But watching the cases in the U.S. with growing concern, they want to make sure they are prepared.

Margaret Lowrie, CNN, London.


HAYNES: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is praising Pakistan's help in the war against terrorism. He met on Tuesday with Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf. Powell is trying to hold together an international coalition against terrorism and ease tensions between India and Pakistan, which have long been in dispute over the Kashmir region.

Our Joel Hochmuth has details on Powell's trip.


JOEL HOCHMUTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Secretary of State Colin Powell is in the middle of a critical diplomatic mission through Pakistan and India. He's shoring up cooperation from both countries for the fight against terrorism, not an easy task since they are longtime enemies. Still, he calls his first stop, a meeting with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, a success.


COLIN POWELL, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We've had good talks today and had a build on our current excellent cooperation against international terrorism. The United States views that what we are building here, as I have just said, is a solid foundation for a long- term and improved relationship. I expressed our thanks to President Musharraf for his bold and courageous actions as part of the global coalition against international terrorism.


HOCHMUTH: Pakistan has become a key ally to the U.S. given its proximity to Afghanistan and its ties to the Taliban leadership. But while Powell promotes the American agenda, leaders in both Pakistan and India have their own. They see his visit as a chance to get the U.S. to address the ongoing dispute over the Kashmir region.


GENERAL PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PAKISTANI PRESIDENT: I briefed Secretary Powell about Pakistan's desire to develop tension-free relations with India. I emphasized that normalization of relations would require that the Kashmir dispute is resolved in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri (ph) people.


HOCHMUTH: Pakistan and India have gone to war three times over the disputed region of Kashmir since British Colonial rulers left in 1947. Fighting has killed at least 30,000 in the past 12 years alone. Monday, India shelled Pakistani positions in the most serious cross- border firing in almost a year. The attacks are complicating Powell's mission.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour is in Pakistan.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One of the main points of Colin Powell's trip has been to try to cool down that issue as well as trying to placate India, saying that it accepts and is very grateful for India's help in this war against terrorism. India, of course, appears to have its nose out of joint somewhat thinking that the U.S. is paying too much attention to Pakistan, which is also now playing a critical role as an ally.


HOCHMUTH: But India's objections to the newly formed bond between the U.S. and Pakistan are not mere jealousy. India has long charged that Pakistan itself sponsors terrorism and that it helps train terrorists operating in Kashmir.

I.K. GUJRAL, FORMER INDIAN PRIME MINISTER: That America must understand that you cannot have peace in Afghanistan and terrorism in India against India. Also, I think General Musharraf must understand that he cannot have a policy that he is fighting against terrorism in Afghanistan but spoken terrorism in Kashmir.

HOCHMUTH: Pakistan, on the other hand, charges India illegally annexed Kashmir and has refused U.N. calls to let Kashmiris decide their own fate.

MAJOR GENERAL RASHID QURESHI, PAKISTANI GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: From Pakistan's point of view, we've tried bilateral negotiations, the Indian government doesn't seem to come forward. We would welcome the United States or the United Nations because there is a United Nations resolution -- Security Council resolution on Kashmir and how to resolve it.

HOCHMUTH: While the dispute between Pakistan and India may be regional, it has worldwide implications since both countries have successfully tested nuclear weapons. Powell's challenge is to keep that threat under wraps and convince two foes they have a bigger enemy than each other.


HAYNES: Before heading to India, Colin Powell met with Pakistan's Commerce Minister. Among other things, the two discussed Pakistan's fragile economy.

Ash-har Quraishi takes us to the textile mills of Lahore, Pakistan for a look at why some workers there are concerned.


ASH-HAR QURAISHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's images like these, say Pakistani businessmen, that are fueling a growing fear among U.S. and European businesses that their investments are not safe here.

Inside the textile mills of Lahore, Pakistan's garment manufacturing capital, the image turns into a truth of its own.

OWAIS MAZHAR, ANGORA TEXTILES: Basically what is happening is summer-spring orders are not coming through.

QURAISHI: Owais Mazhar owns Angora Textiles, which produces 300,000 pieces of clothing per month, most of which is exported to major brand names in the U.S. Workers here are moving full speed ahead to fill back orders. But since the September 11 attacks on the U.S., new orders have dropped by about 75 percent.

One U.S.-based company has canceled all orders with Angora until conditions settle down, a move that could cost Mazhar's company a net loss of 60 percent by early next year.

MAZHAR: There's a sharp drop and there's no movement. There is no indication that these orders are coming through which is causing a lot of alarm and panic in the industry here.

QURAISHI: Alarm and panic that officials are taking very seriously.

ABDUL RAZAK DAWOOD, PAKISTAN COMMERCE MINISTER: Our president has taken a very courageous position and as a result of that, we have -- we are facing a lot of economic difficulties. We've had (UNINTELLIGIBLE) insurance has come in, freight rates have gone up, our cost has gone up. The only way to offset all these additional costs is to give us better market access.

QURAISHI: The European Union is considering that request and other trade measures to address Pakistan's concerns that it could lose up to $1.4 billion in revenue this year.

