tv MSNBC News Live MSNBC September 11, 2009 11:00am-12:00pm EDT
believe, tom, have been evacuated and closed. >> california state put on highest alert and on tactical alert in los angeles and department of energy nuclear weapons put on heightened security. >> it is now coming up on 10:59 east coast time. give awe recap what we've seen in 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, about 50 or 60 doctors and nurses standing by in scrubs. the entire entrance to the emergency room lined with stretchers covered in white sheets. doctors say the victims mostly had burns. >> of course, they are being treated in a number of area hospitals, including st. vincents and nyu. downtown is about five minutes away as spokesperson told us earlier, they've had a lot of experience dealing with problems at the world trade center from
that february terrorist bombing in 1993. and, obviously, they have all been mobilized and wrj emergency crews working feverishly outside the world trade center. >> you are looking at a live picture of lower manhattan. at 11:00 east coast time at a time 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 before 9:00 a.m. and just after 9:00, two planes, an individual attacks, struck each tower of the world trade center. causing gaping holes in both towers. you're looking at a tape now 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 shoate time after that that the towers collapsed. and then there was an attack in washington, d.c. we now have confirmed reports of a plane that 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 by the way, 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 has been that attack on
the pentagon. that has been evacuated. the white house has been evacuated and emergency 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. in fact, 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 burned victims brought to various hospitals. both twin trade tower centers have collapsed to the ground. that is 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 left out a piece of information. we know for a thacket fact that one of these planes that was crashed into the world trade center was hijacked from boston this morning. it was american airlines flight 11 en route from boston to los angeles. we had reports it had been converted to jfk and a short time later, perhaps while
feinting a landing at jfk it veered into the world trade center. >> all airports have been stopped and planes departing in terms of planes en route, unclear if they've made emergency landings or reaching their financing destinations. the white house has been evacuated, the state department and cia has been evacuated. of course, many buildings in manhattan and 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 shag it's shocking and appalling. >> we should mention in february of 1993 was when that bomb went off in the garage of the world trade center, killing six people and injuring a thousand people. and that, of course, was an unbelievable scene but compared to this, this seems -- that
seems minor. let's go to bob haggard who has some information for us. bob? >> i was just thinking as you commented there about the various planes involved. the one that we know of so far because it's confirmed by american airlines is that that flight 11 which had been scheduled from boston's logan airport to los angeles, that flight 11 was my jacked this morning and -- was hijacked this morning and it is assumed that is maybe 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 eyewitnesses accounts 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 or 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. >> bob? >> faa -- faa is now confirming 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. 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're going to replay a tape of the second attack on the world trade centers in slow mo. there is the plane. a large airline type plane. and now the collision. flown deliberately into the second one. >> they say several, bob, do
they give you any indication of what they are talking about some. >> well, the description that i had and it was passed on to me a moment ago. i wasn't talking personally to the faa person but several was the account i had. >> bob, american airlines flight 11 out of boston, do we know exactly what kind of plane that was and perhaps how many people were on board? >> 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. right now, it's very important to worry about rumors and so forth. i'd like to hear some more confirmation that a plane really has crashed into pennsylvania since the faa hasn't confirmed that. i think someone needs to be careful here in this chaotic situation. >> we have a report here that osama bin laden who soven identified as often identified as the world treated leading terrorists warned three weeks he and his followers would carry
out unprecedented attack on u.s. >> ab dull bariot, owner of a london newspaper said fundamentalists led by bin laden was almost certainly behind the attack the world trade center in new york. quote, it's most likely the work of islamic fundamentalists. osama bin laden warned three weeks ago he would attack u.s. in a very big unpress attacked he told reuters. >> he has interviewed osama bin laden and maintains close contact to his contacts according to reuters so that is the first report wraef had osama bin laden may have been responsible. obviously, it was a sophisticated organization carefully coordinated. it had to have its origins in this country. louie freeh, the fbi director, as he left office, said his continuing great concern was the number of terror cells that exist in america, not just some
