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tv   911 As It Happened  MSNBC  September 11, 2013 5:55am-9:01am PDT

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you. call>> caller: i have never seen any fire like this in the air. pieces of the building were flying down. it looks like the top -- i can't even tell you. maybe 20 floors. intense smoke. it's horrible. up can't describe it. >> do you know what kind of plane it was? >> caller: i'm sorry? >> do you know what hit the world trade center? >> caller: what it was? >> what kind of plain. we heard an airplane hit the building. >> caller: i department know that. i was walk i saw a big boom and fire. we were saying it's interesting it would be a bomb so high up. perhaps it was a plane. we have no idea. there is still things flying in the air. it's mind-boggling and it's horrifying. >> it's matt lauer.
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i would like to ask you while you were close to the building or have you since the explosion seen anyone injured being taken out of the building? are there ambulances dealing with people on the sidewalk some. >> caller: i have not gotten that close. my father works in the financial center next door. i called to see if he was okay and i couldn't get through. i'm far away and i thought it might be dangerous. i saw lots of debris coming down. i'm in battery park. it's about a five-minute walk to the world trade center. the smoke is incredible. i can't see the top of the tower. it's starting to cover the top of the second tower. >> we see a huge gaping hole and billowing smoke. >> right now i think -- i see major fire. definitely see fire. >> jennifer you said you are
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looking north. you are south of the building, right? we are looking at a picture that is looking at the north side of the building. >> i'm the opposite side. >> it appears that that is where the largest hole is. towards the top of the building. on what i think is the westside of the building we can see some hole there is that could have been from damage when the impact occurred. we have been told this is a plane. we don't have confirmation on that, but there is an enormous hole in the north side of that building. >> can you tell us about what you heard when you heard this explosion? describe it for us. >> absolutely. when i walked out of the subway i looked at the twin towers because i always look up there and right when i looked up there was a boom. it wasn't that loud. it wasn't huge however it was unbelievable with the amount of fire. it was a big ball of fire that
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went up. i looked around it and people were all horrified. i'm stuttering because i'm in shock. i have never seen anything like this. it's horrible. >> this is cause for concern because the world trade center is one of the busiest office buildings here in new york with hundreds or thousands of workers. >> the governor has a new york city office there. >> given the time that this happened it's appropriate to surmise that people might have been in the building. >> we have seen stories where planes hit buildings. small planes. it's hard to knowledgeimagine that a small plane could create the damage. small planes crumple and fall down. go ahead jennifer. >> i'm talking to a police
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officer and he said yes, he heard it was a plane. >> does he have information about what kind of plane it was? can he tell more details. >> i'm going to put you on hold for a moment. >> just to recap, you are looking at dramatic pictures of new york's wednesday in lower manhattan where a short time ago we are told that a plane crashed into the upper floors of the western most tower. you can see a gaping hole on the north side of the building and residual damage on the west. fires are burping right now in the world trade center. >> there was a problem in new york, a plane hit the empire state building. a helicopter crashed on the top of what was the met life building. >> we are getting information it was a small commuter plane. we will let people know as soon as we have more information as to what caused this.
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on everybody's mind who might have been hurt as a result of this terrible terrible incident. we will talk to more eyewitnesss coming up in a few minutes. >> we are back at 9:00 eastern time on this tuesday morning. we are back with dramatic pictures of an accident that happened a short time ago. looking at the world trade center in lower manhattan where just a few minutes ago a plane, some reports that a small commuter plane crashed into the upper floors of one of the twin towers. fire or flame or smoke. there is a gaping hole on the north side the side you see to the left of your screen. other damage to the west of that building to the right side of your screen. this happened just before the
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morning commute before poem were heading into the offices and some people were already at work. immediately there is cause for concern. this is the world trade center the center of a terrorist bombing some years ago. the questions have to be asked was this an accident or could it have been an intentional act? either way extensive damage has been done to the building. >> also there was smoke coming out of the east side of the building. 1-800-smoke white smoke. >> we talked with somebody about that. judge jennifer. a producer here on the "today" show, me where you are and what you saw? >>. >> i live in this area and returned to my apartment, but i was walking down the sidewalk delivering my young daughter to school and we heard a very loud sound, the kind of sound you hear when a plane is going fast.
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followed by an enormous crash and immediate explosion. i don't think we can feel shock waves, but we felt like we did. we can see the trade center misdemeanor immediately and a fireball that must have been 300 feet across. it was visible immediately. a secondary explosion, i think. plumes of smoke. there must have been a three-block cloud of white smoke. now from where i was on the street, you can see smoke leaving the building on three sides. it seems to be coming out on four or five floors. the air is filled with hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper that are floating like confetti. the area is swarmed with imagine vehicles.
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obviouslyiyy we are sensitive of this. >> because was incident from the 1990s, have you seen evidence of people being taken out of the building? emergency vehicles are there and understandably so but the major concern is human loss. do you know if there were something else. >> something else just hit! there is another coalition. can you see it? >> yes. >> something else. >> we saw a plane circling the building. we just saw a plane circling the building a second ago on the shot before that. >> i think there may have been another impact. i heard a loud bang and a large plane that may have been a 747 that flew past my building and i think it hit the trade center again. >> to be honest i didn't get the impression that it was that
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big of a plane. i am trying to see if it was the different tower. >> i think the first one was wednesday 1 and it looks like the second building. >> this is a piece of tape and we may see another plane enter the weekend here. >> i wonder if there air traffic control problems. >> jennifer did you see this happen? >> hello? >> did you just see this happen? >> in, attmatt, i saw a jet headed directly into the wednesday. it just flew into the other tower coming from the south to north. i watched the plane fly into the world trade center. it was a jet. a very large plane going fast. it went past battery park and flew past and almost hit it and then went in. >> this is show shocking. to everybody watching. >> i never have seen anything like it. it flew itself into the world
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trade center. >> obviously now we move from what appears to -- >> there it is. >> i'm looking from south to north and it went into the on the right. >> that aer 52ed to be at least a 727. here comes the videotape we just showed you. it apeers to be a large plane, a 727 or maybe bigger flying into the side of the world trade center. >> it was a jet. i couldn't believe my eyes. >> now you have to move from talk about a possible accident to talk about something deliberate that happened here. we are going to deliberately check the air traffic control and find out if they had contact with either of the planes before the accident. what we have seen is the most shocking videotape i have ever seen. >> what are the oughts are two separate planes hitting. >> elliott, are you there.
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>> yes, i'm here. >> what can you see from your perspective perspective. >> i can't see anything personally. >> it is completely impossible to understand why this is happening and to figure out what in the world is going on. >> it's after 9:00 and i wonder how many people were in the offices. >> hopefully they were evacuated following the first incident and we hope it's a short period of time was 8:50 eastern time and the second occurred about 9:05. that would be a short amount of time to get people out of the building. we have another witness on the ground. can you hear me? >> yes. hello. >> me what we are seeing. >> i live in lower manhattan and face the north tower where the first plane crashed into the
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building. right now there is a lot of chaos on the ground and emergency vehicles and everyone from the world financial center exited and is walking north up to battery park north. there is massive people walking north uptown of manhattan. i happened to look on the first tower and sea peoplehappened to see people waving and unbelievable to see the second jet come crashing into the second tower. what is going on? >> unfortunately here in new york, many of our stations can't see this because the antennas are on the world trade center. there back up towers on the empire state building but television communication in new york city is probably knocked off the air. >> it appears because of the angle i think that the powers
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are leaning i don't think that is the case because after the first it looked like the right tower was leaning. now somebody is saying we are getting a witness saying they are loaning which will give you an idea of the type of impact they are talking about. >> and perhaps they are buckling under the force of the collision and the hole that resulted from the two planes. >> we will go to george who witnessed both or one of the collisions. can you hear us? what did you see? >>. >> i was in the car driving up battery tunnel an enormous explosion happened. i think it was larger than a construction explosion. i looked out the window and what appeared to be a tire to the ground and i believe it hit the car to the right of me. it's so scary. there was a ton of debris falling. i jumped out of the car and i ran south away from the
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buildings because i thought there would be further explosions. >> have you seen any injuries on the ground? >> a man was hit by a piece of debro and said someone had been badly hurt in a car ahead of me. i'm not certain if it was the car next to me. i can't verify that, but a lot of debris hit. everyone assumed a bomb hit and that had people think that further bombs may explode. >> did you see the second plane, that jet fly into the other twin tower. >> there was a first explosion that was louder and a second explosion. i did not see it. when i looked up i saw debris falling. >> of course this is as we said completely shocking video.
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a shocking turn of events. we have been talking here about the first incident might surmise it was an accident and then to have a second what appeared to be 727 jet, the question of terrorist activity has to surface. the question of whether this was an intentional terrorist act of some kind. >> they were in an area where there three major airports. newark kennedy and la guardia within several miles. it's unusual for a plane to get into this area without being completely tracked. you have to imagine if this plane were headed for the wednesday, there must have been someone trying to talk or communicate with that pilot and for it to fly right into the side of the building. >> the smaller plane, you can understand almost.
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a jumbo jet? >> we actually saw the jet flying into the building. >> it was a big plane. i was looking in the distance and saw a small plane that might have been a helicopter. to see this plane coming into the picture, that is a big plane. it's hard to imagine, it's a 737 we are being hold. flying directly into the mid-section of the eastern tower. >> i wonder if jennifer is still on the phone. do we still have judgeennifer is on the phone. at least we could have gotten more information. needless to say it's pandemonium i am sure down there and we gathered that from the eyewitnesss and how terrifying this was for them to see and
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imagine as you get closer to the twin towers. a landmark and what the scene must be like there. >> you talked about the building looking like it buckled. they are designed to have a 2 degree sway because of the height of the building with wind and stress. something like that is more than it is designed for. >> we want to go to jane who is telling the producer here in new york. can you hear me? >>. >> yes. i am down here near the world trade center. i was walking down 6th avenue this morning at 8:42 a.m. i saw a plane veer through the building and a huge cloud of smoke and then fire out of one of the towers. here it's near the upper floor as you can see with your chopper shot. about minutes ago, a second explosion in the second tower. lower down. that was not affected by the plane so i'm not sure what happened there. right now there is a huge hole
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in know wo of the towers and the other building is on fire. the scene is incredible. people are out of the office buildings and watching and crying and taking pictures. i have never seen anything like this. >> you saw the first plane. did you get a glimse of what kind of plane that was? we are told it was a commuter plane. >> it was a mid-sized plane and we could hear it low. a couple of us looked at each other thinking what's happening? it went through the buildings and into the upper floors of the world trade center tower. >> we want to mention when the impact hit the first tower, we hope that people were in the second tower were beginning to evacuate especially if air traffic control had an indication that this was deliberate, we hope they got
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people out of the second tower before the second plane hit. >> we have been upstairs in the restaurant there and to try to get down -- >> elevators would have been jammed, but you hope they would begin evacuation in the second tower. >> we have another eyewitness that we would like to speak with. dan dietrich is on the phone. me what you saw. >> what i saw was one plane coming in low from the north, down over seventh avenue. it crashed into the top or the middle of one of the towers. minutes later i saw another plane crash into the other side of the tower at a lower level. it being looks to be a small commercial plane, the first plane i saw. it crashed into the top of the
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tower. there was a gaping hole in the side of the tower. as we were looking, another plane came in low from the other side and hit the middle of the other tower. i saw both planes. two separate planes crash into each tower. >> and again, the size of the planes? me about that? >> i would say it was a mid-sized commercial airline. i thought perhaps a commercial airline. mid-sized. not a jet. >> this is unconfirmed, but we are getting information from an employee of united airlines. we want to emphasize this is unconfirmed, but there is speculation that an american airlines plane was hijacked and crashed purposely into the world trade center and the second
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plane was another plane perhaps hijacked and flown into the second tower. dan, me about people on the ground. are you at a vantage point where you can see? >> are i'm further in the west village. i'm not on the ground near the base of the towers. >> where were you when it happened? >> walking down seventh avenue south at about charles street which is about 15 or 20 blocks north of the towers. >> obviously this was a shocking thing for you to witness on this tuesday morning with wires coming out saying in 1945 an army air corps twin-engine bomber crashed into the 79th floor of the empire state building in dense fog. this was a crystal clear day in manhattan. it is completely unclear how there would be any kind of problems with visibility. dan, thank you so much for
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talking with us. hopefully you can stay on the phone and we can check back with you. we want to remind people that world trade center bombing that took place on february 26th back in 1993 the product of the terrorist attack the result of a terrorist attack that killed people and injured more than 1,000. of course that happened on a friday afternoon. matt you and al were working that day and i was at home watching that. this is so much more bizarre. >> and keep in it mind that killed people and the explosion happened in a garage. this was a direct hit on the mid-or upper section of the tower. the potential for injuries and death is much larger and the people on the planes. >> if they were hijacked and en route to a different
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destination. bob, where are you and what can you tell us? >> i'm on the north lawn at the white house. the first thing we looked for here in light of what happened is whether there is any unusual activity out here. whether there is unusual police or secret service presence or people on the roof. we don't see that as we speak. i did try to call the national security office here. the president is out of town in florida. he has been informed of this. i can tell you that the white house national security staff remains here in a senior level meeting. we are hoping to hear from them as soon as possible. katie, the reaction here to the pictures you are seeing and the initial picture when is they came up even in the lower press office here at the white house. # people are standing around television monitors looking at this. i don't mean just the reporters,
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but the people in the office who worked here at the white house. >> very little information is coming out. if the speculation is true about some kind of terrorist event, this will be a major, major crisis for the bush administration. at the pentagon are you hearing any more information from there? it. >> according to u.s. intelligence officials there appeared to be no specific threat involving hijacking airliners or any attacks on buildings in the new york area. u.s. intelligence reports that we are constantly hearing about threats against american targets worldwide, but as far as they know this morning, they had no early indications that.
