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tv   9 11 Anniversary Coverage  MSNBC  September 11, 2011 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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officials here at the pentagon, they still don't know exactly what it was, but as you reported katie, eyewitnesss reported, in fact, it was a plane that crashed into the pentagon. >> mik any idea -- i wasn't quite sure if you said this about the number of people who might have been hurt or worse in this? >> reporter: no idea at all, katie. as you know having worked here on any given day this is a small city. 25,000 to 30000 people may be working here at any one time. that portion of the pentagon, by the way, had just been remodeled and just reopened. if the crash had occurred just a few months ago, that section of the pentagon would have been virtually empty. but at this time of day, early morning -- or mid-morning the pentagon's very busy. it's impossible to say how many casualties there may be. but there have been a large number of people cited being removed on stretchers.
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again, as one survive said, the floor just buckled up under him and the roof caved in on him. >> mik, thank you very much. we want to move a couple miles away from you to the white house where bob kur is standing by. we understand that building has been evacuated? >> caller: it's utterly surreal. as soon as word came of the pentagon incident, we were rather forcefully removed from the white house. the scene was one of administrators administrators, cooks, whatever, running at fairly high speed out of the building, to the top gates. then we huddled for a while in lafayette park. and we've been moved now from there a block or so away. the offices along jackson place which are across the street from the white house and adjacent to lafayette park also have been evacuated. and in the most surreal of this
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morning's scenes here at the white house, a white plane, a very big jet, was flying in unusual pattern near the white house, over lafayette park, very slowly. it made one circle and then we have not seen it since. there was a lot of concern about what that plane might be. but, again, it's only speculation. but most people say that since flights have been cleared from u.s. air space and it was a totally white plane, looked unusual to all of us that it was a government plane of some kind. >> we should point out we're looking at pictures, bob as of you speak of the world trade center because all of the camera crews have been evacuated from the white house as well. when do you expect president bush to arrive there? >> reporter: he's coming back directly. you figure it's about a two-hour flight, so you can do the math. the reason i said that it was so
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surreal is that within just about 20 minutes ago, they were still conducting tours. you had hoards of tour-is and others still in the white house on tour lining up outside to get in. there seemed to be absolutely no unusual activity outside the white house until word came of the incident at the pentagon. so it's been quite a dramatic shift here. >> in terms of responsibility, tom and matt and bob, apparently a senior official from the radical democratic front for the liberation of palestine denied on tuesday the group had any connection to the plane crash. anonymous caller had told television that it was behind the crash but, quote i emphasize the story released on television by annan anonymous person is totally incorrect. a senior official from the dflp bureau in the palestinian territories told reuters. the dflp is against hijacking planes and against endangering the lives of civilians who are not connected with the struggle of this region, he said. >> there are going to be a lot
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of claims and counterclaims in the course of the next 24 hours or so. this is a task for efforts of extraordinary magnitude to try to figure out how they did this and got away with it. you think of an american airlines flight on its way from boston to los angeles was hijacked in midair. now citing transmission from the plane so they have hard evidence of that and brought down here and made to fly into the twin trade towers. did one of the hijackers get control? did they shoot the pilot? it boggles the mind beyond our ability to figure out what was going on. >> you talk about transmissions. i was curious, have you had any evidence of what was said during -- >> they say they're citing transmission to know the plane had been hijacked. that's all they're saying at this point. we ought to remind everyone, this sn exceptional development. the faa has banned all takeoffs at all airports across america. this country in terms of air
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travel has been immobilized. a good portion of the nation's capitol, most powerful center in the world, has been immobilized as well. >> that's a haunting description that bob just gave of that low-flying aircraft near the white house. one can only wonder if that was something that ultimately ended up in the pentagon. >> we just saw a live picture of what seemed to be a portion of the building falling away from the world trade center. if we can rerack that to about 20 seconds ago you'll see something dramatic happening. i don't know whether it's another explosion or a portion of the building falling away but something major just happened at that building. here we go to the tape. >> we have the tape. >> watch what happened in the left hand tower. i don't know if this is the correct tape. there. something there is about to happen. way right there. >> yeah it looks like a big
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chunk has just peeled away. >> one can only hope the area has been evacuated. of course, you wonder about all the emergency vehicles and the people who might have been injured early in the morning. >> you remember when the bomb went off in the basement of it in 1993 how much damage was done throughout that building, how much chaos there was at that time. these are two coordinated attacks. those will have structural effects. those buildings, fair to say, will have to be brought down. too early to speculate on that but there's been that kind of damage. >> let's talk again -- >> we have somebody on the scene. >> a reporter in new york from wnbc. you talk that this plane was from boston to los angeles. the reports it was being diverted to jfk. for people not familiar with the geography of this area the southern tip of manhattan would be very much near the flight landing pattern for jfk airport. it could have been easy for a
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hijacker to pretend he was taking that plane to jfk and veer off in the last minute. >> i heard them say over washington square they saw a plane go over at 1,000 feet, then do what he described as a sharp right turn toward the world trade center. >> one eyewitness in this ap report says he was get getting off a pncht.a.t.h. train and saw bodies falling out of the building. police told him to get out of the building immediately. and then there was a second explosion. >> this footage we're seeing right now showing ings that the damage is so severe. we had seen what seemed to two fairly self-contained impact craters before. now it appears something much more dramatic has happened to at least one of those towers. >> these pictures are beyond belief. >> we have a report that the second plane may have flown out of newark, new jersey. this is an official who was speaking on the condition of
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anonymity. again, no confirmation of that. we just know there were two planes that went in. the first one was apparently an american airlines flight from boston to los angeles. we're now seeing it from the harbor view of this continuing damage and destruction to the world trade center. >> incidentally, tom, i want to interrupt you because apparently jamie has more information for us. >> reporter: i've spoken again to u.s. officials with access to the highest intelligence. they are now confirming that it does appear that at the pentagon it was a plane. again, they are saying they believe now a third plane was involved at the pentagon. >> of course, this has been the nightmare, katie for national security officials for a long time. we talk about nuclear bombs and those kind of exchangs or invasionings but everyone has been terribly worried about the suitcase sized bomb or airplane or attack on our subways in the large cities. this obviously no one had
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anticipated, three airplanes deliberately aimed at critical targets in america. we can only hope it's open for -- over for today but officials are taking no chances on all that. they're evacuating ought critical buildings because as mr. johnson said earlier this is an open society. james from the fbi also pointing out that almost anyone can come in here. they have access to so many instruments that can be used as instruments of attack and terrorism. that certainly has been the case today. >> let's go to our state department correspondent andrea mitchell. what can you tell us? >> reporter: this from the fbi. the state department was evacuated. there was a meeting going on in the operation center. top officials were in the situation room at the white house. colin powell is in colombia on a two-day trip. very interesting information from the fbi, they had been operating a massive exercise from their hostage rescue unit.