On his trip to Pakistan, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell met with the Commerce Minister to reassure Pakistan of Washington's support.

(on camera): Senior officials are hoping the elimination of quotas and the easing of trade duties will help rejuvenate Pakistan's already fragile economy, but analysts say in reality there have been no interruptions in industrial activity. The problem, they maintain, is that of perception.

DR. SALMAN SHAH, LAHORE COLLEGE OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION: In the major industrial towns of Pakistan there are no problems. They are far away from the front lines, and we don't expect any major -- any minor even disruption in production.

QURAISHI (voice-over): Despite those reassurances, the textile industry, which makes up almost 80 percent of Pakistan's exports, is bracing for an even more turbulent economic season.

Ash-har Quraishi, CNN, Islamabad.


WALCOTT: Can economic aid help prevent terrorist activity from taking root in poor countries? Some economists say yes while some statistics indicate otherwise.

Kitty Pilgrim takes a look.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The poverty of Afghanistan has been a shock to the world as the pictures emerge. But for scholars, it is no surprise. There is a direct correlation between economic freedom and economic well-being.

The Heritage Foundation, in their economic freedom index, finds the Middle East one of the most economically repressed regions in the world. And many Muslims countries have fared poorly as their societies have closed off. Terrorist economies fair the worst.

GERALD O'DRISCOLL, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: The states that harbor terrorists, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, are really repressed economies. They aren't -- they don't have a vibrant market economy. And consequently, they have very little economic growth.

PILGRIM: Many of the world's Muslim countries, disrupted by radical elements, have suffered economically in the last decade.

DAVID WURMSER, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: What we've seen over the last decade has been a serious decline in the economic power, both in terms of consumption and development, in the Arab world and Muslim world, more largely with respect to the West.

PILGRIM: A good measure: GDP per capita -- compare the GDP per capita of the United States, France to Syria and Iran, for example.

The Middle East attracted about 10 percent of the world's foreign investment in the 1980's. But that has fallen to about one percent by the end of the '90s.

In addition to worries about terrorists disrupting trade, population growth has out paced economic growth, leading to less prosperity and consumption. That, in turn, creates less incentive for overseas companies to invest.

IAN KINNIBURGH, UNITED NATIONS: This is accelerating the ongoing decline in the world economy, to the detriment of many of these developing countries.

PILGRIM (on camera): The relationship between a free-market society and prosperity is absolute. As the world has seen after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the climate of terrorism is deeply harmful to any economy, even those who hope to prosper from it.

Kitty Pilgrim, CNN Financial News, New York.


HAYNES: Since September 11, people across America have donated tens of millions of dollars to charities related to the terrorist attacks. Other charities, however, including ones that help children, the arts and medical research, for example, are getting a little worried. They fear they'll get less money as Americans continue to open their hearts and wallets to the victims of September 11.

Brooks Jackson reports on that.


BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Americans are opening their hearts and checkbooks as never before, and yet, donations to this Atlanta food bank are down. While unemployment is rising, food donations have fallen by 300,000 pounds from last year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I think a lot has been diverted to the disaster areas deservedly.

JACKSON: And advocates for infants and small children also are worried.

MATTHEW MELMED, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR "ZERO TO THREE": The needs of babies and toddlers, and young children in general, are slowly being edged off the radar screen. We've been told by some national foundations that they may be cutting their giving by up to 60 percent by next fiscal year, and particularly for areas that affect young children.

JACKSON: Hundreds of millions have been raised for victims of September 11, and the Red Cross is still on the air urging Americans to give even more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We still need your help.

JACKSON (on camera): But meanwhile, the other charities are worried -- worried that donors who give to victims will cut back giving elsewhere, worried that sagging stock prices will dry up the endowments that allow foundations to give, worried that the 9-11 attacks hit the economy so hard that people and corporations will have less to give.

(voice-over): For example, American Airlines: its business devastated, announced it won't make any cash donations to charity next year.

KRISTINA CARLSON, FUNDRAISINGINFO.COM: And we'll see more dollars go to the relief effort that perhaps might have gone to other organizations, and we're most concerned about organizations that rely heavily on corporate donations.

JACKSON: At times like these, history teaches that Americans do dig deep. The year after Pearl Harbor, charitable giving surged 46 percent, according to one study, and the year after the Oklahoma City bombing, total giving was up nearly 12 percent.

But symphonies, museums, education groups and environmental groups all worry their support may decline.

PETER SHIRAS, INDEPENDENT SECTOR: So for a lot of organizations, particularly those who aren't directly related to the relief effort, there is a tremendous amount of concern about what the impact will be on them.

JACKSON (on camera): Adding to the concern: The attacks came just as nonprofits were gearing up their year-end fund drives -- their peak season. So until those donations and pledges are counted, the other charities will be holding their breath.

Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.


WALCOTT: There had been some concern over the future of New York's $2.5 billion television and film industry after the September 11 attacks, but that sector of the city's economy seems to be faring well, and members of the industry even mobilized to lend a helping hand to rescue workers.