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they are calling this a terrorist attack. they have not yet ordered the scrambling of any military jets. # the president does have the authority to scramble american military forces in defense, but there is a problem here. and if you put war planes in the air, there is a danger that we can identify. i believe according to officials here -- >> i wanted to tell you guys if you wanted to continue. >> they are off limits and restricted. the military and pentagon officials are scrambling to get
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on the military. >> they are describing this as a terrorist attack right now. >> there some officials are who calling this an obvious terrorist attack based on very preliminary information. # the horrifying video of the tower itself. this is a clear intication that this is not an accident. >> of course the coordination that took place with two planes hitting the towers. let's go back to the white house. what can you tell us? >> it was interesting to listen to jim from the pentagon. of course the president has the authority to scramble the forces. this is a case in which
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retaliation will be kopt contemplated. unless someone claims responsibility, the white house and other arms of the u.s. government will say woe have to determine who is responsible for this attack and pin points it. someone will be made to pay. if we can determine the origin of this terrorist attack. there some implications to that. >> let's go back to jim. the pentagon information? >> the primary concern is protecting the american public in the area against any public further attacks boy the air. they have no indication there will be. there is some concern that since this appears to be a highly
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coordinated attack there may be other terrorist attacks that could be planned either in new york or elsewhere. this is absolutely the worst case scenario for the counter terrorist planners. apparently there were no firm indications prior to this could have happened. it would be for protection for the time being. not necessary low even thinking right now about any retaliation. >> david gregory is on the phone. >> the president is about to begin an education event which is being canceled. it will go forward in so far the president will come out and make a statement about this. he was made aware en route from his hotel to the school here in sarasota where he was going to talk about education and he will make a statement and we are told
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by white house officials quick low depart for washington. >> are we should mention that new york city airports have been closed. the lincoln tunnel has been closed here in new york. we are getting ready to listen to the president, but let's go back to jim miklaszewski. can you shed light on what kinds of cautions are in place for knowan attack like this. >> it's difficult to respond because it's unclear who is behind it and if there any other potential attacks or incidents. all the experts who are looking at the pictures say there is no doubt about it. this was a coordinated terrorist attack.
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who and why is very much unchlor. the brb trying to then put planes in the air to try to prevent any further attacks. these are after all open airspaces for the most part. it's difficult for the u.s. military we put them in the air. according to officials, then do what? is this area of course according to officials here is obviously going to be declared off limits in terms of air traffic. right now officials here at the pentagon are simply scrambling to find out 50 what happened and what potential reaction the military could provide in terms of protection against any further potential attack. >> it's important to note if the planes were hijacked if they
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were carrying passengers you couldn't shoot down a plane like that for the injuries you could cause on board and on ground in a place like manhattan. >> that's exactly right. they put them up in a protection mode. the governor has the air national guard at his disposal. the government is wondering what to do in terms of protection and how. again, to the counter terrorist, this is the worst place scenario. there seems to be not much they can do. >> obviously we are scrambling for information. i want to read the reuters wire that said two planes crashed into the towers on tuesday morning causing huge explosions
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and killing at least people. cnbc tv said at least 1,000 injuries. both towers of the lower manhattan landmark were the scenes of a bombing in 1993. the fbi said it was foul play and not an accident. the person who answered the phone on the trading floor at inner dealer broker kantor fitzgerald located near the top of the world trade center said we are blanking dying and hung up. there was screaming and yelling and a follow-up call was not answered. they said just before the first explosion he saw a plane fly over his apartment in the soho direct of lower manhattan. jamie is on the television we have more information. >> i just spoke with the people
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who said this was clearly terrorist related. no question about it. they couldn't give any further details not because they didn't want to share it but they don't know yet. they are at the earliest stages. >> do they know if a plane was in fact hijacked? >> they would not answer that. i think that they just are getting the earliest details and they are afraid of putting out misinformation. they said it was clearly terrorist-related. >> thanks. both towers of the world trade center in new york city two planes have crashed into the towers. one short low before 9:00 and shortly after 9:00 eastern time. the tower on the left was hit just above the mid-section. they are 110 floors high and 13
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1300 feet above the ground. the on the right was about 2/3 up. we saw a videotape and we watched the second plane hit the building. you will watch it enter from the right of the screen and make ton tact with the left tower in what is shocking video. here is comes right there. you can see the impact on one side and the damage coming out of another side of the building. one can only imagine that occurred after 9:00 in the morning. how many people were in the building at the time of the impact. it's a large plane, either a 737 and some said the first was a 757. >> an airbus. that is what a united worker told us. an american airlines plane that
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had been hijacked. we have initial reports of that. we are trying to get as much information, but it is trickling in at a slow pace. all of this is unconfirmed and speculation of a terrorist attack is unconfirmed. that is what some pentagon officials are saying. let's go to president bush right now. >> unfortunately we will be going back to washington after my remarks. the lieutenant governor will discuss education. i want to thank the folks here at the booker elementary school for hospitality. today we had a national tragedy. two airplanes have crashed into the world trade center in an ark parent terrorist attack on our country. i have spoken to the vice president. to the governor of new york. to the director of the fbi.
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i ordered that 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 find those folk who is committed this second. terrorism against our nation will not stand. now if you join me in a moment of silence. may got bless the victims. thank you very much. >> that was president bush in florida and he was speaking at an elementary school and he was planning to talk about literacy. he had to change. he mentioned this was a terrorist attack and he spoke to the governor of new york as well
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as the vice president. all the resources will be brought to bear by the federal government to determine who did this. who was responsible for this terrible event. it was followed boy a moment of silence for the victims. >> we are going go to andrea mitchell who has more information on the tragedy. >> i have spoken to ia top u.s. official who said early reports to our intelligence community and other officials within the administration are that this was a hijacked american airlines plane en route from boston to los angeles. one of the two planes was apparently a hijacked american airlines plane. early reports need confirmation but this is what the u.s. government is being told by american airlines officials. they are assuming and obviously informed the president that this is a terror attack. >> we have no information as to
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in what term of the flight was taken over. how much warning that air traffic controllers may have had that someone hostile was at the controls some. >> exact low right. they have no information. just that one of the two planes was hijacked from boston en route to los angeles. they were in the air and en route to los angeles. probably hijacked after it had taken off. those are very short flights. 737s or 757s on that route, but this is clearly a terrorist attack as you heard the president say. one of the things is that there was no specific threat that the government is aware of. no specific terror alert other than the worldwide caution that was reissued because of the strike in the middle east that was a concern over thrifts and bip bip.
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no alert comeing in. he is in afghanistan. >> it appears that this was a well-coordinated bombing or terrorist act because of the fact that two planes were used both substantial in size and they both hit the world trade center within 18 minutes of one another. a lot of planning went into this attack. let's go to jim miklaszewski. what can you tell us? >> to add to what andrea just said, senior officials here at the pentagon are saying they are getting information that the american airlines flight 11 after it left boston apparently was hijacked and was diverted apparently the early information was being diverted to jfk for some reason. obviously nobody knows who was
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at the controls of the plane, but it broke off its route to los angeles and was headed towards jfk. that was the initial information that officials received when obviously it did not go to jfk, but veered off and headed towards the world trade center. no indication as to who may be responsible or what was at the controls of that plane when it rammed into the world trade center. >> are we are going to be obviously talking throughout the morning, but we want to talk with larry johnson, a terrorism expert the former deputy director of the state department's office on counter terrorism. mr. johnson, can you please put this into perspective for us and give us your insight on what might have happened here? >> we need to be cautious before jumping to conclusions.
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i would be inclined to say that's the case but there is always the possibility that you may find out after the fact that this was a suicide pact that had nothing to do with politics. that said this is a first. back in 1992 there was a -- excuse me, 1993, a plane was hijacked from germany and it landed in new york. one of the concerns we had was the possibility of that plane under the control of a hijacker flying into one of the buildings. my concern now is that there is always -- we ignore terrorism. we talk a lot about it but we ignore taking practical steps. the pendulum swings to an extreme and putting surface to air missiles on top of buildings.
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this is a very air event. it is unlikely to be repeated, but president bush put his finger on it. we have to find who did this and any country, any nation in the world that is in any way involved or responsible that turns out to be terrorism will require a response from the united states and the united states has to be willing to pay that price. >> we are completely stunned when about 25 minutes after the first plane crashed into one of the twin towers another very large plane did the same thing. we have been talking with our correspondents all morning about if another incident could happen on the heels of these two, what kind of measures are in place to prepare for something else that could happen? >> one of the steps is being taken. i was getting ready to fly to la guardia when this occurred. they have shut down the traffic.
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you are talking about an enormous disruption economically for the nation with the air traffic not going in. we will be on the side of caution and look at the major hubs in the united states. buildings in chicago, atlanta and los angeles. there will be extra measures taken, but one possibility is you can put up air cover and if they approach you go to the extremes of having the air force intercept. >> i wanted to ask and the correspondents have been saying that there was no -- and andrea mitchell, no warning attached to this event. generally speaking do we get some kind of u.s. officials or government agencies that get a warning from a particular group
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or is this fairly typical in terms of an event happening without foreshadowing? >> this unfortunately is typical. it's only in the movies that you get advanced warping. you look at every major terrorist incident in the united states the world trade center the u.s.s. cole bombing and the bombing in saudi arabia, rarely do you get advanced notice. >> jim miklaszewski has new information at the pentagon. i hope you will stand by. >> i don't want to alarm anybody, but apparently it felt a few moments ago like there was an explosion of some kind here at the pentagon. we are on the window that faces out towards the potomac and the kennedy center. we haven't seen or heard anything after the initial blast. i stepped out in the hall way and security guards were herding people out and i saw a moment ago as i looked outside, a
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number of construction workers who had been working here have taken flight. they are running as far away as they can right now. i hear no sirens going off and see no smoke, but the building shook for a couple of seconds. the windows rattled and security personnel are doing what they can to clear this part of the building. again, i have no idea whether it was part of the construction work or an accident or what is going on. we will try to find the details and get them to you as soon as possible. interestingly enough one official said when he saw what appeared to be the coordinated attack on the world trade center, his advice was to stay away from the outside of the building today just in case. again, nobody has indications of what happened, but it appears
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that there has been is some kind of a small blast of some kind. the windows shook and the building shook and the windows rattled. i'm looking at the window now and the construction workers are still keeping a good -- i'm sorry. the construction workers are still keeping a distance. that's all i can see. i see no other extra curricular security activity outside. to get more information, i'm going to have to break away and walk down the hall way and see what it is exactly that happened here just a few moments ago. >> see what you can find out and be careful and let us know what is going on there. we will go back to david gregory in florida where president bush was earlier this morning for an event on literacy. he was going to a school to talk with kids. what can you tell us? >> a little bit more about how all of this unfolded.
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being he offered to hunt down the people responsible for this. he will travel back to washington and aides are saying he will convene with national security to see what steps are taken next. >> i'm sorry to interrupt. we are looking at live pictures of the pentagon where there is billowing smoke. jim miklaszewski just reported that he heard an explosion and right now we are looking at an ariel view of the pentagon. can you talk to us? >> nobody knows exactly what happened. the picture is clear. according to one u.s. army officer who went running past me at a full trot it appears a bomb was detonated at the heliport.
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it's just adjacent to the e ring. the offices nearest the heliport area are u.s. army reserve officers and the army reserve officers are located there. as you can see it appears to be a pretty significant blast. we are almost on the opposite side of the building the world's largest office building. as i reported to you, we could feel the building shake and the windows rattle. as i was in the hall way a few moments ago, i could smell the kind of smoke, almost when you smell when a floresent light goes bad. authorities are clearing the building. i don't know if you can hear the sirens, but it appears that i
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think people in the building are already describing as a highly sophisticated attack not only against the world trade center, but the pentagon and u.s. military here in washington. >> >> tell me again, the pentagon is a huge building. miles and miles of offices. at what location did this seem to have detonated? >> at the heliport which is as you sit in the pentagon you have the potomac river and washington, d.c. on one side and the heliport is located almost exactly on the opposite side of the building. easily accessible. they increased security here significantly within the past couple of years -- >> we are hearing again unconfirmed reports that this was the result of a plane
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crashing in the area as well. >> i have no idea katie. all i know is that people who were in the building who came runing for that part of the building thought it was a bomb of some kind. according to chris brown, my colleague who came in. it appears that whatever it was and perhaps it was a plane if those are the reports. it crashed in or the damage is on the roof of the building at the heliport side of the pentagon which is opposite of the potomac river. >> we are looking at the white house because we are learning that there have been some evacuations from the white house. i assume everyone is being evacuated from the pentagon? >> well nobody has given us the official word yet, but i think that's probably a safe bet.