shadowy enclave but they have taken en route in this country because it's so easy to get here. >> liter talk about osama bin laden because he was associated with the 1993 world trade center bombing. laes talk with him -- let's talk about him. >> he is from saudi arabia originally. he is wealthy. is very sophisticated in terms of using the new technology. we believe 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 zell of great dark passion and most of it directed to the united states. >> brian jenkins our terror expert is on the phone. tell us more about osama bin laden and if you think he might
have in fact, carried out this kind of well-orchestrated horrific attack on the united states. >> certainly. he would have to be included in any very, very short list of suspects but it is -- it is premature to be able to say with any confidence who might be responsible and something like this. i mean, we know what has happened, we know where it has happened and when it was happened and who and why it takes it a bit longer to figure out. i have no doubt that we will ultimately be able to identify who is responsible. but until that time, we can only speculate. >> brian, in an attack of this magnitude so carefully coordinated and executed with such cold blooded efficiency it had to, obviously, be a sophisticated organization. >> while organization in terrorism in recent years become more fluid that is we are not dealing with the identifiable
terrorist organization that we dealt with in the 1970s and 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 and coordination involved and this 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 haggard of nbc. we were talking, bob -- aernl apparently we don't have bob. jim is a former director of the fbi's new york office. we talked about the fact that sooner later we will know who did this but where does law enforcement start? obviously, we know that in several cases, we're talking about the plane as the weapon so to speak but where do we start to track who is responsible? >> well, someone said this is
unprecedented. law enforcement will start at the base of intelligence which they have and always have. that is the argument in the country. we have a very short memory in the united states and maybe that's good and maybe it's bad. but that's why we need effective law enforcement, although in a free society, as brian jenkins points out and i agree with him totally, it's very, very difficult to stop things like this. i mean, the first goal would have been to stop this horrific, 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 target the investigation tomorrow morning where would you begin with the man that hijacked the american airline flight? >> i probably would have a hundred courses of action taken simultaneously. i'm sure that is what is going on as we speak.
it's a bit chaos. i just looked at the twa tragedy and why we responded the way we did. we were a heightened threat for terrorism and it sure 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 are trying to obviously, not let something happen again in the next ten minutes, the next hour, the next two hours. so that is on the mind of public safety officials in washington and local. 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, you know, work standpoint but people landed on major airports every day undocumented. so it's extremely difficult, as brian pointed out earlier, the terrorist cells are very insulated from each other and no
particular hierarchy like in the mafia but put a wirepap -- wiretap in the top and know what is going on. that is not the case here. we know there is tremendous hatred. they blew up the world trade center and tried to bring the world trade center down and they've blown up many, many other government symbols and ramzi tried to blow up other -- >> sorry to interrupt. we want to go down to pat dawson who is talking to an official. >> katie, forgive me. we are trying to get as you -- joe, go ahead, put the microphone on there. this is a very difficult situation here. we are here with a couple of guests who can give us at least some insight into what is going on there. this is chief william hall, the port authority police of new york. as we told you before they have jurisdiction over the trade center. and also allen rice who is the
director of the world trade center. gentlemen, stand like that. first of all, chief do we have any idea of how many people are in there? >> we have no idea. i do know it's pretty much rush hour time this took place this morning. the numbers, 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, an hour and 15 minutes between that and the point when the south tower collapsed? >> give or take. >> how many people were you able to get out? >> we don't know. the police department best they could tried to get everybody out. but as you know, there were people still coming out after that building came down. >> do you have any idea how many people would normally be in the building at 8:30? >> 10,000 people in each tower. 10,000 people in each tower typically be there on a normal business day and another 5,000 visitors during the course of
the entire day. so about 8:30, 9:00 the building should have been full. >> so another -- in other words, by 8:30 to 9:00 you figure the building would have been approaching full capacity with the workers? so we are talking about roughly 10 thousand people? >> per tower. >> at this point, obviously, you got a situation with these towers having collapsed that is bordering on chaotic. what are you doing at this moment? what is the first challenge? i see emergency workers try to go in there after the first couple of crashes and running back out. what are you trying to do now? >> i guess the next step is between the chief and myself and our staff is test the condition and determine whether it's safe or not to send personnel into the building to continue looking and evacuating people. >> are there any emergency workers in there now? >> we don't know that. >> we don't know. >> if they were in there now, presumably they would have been trapped in there from the early -- >> it's possible. from what we saw happen here, very much so.