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all of their top teams, about 50 personnel, helicopters, equipment were in monterey, california, for the last two days scheduled to fly back today commercially. so, all of those people are out of place. it's fair to say, according to sources that we've talked to here at nbc that the fbi rescue operations and other fbi operations are in chaos right now because they can't reach their officials in new york. all of their phone lines are out. now you've got all of their special experts on this stuck in monterey california, trying to get a military flight back because there are no longer commercial flights. so, they are seriously out of pocket and there is a real breakdown of the fbi antiterror coordination team which is, of course, the principle team that would lead any effort and was so effective under jim calstrom in new york city during the world trade center bombing and twa explosion which turned out not to be terror. >> andrea, is the state department taking this claim of responsibility from the democratic front for the
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liberation of palestine seriously? are they giving anyat? are they dismissing it? how do they feel about who might have been responsible for this? >> reporter: i think it is far too early for them, even the best experts in the government, to figure this out. they have one instant reaction, as you know and it could be wrong, but their immediate reaction in a case like this would be to look toward osama bin laden and the collateral groups connected to him simply because he has improved the embassy bombings in africa that he is the one terror leader who is capable of this kind of highly coordinated attack. the bombings went off in tanzania and in kenya almost simultaneously. it was extraordinarily well coordinated. they proved their case to a jury effectively. and have managed to develop a great deal of information from sources, from, in fact turning some former members of his network, so they believe, tom that he is the most likely person but it's far too early to
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say anything. >> we want to tell you american airlines has confirmed that one of its flights american flight 11 from boston's logan airport scheduled to go to l.a.x. at 8 a.m. this morning. 45 minutes later it was diverted into the world trade center. it was the airline that was involved. we can only assume on a popular flight like that that it probably had a capacity load of passengers and crew on board. there was a hijacking that was the first plane that was involved. we don't know about the second plane yet, nor do we know the origins of a third plane that deliberately flew itself into the pentagon this morning near the heliport. nbc's jim miklaszewski has been forced to evacuate that building so we'll wait until we hear from him. >> we saw traumatic pictures from the pentagon moments ago. >> let's go back to a few seconds ago this is now about an hour after the first impact. we saw some dramatic footage of a portion of one of the twin towers actually it appearing to fall away from the rest of the
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building. can we go to the tape now? here we go right here. when you look at it the building has collapsed. that tower just came down. >> let's go to bob at st. vincent's hospital. bob, what's going on there? what can you tell us? >> reporter: st. vincent's hospital is close to the world trade center in the last few minutes. ambulances have been coming in one right after the other. most people have second and third-degree burns. serious burn victims. they say smoke inhalation victims will be the most serious but they're not even close to getting to them yet. there's a triage operation going on in the area. ambulances are being dispatched to every hospital in new york city. the entire staff of this hospital has come in from wherever they are and hospitals across new york city are standing there, as soon as an ambulance pulls in dozens of medical workers rush up to it. but it's a carnage that's just beginning. everybody here, the emergency service workers i spoke to have been down into the world trade
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center sites say this is just the tip of the iceberg. there will be massive amounts of casualties. >> what are they telling you about people? were there many people inside the building or is that just -- is it too early to tell -- >> reporter: it's too early to tell. there were certainly, you know, probably hundreds, even thousands in the building, even though it was before 9:00 because it's such a large area. the number of casualties is just enormous. they're just beginning to sort it out and get to the first few they can get to. the ambulances are just coming in. they're lined up every ambulance in new york city has been summoned. they're in a queue. they go in as soon as they can get a victim and bring them up here. >> we're looking at the lower end of manhattan as a result of the collapse of one world trade center. the whole financial district is now engulfed in smoke and debris. there probably is going to be a lot more smoke inhalation problems as a result -- >> reporter: almost certainly tom. i was actually standing and saw
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that collapse. everybody here just gasped. even the medical workers and the ambulance attendants when they saw that, people used to tragedy, grabbed each other and hugged each other and some started to cry. >> of course, one wonders about the triage units. >> exactly who are close to the base of that building, trying to evacuate people. when a building of that size falls, it does not fall on its own footprint. >> reporter: absolutely. i am -- you know, i'm several blocks north of there so i don't know what that area looks like. one can only imagine. >> well the consequences go on. not just to the world trade center and to the poor people who were trapped and caught there, but of course that is the heart of the world financial markets, which have now been shut down effectively as well. so the ripple effect continues this morning as we all try to adjust psychologically and intellectually to what we're witnessing here. it is difficult to comprehend. but this country, the strongest country in the world has been the target of a major coordinated terrorist attack. and the end is not over yet.