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thank goodness a helicopter just flew by. i'm nervous here hearing aircraft go past. they have evacuated that portion of the building. they have sirens that go off alerting you to the fact that it's time to get out. i haven't heard those yet. just judging boy the pictures it's clear that part of the building that is not damaged has been evacuated. in the hall way it was panned mope yum. people were rushing for their offices. >> you are in the office? >> i'm at the office but the opposite side of where this crash occurred. >> see if you can gather more information and please be careful. we will go to matt. >> thank you very much. i am joined by tom brocaw to recap what has been going on in a few moments. we top the go to nbc's or
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"today" correspondent with more information. >> u.s. intelligence sources are confirming the reports that know wo of the planes was a hijacked flight, an american flight from boston to los angeles. they are also now looking into what's going on at the pentagon. they don't have details, but they put government buildings around the city of washington on a heightened state of alert. part of that is happening formally, but people are seeing what's going on and some people are leaving buildings simply because of the concern following these latest reports from the pentagon. >> all right, jamie. thank you very much. joined by tom brocaw. let's recap. it's 9:47 eastern time. to recap what's going on and the news is terrible.
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just before 9:00 -- >> 8:42. >> a plane crashed into the world trade center. about 3/4 of the way up. the smoke is billowing and about 18 or 20 minutes later, a second plane, a large plane we saw on tape hit the left hand power of the world trade center about halfway up. an enormous fireball and people trying to be evacuated. people were trying to get out of the first building. we have reports that there was one plane hijacked. american airlines flight 11 from boston to los angeles. that is apparently one of the planes used in this crash. >> there is a report on dubai television that in fact the group claiming responsibility at the democratic front, the liberation of palestine. this comes on a day when the
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israeli foreign minster persez scheduled to meet with yasser arafat. they vacated that and there hasn't been a specific incident. >> the israelis vacated. it's worth pointing out that terrorism has two prongs to it. the physical and the psychological threat. this seems surreal, but it is real when you have an explosion of undetermined origin at the pentagon. the most conspicuous symbol of capitalism. woe do not know for sure who is responsible. >> and the capital by the way has been evacuated. they have been taking place at the white house. needless to say the pentagon has left that building as well. >> and here by the way, they
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have asked a lot of people. the high right and in new york i came happened as you tuned in the radio and then they began to get it. it's election day here in new york. >> primary day. >> and what we have is something that most americans thought could never occur. >> larry johnson, a terrorist expert i just spoke with a few moments ago, the former deputy director of the state department office on counterterrorism claims this is a first. that he had never heard or seen anything like it. he talked about back in 1993 a german plane being hijacked and there were fears when it was flown to new york that it might be crashed into something. >> we have this is a major development. the federal aviation administration has shut down all air traffic nationwide. this country has been immobilized by these terrorist attacks in terms of air travel today. we don't know where it goes from here. we'll just ask that you stay with us so that as we get hard
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information, we can share that with you. there's going to be a lot of speculation. the president has described this apparently has a terrorist attack. the fbi has confirmed that an american airlines flight boston to los angeles was hijacked. it's believed that that was the first plane that went into the twin trade towers. >> let's go to james calstrom the former director of the fbi here in new york. mr. calstrom i'm sure you've never seen anything like this. do you have any information that might be helpful to us? >> well not particular information on this tragedy, but certainly what an incredible tragedy. you know all of us in law enforcement and prior in law enforcement have talked for years and the public has seen the hatred in the world. they have seen the bombing of the world trade center they saw the conspiracy to blow up the tunnels in the united nations and the fbi building back in the '90s they have seen the bomb at the uss cole and the bombings of our embassies in africa. so we've known for some time now
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that this hatred exists. and now it looks like that it's culminated in this absolutely horrendous incredible act against the united states. >> jim, as someone who's -- i'm sorry. as someone who's investigated some of these crimes in the past, and we think back in 1993 and the world trade center bombing and what it took in terms of coordination and planning to pull off that one bomb in the world trade center can you even speculate as to what it might take to coordinate this what we think so far is a three-pronged attack this morning? >> matt it obviously took a lot of coordination. there's a lot of groups in the world that have the ability to coordinate these types of attacks. as you know and most people should know the united states is an open society. we've talked for years about the downside of having our borders basically open. on any given day, people fly into our airports undocumented and turned into the population.
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they're not certainly all terrorists but i mean we live in a free society. and i'm not espousing we change that. it's very very difficult for the fbi and law enforcement to keep track of this when we live in the society that we live in. >> jim, if you can stand by for just a moment because jim miklaszewski has more information for us. >> reporter: katie, my colleague, chris brown, here at the pentagon encountered some of those who survived whatever it was, whether it was a bomb or an airplane crashing into the pentagon. one of the survivors who was reportedly injured had various lacerations, was on the second floor of the d ring. that is one ring inside the outer ring of the pentagon. when suddenly there was this horrific blast. he said that the second floor buckled upward and the third floor above him actually collapsed downward. the scene on the other side of the building as it's being
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described to us, there are people being removed on stretchers, security forces are evacuating the building right now, and according to the officials here at the pentagon they still don't know exactly what it was. but as you reported katie, eyewitnesses reported that in fact it was a plane that crashed into the pentagon. >> mik, any idea i wasn't 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 30,000 people may be working here at any one time. that portion of the pentagon by the way, had just been remodelled 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 is very busy.
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it's impossible to say how many casualties there may be. but there have been a large number of people sighted being removed on stretchers. as one survivor said the florida just buckled up under him and the roof caved in on him. >> mik, thank you very much. we want to move a couple of miles away from you to the white house where bob kerr is standing by. bob, we understand that building has been evacuated? >> reporter: matt, that is true. it is 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, cooks, whatever running at fairly high speed all the way out of the building through the top gates. then we huddled for a while in lafayette park across the street and we've been moved now from there a block or so away.
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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 morning's scenes here at the white house, a white plane, a very big jet, was flying an 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. airspace 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 that we're looking at pictures bob, as 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, bob? >> reporter: katie, he's coming
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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 surreal is that within just about 20 minutes ago, they were still conducting tours. you had hordes of tourists 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. >> you know 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. an anonymous caller had told television that it was behind the crash but, quote, i emphasize that the story released on television by an anonymous person is totally incorrect. a senior official from the dflp bureau in the palestinian
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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 of claims and counterclaims in the course of the next 24 hours or so. this is a task for investigators of extraordinary magnitude to try to determine who did this and how they got away with it. you think about an american airlines flight that was on its way from boston to los angeles was hijacked in midair. they are now citing transmission from the plane so they have hard evidence of that and then 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 just curious. have you had any evidence of what was said during those transmissions? >> they are citing transmissions to know that the plane had been hijacked. that's all they're saying about it at this point. we also ought to remind everyone
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once again this is an exceptional development. the faa has banned all takeoffs at all airports across america. this country in terms of air travel has been immobilized. a good portion of the nation's capital, the most powerful center in the world, has been immobilized as well as a result of these terrorist attacks. >> that's a very haunting description that bob kerr 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 happens on the left-hand tower.
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i don't know if this is the correct tape. there. something there is about to happen. falling away right there. >> it looks like a big chunk of it has just peeled away. >> one can only hope that the area has been evacuated, but 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 airplane attacks on the building, on the upper reaches of it. that will have an enormous structural effect. those buildings, i think it's fair to say, will probably have to be brought down. it's too early to speculate on that but there's been that kind of damage. >> let's talk again -- >> we have somebody on the scene. >> this is a reporter on the scene from w nbc. you talk about the fact this plane was taken from boston on the way to los angeles. the reports are that it was being diverted to jfk. just for people who aren't familiar with the geography of this area the southern tip of
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manhattan would be very much near the flight -- the landing pattern for jfk airport. it could have been easy for a hijacker to pretend that he was taking that plane to jfk and veer off at the last sglint i heard one eyewitness say that in washington square he saw a plane go over at 1,000 feet and then do what he described as a sharp right turn right toward the world trade center. he then lost sight of it. >> one eyewitness here in this a.p. report says he was getting off a path train to the world trade center and saw bodies falling out of the building as he approached it. police told him to get out of the building immediately. he ran outside and watched people jump out of the first building. and then there was a second explosion. >> this footage we're seeing right now shows that the damage is so severe. i mean we had seen what seemed to be two fairly self contained impact craters before and now it appears something much more dramatic has happened to at least one of those towers.
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>> 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 anonymity. again, there is no confirmation of that. we just know there were two planes that went in. the first one was an american airlines flight from boston to los angeles. we're now seeing it from the harborview of this continuing damage and destruction to the world trade center. >> incidentally tom, apparently jamie has more information for us. jamie? >> reporter: i've spoken again to u.s. officials with access to the highest intelligence and 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, but
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everyone has been terribly worried about the suitcase-sized bomb of some kind or an airplane or an attack on our subways in the large cities. and this obviously no one had anticipated. three airplanes that were deliberately aimed at critical targets in america. we can only hope that it's over for today, but officials are taking no chances on all of that. they're evacuating all critical buildings, because as mr. johnson said earlier, this is an open society. james calstrom from the fbi pointing out 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. andrea, what can you tell us? >> reporter: this from the fbi. the state department has been evacuated. there was a meeting going on in the operations center. other top officials were in the situation room at the white house. colin powell is in bogota, colombia, on a two-day trip.
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but this very interesting information, katie, matt and tom, from the fbi. they had been operating a massive exercise from their hostage rescue unit. 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 really in chaos right now because they can't reach their officials in new york. all of their phone lines are down. 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 serious out of pocket and there is a real breakdown of the fbi anti-terror coordination team, which is of course, the principal team that would lead any effort and was so effective under jim calstrom in new york city during the world trade center bombing and the twa
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explosion which turned out not to be terror. >> andrea is the state department taking this claim of responsibility from the democratic front for the liberation of palestine seriously? are they giving any credence to that or are they dismissing it or 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 proved with 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 kenya almost simultaneously. it was extraordinarily well coordinated. they proved their case to a jury effectively and have managed to
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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 say anything. >> we want to tell you that american airlines has confirmed that one of its flights, american airlines flight number 11 from boston's logan airport scheduled to go to l.a.x. it left at 8:00 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. jim miklaszewski has been forced to evacuate that building so we'll have to wait until we hear from him. >> we saw some pretty traumatic pictures from the pentagon just moments ago. >> let's go back to a few
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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 appearing to fall away from the rest of the 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 bazell who was at st. vincent's hospital. bob, what can you tell us? >> reporter: katie, this is one of the hospitals closest to the world trade center. in the last few minutes ambulances have been coming in one right after the other. most of the people they're bringing in have second and third degree burns, very serious burn victims. they say the smoke inhalation people will probably be the most serious but they're not even close to getting to them yet. there's a triage operation that's 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 that's true at hospitals across new york city. they're standing there. as soon as an ambulance pulls
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in dozens of medical workers rush up to it. but it's a kaurncarnage that's just beginning. the emergency service workers i've spoke to that have been down into the world trade center site say this is just the tip of the iceberg. >> bob what are they telling you about people? were there many people inside the building or is it too early to tell? >> reporter: it's too early. there were certainly probably hundreds, even thousands of people in the building even though it was before 9:00 and the start of the usual work period because it's just such a large area. so the number of casualties is just enormous. they are just beginning to sort it out and trying to get to the first few they can get to. the ambulances are coming in. they're lined up. every ambulance in new york city has been summoned. they're standing in a queue. they get a victim and bring them here right away. >> bob, we're looking at the lower end of manhattan as a result of the collapse of one world trade center that whole financial district is now engulfed in smoke and debris and
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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 that collapse. everybody here just gasped and even the medical workers and the ambulance attendants when they saw that people who are used to tragedy, grabbed each other, hugged each other and started to cry. >> and one wonders about the tree aunl unit set up. >> close to the base of that building trying to evacuate people. when a building of that size falls, it does not fall in its own footprint. >> reporter: absolutely. i'm several blocks north of there so i don't know what that area looks like but 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 are witnessing here. it is difficult to comprehend
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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. 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. >> and 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. >> if you consider that this plane hit at midstructure and it would have probably 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
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down over 100 stories. to think about the possible loss of life that just occurred by the collapse of that southeastern tower is just amazing. minna saw the collapse records yes, high matt. >> tell me what you saw. >> reporter: on the corner of dwayne and west broadway walking down towards the twin towers and it just collapsed. it looked like -- it looked sort of like the building just demolished. smoke, clouds -- clouds of smoke everywhere. people running towards me. i was going towards the twin towers. people going away from the towers. it was just people running, like i've never seen a scene like it. >> from where you were minna, did you see many of the injured being treated? is there any indication the type of perimeter that the ems people are dolingealing with?