we were trapped ourselves in the building of the basement. we were in the building collapsed when we came out of that. but yes. >> you were in the basement of the south tower? >> no, in the basement of a building -- >> i was in building 5. we had to dig out wear out. >> you dug your way out? >> right. >> what was that like? >> scary. >> ska scary but you learn not to panic. >> what was -- what do you do right now to try to get to those people? how long before you get to those people? >> we have to wait and make the building safe. we are our engineers here and fire department here and make the building safe and send in rescue teams. we are breaking the teams up and they are ready to go. once the building is declared safe. >> how soob soon before they are back in here? >> try to do it now and i hope soon. >> any part of the building still standing down there? >> i can't see either. what you see. i don't know. >> you don't know how much of the building is left? >> no. we are going down now to assess the situation. >> we understand you have
emergency work to do and appreciate you taking the time out. that is the latest report we have at this point from those who are in charge of building speaking to the director of the world trade center and also the chief of the 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. the sequence of extraordinary tragedies castastrophes. first two crashes and then in sequence one tower of the building coming down and another tower of the building coming down. obviously, first order of business is to try to organize themselves and to go back in there and in a way that doesn't endanger more emergency workers because i can tell you based on what i've seen a number of emergency workers put in harm's way morning, they had to be. the toll has to be extraordinary. >> thank you, pat. first numbers we've had this morning. they think 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 injuries or worse when the building did come down. this is tantamount to war. you're looking at the lower end of manhattan. a plane attacked the pentagon this morning as well. there is a report of a hijacked plane that went down near pittsburgh. nbc's robert hagger is tracking this through the faa through us. robert? >> there is more information on the unconfirmed hijacking we know of and that is that american airlines flight number 11 was a 767 and took off from boston logan this morning and was to go to los angeles. american airlines confirmed it was hijacked. we have first numbers on how many were on board. 58 passengers and a crew of 11. so 69 people on that flight. that is 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 to -- that crashed into the
pentagon area, those are unknown flights. the pennsylvania crash which is still not the faa, but 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 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 quoted as saying there were four flights that were hijacked altogether. we know about american 11. i'm not going to mention the names of the carrier or the numbers on the others. are you getting any kind of detail like that at the faa? >> no. faa is not getting into that kind of detail. i said several planes a moment ago planes were still in the air. i'm getting it secondhand. 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 those other buildings. it does not necessarily imply there are still planes in the air. 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 into canada but canada allowing no takeoffs and not taking inbound flights from other places other than planes bound for the u.s. >> we get word from american ails that it had two aircraft in this tragedy. flight 77 they are saying bowing 757 operating from washington dulles to l.a. with 58 passengers and four flight attendants and two pilots. that is from one of our guys in
the dulles area from american airlines. >> now we know the identity of two of the flights involved in today's incidents and that leaves at least one more and the report of the crash in pittsburgh, if that is accurate, that leaves two more that we don't have identified yet but it gives us those two that you mentioned. >> it could have been both planes could have been into the twin trade towers because it was plainly two airliners that went into the twin trade towers as we looked at the tape. >> are you listening to me? they say a bomb in the school here. i was told by firefighters. >> pat dawson, let's go to you in lower manhattan. you have report of another bomb? >> tom, we just have been told we're being evacuated. you can see the emergency workers walking north. we have told by firefighters a report of a bomb in this building. this is a high school here and you can see they are moving everybody away from this building. they've said there is a bomb in the building. they are evacuating us north now. that is according to