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even if it's confined to just these three targets, the ripple effect goes on. all air traffic has been shut down. there will be no financial markets in place today. business has been stopped across the country. >> of course, who knows the human toll that will be the result of this action. matt and i -- matt actually just pointed out to me on any given day, 50,000 people tom, work at the world trade center. >> and at 8:45 in the morning if they're not in the building, they're around the building. that's a beehive of activity down there. there is no more active area in terms of pedestrian traffic. >> i hate to keep going back to the collapse of that tower but if you consider this plane hit at mid-structure and probably would have taken out the electrical in the building where elevators wouldn't work and people struggling to get some way out of that tower, and it takes a long time to come down over 100 stories, and to think about the possible loss of life that just occurred by the collapse of that southeastern tower is just amazing.
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minaka with the "today" show apparently saw the collapse. >> reporter: yes, hi matt. >> tell me what you saw. >> reporter: on the corner of dwayne and west broadway walking down toward the twin towers and it just collapsed. it looked like -- it looks sort of like the building just demolished. smoke, clouds. i mean, smoke -- clouds of smoke everywhere. people running towards me. i was going towards the twin towers. people were going away from -- away from the towers. it was just people running like i've never seen a scene like it. >> from where you were, did you see many of the injured being treated? is there any indication as the type of perimeter that the ems people -- >> reporter: no matt, i haven't gotten that close yet. they were blocking off the street. now they're totally clearing out the area. more and more emergency officials are coming in to help. >> can you just give me an idea of the reaction of people down
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there? pedestrians -- >> reporter: everyone, everyone in tears. people who are -- were -- i met a woman who was in the building to the right of where the first thing happened. just all crying having -- wondering if the people they know in the buildings next door are okay. >> thank you very much. take care of yourself. jamie, our national correspondent, is on the phone now with more information. >> reporter: katie, as you well know buildings around town are being evacuated. the state department has been evacuated. the white house has been evacuated. and the pentagon has been evacuated. intelligence officials tell me they do believe at the pentagon that that was a third plane going down. they have had -- the intelligence sources i have talked to say they have not received any claim of responsibility yet. >> have you gotten any information from reagan national
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airport as to air traffic in the area this morning or anybody who might have somehow traced this plane or figured out from where it came or where it was going? >> reporter: they still do not have any of those details yet. it is almost impossible. they were confused for a long time as to whether it's a bomb or plane. they say now it appears to be a plane but they say that is all the information that they have. as you know, the faa has shut down all aircraft now and they are now going back and trying to sort that out. but they do not have any information on that yet. >> do they know what type of plane it might have been? >> reporter: there is no -- unfortunately, they just don't have that yet. >> jamie thank you very much. we'll be talking with you. >> it goes without saying this is the most serious attack on the united states in more than 100 years. not since the war of 1812 and certainly the damage we did to ourselves during the civil war, has this country suffered this kind of damage within its
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interior. obviously, pearl harbor, which triggered world war ii, was a horrific event as well. but there has never been an event to match the magnitude of this one in which everything has been shut down in terms of air traffic. the national capitol has been immobilized, white house state department, pentagon has been attacked, the financial markets have been shut down. there is an untolled loss of life here in manhattan. the nerve center of america. to say nothing of what's going on at the pentagon. >> when's the last time -- this is a shot of new york city, downtown manhattan, that many people have never -- can't remember. >> it looks -- >> one tower. >> it looks like a movie, frankly, and combines the horror of the twa flight 800 bombing and the murrah federal building because it's both of these incidents, of course, coming together in the most horrific way. >> by now i guess everyone is up across all the time zones. it's 7:15 in the west but for those just joining us at 8:45
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eastern time, 8:42 eastern time today, an american airlines flight, flight 11 from boston to l.a.x. was crashed into one of the world trade center buildings. 15 minutes later another plane hit the other one. that has -- that building has now collapsed. within an hour of those two attacks, the pentagon was hit now we're told by a plane. untold number of casualties there. president bush has been on the air. he was in florida at the time saying apparently there was a terrorist attack. everyone now believes that. carefully coordinated from the air. and the consequences of it in terms of human loss, and the effect on this country are still to be determined. >> we want to go now tom, to kathleen, who is with nyu downtown hospital. they've been treating some of the injured. can you hear me? >> yes, i can. >> can you tell me about the injuries you're seeing and the numbers of people you've been treating? >> we have seen a steady stream of patients for approximately an hour and a half.