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>> reporter: now what they're doing is 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 there? is it pedestrians? >> reporter: everyone. everyone in tears. people who were -- i met some woman who was in the building to the right where the first thing happened and just all crying wondering if the people that they know in the building next door are okay. >> thank you very much. jamie, our national correspondent, is on the phone now with more information. jamie? >> reporter: katie, as you well know buildings around town are being evacuated and the state department has been evacuated. the white house has been evacuated and the pentagon has been evacuated. intelligence officials tell me that they do believe at the pentagon that that was a third plane going down. they have had -- the
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intelligence sources that i've talked to say that they have not received any claim of responsibility yet. >> jamie, have you gotten any information from reagan national 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 a plane. they say now that it appears to be a plane, but they say that 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. >> all right jamie, thank you very much. we'll be talking with you. >> it goes without saying this
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is the most serious attack on the united states in more than 100 years. not since the war of 1812 and certainly the damage that we did to ourselves during the civil war has this country suffered this kind of damage within its 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 capital has been immobilized. the white house, state department pentagon has been attacked. the financial markets have been shut down. there is an untold 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 in downtown manhattan that many people have never -- can't remember. >> it looks like a movie, frankly, that this is unfolding and combines the horror of the twa flight 800 bombing and the murrah federal building because it's both of these incidents, of
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course, coming together in the most horrific way. >> by now i would guess everyone is up across all the time zones in america. it is 7:15 in the west but for those of you just joining us at 8:45 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. an untold number of casualties there. president bush has been on the air. he was in florida at the time saying apparently this was a terrorist attack. everyone believes that carefully coordinated from the air. 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 to kathleen who's with nyu downtown hospital. they have been treating some of the injured. kathleen, can you hear me? >> yes, i can. >> can you tell me about the
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injuries you're seeing and the numbers of people you've been treating? >> we've seen a steady stream of patients for approximately an hour and a half. many appeared to be superficial injuries, but i can tell you that i've seen the most serious ones because i believe they're going into the ambulance bay so we have a very high level of activity here. our first priority is on the care of those patients. and 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 seeking information to the hospital. >> and just quickly, kathleen how far is the hospital from the world trade center? >> the hospital is perhaps a five-minute walk from the world trade center and 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?
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>> we are the only hospital south of 13th street in new york city. so we serve a very large proportion of the city. for the reason our emergency room is a very high priority of this hospital. 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 -- a team of nyu medical people on the scene as well? >> yes, there are. i cannot respond to that question because i am not on the scene and i don't have that information. >> but you do have medical people your personnel, there at the scene? >> that is my understanding, yes. >> katie, what we're worried about now is that the other building may come down. they have obviously evacuated that whole area as a result of the crash of one world trade center. now i'm told there's concern about the second one collapsing as well. there's been an enormous amount
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of structural damage in the upper floors of all that and it is more than 100 stories high. it wouldn't take much to bring it down. >> kathleen thank you very much. we appreciate it. >> thank you. >> we're told now that a spokesman for yasser arafat, the leader of the palestinian -- the leader of the pla, palestinian liberation association, arafat has condemned what has happened here in new york. he says hat plo has nothing to do with it whatsoever. they're shocked and appalled by what is happening. we don't know yet who is in fact who is responsible for this but it was very carefully planned and coordinated and fair to say it has been a devastatingly efficient and effective attack on the heart of this country. >> pat dawson is on the ground
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near the world trade center. pat, are you there? pat dawson can you hear me? okay he's having some audio problems. we'll get to pat in just a moment. >> it's 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 the world trade center tower. >> you can only imagine -- >> what was 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. so it was 42 minutes later that this occurred. >> and it flew right over lower manhattan.
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a number of people saw it at a very low altitude and then take this very sharp right turn and wondered according to eyewitnesses, what in the world was going on. moments later the world trade center was hit. it was about an hour after that that jim miklaszewski told you, katie, he felt an explosion at the pentagon and now we learn that there's been a plane that's been flown into the pentagon. there have been people who have been hurt there and we hope no one has been killed but it seems likely that there were probably casualties of a serious magnitude there as well. the white house has been evacuated, the state department is being evacuated. >> here's the pentagon. >> here's the pentagon now. >> pat dawson apparently let's just take a quick look at the pentagon. as you can see smoke continues to billow out of that structure. as tom just mentioned, it's unclear how many people were hurt and if in fact it was a plane. there is speculation that they believe it was a plane. let's go to pat dawson who is down by the world trade center. pat, can you hear me? >> reporter: we cannot tell you much more in terms of specific information other than to say
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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 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 and they literally have been arriving by the dozens over the past hour or so. as we say, probably in excess of a thousand or more emergency workers from new york city and surrounding areas converging on this site 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 just trying to sort out who's alive, who's not. we did speak to as i said before, some of the emergency workers. they are police officers from the port authority of new york and new jersey.
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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. they speculate that 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 that 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 he suited up since he could barely breathe, he said it's my job and there may be some of my brother officers in there and may be other people in there. so those officers going in there, as you can see, all kinds of fire workers 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
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trade center. if memory serves, i think each of those towers stands 110 stories. some of the dust as you can probably see now is blowing in our faces. it really depends on which way the wind blows as to whether or not we're enveloped in some of the dust and the 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. at least a few emergency workers have said that they really aren't so sure that other tower won't stay up now. they really 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
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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 not be packed with people but it's still late enough in the morning that there would be enough people -- >> we were listening to pat dawson standing near the world trade center in lower manhattan. katie and tom, i was thinking while pat was talking, you both spent some time at okds 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? >> it was about 30 stories, as i remember. >> i'm sorry to interrupt you both, but apparently we've 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 on that. >> where is andrea mitchell? is she at the state department? >> the state department has been evacuated as well as the white
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house. the u.s. capitol has been evacuated. obviously the pentagon has as well. we'll go to mik. mik, what is the latest from the pentagon? >> reporter: katie, security 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. the secretary of defense, donald rumsfeld, a few moments ago is 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 -- they were taking admiral clark to an alternative command site. hello, do you hear me? >> yes, we do. go ahead. >> reporter: okay, i'm sorry. there's no confirmation of this
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latest threat but security officials here are taking it very seriously. we were standing with secretary rumsfeld's security detail who as soon as they got the report went running into the building. we were herded away. but 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 also should tell you, mik, this is tom brokaw that the faa says that all international flights headed for the united states are being diverted to canada. this at a time when as jim miklaszewski is telling us there's an unconfirmed report that there's been another hijacking. all takeoffs were stopped but there were planes in the air obviously at the time of the first two attacks at the twin trade towers and then on the pentagon. >> andrea mitchell has more
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portion. >> reporter: the state department as you know has been evacuated. secretary of state colin powell is now en route home from lima peru. he did not get to his destination of bogota colombia today so that trip cancelled. he as all other officials, heading back. state department officials and the white house officials and the nsc have all been evacuated as well but condie rice was in the situation room and george tenet has been holding meetings in his office in virginia. key fbi team members from the rescue efforts and anti-terror coordinating team were stranded in monterey california, where they were on a secret exercise military exercise against this kind of event. >> andrea can you tell us any more about reports that we're getting that a car bomb has exploded outside the state department? >> reporter: i do not have confirmation of that. they did evacuate the state department. but we do not have confirmation at this moment about a car bomb
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outside the state department. >> andrea thanks. i'm sorry to interrupt but we're going back to jim miklaszewski at the pentagon. mik? >> reporter: i've got my eyes peeled here katie. i don't see anything but security forces in the area have just blaired out over their loudspeakers 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 bit more -- actually let's look at these live pictures at the world trade center. the other tower of the world
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trade center has just collapsed. you are looking at live pictures of the second twin tower at the world trade center collapsing as 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 is now fallen to the ground and collapsed. >> the profile of manhattan has been changed. there's been a declaration of war by terrorists on the united states. >> pat dawson excuse me tom, is down at the scene. pat. >> reporter: where's wing? where's wing? >> pat, can you hear us? obviously, there is pandemonium downtown. pat is not far from the world trade center as you can hear from the sirens. you can only imagine the confusion and the terror that is in that error after not one, but both trade center towers have now collapsed. >> more than 100 stories of steel, concrete electrical.
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there it is. 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. you are 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, around 8:42 eastern time here in new york city a plane crashed into the right twin tower of the world trade center. about two-thirds up 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.
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>> 737 or a 757. >> then crashed in the second twin tower. the first plane was en route from boston massachusetts, to los angeles. >> here's the video of the second plane striking the tower. >> that's right. we're not sure 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
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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. we have not been able to pin that down. jim miklaszewski was told that there was an unconfirmed report of another air hijacking. we share this with you not in an attempt to in any way exacerbate what is already a terrible situation, but so much has come true today based on these early reports that we want 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 mik heard while at the pentagon. we also want to mention that the president is en route from florida where he was there to visit an elementary school to talk about literacy. obviously, clearly his agenda has changed dramatically.
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he will convene a meeting of the national security council. colin powell is also on his way back from lima, peru. >> and probably not at the white house. they'll probably take him to a safe location. there are a number of them some in the hills of virginia. my guess is 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 appears that terrorists have succeeded this time in doing what terrorists tried to do back in 1993. >> this is war. this is a declaration and an execution of an attack on the united states. two of most conspicuous symbols of the american system of capitalism. the pentagon which of course is
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the headquarters of the most mighty military in the world, was attacked today as well. the white house has been evacuated. the state department has been evacuated. financial markets have been immobilized. all flights taking off after these attacks were grounded. >> international flights have been sent to canada. >> transatlantic flights going to canada now. 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. and it's going to be horrendous. we 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 are going to be a lot of people who are not going to be able to escape that. >> 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 smoke-filled stairways. you think about how many people were still trying to escape those buildings when first one and then the second tower collapsed. >> and of course the triage unit that has been set up.
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area hospitals are all reefgceiving victims. 50,000 capacity when everybody is in the building but many people at 8:42 a.m. here in new york are at their desks working in their offices. one young man or one man was reached by phone and was asked what is happening there and 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. and 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 -- >> i was going to say here's what the president said. he cancelled 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
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remarks. the second and lieutenant governor will take the podium and discuss education. i do want to thank the folks at booker elementary school 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 that 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.
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>> that was george w. bush about an hour ago speaking from long boat key, florida. he is en route to washington, d.c. we're looking at some pictures on the ground or we were are 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 envelope us at which point we started to move out of the way. there were literally dozens and dozens of firemen who were
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trying to run past us. in fact our cameraman -- the people you see here are pretty much all emergency workers. many of them that i've seen in the last two to three minutes quite frankly are coming out of here. and remember this, these 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. 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,
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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 to regroup. a couple asked where their commander may be. they're trying to regroup, get back in there and take care of the people who are in serious trouble. the language here at times if i slip into language which seems a little melodramatic forgive me but this is a circumstance which is very very difficult to describe in many ways without sounding melodramatic. certainly in more than 20 years of covering horrific events this is something that 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. and many of the emergency workers basically just happy to be alive. certainly that picture tells it
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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. i will tell you what fell had to be at least 40 50 stories of that building. the skelton was left at 50 or 60th floor after the shell, after the structure of the building fell down. the skelton, the steel skelton was literally -- it took about 30 seconds before the skelton collapsed into the street. that was the last we saw of the world trade center and that was maybe ten minutes ago when that final skelton, the metal skelton, steel skeleton collapsed into the street. >> you're looking at the collapse of one of those towers right now. we now have an a.p. news alert out of pittsburgh. officials at somerset county
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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 county airport confirm 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 stur isewart is at the c street entrance and she is one of our producers very familiar with the state department. the building has been evacuated. top officials are still believed to be in the operations center. those are highly secured areas in terms of penetration physically and otherwise. colin powell as andrea reported, was headed for lima peru, but has done a u-turn and
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is coming back. the president is on his way back. he'll have a national security council meeting we think probably around 11:30 or perhaps around noon. that is likely to take place either at andrews air force base or in some more security location. the white house has been evacuated, especially with this report of another plane going down, some time in the pittsburgh area. there were planes in the air when the order went out that there would be no more take-offs so we don't know how much more damage these terrorists had in mind. >> let's go to bob haeger who is of course nbc's aviation expert. bob, what kind of information are you getting from your sources? >> reporter: 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 can set off a code and tell them there was hijacking. as a matter of security they're not saying anything about that.