firefighters on the scene and we're going to move out of here right now. just to keep ourselves safe. so we're going to start walking north ourselves. but that is what we're being told by new york city firefighters here that there reports of a bomb in that high school there. and so we are walking north to get out of the way. you can see just to my left here these -- even the ambulances which were down there are being moved north. firefighters are being moved north. everybody is being moved north. we're asked by the police now to go north and get out of the way. officer? >> report of a secondary device possibly in the area of this school so they are moving everybody back as a precaution. >> meaning a bomb? >> possible. >> where did that report come in? >> over our radios and reported to our supervisors on down and pulling everybody back. >> that is in that high school there? >> yes. >> thank you, officer. that is the fer of the new york city emergency service. >> pat, that school has been evacuated? >> 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 event took place early this morning just because of the fact it's so close to the world trade center. most of these buildings around here have been evacuate 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 -- anybody here at 8:45 were probably moved out within moments after this 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, thank you very much. big story is how many planes were hijacked. a report there could have been is am is four. we know two planes were involved here at the twin trade towers and a report of a plane down north of pittsburgh and another kind of plane went into the pentagon but still could 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 are headed. unconfirmed reports of them. we can only tell you that american 11 and american 77 have been identified by american airlines two of the planes involved in the incidents today. >> hijackings are scattered somewhat around a fairly wide area and we have to remember two planes did arrive at the world trade center within 18 or 20 minutes of each other to again point out the coordination of this attack. we're going down to nbc's tim 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 as possible. tim? >> i can hear you now. can you hear me? >> yes. give us your information. >> i've been speaking to the chairman of the house intelligence committee porter goss and we are trying to get him on the telephone here 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 line of command of our national leadership. congressman porter goss, the head of the intelligence committee, also said this extremely well coordinated attack could only be done by very few people, very few organizations. and that because of the magnitude of it, it will be relatively easy to, quote, see their fingerprints. then we as a nation are going to have to make a very decisive retag tall yags as soon as we are able to identify exactly who this was. mr. goss said he is, obviously, never anything quite like this and as it plays out, perhaps more to come and he will join us shortly here so we 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 back to the nation's capital. is it your understanding he has
arrived yet or do you know his whereabouts at this point? >> katie, i do not know that but i do know while the white house has been evacuated, the situation room continues. people in the white house doing their jobs and so at the pentagon. in the nerve centers of both of those facilities are highest ranking officials are, obviously, monitoring the situation and making a determination 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, obviously, for the president in case of a nuclear attack in the past in the mountains of virginia not too far from washington by helicopter ride. any indication the president may have to go to one of those facilities? >> we have not heard that, tom. i asked that question and the response was we're not going there meaning responding to my question, not necessarily traveling there but they, obviously, are on the highest state of alert and understanding the magnitude of this and understand the american people are waiting and watching for a
response from washington other than what the president gave in florida. as you might expect, even our most sophisticated communications 2001 era, it is still extremely difficult trying to get any kind of information. the cell phones are down. many of the hard lines are down. but i've 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 capital was evacuated along with other major monday wants and monuments and major government buildings in washington, d.c. where are people, members of congress right now? have they assembled anywhere and where are they and what are they doing? >> after the word of the explosion at the world trade center, congress said a prayer and recessed and many headed
home. they were, obviously, going to look forward to a difficult week in washington dealing with the economy. i'm told porter goss is on the telephone now with me. congressman, can you hear me? congressman goss, can you hear me? we will continue to effort that, katie. 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 meng mentioned speaker hastert is in a secure place and be in constant communication with the president and vice president being the third member in hierarchy. >> tim in washington, thank you very much. when you get porter goss on the phone, maybe you can give us more information. >> ashleigh banfield is standing by with people inside the buildings or near the buildings when those planes hit. ashleigh? >> hi. i am about twon 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 heard one more explosion, that's about the fourth one we've heard. the police are telling us they are either car bombs or they are simply cars overheated so much they are exploding but every time one of those happens there is a flurry of activity and more emergency vehicles that come down here. i don't know if you can shoot past me in that spot. . that was the cloud we were in 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 security from the world trade center area. i want to show you something if i can. i'm using a cell phone so i can hear you because no cell lines coming out of manhattan at the time. zero in on here.