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many appeared to be superficial injuries but i can tell you i've seen the most serious ones because i believe they're going in through the ambulance bay. so, we have a very high level of activity here. our first priority is on the care of those patients. we do not have an exact tally at this time because of the level of activity at the hospital. we've also been responding to family members and friends who have come in seeking information. >> quickly, how far is the hospital from the world trade center? >> the hospital is perhaps a five-minute walk from the world trade center. we were the first responder when the trade center was attacked in '93, so, unfortunately we have some prior experience. >> what kind of medical support is there downtown? how many hospitals in the immediate area there that could help with the injured? >> we are the only hospital south of 13th street in new york city. so, we serve a very large proportion of the city. for that reason, our emergency
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room is a very high priority of this hospital. and the staff have been doing a heroic job in terms of responding to the patients. >> kathleen, what about the triage unit that is on the ground there. are they nyu addition team of nyu medical people on the scene as well? >> yes, there are. i cannot respond to that question because i'm not on the scene and i don't have that information. >> but you have your medical personnel there at the scene? >> that is my understanding yes. >> katie what we're worried about now is if the other building may come down. they've obviously evacuated that whole area as a result of the crash. one world trade center. now i'm told there's concern about the second one collapsing as well. plane made enormous amount of structural damage in the upper floors of that. it is more than 100 stories high. wouldn't take much to bring it down.
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>> kathleen, thank you very much. we appreciate it. >> thank you. >> we're told now that a spokesman for yasser arafat, leader of the pla the palestinian liberation organization that he has -- that arafat has condemned what has happened here in new york. he says the plo has no role in it whatsoever. they're completely shocked and appalled by what is happening. there was just one earlier report that the radical democratic front for the liberation of palestine claimed responsibility, but that was later denied as well. we don't know yet who is in fact responsible for this but it was very carefully planned and coordinated and fair to say it has been devastatingly efficient and effective attack on the heart of this country. >> yes. pat dawson is on the ground near the world trade center. pat, are you there? pat dawson, can you hear me?
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okay having audio problems. we'll get to pat. in just a moment. >> just amazing. you have to stop and think about the hijacked plane and the terror of the passengers on board. as it could have been up to an hour that they realized something was dramatically wrong with this flight and then thinking that, perhaps, they were going to john f. kennedy airport here in queens, actually, and the plane suddenly veering into world -- into the world trade center tower. >> you can only imagine. >> what's striking to me is that we didn't have any early report of the hijacking. a lot of people monitor that air traffic talk that goes on. and it wasn't until this happened -- >> well, the plane left boston at 8:00 this morning. >> and 45 minutes later -- >> yeah, 42 minutes later this occurred. >> and it flew right over lower manhattan. a number of people saw it at a very low altitude and then take this sharp right turn and wondered according to eyewitnesss, what was going on. moments later, of course the world trade center was hit.
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about an hour after that that jim miklaszewski told you that he felt an explosion at the pentagon and we now have learned there's a plane flown into the pentagon, people who have been hurt there and we hope no one has been killed but it seems likely there were probably casualties of a serious magnitude there as well. the white house has been evacuated. the state department is being evacuated. there's the pentagon now. >> pat dawson, apparently -- let's take a quick look at the pentagon. as you can see, smoke continues to billow out of that structure. it's unclear how many people were hurt and if, in fact, it was a plane. there is speculation they believe it was a plane. let's go to pat dawson by the world trade center. can you hear me? >> reporter: right down here we cannot tell you much more in terms of specific information other than to say that there are probably at this stage, i would say, hundreds perhaps in the thousands, of emergency workers who in the last hour and a half have managed to work their way
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down here to lower manhattan and basically try to get into this fray. we are standing right here about 10 to 12 blocks north of the world trade center. these firemen that you can see firefighters -- firefighters are walking down towards the site now. they ritliterally have been arriving by the dozens over the past hour or so. as we say probably in excess of 1,000 or more emergency workers from new york city and surrounding areas converging on this site now to try to make some sense of it. as you can imagine, at this point, there is a certain level of chaos because they're dressed, trying to sort out who's alive, who's not. we did speak to, as we said before, some of the emergency workers. they are police officers from the port authority of new york and new jersey. that is the organization that has jurisdiction over those two buildings specifically as well as bridges and tunnels. i spoke to two of them who were actually down there when that building collapsed.