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they did stop all take-offs at 9:25 this morning. for pilots that were in the air, the question came up what to do about them and they were given some discretion to continue on to their destination so long as it was not the new york or washington area or divert to an airport, if that's what they wanted to do. i personally saw the blast at the pentagon not the blast take place but moments after it i had been at national airport trying to get up to new york and 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 my way back here to nbc. they have now given not only the white house and those key buildings like the u.s. capitol, but at this point they have 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 with more information. >> reporter: katy they're still clearing people away from the
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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 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 of the both twin trade tower buildings have collapsed onto the ground. there is an untold loss of life. the ripple effect goes on with all the smoke and dust that has spread out across that very densely populated area. it goes down below ground as well as in the high rise
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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 the first building came down and then the second building did as well. without any sound and looking at this, there is kind of a 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 bazell is there. what's the latest? >> reporter: ambulances continue to stream in. several new york city streets have been closed major 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
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hugging each other. this clearly is a time as tom described very close to the beginning of a war. but the casualties do keep coming in. burns, smoke inhalation very severe. and again all the medical people that 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 a.p. 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 767, crashed around 10:00 a.m. about eight miles east of jennerstown. according to county 911 dispatchers, wpxi tv reported. the crash came the same morning the terrorists crashed two planes into the world trade center in new york city and the twin tourz collapsed. explosions also rocked the pentagon and athe state department, although that was refuted moments ago and spread fear across the nation.
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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 in a report a bulletin that was just issued by the associated press. >> you know what is so stunning about all of this is that there has been no no indication whatsoever that this very carefully coordinated massive attack was going to occur. there's been a complete intelligence failure here. and there will be obviously down the road a price to pay for that. >> 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 of course is can you ever prepare for an attack like this? >> well that's true. but we also have people out there who are enlisting and we have penetrated these organizations. but to have this kind of an attack, this sophisticated, this efficient, striking at the heart of the nation's capital, striking at the heart of new york city, now if this is true
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that this plane went down as a result of this attack we don't know whether it's the end of it. this is a massively well coordinated attack of some kind that is nothing short but a declaration of war on this country. >> and terrorist experts are saying and intelligence experts are now saying that 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 because we certainly don't have any reports. before i go to jamie, i want to say some of the descriptions coming from eyewitnesses in lower manhattan of these explosions occurring are chilling. one man talked about getting off a path train, a subway train here in lower manhattan 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 but hearing people on ground screaming each team another person jumped out of a window. when the second explosion occurred, he felt the heat of the explosion on the back of his neck. jamie gangel is our national correspondent and is joining us
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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 cia. apparently the cia has been evacuated. we know the national security agency which is the electronic eavesdropping agency which is south of baltimore, near ft. meade, maryland that they have been shut down. what we're hearing from both places is that all non-essential personnel have been told to leave. 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 missed in all of this we now have perhaps some problems gathering intelligence as those builds are now being shut down. >> jamie, thank you very much. tom, let's go back and talk about something you mentioned a second ago that is just -- it
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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. you think about the impact that has. is there ever a time we can imagine something like that ever 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 of 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 of this as you can only imagine how it plays out across the country today. people looking in are wondering what happens around me? it is hard to overstate the consequences of all this and 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 of this. we already thought there was a lot of security at the airports and yet there was a successful
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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 months to say nothing, as you have been saying matt of the horrific loss of life that we are witness to. >> on that subject, katie and tom, to complete a thought i started before you both were out at the murrah federal building in oklahoma city a much smaller building and it took rescue workers more than a week to find all of 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 of these explosions. >> of course it continues to be a terrifying situation because there are a number of planes up in the air as this took place and a number of unconfirmed and frightening reports about those plane that say we heard earlier from jim miklaszewski that
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somebody had gotten word at the pentagon that perhaps there was another plane. whether the one north of pittsburgh, it's completely unclear. it's also unclear whether these planes that were en route to a destination have been grounded themselves. in other words that they were emergency landings or what. i think it's very difficult to get any communication with airports all across the country because they're i'm sure completely chaotic. >> katie, you know from your time in oklahoma city and all the time you spent with the victims there the psychological effect of all of 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. it couldn't happen here. we said that about the murrah federal building. we even said it about columbine high school. this is annin dent incident of a whole different magnitude. >> i've never, ever witnessed anything quite as horrific. i hate to keep saying it because we have seen these types of
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things play out in movies and worst case scenarios and dramatic renditions of this kind of incident 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. mr. livingston can you hear me? >> i can. >> 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? >> there are very few groups in the world capable of this kind of action. you have 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. and that probably suggests that this was not something like a
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cartel or one of the other groups that has the financial wherewithal and the infrastructure to carry out coordinated attacks. i think that obviously the finger of suspension and we're always very cautious about pointing that in any particular direction, but we have to look to the middle east we have to look to osama bin laden, we have to look at some palestinian groups right now. >> but even in the past when we were talking about osama bin laden and his group, there have been intelligence experts who picked up conversations, transmissions that occurred before an attack to give some kind of indication. even if we didn't understand them until after the attack. is it unusual that with so many prongs to an attack that there wouldn't have been some type of warning through intelligence sources? >> well it's a myth that we always know that these things are coming down. part of our problem is and we just had a warning go out to our embassies and military bases in the far east that could have been a feint, that could have
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been a diversion. we have so many warnings these days that they tend to fade into the background noise unless we have real specific information about an upcoming attack generally we don't take action. and these groups are very hard to penetrate. they're focused with bonds of kinship and people who have known each other for years. so it doesn't surprise me that we didn't know that this was coming. >> mr. livingston thank you very much. we appreciate it. >> benjamin levy is at the scene near the world trade center. actually he's going to tell us precisely where he is and what you saw. benjamin, can you hear me? >> hello? >> hi it's katie cureouriccouric. >> right now i'm in lower manhattan but i was working -- i work at the federal building behind city hall. and we were just sitting at our desks about 9:00 a.m. this morning and heard a big explosion. then about five minutes -- ten
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minutes later we saw the other plane hit the building the second tower. then we just evacuated. as we started to walk away we turned around about maybe 15 minutes after we left the building and the second tower just disappeared from sight. and i tell you, i've never seen anything more horrible in my entire life. >> did you see any people any casualties, mr. levy? >> we bumped into a guy from tower one who said that he had a chance to get out of the building after the plane hit the first one, he had a chance to get out of the second one. but he said that -- he said that people were jumping out of the windows to get away from the fire. >> where are you now, benjamin? >> i'm in a hair salon in lower manhattan talking to you guys. >> obviously that was -- >> and was the whole federal building evacuated? >> yeah. well, we started running out of the building as soon as we saw
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the second explosion. and then i work on the 22nd floor. as soon as we were down at the bottom they sounded the alarm and announced evacuation. but most of us were already out. >> how far physically are you actually from the world trade center? >> right now or where i work? >> no. when this happened. >> about six blocks away. >> six blocks away. and you were able to get out pretty easily and there were no electrical problems in your building as a result of the impact of the fire or anything like that? >> no. we got out pretty good thank god. >> as that whole area downs there, the city hall the federal building and all the other commercial buildings, they have all been evacuated as well? >> yeah. as we were leaving, the police were telling all the shop owners to shut their shops and go home. >> that would be enveloped by the smoke and dust that we see because that covered the entire lower end of manhattan, which is a considerably large area, not only physically but in terms of the financial networks a lot of residential areas. >> yeah you could smell the
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smoke. you could smell it but it wasn't -- we were walking away from it. >> benjamin levy thanks so much for talking with us. we appreciate it and we're glad you're safe. >> katie, i've got a little rundown about what's going on around the country. the state department officials have been moved into the state department training center in arlington, virginia. the state department has been evacuated. in minneapolis/st. paul international airport, shut down. the tallest building evacuated. georgia, all flights at hartsfield atlanta international airport closed. officials are tightening security throughout the state. that's the home of andrews air force base. navy installations throughout the hampton roads, home to the world's largest navy base have been placed under increased security. in pennsylvania philadelphia international airport has been closed and of course the liberty bell and independence hall are being closed as well. >> all national monuments have been evacuated and closed. >> in california the state has been put on the highest alert.
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they're on tactical alert in los angeles. the department of energy, nuclear weapons and research complex put under heightened security. >> it is now coming up on 10:59 east coast time. we'll give you a recap of what we've seen so far in just a moment. just a quick note from one of the hospitals downtown in new york city where they say that hundreds of people have been burned from head to toe. this is from dr. steven stern at st. vincent's hospital in greenwich village. about 50 or 60 doctors and nurses standing by in scrubs. the entire entrance to the emergency room was lined with stretchers covered with white sheets. doctors said the victims mostly had burns. >> of course they're being treated in a number of area hospitals, including st. vincent's, nyu, downtown is just about five minutes away. as a spokesperson told us earlier, they have had a lot of experience dealing with problems from the world trade center from that february terrorist bombing in 1993.
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obviously they have all been mobilized and emergency crews are working feverishly outside the world trade center. you are looking at a live picture of lower manhattan at 11:00 east coast time on a day of tragedy and terror in the united states. you're looking at what remains of the world trade center in lower manhattan. earlier this morning just before 9:00 and just after 9:00 two planes in individual attacks struck each tower of the world trade center causing gaping holes in both towers. you're looking at a tape after the first impact and there is the second impact of a large jet flown we now believe deliberately into the second tower. it was a short time after that that the towers collapsed.
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and then there was an attack in washington, d.c. we now have confirmed reports that a plane crashed into the pentagon. we have no reports of confirmed injuries or death. however, it's clear officials all across the country are now saying this is a deliberate terrorist attack on the united states. as tom has put it so far this morning, this is a declaration of war by terrorists against the united states. >> and of course before we talk about terrorism, another large plane crashed as well just north of somerset county airport 80 miles southeast of pittsburgh pennsylvania. it was a boeing 767 that crashed around 10:00 this morning and it is unclear whether the crash was related to the other crashes that took place this morning. >> president bush is en route back to washington. the state department has been evacuated. there's been an attack on the pentagon. the white house has been evacuated. there will be an emergency
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meeting of the national security council. this is the most serious attack on the united states since pearl harbor. there has never been a terrorist attack of this magnitude on any country in the world so far as we can tell. the untold loss of life in new york alone. we only know that there have been hundreds of burn victims brought to various hospitals. both twin trade tower centers have collapsed to the ground. that's a densely populated area obviously. we don't know the number of casualties yet at the pentagon and we don't know the number of deaths in that plane that went down as katie pointed, north of pittsburgh. >> we've left out a piece of information. we know for a fact that one of these planes that was crashed into the world trade center was hienl hijacked from boston this morning. it was american airlines flight 11 en route from boston to los angeles. we had reports it had been diverted to jfk and perhaps while fainingeigning a landing at
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jfk, it diverted into the world trade center. >> all air travel has been stopped. air travel has been closed across the country in terms of planes departing. planes en route it is unclear if they made emergency landings. the white house has been evacuated. the state department the cia has been evacuated. of course many many buildings in manhattan, in lower manhattan have been evacuated as well. >> and transatlantic flights to this country are being diverted to canada. still no claim of responsibility that is verifiable or credible at this time. yasser arafat has condemned this attack, saying it's shocking and appalling. >> of course we should mention back in february of 1993 was when that bomb went off in the garage of the world trade center killing six people injuring 1,000 people. and that of course was an unbelievable scene. but compared to this -- >> this was what it was intended to do back then. >> let's go to bob that has some
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information for us. >> reporter: katie, i was thinking as you commented about the various planes involved, the one that we know of so far, because it's confirmed by american airlines is that flight 11 scheduled from boston's logan airport to los angeles, that flight 11 was hijacked this morning and it is presumed that it may have been one of the planes that went into one of the towers of the world trade center. there were at least two more planes involved in this because the other tower was hit and then the pentagon was also -- there were eyewitness accounts that it was a plane that went into the pentagon. but so far we don't know the sources of those planes whether they were commercial planes that had been hijacked whether they were private planes whether they had been hijacked at all. i would point out the report from somerset county pennsylvania, is so far just local authorities commenting. the faa has not confirmed that crash so we're waiting to hear more. i'm hearing just now, bear with me -- oh faa is now confirming
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so this adds to those earlier rumors that there are several airplanes that are unaccounted for. so there were some rumors that there might have been other planes hijacked that we didn't yet know the outcome of it and now the faa is confirming that there are several, is the word i heard, several planes that are unaccounted for that were evidently hijacked and has not come to a conclusion yet. >> bob, we'd like you to get a list of as many of those as you can, as specifically as possible. we'll show you now -- we'll replay a tape of the second attack on the world trade centers in slow mo. there is the plane. as you can see a large airline type plane and now the collision. flown deliberately into the second one. >> and they say several, bob. do they give you any indication of what they're talking about?