Laurin Sydney reports.


LAURIN SYDNEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the towers turn into smoke over Manhattan, this city's $2.5 billion film and TV industry quickly faded to black.

BROOKE KENNEDY, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "THIRD WATCH": By 10:30, we started to make the phone calls for about 150 people to say we were shutting down.

SYDNEY: NBC's "Third Watch," a series about New York City rescue workers, which employees 200 of New York's 78,000 union crew members, shut down for 11 days. In the meantime, the show helped the real production underway downtown.

KENNEDY: We have 5,000 square feet of wardrobe here so when they needed -- they called for socks, hardhats, we were able to go in immediately and pull stuff. When they -- we have a hospital set. We have an entire emergency room. We were able to go in immediately and pull Band-Aids and other things.

SYDNEY: They weren't alone.

PATRICIA REED SCOTT, NEW YORK MAYOR'S OFFICE: The movie people took their lights and their generators and themselves down there without being told and lit that whole scene so it could go on for the night, work uninterrupted. The lights and emergency services had or, you know, good but not as mobile, not as big, not as amazingly bright as the film lights. Everybody knew it.

SYDNEY: In an accident of timing, impending Hollywood strikes earlier this year forced the industry to complete projects ahead of schedule, making film and television less vulnerable than other sectors of the local economy.

SCOTT: The two strikes, the actors and the writer's strikes or the threatened strikes that didn't happen, really effectively pushed all the work into the front six months of the year and made it rather dead for these last six months so we were all in a kind of national lull.

SYDNEY: So it was a relatively quiet time anyway at Silvercup Studios where "Sex and the City" and "The Sopranos" were among many New York-based projects not scheduled to begin shooting until later this year. ALAN SUNA, CEO, SILVERCUP STUDIOS: All of a sudden after September 11 we had more work because immediately the advertising community recognized the need to continue to show that New York is a vibrant center.

SYDNEY: And that community has formed a coalition to bring commercial productions to the Big Apple.

PETER FRIEDMAN, VICE PRESIDENT BROADCAST PRODUCTION, MCCANN ERICKSON: Up until a couple of weeks ago, we were going everywhere shooting, Australia, New Zealand, for a lot of reasons, for look, for cost, whatever. But now what's happening is that they're asking us, OK, can we do this in New York?

SYDNEY: Thanks to pure patriotism and timing, New York's entertainment community is keeping productions rolling.

Laurin Sydney, CNN, New York.


HAYNES: Well first there were e-mail viruses, now there are real mail scares going on. Since the anthrax scares of the past week, many Americans are thinking twice about opening their mail. Other once normal daily routines are also being called into question.

But Jeanne Moos reports, many refuse to make any adjustments to the way they live their lives.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If only there were a suit that could shield us from all the scary news. Remember when opening the mail was mindless? These days you need instructions.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be cautious about packages marked personal or confidential.



MAYOR RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK CITY: Leave it where it is, call 911.


MOOS: And folks have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the envelope, white powder came out of the envelope.


MOOS: Bomb scares have given way to anthrax anxiety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I just went to the bank and took a deposit envelope and thought about the possibility that somebody had tampered with it.

MOOS: "New York Times" columnist Maureen Dowd calls it the "paranoia of trivia," worrying about mortal threats in everyday actions. For instance, driving through a tunnel...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like today, we took the ferry so we wouldn't go through the tunnel.

MOOS: ... or riding the subway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I'm really bad because the other day this guy was on a train and he was, I don't know, like Arab, whatever, and I got off at the next stop. I was scared because, you know, I'm paranoid.

MOOS: But is it paranoia when a visitor to New York cancels plans to go to the top of the Empire State Building.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want to call my mom to say I'm going to the top of the Empire State Building and then I'm an obituary in the newspaper the next day so.

MOOS (on camera): Wow. Gees, that's (INAUDIBLE)...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry to be such a chicken.

MOOS: No, no, that's all right.

(voice-over): Still, most of the folks we talked to say they're not doing anything differently despite the climate of fear.

(on camera): Nothing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing. I lived through...

MOOS: What is your...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... World War II, this means nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is New York, I mean what else are we going to do? We're going to what, buckle down to them, absolutely not, no way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what, I'm actually more scared when I'm at home, when I'm at home sitting in front of the TV and I can't turn the TV off. I actually stopped watching TV right before I went to bed because I think that's what made me have the nightmares.

MOORS (voice-over): Some say the media inflate fears with wall- to-wall coverage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know it was Gary Condit before. OK, now they don't have Gary Condit, they have the anthrax.

MOOS: Apprehensive about anthrax, this woman was trying not to touch the flyer she'd just been handed on the street.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said don't take it, it might have -- it might be laced with something.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So both of us like, oh...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm like don't touch it.

MOOS: Not long ago we were preoccupied with e-mail viruses, never dreaming real bacteria would soon be in the mail.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


HAYNES: This is the new world we live in I guess.

WALCOTT: Unfortunately, yes.

HAYNES: That is CNN NEWSROOM for Wednesday.

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




Back to the top