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they said they speculate the loss of life had to be horrific. there were not that many people down there on the streets at that point. that most of them who had been evacuated, that is civilians, but on the other hand they said there were literally hundreds of emergency workers who were down at that end. they have no idea the level of loss of life at this point. when i asked one of them why he was going back in, as you suited up, since he could barely breathe, he said it's my job and there may be some of my brother officers in there, there may be other people in there. so, those officers going in here, as you can see, all kinds of fireworkers going in there literally in the thousands now, converging on this site. we cannot give you much of an organizational sense beyond telling you probably what you already know, which is that two separate aircraft have struck the two towers of the world trade center. if memory serves, i think each of those towers stands 110 stories. some of the dust, as you can
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probably see now, is blowing in our faces. it's just -- really depend on which way the wind blows as to whether or not we're enveloped in the dust and smoke. as you can see from these pictures, the amount of dust from the fire that's still burning, flames and ash, is extraordinary at this point. and at least a few emergency workers have said they aren't sure that other tower won't stay up now. they didn't think the first one was capable of coming down, but it did. so, they are basically saying keep back as far as you can. on the other hand, facing that danger as we have been telling you, many, many hundreds of these workers are heading over those lines, down towards that burning building, to try to rescue those people who are in there, be they emergency workers, be they civilians. the original crash took place just about quarter to 9:00, by my reckoning. i don't know the exact time but about quarter to 9:00. when that took place obviously at that hour, the building would
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not be packed with people but still late enough in the morning that there would be enough people -- >> we were listening to pat dawson sanding near the world trade center. i was thinking while pat was talking, you both spent time out at oklahoma city at the murrah federal building after that explosion. it took more than a week to sift through that rubble of a building that was how many stories? probably -- >> that was about 30 stories, as i remember. >> i'm sorry to interrupt you both, but apparently we have gotten a report that now a car bomb has exploded outside the state department. again, that's an initial report that i'm hearing from our producers in the control room. can we go to anyone for more information on that? apparently no more information. >> where is andrea mitchell? is she at the state department? >> the state department has been evacuated as well as the white house, the u.s. capitol has been evacuated. obviously, the pentagon has as well. we'll go to mik. what is the latest from the pentagon? >> reporter: katie, security
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officials here at the pentagon have not only evacuated the building but they're clearing the entire area. security forces have reported that they have received information of another plane hijacking. that it's about 20 to 25 miles out of washington, d.c., headed in this general direction. secretary of defense donald rumsfeld a few moments ago was refusing to leave the building. we ran into the chief naval officer, the top naval officer, admiral vern clark. they were loading him quickly into a car to take him to an alternative command site. do you have me? they were taking admiral clark to an alternative command site. do you hear me? >> yes, we do. >> reporter: i'm sorry. there's no confirmation of this latest threat but security officials here are taking it very seriously. we were standing with secretary rumsfeld security detail, who as
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soon as they got the report went running into the building. we were -- we were herded away. they have set up an alternative command site somewhere in the area. the pentagon has set up a crisis team to deal with this situation. but so far the latest reports are that another plane of some kind may have been hijacked and headed in this direction. katie? >> we should also tell you mik, this is tom brokaw, the faa says all international flights headed for the united states are being diverted to canada. this at a time when as jim miklaszewski is telling us unconfirmed reports there's been another hijacking. all takeoffs were stopped but there were planes in the air, obviously, at the time of these first two attacks on the twin trade towers and then on the pentagon. >> andrea mitchell is standing by with more information. she was at the state department. andrea? >> reporter: the state department has been evacuated. secretary of state colin powell is now en route home from lima peru. he did not get to his
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destination of colombia today so that trip canceled. he, as all other officials, heading back. state department officials and the white house officials and the nfc have all been evacuated as well, although condi rice was in the situation room. cia director george tenet has been holding meetings in his office in langley virginia. as we reported earlier, key fbi team members from the rescue efforts and antiterror coordinating team were stranded in california where they were on a secret exercise, military exercise, against exactly this kind of event. >> let me interrupt for a minute. can you tell us any more about reports that a car bomb exploded outside the state department? >> reporter: i do not have confirmation of that. they did evacuate the state department but we don't have confirmation at this moment about a car bomb outside the state department. you know -- >> andrea thanks. we're going back to jim miklaszewski at the pentagon. >> reporter: i've got my eyes peeled here, katie.
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i don't see anything. but security forces in the area have just blared out over their loud speakers to any pedestrians who are anywhere near the pentagon to take cover immediately. there was, as i said earlier an indication that another plane may have been hijacked and headed in this general direction. so far all we see are security helicopters circling the pentagon. again, the skies are crystal clear blue and i can't see the speck of an airplane but security forces here obviously alarmed enough not only to tell people to keep some distance from the building, but to take immediate cover. >> can you tell me a little -- well actually let's look at these live pictures at the world trade center. the other tower of the world trade center has just collapsed. you are looking at live pictures of the second twin tower at the world trade center collapsing as
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a result of the crash of an airplane into its side. that, i believe was the first tower that was struck this morning at 8:42 eastern time. that has now fallen to the ground. >> the profile of manhattan has been changed. a declaration of war by terrorists on the united states. >> pat dawson is down at the scene. >> reporter: where's wayne? where's wayne? >> pat k you hear us? obviously, there is pandemonium downtown. pat is not far from the world trade center as you can hear from the sirens and you can only imagine the confusion and the terror that is in that area after not one but both trade center towers have now collapsed. >> more than 100 stories of steel, concrete, electrical. there it is.
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that's a videotape replay. >> we are back at 10:30 eastern time on this tuesday morning. this horrific incredible, not to be believed tuesday morning. are you looking at live pictures of the world trade center where just a few minutes ago, within the last minute, actually the second twin tower collapsed. just to recap, if you're just joining us around 8:42 eastern time this morning here in new york city, a plane crashed into the right twin tower of the world trade center. about two-thirds of the way up the building, leaving a huge, gaping hole, a huge fire. and tons of billowing smoke. about 25 minutes later, a second jet, believed to be a 727 -- >> 737, some reports of a 757 even. >> then crashed in the second twin tower. the first plane incidentally, was en route from boston, massachusetts, to los angeles. >> here's the video, i think of
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the second plane striking the tower. >> that's right. we're not sure of the origin of that plane, is my understanding. the first plane that caused that hole on the right-hand side in the other twin tower was from boston to l.a.x., to los angeles. it was flight 11 american airlines. we have confirmed that that plane was hijacked. what happened following the hijacking is unclear. we should note that about an hour after the first collision at the pentagon, reportedly another plane crashed into the pentagon, which is just outside washington, d.c. in northern virginia. all air traffic has been stopped. >> government buildings have been evacuated as have other buildings across the country. the sears tower in chicago was evacuated. you can imagine that other buildings in major cities and small cities around the country are probably being evacuated as well. >> there's an unconfirmed report of a car bomb at the state department.