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>> reporter: several is the description that i had and that was just passed on to me so i wasn't talking personally to the faa person but several is the account i had. >> bob, american airlines flight 11 out of boston do we know what exactly kind of plane that was and perhaps how many people were on board? >> reporter: we do not yet but i think we're going to get some additional information from american. they were supposed to be adding comment to this from dulles airport here in a few moments, so we might learn a little bit more about that. but right now it's very important to worry about rumors. i'd like to hear more confirmation this a plane really has crashed in pennsylvania, for instance, since the faa hasn't confirmed that. i think one needs to be very careful here in this chaotic situation. >> we have a report here that osama bin laden, who is often identified as the world's leading terrorist, warned three weeks ago that he and his followers would carry out an unprecedented attack on u.s. interests for its support of israel and arab journalists with
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access said to him tuesday in london. >> an editor of the london-based newspaper said islamic fundamentalists led by bin laden was almost certainly behind the attack of the world trade center in new york. quote, it's been most -- it's most likely the work of islamic fundamentalists. osama bin laden warned three weeks ago he would attack american interests in an unprecedented attack a very big one, he told reuters. >> he has interviewed bin laden and maintains close contact with his followers, according to reuters, so that's the first report that we've had that osama bin laden may have been responsible. obviously it was a very sophisticated organization carefully coordinated. it had to have its origins in this country. louis freeh, the fbi director as he left office said his continuing grave concern were the number of terrorist cells that exist in america, not just in some shadowy enclave in afghanistan but they have taken
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root in this country because it's so easy to get here. >> let's talk a little bit more about osama bin laden, because as you say he was associated with the 1993 world trade center bombing. why don't we talk about him and what he has done here in the united states to give people a little bit of background. >> well, he is from saudi arabia originally. he's wealthy. he's very sophisticated in terms of using new technology. we believe that he is being harbored in afghanistan. no one knows for sure. a number of people have attempted to get to him and have been unsuccessful in that. they also believe that he was behind the bombings in kenya as well. he is obviously a zealot of great, dark passion and most of it directed at the united states. >> brian jenkins, our terrorist expert remains on the phone. brian, tell us a little bit more about osama bin laden and if you think that he might in fact have carried out this kind of well orchestrated horrific attack on
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the united states. >> certainly he would have to be included in any very very short list of suspects but it is premature to be able to say with any confidence who might be responsible in something like this. we know what has happened, we know when it has happened we know where it has happened. who and why it takes a little bit longer to figure out. i have no doubt that we will ultimately be able to identify who was responsible. but until that time we can only -- we can only speculate. >> brian, in an attack of this magnitude that is so carefully coordinated and executed with such cold-blooded efficiency, it obviously had to be a very sophisticated organization. >> clearly this took organization. and while organization has in terrorism in recent years become more fluid, that is we are not dealing with the identifiable terrorist organizations that we dealt with in the 1970s and
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1980s, terrorism in the last decade has been a lot more fluid and from these universes of like-minded fanatics people have been able to put together these ad hoc conspiracies. nonetheless, the magnitude of this attack the coordination involved in this attack does indicate a considerable amount of planning and organization. >> mr. jenkins, if you'll hold for a second i want to go back to bob hager of nbc. bob -- apparently we don't have bob at the moment. let's go to jim calstrom the former director of the fbi's new york office. jim, we just talked about the fact that sooner or later we'll know who did this but where does law enforcement start? obviously we know in several cases we're talking about the plane as the weapon so to speak, but where do we start to track who's responsible? >> well matt i think someone said it there. this is unprecedented.
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law enforcement will start from the base of intelligence that they already have and hopefully always have. i mean that's the argument in the country. i mean we have a very short memory in the united states and maybe that's good maybe it's bad. but that's why we need effective law enforcement. although in the free society, as brian jenkins points out and i agree with him, it's very very difficult to stop things like this. the first goal would have been to stop this horrific event. and of course the second goal now is to save as many people as we can and to find out who did it. thirdly, and most importantly, not let something like this happen again. >> jim, if you were starting the investigation tomorrow morning, where would you begin, with the man who hijacked that american airlines flight? >> i'd probably have 100 courses of action taken simultaneously. i'm sure that's what's going on as we speak. it's a bit chaos. i look at the twa tragedy and
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why we responded the way that we did. we were on a heightened threat for terrorism and it looked like terrorism and this is so much bigger than that. it's chaotic, but law enforcement is trying to make sense out of it. they're trying to obviously not let something happen again in the next ten minutes, the next hour the next two hours, so that's on the mind of public safety officials in washington and locally. and of course long-range plan to see what we can do about stopping this. we live in a free society. people come and go. our borders are open. we see that talked about on the news every night. not so much from a terrorism standpoint but from a work standpoint. but people landed on major airports every day undocumented. so it's extremely difficult, as brian pointed out earlier, these terrorist cells are very insulated from each other. there's no particular hierarchy like there was in the mafia where you put a particular wire tap in at the top and you know everything that's going on.
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that's not the case here. we know there's tremendous hatred. i mean we've talked about this in law enforcement for over a decade. they blew up the world trade center. they tried to bring the world trade center down. they have blown up many many other government symbols and they tried to blow up 11 jumbo jets. >> jim i'm sorry to interrupt, it's katie couric. we want to go to pat dawson who's down at the world trade center talking with an official. pat? >> reporter: yes katie. forgive me we're just trying to get -- obviously as you can imagine, joe, go ahead, you may put the microphone on there. as you can imagine, this is a very, very difficult situation here. we are here with a couple of guests who can give us at least some insight into what's going on there. this is chief william hall of the port authority police of new york. as we told you earlier, the port authority police have authority over the world trade center. gentlemen, if i could get you to stand like that. first of all chief, do we have
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any idea of how many people are in there? >> we have no idea. it was pretty much rush hour time that this took place this morning, so the 91s we don't know yet. we tried to get almost everybody out that we could early on. >> after the first two crashes when the planes hit the building there was roughly about, i would say, what an hour hour and 15 minutes between that and the point the south tower collapsed. >> give or take. >> how many people were you able to get out, do you have any idea? >> we don't know. we tried to do a floor by floor search and they tried best they could to get everybody out but there were people still coming out after the building came down. >> do you have any idea how many people would normally be in the building at 8:30? >> possibly 10,000 people in each tower. 10,000 people in each tower would typically be in there on a normal business day. we get about another 5,000 visitors during the course of the entire day. so by 8:30 9:00 the building
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should have been full. >> so by 8:003030 to 9:00 you figure the building is at full capacity so 10,000 people. >> per tower. >> per tower. now, at this point obviously you've got a situation, these towers having collapsed, that is bordering on chaotic. what's the first challenge? what are you doing at this moment? i've seen emergency workers try to go in there and come running back out. what are you trying to do now? >> i guess the next step is between the chief and myself and my staff, we're going to go assess the condition and determine whether it's safe or not to send personnel into the building to continue looking and evacuating people. >> reporter: are there any emergency workers in there now? >> we don't know that. >> reporter: if they were in there now, presumably they would have been trapped in there from earlier. >> it's possible, it's possible. from what we saw happen very much so. we were trapped ourselves in a building in the basement. the building collapsed and we
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came out of that. >> reporter: you were in the basement of the south tower? >> no we were in the basement of building five -- >> six. >> i was in building five. we had to dig our way out. >> reporter: you dug your way out. what was that like? >> scary. >> scary, but i was a volunteer fireman for years so you learn not to panic. >> reporter: one last thing, what do you do right now to try to get to those people? how long before you get to those people in there? >> we'll have to wait and make the building safe. wee our engineers here our law enforcement and make the building safe and send in rescue teams. we're breaking the men and women up into rescue teams and they're ready to go once the building is declared safe of what's left. >> reporter: how soon before they're back in there. >> i hope soon. >> reporter: is any part of the building still standing down there? we can't really see. >> i can't see either. i can see what you see. i don't know. >> reporter: you don't know how much of the building is left? >> no. that's where we're going now to assess the condition. >> reporter: i understand you have emergency work to do. we appreciate you very much taking the time out. that's the latest report that we
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have at this point from those who are in charge of that building speaking to the director of the world trade center and also to the chief of port authority police. they are at this point, as they said just trying to put together a plan to go in there and just assess the damage. this sequence of extraordinary tragedies, of catastrophes really, first the two crashes and then in sequence one tower of the building coming down another tower of the building coming down. obviously the first order of business is to try to organize themselves and to go back in there in a way that doesn't endanger more emergency workers because i can tell you based on what i've seen there have been a number of emergency workers who were put in harm's way this morning. they had to be. but the toll has to be extraordinary. tom, we'll throw it back to you. >> thank you very much, pat dawson. those are the first numbers that we had this morning. they think there were about 20,000 people in the two buildings at the time of the attack to say nothing of the untold number of people on the streets or in nearby buildings who could also have suffered
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injuries or worse when the build did come down. this is tantamount to war. you're looking at the lower end of manhattan. a plane has attacked the pentagon this morning as well. there is a report of a hijacked plane that went down near pittsburgh. nbc's robert hager is tracking all of this through the faa for us. robert? >> reporter: well there's more information now on the one confirmed hijacking that we know of and that was that american airlines flight number 11. it was a 767, took off from boston logan this morning. it was to go to los angeles. american airlines confirmed it was hijacked. we have some first numbers on how many were on board. 58 passengers and a crew of 11. so 69 people on that flight. that's presumed to be one of the planes that went into one of the towers of the world trade center. the other planes that we know of the other tower of the world trade center and the plane that went -- that crashed into the pentagon area those are unknown flights.
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the pennsylvania crash, which is still not the faa but it's local authorities saying it our affiliate in pittsburgh has heard traffic on the radio scanners saying that it was a flight that originated in chicago and was headed to cleveland but i caution that that sort of information coming off radio scanners is very very sketchy and so very unreliable, but it's the first report off the scanners. >> bob, an fbi spokesman is quoted as saying that there were four flights that were hijacked altogether. we know about american 11. i'm not going to mention the names of the carriers or the numbers on the others. are you getting any kind of detail like that at the faa? >> reporter: no the faa is not getting into that kind of detail. a moment ago i said they said there were several planes still in the air and that report was coming to me while i was on the air. now i understand what they were saying is that they had unaccounted flights, flights that were unaccounted for, so that could mean in addition to the american airlines flight 11 the other planes that went into
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those other buildings. it does not necessarily imply that there are still planes in the air. a little more information, canada has now shut all of its airports down but it will leave the airports open to allow incoming planes that were bound for the u.s. and are now prohibited from landing at u.s. airports to divert to canada but otherwise canada is allowing no takeoffs and is not taking inbound flights from any other place other than planes that were bound for the u.s. >> now we get word from american airlines bob, just stay with us here for a moment that it had two aircraft in this tragedy. flight 11 with 81 passengers and nine flight attendants and two pilots. flight 77 they're saying a boeing 757 operating from washington dulles to l.a. with 58 passengers four flight attendants and two pilots. that's from al hinkle one of the guys from american airlines. >> reporter: now we know the identity of two of the flights involved in today's incidents.