this is the debris we're seeing all over the ground. one world trade center is the address. >> ovenls we're having technical problems with ashleigh banfield on the ground near the world trade center about five blocks away. >> here is the first confirmation from united airlines confirmed one of its flights crashed in pittsburgh area flight 93 boeing 757 and originating in newark and bound for san francisco. no information on how many were on board 757 carries a lot of folks. anyone who has flown from newark to san francisco knows most of those flights carry a full load. >> so this now 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 on board and now the united flight you just mentioned, tom. you can say, we have to say the number of passengers was relatively low on those first
flights and we can only hope this united flight was not a full flight. >> there was a collapse not just of intelligence but of 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 small and virtually undetectible which is another major problem for airport security. we're going to bob who is at st. vincent's hospital. obviously, we're 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? >> katie, the wounded are starting to come in and with great regularity now. almost 30 seconds an ambulance pulls up and some badly burned
and some are dead. i've seen several dead bodies go in. cardinal egan is standing out on the street giving last rights. saying may god help us many times over. a call-out for blood from all of the new york city hospitals. people lining up around the block and responding in enormous numbers to that. new york has been surreal on the streets because all of the subways and commuter lines and bridges and tunnels have been shut down so many people who are not injured are wandering around aimlessly. in the hospitals, there's so many injured coming in now that they have run out of gurneys and they brought every office chair that they have down and put sheets over that to carry people in. enormous amount of work for all of the staff. people have come in, everybody who is off has been coming in and calls have gone out for specialists for plastic surgeons and 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 and the rest of manhattan because a lot of our major hospitals are well north of that. atlantic hill and columbia presbyterian and new york cornell. we are in a tomb here in mid-town in the stued studios. >> i had trouble hearing you, tom. there is a system in place where triaging people in lower manhattan and they are putting sometimes tags around their neck to show people you see wandering up from lower manhattan have only slight injuried 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 is is one of the closest with a major trauma center but every hospital is on alert and every hospital is taking in what is becoming sea of patients. >> bob, thank you very much. back to washington and tim russert who has porter goss on the phone, the head of the house intelligence committee. >> congressman, are you here?
>> i'm here. >> as chairman of the intelligence house committee what is your official reaction to what we witnessed this morning? >> i'm horrified. we do our best there are no surprises like this happening to americans at home or abroad. it's never a hundred percent sure 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 and symbols of economy and commerce in new york. and our defense and legislative and executive buildings here in washington. >> when people are watching this at home, congressman, they are saying to themselves how could this happen in the united states of america? a complete break down in our airport security. a complete break down in our air space security. over the pentagon the center of our military command. how could something be this vulnerable? >> we are a free, open democratic society and we take great pride in that.
we pay a price for it. we, as you know, if you've ever flown into washington national or washington reagan airport you fly over the pentagon and many times we've commented how vulnerable the building is for that reason. that vulnerability was taken advantage of today. as for commercial airliners flying around new york they fly near the trade towers. to say our airport security works a hundred percent anybody who flies in america knows that is not true. you answer a few questions before you get on the plane and show a photo i.d. and that doesn't mean you can't do mayhem on the plane as we see from time to time and tragically, some kind of an organization somewhere has orchestrated 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 anything of this particular specifity on this day with these targets but i can tell you that we are
scrambling all the time to assess information that would do harm to the united states and its people and as we know, we've seen our military installations subject to attack and embassies subject to attack. before we stop a lot but, obviously, we don't get it all and we are 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 honorable cia agent and 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 is only a handful if we're not talking about state sponsored terrorism. if you're talking state sponsored and it could be more but i don't think we're dealing with that. i think we're dealing with a loose network, a loose association of people who have the same goal which is anti-united states goal who have found a way to get together and network and pull this thing off.
part of the problem with terrorism is that one of the weapons of terrorism is confusion and one of the hopes now of course, as a terrorist 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. one thing to deal with ian at thing to deal with as president eluded to this morning in a strong statement is we will respond. the question is against whom? and if we want to make absolutely sure when we're dealing with asymmetrical war fare like this and victims of this that we respond appropriately and not provoke any other incidents -- but get the people who actually caused this to happen and that requires good information and, obviously, we're in the process of trying to get that information. >> but it may take some time to sort through this and find the
fingerprints and launch any kind of retaliation. >> that is certainly true. one of the hall marks we may need is patience these days. >> congressman porter goss chairman of the house intelligence committee thank you very much and we will contact you throughout the day and appreciate your joining us this morning. >> thank you. my prayers to the others. >> matt? >> thank you very much, tim. we will talk to someone in the studio in a second but, tom, have you a phone number for people concerned. >> american airlines confirmed that two of its flights were hijacked and people who want to nope the number is 1-800-245-0999. united headquarters you may not be able to get through but it's 847-70055538 and united confirmed one of its planes went down near pittsburgh. american said two of its planes involved in the hijackings today one from dulles and one from boston. >> united airlines was involved. >> i said that right.