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we have not been able to pin that down. also jim miklaszewski was told of an unconfirmed of another air hijacking. we share this with you not in any attempt to exacerbate what is already a terrible situation but so much has come true today based on these early reports, that we want to you to have as much information as we can possibly get. at the pentagon all people outside were told to take cover just moments ago but jim miklaszewski said the skies were clear. >> there was an unconfirmed report of another hijacking with a plane headed towards washington. again, we don't want to sound alarmist but that is something that mik heard while at the pentagon. we also want to mention that the president is en route from long boat key florida, where he was there to visit an elementary school to talk about literacy. obviously, clearly his agenda changed dramatically. he'll convene a meeting of the national security council as soon as he gets home. colin powell is also on his way back from lima, peru, he was scheduled to be in colombia. >> and probably not at white
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house. they'll probably take him to a safe location. some in the hills of virginia, as you know. my guess is that air force one is in the unusual situation of having a fighter plane escort on its way back from florida today. that's where we stand. >> think about the loss of life that we could have seen this morning, if you think about the fact that when full, the world trade centers hold about 50,000 people. no telling how many people were at work before 9:00 this morning. and then shortly after 9:00 in the other tower. if you look at this picture here, tom and katie, at lower manhattan, it seems terrorists have succeeded. >> this is war. this is a declaration and an execution of an attack on the united states. two of our most conspicuous symbols of the american system of capitalism. the pentagon which is the headquarters of the most mighty military in the world was attacked today as well. the white house has even evacuated. the state department has been evacuated. financial markets are been immobilized.
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all flights taking off after these attacks were grounded. >> international flights have been sent to canada. >> transatlantic flights now going to canada. so, there has been great chaos visited upon this country to say nothing, as you pointed out matt, so importantly, of the still untold loss of life. it's going to be horrendous. you don't know yet what the exact numbers are, but we can only tell you by looking at those pictures that you can guess as well as we can that there will be a lot of people who are not going to be able to escape this. >> back in 1993 when the bomb blew up in the basement of the world trade center so many survivors talked about how long it took them with no power in the elevators to walk down the smoel smoke-filled stairways. you think about how many were till trying to escape those buildings when the first one and then the second one collapsed. >> the triage unit has been set up. area hospitals are all receiving victims. as matt said, 50,000 capacity when everybody is in the building, but many people at
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8:42 a.m. here in new york are at their desk working in their offices. one young man or one man was reached by phone and was asked what is happening there? he said, we are blanking dying here. and there was screaming and yelling and pure chaos understandably, going on in the background. >> there's a picture of lower manhattan, ladies and gentlemen. the most important city in the world in so many ways. now it has been attacked by terrorists at the world trade center and the damage is beyond our ability to tell you in great detail. >> let me mention that -- oh, that -- >> i was going to say, here's what the president said pep canceled an education appearance in florida. here's what he said just a short time ago. >> ladies and gentlemen, this is a difficult moment for america. i unfortunately will be going back to washington after my remarks. secretary rod pace and lieutenant governor will take the podium and discuss education. i do want to thank the folks here at booker elementary school
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for their hospitality. today we've had a national tragedy. two airplanes have crashed into the world trade center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country. i have spoken to the vice president, to the governor of new york, to the director of the fbi. and have ordered the full resources of the federal government go to help the victims and their families and to conduct a full scale investigation to hunt down and to find those folks who committed this act. terrorism against our nation will not stand. and now if you join me in a moment of silence. >> that was george w. bush about an hour ago speaking from long boat key florida. he's en route to washington, d.c. we're looking at some pictures
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on the ground -- or we were of apparently some of the victims. let's go to pat dawson, if he can hear us. he is on the ground. >> reporter: quite extraordinary. these are the emergency workers who are coming back. it was just about ten minutes ago that we described to you the possibility of that north tower collapsing. about five minutes after we went off the air, it did collapse. once again we have no idea at this point the loss of life. i can only tell you there were hundreds of emergency workers down there about five or six blocks. it took probably about, i would say, no more than 50 or 60 seconds for that dust cloud, dust and smoke, to literally make it the five or six blocks up here and begin to envelop us. we moved out of the way. there were literally dozens and dozens of firemen who were trying to run past us. in fact, our cameraman even -- in his car and drove -- the people who you see here are
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pretty much all emergency workers. many of them that i have seen in the last two to three minutes, quite frankly, are coming out of here and remember they are professionals, they're coming out of there looking literally stunned, in shock many of them struggling for breath. obviously, in serious distress. breathing problems are the biggest problem for those who managed to make it safely out of that area down below us. you can't see much more than a block south of me right now. and the world trade center probably stands about ten blocks south of where i am at this moment. as you can see now, the dust is beginning to pick up here. it really depends on which way the wind blows as to whether or not we get heavy dust or not. but at this point i can tell you that in the first few minutes, emergency workers were trying just basically to get out of there to survive. you could see that written in their faces. the situation was so desperate they just wanted to get out of there. now, many of them are beginning
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to regroup. a couple asked me where their commander might be. they're trying to get together and go back in there and try to take care of the people who obviously are in serious trouble. there's no other way to describe it. the language here at times f i slip into language which seems a little melodramtic forgive me, but this is a circumstance which is very very difficult to describe in many ways without sounding melodramtic. certainly in more than 20 years of covering horrific events, this is something i've never seen before. as we say the emergency workers now beginning to try to gather themselves over there. you can see a police emergency service unit. they are trying basically now to re-establish some kind of a safe perimeter. many of the emergency workers basically just happy to be alive. certainly, that picture tells it all. many of them just happy to be alive at this point. having survived what is an extraordinary event, the collapse of two towers. as we said earlier in our report 110 stories each.