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that leaves at least one more and if the report of the crash in pittsburgh is accurate that looefds twoleaves two more we don't have identified yet. >> well it could have been -- both these planes could have been into the twin trade towers because plainly they were two airliners that went into the world trade towers as we saw on the tape. >> reporter: they say there's a bomb in the school here. i was told by firefighters. >> pat dawson, let's go to you in lower manhattan. you have a report of another bomb? >> reporter: tom, we have just been told -- we're being evacuated. you can see all the emergency workers walking north on the west side highway in new york. we've been told by firefighters that there is a report of a bomb in this building. this is a school a high school right here. and as you can see, they're moving everybody away from this building. they have said that there's a bomb in the building. they were evacuating us north now. that is according to firefighters on the scene. we're going to move out of here right now just to keep ourselves
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safe. so we're going to start walking north ourselves. but that's what we're being told by new york city firefighters, that there were reports of a bomb in that high school right there. so we are walking north to get out of the way. you can see just to my left here these are the -- even the ambulances which were down there are being moved north, the firefighters are being moved north. everybody is being moved north. we're being asked to move north and get out of the way. officer, do you have any -- >> there's a report of a secondary device possibly in the area of the school so they're going to move everybody back as a precaution. >> reporter: secondary device being a bomb? >> possibly. >> reporter: where did that come from? >> it came in from our radios. >> reporter: and that's in the high school right there? >> yes. >> reporter: thank you very much. >> pat -- pat, that school has been evacuated? >> reporter: i don't think there was anyone in the school this morning. at this point i think everybody had been evacuated from here probably when the first events
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took place early this morning just because of the fact that it's so close to the world trade center. most of these buildings around here have been evacuated. so i would imagine -- i never saw any kids going into that school this morning so i'm going to presume that they never even allowed them to get to school this morning and that any that were here at 8:45 were probably moved out almost within moments after -- the crash took place because it literally is only about ten blocks north of here and i haven't seen any students coming in or out. >> pat dawson thank you very much. the big story that is still to be resolved is how many planes were hijacked. we now have a report that there could have been as many as four of them. we know two planes were involved here necessity twin trade towers. there's a report of a plane down north of pittsburgh. another kind of plane went into the pentagon but there could still be planes in the air that are under the control of hijackers. we don't know for sure what flights they are or where they're headed. there are some unconfirmed reports of them. we can only tell you that
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american 11 and american 77 have been identified by american airlines as two of the planes involved in the incidents. >> and the hijackings are scattered somewhat around a fairly high area and two of these planes did arrive at the world trade center within 18 or 20 minutes of each other. just to again point out the coordination of this attack. we're going down to nbc's tim russ erlt russert who is standing by with more information. tim? tim? apparently tim can't hear us. >> obviously people are scrambling to get as much information. i think we do now have tim's audio. >> reporter: i can hear you now. can you hear me? >> please give us your information. >> reporter: i've been speaking to the chairman of the house intelligence committee, porter goss, we're trying to get him on the telephone and continue our conversation on the air. he told me that he was on the phone with house speaker hastert about the situation when a code red was declared on the hill. that the speaker has moved to a secure place because he is in the line of command of our
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national leadership. the congressman also said that this extremely well coordinated attack could only be done by a very few people very few organizations, and that because of the magnitude of it it will be relatively easy to quote, see their fingerprints. and then we as a nation are going to have to make a very decisive retaliation as soon as we are able to identify exactly who this was. mr. goss said he's obviously never seen anything quite like this. as it plays out, perhaps more to come, and he will be joining us shortly on the telephone here so we all can hear his words directly. he will be briefed throughout the day because of his position. he has access to the nation's utmost secrets. >> tim, obviously president bush is on his way back to the nation's capital. is it your understanding that he has arrived yet or do you know his whereabouts at this point? >> reporter: katie, i do not know that. i do know that while the white
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house has been evacuated, the situation room continues. there are people in the white house doing their jobs and so at the pentagon. in the servenerve centers of both of those facilities our highest ranking officials are monitoring this situation, making a determination as to how widespread this attack may be and trying very very hard to get a handle on exactly who did it and just how we respond. >> tim, we have secure areas for the president in case of a nuclear attack in the past in the mountains of virginia not too far from washington by helicopter. any indication that the president may have to go to one of those facilities? >> reporter: we have not just heard that. the response was we are not going there, responding to my question, not necessarily traveling there. but they obviously are on the highest state of alert. they understand the magnitude of this. they understand that the american people now are going to be waiting and watching for a response from washington. other than what the president gave in florida. as you might expect even our
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most sophisticated communications 2001 era, it is still extremely difficult trying to get any kinds of information. the cell phones are down many of the hard lines are down. i have been assured by people at the white house and at the pentagon that in fact they are in touch with each other and have the situation under control the best they can. but like all of us they simply don't know yet who did this. >> tim, you talked about porter goss. obviously the capitol was evacuated along with other major monuments and major government buildings in washington, d.c. where are people members of congress right now? have they assembled anywhere? and what are they doing and where are they? >> reporter: katie, after the explosion at the world trade center, congress convened said a prayer and then recessed. many of the members headed home. they were obviously going to look forward to a very difficult week in washington dealing with
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the economy. i am told porter goss is on the telephone with me. congressman, can you hear me? congressman, can you hear me? we'll continue to effort that katie. but most of the congressmen and congresswomen have returned to their homes here in washington because the building itself has been evacuated. the leadership of the congress as i mentioned, speaker hastert particularly is in a secure place and he will be in constant communication with the president and vice president, being the third person in the hiker arcy. >> tim russert in washington. tim, thank you very much. when you get porter goss on the phone, maybe you can get us more information. let's go to ashleigh banfield who's in lower manhattan standing by with people who were inside the buildings or near the buildings when those planes hit. ashleigh? >> reporter: hi. i am just about between five and ten blocks north of the actual site of where those two towers have come down. we're obviously having a bit of trouble right now maintaining our location because we just
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heard one more explosion. that's about the fourth one we've heard. the police are telling us they're either car bombs or they are simply cars that have overheated so much that they're exploding. every time one of those happens, there's a flurry of activity. there are more emergency vehicles that come down. i don't know if you can shoot past me down into that black cloud. that is the cloud that we were in about 45 minutes ago or so. at the time we were there when the first trade tower came down my producer and i were overcome by the cloud of debris and smoke that came at us so rapidly. we had to break down a window to an apartment building. we had to break the window and go into the second door inside just to breathe. we were followed by a police officer and a security guard from the world trade center area. i want to show you something if i can. i'm just using a cell phone so i can hear you because there are no cell phones coming out of manhattan. but see if you can zero in on this. this is the kind of debris on the ground. you can see the address.
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one world trade center. -- >> obviously we're having some technical problems with ashleigh banfield who is on the ground near the world trade center about five blocks away. >> here's the first confirmation from united airlines. it's confirmed one of its flights crashed in the pittsburgh area flight 93 a boeing 757. the flight originating in newark. it was bound for san francisco. no information on how many people were on board. a 757 carries a lot of folks. anyone who's flown from newark to san francisco know most of those flights carry a full load. >> this brings to three the number of confirmed flights that have been involved in this tragic day. american airlines flight 11 from boston to los angeles, flight 77 from washington dulles airport to los angeles with 58 passengers on board and now the united flight tom, that you just mentioned. you can say -- we have to say that the number of passengers was relatively low on those first flights and we can only hope this was not a full flight. >> you know, there was a
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collapse obviously not just of intelligence but airport security as well that that many planes were hijacked almost simultaneously. >> although these days, as we know tom, and learned from the twa tragedy, flight 800, that oftentimes some of these devices are absolutely -- it's impossible to see them in our kind of security x-ray machines that you have at typical airports. some are made of plastics they can be very small and virtually undetectable undetectable, which is another major problem for airport security. we're going to bob bazell who is at st. vincent's hospital. obviously we're very concerned about the people who were in the world trade center when these two planes crashed into them. bob, tell me about the scene at st. vincent's hospital. >> reporter: katie the wounded are starting to come in with great regularity now, almost every 30 seconds an ambulance pulls up. some are very badly burned some are dead. cardinal eagan, the head of the
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catholic archdiocese is standing out on the street giving last rites. saying may god help us many times over. there's been a call out for blood from all of the hospitals. people have lined up around the block. people of responded in enormous numbers. everybody seems to want to help in some way. new york has become surrealistic on the streets because all the subways and commuter lines and bridges and tunnels have been shut down so many people who are not injured are wandering around aimlessly. but in the hospitals there's so many injured coming in now that they have run out of gurneys and they have brought every office chair down and put sheets over that to carry people in. an enormous amount of work for all the staff. people have come in. everybody who was off has come in. calls have gone out for plastic surgeons, for burn specialists and it's going to be a very grueling several days ahead. >> bob the other thing is i don't know whether you can tell about traffic in the rest of manhattan because a lot of our major hospitals are well north
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of there. columbia presbyterian new york cornell, are the ambulances able to get through? have they cleared the traffic? we're in a tomb here in the studios in midtown. >> reporter: tom, i had trouble hearing you that time. there's a system in place here where they're triaging people in lower manhattan and putting sometimes tags around their neck people you see wandering up from lower manhattan who have slight injuries and have been cleared. every hospital in the area is involved in a plan to take in some kind of patients. this one where i'm at st. vincent's is one of the closest with a major trauma center. but every hospital is on alert, every hospital is just taking in what has becoming just a sea of patients. >> nbc's robert bazell. bob, thanks very much. let's go back to washington and nbc's tim russert who has the head of the house intelligence committee. tim. >> reporter: congressman, are you there? >> i'm here tim. >> reporter: as the chairman of the house intelligence committee, what is your official
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reaction to what we witnessed this morning? >> obviously i'm horrified. we do our best to make sure there are no surprising like this happening to americans at home or abroad. it's never 100% secure and we got the wake-up call again today. it is unbelievable that anybody would do an act like this basically using innocent victims aboard our commercial airliners as weapons against other innocent victims in our big buildings, our symbols of economy and commerce in new york and our defense and legislative and executive buildings here in washington. >> reporter: when people are watching this at home congressman, they're saying to themselves how could this happen in the united states of america. a complete breakdown in our airport security a complete breakdown in our airspace security over the pentagon. the center of our military command. how could something be this vulnerable? >> well, we are a free open democratic society and we take great pride in that. we pay a price for it. as you know if you've ever
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flown into washington national you fly right over the pentagon. many times we've commented on how vulnerable the building is for just that reason. that vulnerability was taken advantage of today. as for commercial airliners flying around new york in airspace there, obviously they fly near the trade towers. to be able to say that our airport security works 100% anybody who flies in america knows that's not true. you answer a very fuseew questions before you get on the plane and show a photo i.d. that doesn't mean that you can't do mayhem on the plane as we see from time to time. tragically, some type of an organization somewhere has orchestrated all of this in an effective fashion. we have great intelligence capabilities out there who keep us constantly on alert about these types of reports. i can tell you i know of no specific reporting of anything of this particular specificity on this day with these targets, but i can tell you that we are scrambling all the time to assess information that would do
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harm to the united states and its people. as we know we've seen our military installations subject to attack our embassy subject to attack before. we stop a lot, but obviously we don't get it all and we are just going to have to rethink how we do business in today's world and deal with these kinds of threats. >> based on your experience as an honored cia agent and now as a very highly respected chairman of the house intelligence committee, how many organizations, terrorist organizations in the world are capable of pulling off such a coordinated massive attack? >> i would say there's only a handful if we're not talking about state-sponsored terrorism. if you're talking state sponsored it could be more but i don't think we're dealing with state sponsored. i think we're dealing here with a loose network, a loose association of people who have the same goal which is an anti-united states goal, who found a way to get together and network and pull this thing off. part of the problem with
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terrorism is that one of the weapons of terrorism is confusion. one of the hopes now, of course of the terrorists who perpetrated this is that we will have lots of confusion in the united states and there will be rumors of other things happening and that will upset how we go about our business and our behavior and how our law enforcement people react and so forth. that's one thing to deal with. another thing to deal with as the president alluded to this morning in his very strong statement is we will respond. the very is against whom. we want to make very sure when we're dealing with innocent people who are victims of this that we respond appropriately and not provoke any other incidents that are unwarranted in the world but get the people who actually caused this to happen. that requires good information and obviously we're in the process of trying to get that information. >> reporter: but it may take some time to sort through all this find the finger prints and launch any retaliation.
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>> that is certainly true. one of the hallmarks we may need is patience these days. >> reporter: congressman porter goss, we thank you very much. we'll be contacting you throughout the day and we very much appreciate you joining us this morning. back to you, matt. >> tim thank you very much. we're going to talk to someone here in the studio in a second but tom, you have a phone number for people who were concerned about passengers on board the flights. >> american airlines has confirmed that two of its flights were hijacked. for people who want to know the number is 1-800-245-0999. united headquarters you may not be able to get through. is 845-700-5538. united has confirmed that one of its planes went down near pittsburgh. american has set that two of its planes were involved in the hijackings today, one from dulles and one from boston. >> apparently united airlines was involved right? >> i said that in pittsburgh. >> from newark en route to san francisco, is that right? >> yes. >> ron -- actually we want to go
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first to ashleigh banfield. >> we're giving out emergency numbers over the air waves. >> that's the only thing. >> i just wanted to ask you -- >> for emergency personnel, either law enforcement or medical. >> do you know anything about those extra explosions we heard? >> no i do not. >> were they car bombs? >> i have no idea ma'am. >> are you being told we'll have to move out of this area as well? >> i was not told anything relative to that. >> what about the sewers. >> all non-essential personnel, that's all i can tell you. >> obviously emergency workers are moving people out of that area. ronnin insana is here with us. you were downtown because you have soot and debris in your hair and on your jacket. what happened? >> one of the cameramen and i were trying to get across the street having driven down to cover the event for nbc. we were not terribly far from the world trade center building
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the south tower. as we were cutting across in a quarantined zone actually the building began to disintegrate. we started to see elements of the building come down. we ran and honestly it was like a scene out of "independence day." everything began to rain down. it was pitch black around us. i ducked around a corner got into a car which was open and it was nighttime for several minutes before things cleared up. >> was this the first tower that collapsed? >> this was the south to yourwer. as it was coming down -- what that looks like there was mild compared to what it was like at the center. it was pitch black for blocks. >> was it smoke as well as dust? >> it was smoke, it was dust i assume it was part of the building coming down just pieces of a disintegrating building coming down as well. >> obviously we're very concerned about the triage unit that was set up to help people trying to get out of the building ron, to help people who had been carried out of the building and who were being treated medically.