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i will tell you that what fell what i saw fall, had to be at least 40, 50 stories of that building at first. the skeleton was left at about i would say, the 50 or 60th floor after the shell, after the structure of the building fell down. the skeleton, the steel skeleton was literally sheathed off and took about another 30 seconds before the skeleton collapsed into the street. that was the last we saw of the world trade center. and that was maybe ten minutes ago when those -- that final skeleton, the metal skeleton, steel skeleton collapsed into the street. >> that was nbc's pat dawson. he's standing about ten blocks from where the world trade center towers used to stand. you're looking at the collapse of one of those towers right now. we now have an ap news alert out of pittsburgh. officials at somerset county airport are confirming the crash of a large plane just north of the airport. that's about 80 miles southeast of pittsburgh. again, officials at somerset
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county airport confirmed the crash of a large plane north of that airport, which is located about 80 miles to the southeast of the city of pittsburgh. we do not know whether that crash of that plane is related to what has become an obvious terrorist attack both here in new york city and in washington, d.c. at the pentagon. >> matt, we just got late word that state department security officials are denying those reports of a car bomb at the state department. betsy stewart is at the "c" street entrance and says there's no sign of a car bomb. she's very familiar with the state department. the building has been evacuated. top officials are still believed to be in the operation center however. those are highly secured areas in terms of penetration physically and otherwise. colin powell, as andrea reported earlier, was on his way to peru but he's on his way back. the president is on his way back. he'll have a security council meeting perhaps around 11:30 or noon. that's likely to take place
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either at andrews air force base or in some other secure location. the white house has been evacuated. especially with this report of another plane going down, this time in the pittsburgh area. there were planes in the air when the order went out that there would be no more takeoffs so we don't know how much more damage these terrorist hs in mind. >> let's go to bob hager, nbc's aviation expert. bob, what kind of information are you getting from your sources? >> not a lot, katie, from the faa. for instance, they are not talking about any possible hijacks. normally they can tell when there's a hijack in progress because the pilot -- the original pilot of the plane has various buttons that he can push that set off a code and tell them that there were hijacks. maybe, as a matter of fact of security they're not saying anything about that. they did stop all takeoffs in the u.s. at 9:25 this morning. and then for pilots that were in the air the question came up, what to do about them?
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they were given discretion to continue on to their destination so long as it was not the washington or new york area or divert to an airport. personally, i saw the blast at the pentagon. not the blast take place. but moments after. i had been at national airport trying to get up to new york. you could see that smoke billowing out of the pentagon. i can give you a little description of what it's like on the streets of washington because it was quite crowded trying to work moi way back here to nbc. they have now given not only the white house and those key buildings, like the capitol, but at this point they've given all federal employees the word to leave their offices and get home. so, there are traffic jams in washington. >> bob, i'm sure you'll get more information for us momentarily but first we want to go to jim miklaszewski at the pentagon who has more information. >> reporter: they're still clearing people away from the pentagon. still security forces believe there may be another incoming plane headed in the washington region. but there was a very telling dramatic moment just a second
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ago when a u.s. air force f-16 flew very low level did a wide sweeping turn around the pentagon and back over washington. as one air force officer standing near me said my god, they're now flying air cover over washington. a very dramatic moment. a milestone in what tom has already described as a declaration of war, terrorist war, against the u.s. >> let's go back and show you the pictures of lower manhattan where the situation only gets worse, not better. that is the financial district of the world. also a residential area and great commercial area. both twin trade tower buildings have collapsed on the ground. untold loss of life. the ripple effect goes on with all the smoke and dust that has stred out against that densely populated area. it goes down below ground as well as in the high rise buildings there. there are many residential structures in that area as well. some heroic rescue workers were down there trying to get people out of the building when first -- when the first building
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came down and then the second building did as well. without any sound and looking at this, there is a kind of surreal quality. but, that is the epicenter of a great, great national tragedy and a great loss of life. no question about it this morning. >> we're talking about people who were hurt perhaps killed in this blast. many of them have been brought to area hospitals, including st. vincent's hospital. bob bob is there. what's latest? >> reporter: ambulances continue to stream in. major streets and avenues have been closed off so ambulances can continue to come in. in addition, the new york city subway system has now been closed down and several buildings that were not involved in the world trade center area have been shut down and people have been told to go home. a lot of them are just wandering aimlessly on the street. many people openly weeping and hugging each other. this clearly is a time, as tom described, very close to the beginning of a war. but the casualties do keep
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coming in, burn smoke inhalation very severe. again, all the mm people i've talked to say this is just the tip of the iceberg. we expect casualties to be coming in all through the night and way into tomorrow and beyond. >> bob, if you could stand by for a moment because we have this report from ap that i'm just simply going to read. a large plane crashed tuesday morning just north of the somerset county airport about 80 miles southeast of pittsburgh. airport officials said the plane believed to be a boeing 7677 crashed around 10 a.m. about 8 miles east of jennerstown according to county 911 dispatchers wpxi tv reported. and the twin 110 story towers collapsed. explosions also rocked the pentagon and state department although that was refuted moments ago. and spread fear across the nation. there was no other immediate details on the pennsylvania crash. and it was not clear whether the crash was related to the others. again, that was a report, a bulletin, that was just issued by the associated press.
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>> you know what is so stunning about all this is that there has been no, no indication whatsoever that this carefully coordinated massive attack was going to occur. there's been a complete intelligence failure here. there will be obviously, down the road a price to pay for that. >> well, that's actually not all that surprising, tom, because we've often talked in the past following every terrorist event about how vulnerable the united states is and many terrorist experts say how unprepared they are. the question is of course, can you ever prepare for an attack like this? >> well that's true. but we also have people out there who are in listening posts and we've penetrated these kind of organizations but to have this kind of an attack, this sophisticated, this sufficient striking at the heart. nation's capital the heart of new york city, now if this is true that this plane went down as a result of an attack, we don't know if this is the end of it. this is a massively well
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coordinated attack. >> and terrorist experts are saying and intelligence experts are now saying there are very few number of terrorist groups that are capable of this kind of planning. a couple of names come to mind, and i'm not going to throw them out now because we certainly don't have any reports. before we go to jamie, i want to say, some of the descriptions coming from eyewitnesss in lower manhattan of these explosions occurring are chilling. one man talked about getting off the p.a.t.h. train and looking up at the building after the first explosion and seeing people jump out of the windows. we have no idea how high up. hearing people on the ground scream each time another person jumped out of a window, attempting to get to safety. when the second explosion occurred he felt the heat of the explosion on the back of his neck. jamie gangel, our national correspondent joining us now on the phone. >> reporter: matt speaking of those intelligence officials that you were just mentioning. now finally we can no longer reach on the phone anyone at the
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cia. apparently the cia has been evacuated. we know the national security agency which is the electronic eavesdropping agency south of baltimore near ft. mead maryland, they have been shut down. what we're hearing from both places is that all nonessential personnel have been told to leave. and i can only imagine that probably they are trying to move some of their operations out of those buildings as well for backup procedure. but in addition to whatever intelligence was -- or was missed in all of this we now have, perhaps, some problems gathering intelligence as those buildings are now being shut down. >> right, jamie. thank you very much. tom, let's talk about something you mentioned a second ago. it shows the enormity of this situation. in addition to what we assume will be horrendous loss of life, all planes in this country have been grounded. i mean you think about the
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impact that has. i mean, is there every a time we can imagine something like that happening before? >> the most powerful nation in the world and national security officials and terrorist experts have been saying for some time a small band, very willful and sophisticated people can bring us to a halt and they have done just that. there's a psychological terror as a result of all this as you can imagine how it plays out across the country, people who look in who don't live in new york city or washington, it is hard to overstate the consequences of all this. this is just the beginning. we'll be living with this story and dealing with the consequences of it for some time. the united states will change as a result of all this. we already thought there was a lot of security in america at the airports and so on, yet there was a successful hijacking at boston airport today and the consequences of that we're seeing on the screen here this morning. so, this is going to change this country profoundly in not just the coming days but the coming
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months, to say nothing as you have been saying, matt, of the horrific loss of life. >> on that subject, you know katie and tom, to complete a thought i started before you both were out at the murrah federal building in oklahoma city and it took them a week to find all the people trapped in that wreckage. we have two buildings of each 110 stories. it's mind-boggling to think of what it's going to take over these next days and weeks to find survivors or victims much these explosions. >> of course, it continues to be a terrifying situation because there were planes up in the air. a number of unconfirmed and frightening reports about those planes we heard earlier from jim miklaszewski that someone had gotten word at the pentagon that perhaps there is another plane, whether they were talking about the one in pittsburgh or -- it's completely unclear and unclear whether these planes that were
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en route to a destination have been grounded themselves. in other words they were emergency landings. i think it's very difficult to get any communication with airports all across the country because they're, i'm sure completely chaotic. >> you know from your time in oklahoma city and all the time you spent with the victims there, the psychological effect of all this on this country and how it's going to affect our whole sense of security. and in a way, our sense of innocence about this is fortress america, couldn't happen here. we said that about the murrah federal building, even about columbine high school. this is an incident of a whole different magnitude. >> i have to say, i've never, ever -- i mean witnessed anything quite as horrific. i hate to keep saying it because we have seen these types of things play out in movies. in worst case scenarios and in dramatic renditions of this kind of incident.
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but certainly no one has ever seen this kind of thing unfold. and it is really shocking. >> we want to go now on the phone we have neil livingston, an expert on terrorism. can you hear me? >> i can. >> you know, we were talking about what it would take in terms of planning and coordination to pull off an attack like this with so many prongs at least two attacks here in new york city, one in washington, d.c. we don't know if the crash of that plane outside pittsburgh is related, but give me an idea of how many groups there are in the country that would be capable of something like this. >> well, there are very few groups in the world capable of this kind of action. have you to remember also that we have the people who hijacked these planes were going to a certain death as well. so they were suicide bombers in effect. that probably suggests this was not something like the cartel or some of the other groups that has the financial


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