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were you close enough to survey the scene? >> i was about a half a block of the building as it started to come down. >> can you tell us what you saw? >> it was fairly clear. there were some areas along the street that did have blood and debris. there were no longer people in the area except for a couple of journalists and police officers who were quarantining -- containing the area so people wouldn't cut through. >> once it did begin to clear after that several minutes of pitch darkness what did you see in the streets then? >> it was a very deep gray smoke. it looked like a nuclear winter the type of things you see in the movies with ash all over the ground on top of the cars on police cars on windows. i made my way into a building and stayed there until a couple of police officers and a few of the people inside the building were able to get into a vehicle. we picked up a few injured people on the way and dropped them off at the hospital. >> what were their injuries? >> one policeman had a deep gash in his forehead. he was all right. he was clearly a bit shocked. the young lady had shrapnel in her arm. don't know what it was -- whether it was part of the
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building or glass from another building. >> was there a lot of peripheral damage to other buildings in the area? >> not really. >> when that building came down one would only imagine all the pieces of steel and concrete that came cascading down as well and hit other places. >> i imagine the collateral damage was enormous. we were probably two or three blocks away in a building where we hold up until we were fairly comfortable that it was safe to come out. but it was truly the most intense and frightening experience i've ever had in my life. it was literally pitch black on the streets and people were obviously inhaling a great deal of this material so there were many people having difficulty breathing. >> we're happy you're all right. >> we're glad you're okay. >> we have united airlines confirms that united flight 175 from boston to los angeles is down as well. no details yet. it's confirmed that flight 93 we believe from newark to san francisco, is down no details yet. that's the one that we think went down in the pittsburgh area. i wish that we could be more
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specific. the information is as you might expect pretty chaotic. but there have been at least four airliners that have been hijacked today. >> and, tom, there's going to be an awful lot of scrutiny on the security in boston at logan airport because it now appears that two of these flights originated there and somehow someone managed to get on these planes and hijack them. >> well this is -- this is an event -- ron, we're happy to see you. >> you have no idea how happy i am to be here. >> it is a relief. but then you think about the experiences of thousands of other people who are down there in the epicenter of all that and were there when it occurred. our hearts go out to them. we don't know what the numbers are yet. >> you hear about cardinal eagan delivers last rites. >> the magnitude will go on for some time. this is not just a national tragedy, but this is a national security event of an untold magnitude that this country will have to deal w the president is coming back and we are at war in effect here. this country has suffered a
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devastating attack that will cost us in the sense of loss of life. it will also cost us in terms of our psychological security that we have in this country. we're going to have t reo revisit a lot of our freedoms as a result of this kind of attack and then there's the whole question of retaliation. >> tom, this is an upsetting wire that just came across from the west bank. it says thousands of palestinians celebrated tuesdays terror attacks in the united states chanting "god is great" and distributing candy to passers-by even as their leader yasser arafat said he was horrified. the u.s. government has become unincreasingly less popular in the past year palestinians accusing washington of siding with israel. >> for those of you who think that events in far-off places like the middle east or afghanistan or the subcontinent or places in asia have no effect on us this is the answer today. this place remains an enormous
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target in the eyes of a lot of people and we are so vulnerable because of all those things that make us so great. our freedoms and our sense of security that we have. but america has been changed today by all of this. >> we want to go and find out more about what's being done for those who were injured in these attacks. leslie is with the american red cross. i believe she's joining us from washington. can you hear me? >> yes, i can, matt. >> tell me what kind of resources you have available to you to pour into these areas where obviously in lower manhattan and in washington, d.c. and outside pittsburgh? >> our chapters in the area are the first people on the scene in responding. unfortunately, probably now some of them are also victimized by the event. we're mobilizing 80,000 units of blood to transfer to the regions as needed. we are taking guidance from our emergency management personnel on what sachbs we can provide to them to make this response go smoothly. >> is there anything -- i know it's early after this has happened but is there anything that you can think of that
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people might be able to help you out with in terms of donating certain things? you mentioned blood and those things. >> well, we're asking people who are in other parts of the country who are blood donors or maybe not blood donors call and schedule an appointment so we can make sure the supply stays ready. our disaster volunteers will be responding. as tom mentioned earlier, this is going to be a long long spongs. the emotional trauma the emotional impact will be felt weeks, months into the future even years. so we're going to be working very hard at this for a long time. >> all right leslie with the american red cross. thanks very much. >> thank you. >> let's go now to kathleen zicci of new york university hospital which is about five minutes away from the world trade center where many of the victims have been brought. kathleen, i know we spoke to you about an hour or so ago. can you tell me what's going on in the hospital now? okay. apparently we're having some problems with kathleen and i'm
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sure it's as chaotic there as it was at st. vincent's where we heard from bob bazell that there was a line with cardinal eagan delivering last rites. first we want to go to andrea mitchell in washington. >> reporter: i've been told that the state department evacuation katie, was precautionary only. there was no car bomb as had at least been reported or rumored. not here on nbc but in any case that was precautionary only. there are still some officials there. they are being redeployed to another location in virginia. the cia is still operational, intelligence officials are still meeting at langley, but those officials have also evacuated the non-essential employees. the current working theory as you have been reporting and speculating, is that there was only one terror organization in this world that could coordinate this kind of event and that
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would be something operated by osama bin laden. intelligence officials say he is in afghanistan where he has been protected by the taliban and as we know the united states has warned the taliban government of afghanistan that if there were any attack against the united states, that they would hold afghanistan responsible. so we most likely will expect retaliation, military retaliation. i think right now the full focus of the u.s. government is on finding out how many other possible targets there might be how many vulnerabilities there might be making sure that there is no chemical or biological element out there. i spoke to a former secretary of defense, bill cohen and others who had been part of the anti-terror operation planning and they say that those are the first lines of defense, to make sure that there is not some other event, unexpected as this obviously was, that could make americans vulnerable. obviously this is the largest intelligence failure since pearl harbor. katie. >> andrea mitchell thank you.
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we'll check in again right now with kathleen from new york university hospital. kathleen, tell me what the scene is like at your hospital. >> well we're at nyu downtown hospital in lower manhattan. we have had a steady stream of patients coming through the doors since the first explosion occurred some hours ago. we have information at this point on three plus fatalities, plus because there may be additional fatalities that i have not yet been informed of. we have had a severe burn case one individual is an amputee, a serious neurosurgical injury whole range of injuries from both debris smoke inhalation respiratory issues related to smoke and debris from the collapse of the two buildings. >> so how many -- how many medical personnel, kathleen, do you have working there at nyu
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hospital? >> we have medical staff of 500 plus physicians. the entire medical staff has been mobilized, as has the nursing staff, and they are hard as possible. >> and tell me again, i know it's hard to estimate how many people you've seen so far. >> it's in the hundreds. our entire cafeteria has been transformed to a triage area and it is multiple people at the present time. >> all right. kathleen, thank you very much for that update. i'm sure we'll be checking back with you later on. thank you very much. >> katie, let's go to bob haeger. i think it's important we recount. a short while ago we were talking about four planes that were unaccounted for. seems now we know what happened to all those four planes, isn't it? >> that's it. there's no plane at the moment that we know of that's outstanding that's unaccounted for. now ntsb is able to match the particular flights to the particular accidents or acts of
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terrorism. so the two planes that hit the world trade center were both takeoffs from boston. one belonging to american airlines. it had been bound for los angeles. the other belonging to united airlines. it, too, was bound for los angeles. those are the two planes. the american airliner first, then the united plane, that went into the world trade center. the other two flights, the one that went into the pentagon was an american airlines flight bound from washington's dulles airport to los angeles. the plane that's down southeast of pittsburgh is a united flight. it had been bound from newark to san francisco. i heard one report that it was newark via washington national to san francisco, but i'm not sure of that. let me tell you the flight numbers. the boston takeoffs for american airlines flight 10, it had 92 aboard. that's one of the ones that hit the world -- >> bob, let me interrupt you. we've been reporting it was american airlines flight 11.
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>> i'm miss taketaken. you're right. it's flight 11 with 92 aboard. then the united airlines that left from boston and hit the other world trade center tower was united's 175. i don't have a figure of how many on board yet. the flight that went into the pentagon was american airlines flight 77 bound washington dulles to los angeles. there were 64 people aboard it. the united airlines flight that went down south of pittsburgh was united's flight 93. there's no number on the number of passengers on it. again, you have four flights known to have been hijacked known to have crashed. no flights at the moment that are outstanding that we know of. >> bob, that crash you just mentioned near pittsburgh i just want to say that is a united flight that was en route from newark to san francisco. is that accurate? >> that's what i have and i've heard it two ways. newark to san francisco. i heard one report there was an intermittent stop that it was to
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make at washington's reagan national, but that's not confirmed. >> yeah, you nited-- united is confirming that. a boeing 767 made an emergency landing at cleveland hopkins international because of concerns it may have a bomb on board. no confirmation. >> we also have -- just because i have a personal friend who was flying from kennedy to los angeles this morning, that plane was diverted to kansas city. apparently many planes that were en route to certain locations have made special emergency landings in the wake of this and because of concerns there may be more problems aboard more airplanes. >> and what happens unfortunately in situations like this is the terrorists themselves don't call in to say there's a bomb on board. you have twisted minds of other people who call in and say, by the way, there's a bomb on board that flight. it is chaos in the skies for those flights that were already in the air. other flights have been
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grounded. this country has been immobilized in terms of where its attention is now focused on new york city and washington, d.c. the tragedies in pittsburgh as well. no air travel no financial markets. all national monuments are being evacuated. president has been rushed back to washington, d.c. the pentagon has been attacked by an airliner in effect. on capitol hill code red. the speaker of the house was taken to a very secure area because he's third in line in succession to the president of the united states. we are, as we have been saying in a state of war with terrorism. >> the army has been placed at threat con delta. armed personnel will be guarding u.s. installations not only here in the united states but in other parts of the world. you're looking at the southern tip of manhattan island here in new york city. for so many years we've come accustomed to seeing the world trade centers standing there in the background behind the empire state building you see in the foreground. those two towers no longer stand
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after a terrorist attack this morning. nbc's pat dawson is close to the scene of that attack. pat? >> reporter: matt, if there is a war against terrorism, it started here at about quarter to 9:00 this morning as you described. a big hole in the skyline at the southern tip of manhattan island where the two world trade center towers have stood for the last 25 years. 110 stories high. they are no longer there. just moments ago i spoke to the chief of safety for the new york city fire department who is obviously one of the first people here on the scene after those two planes were crashed into the side we assume of the world trade center towers which used to be behind me over there. the chief told me he was here just literally 10 or 15 minutes after the events that took place this morning. that is the first crash. he said at one point he had
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roughly ten alarms that would equate to roughly 200 to 225 new york city firefighters who were in the building. this was after the crash, trying to rescue civilians who were in there. earlier this morning on the "today" show we spoke to the director of the world trade center. he said at that hour of the morning, you could have upwards of 10,000 people in each of those towers. that would be 20,000 people total in each tower. the chief of safety of the fire department of new york city said shortly after can the he had roughly 200 men in the building trying to effect rescues of some of those civilians in there. basically, he received word of the possibility of a secondary device. that is another bomb going off. he tried to get his men out as quickly as he could. he said there was another explosion which took place. then an hour after the first hit here, the first crash that took
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place, he said there was another explosion that took place in one of the towers here. so obviously according to his theory he thinks there were actually devices planted in the building. one of the secondary devices, he thinks, that took place after the initial impact was -- he thinks may have been on the plane that crashed into one of the towers. the second device he thinks he speculates, was probably planted in it the building. so that's what we have been told by the chief of safety for the new york city fire department. he told me that just moments ago. now, we are continues to hear explosions. we are continuing to hear explosions here downtown. what we've been told by some of the fire officials is there are some gas lines that occasionally are exploding down there because obviously, as you can imagine, there are a lot of open gas lines down in the southern part of manhattan where the world trade center towers used to be. as far as the situation right
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here basically what we have are hundreds of new york city firefighters and other new york city rescue units who are masked here. we are not sure to be honest if some rescue workers have tried to go beyond that point as yet. we spoke to the head of the port authority police. that would be the organization that is in charge of the world trade center building itself. the port authority police chief told us that they were at that point, about 40 minutes ago, about to make a decision on whether or not it was safe to send emergency workers back in there. but the bottom line is that according to the chief of safety of the new york city fire department, he says that he probably lost a great many men in those secondary explosions and he said there were literally hundreds if not thousands of people in those two towers when the explosions took place. he said everything above the 60th floor was extremely difficult to get to as you can
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imagine. >> pat dawson thanks very much. we have some videotape, i understand, that we're going to show you from the west bank. these are palestinian celebrations with the wake of tuesday's terror attacks in the united states. how apparently palestinians took to the streets chanting "god is great." people were distributing candy to passersby. the u.s. government obviously has become increasingly unpopular, particularly in the west bank and gaza strip because palestinians feel that the u.s. government has sided with israel. one man, wearing the long black dress, threw sweets in the air saying -- actually, that's a woman. pardon me. saying she was happy because, quote, america is the head of the snake, america always stands by israel in its war against us. meanwhile, yassir arafat shade,
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we are completely shocked, it's unbelievable. we completely condemn this very dangerous attack and i convey my condolences to the american people, to the american president, and to the american administration not only in my name but on behalf of the palestinian people. >> and this comes on a day, katie, in which obviously there's been a steady deterioration of the situation in the middle east but they were to meet today in the west bank. there has been some criticism of the bush administration for not getting more involved in the peacemaking efforts in the middle east in the past few weeks from within the republican party as well. >> because it has gotten increasingly volatile. >> it has. there's been a steady escalation of violence incursions by israelis in the palestinian towns declaring martial law and pulling back. everyone thought the bomb was

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