>> from newark en route to -- is that right? >> yes. >> we want to go -- >> downtown again. no. ashleigh banfield. >> over the air waives. we're doing that now. >> yes. the only thing. >> i just wanted to ask you -- >> for emergency personnel law enforcement or medical. >> do you know anything about those extra explosions we heard? >> no. >> were they car bombs? >> i do not. >> are you told we have to move out of this area? >> no. >> are they looking for bombs in sewers? >> all nonessential personnel is what i can tell you. >> obviously, emergency workers moving people out of that area. ron you work downtown at some point because we see you have basically soot and debris in your hair and on your jacketed. what happened? >> one of the cameramen and i were trying to get across the street to driven down to cover
the event for nns. we were not terribly far from the world trade center, the south tower. as we were cutting across in a quarantined zone actually the building began to disintegrate and we heard it and looked up and started to see elements of the building come down and we ran and it was like a seen out of "independence day." everything began to rain down and pitch black around us as winds were whipping through lower manhattan. i ducked around a corner and got into a car which was with open and it was nighttime for several minutes before things cleared up up. >> was the first tower? >> i believe it was the south tower. as it was coming down, what -- that looks like there is mild compared to what it was like to be at the center. it was pitch black for blocks. >> smoke and dust? >> smoke, dust, i assume part of the building come down and pieces of disintegrating building coming down as well. >> we are concerned about the triage unit set there to help people trying to get out of the building, ron, to help people
who are already been carried out of the building and who were being treated medically. were you close enough to survey the scene. >> i was about a half of block of the building as it started to come down. >> what did you see? >> it was fairly clear. some areas along the street had blood and debris. no longer people in the area except for a couple of journalists and police officers who were quarantines -- containing the area so people wouldn't cut through. >> once it began to clear after the several minutes of pitch darkness what did you see? >> it was deep gray smoke. it looked like a nuclear winter the type of thing in the movies with ash all over the ground and on top of cars and police cars and windows. i made may way into ableg one light i could see and stayed there until a couple of police officers and a few of the people in the building were able to get into a vehicle and we picked up a few people and dropped them off to the hospital. >> what were injuries? >> one had a deep gash in his forehead. he was shocked and young lady
had slap nell shrapnel in her arm. >> was there a lot of peripheral damage to other buildings? >> not really. >> in the area? because when that building came down, one would only imagine the pieces of steel and concrete that came cascading down as well and hit other places. >> i imagine the collateral damage was enormous but we were probably two or three blocks away where we holed up until we felt it was safe to come out. but it was truly the most intense and frightening experience i've ever had into my life. it was literally pitch black on the streets and people were, you know, obviously, inhaling this material and difficulty breathing and wearing facial masks. >> 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 san francisco is down.
no details yet. that is the one we think went down in the pittsburgh area. i wish that we could be more specific. the information is, as you might expect, pretty chaotic but there have been at least four airliners that have been hijacked today. >> tom, there is going to be a lot of scrutiny on the security in logan airport because at least two flights originated there and somehow someone got on the planes and hijacked them. >> this is an event, ron, we're happy to see you. >> thank you. you have no idea how happy i am to be here. >> at relief but you think about the experiences of thousands of other people who are down there in the epi center 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 egan delivering last rights outside the hospital. >> this is the magazine into magnitude willing on some time. this is a national security event of untold magnitude this
country has to deal with. the president is coming back and we are at war. in fact, this country has suffered a devastating attack that will cost us in the sense in the loss of life and also cost us in terms of our psychological security we have in our country and we have to revisit a lot of our freedoms as a result of this kind of attack and then of course is the whole question of retaliation. >> this is upsetting wire that just came across from the west bank. it says thousands of palestinians celebrated tuesday's terror attacks in the united states chanting god is great and distributing candy to passers-by even as their leaderer air a a arafat said he was horrified. israeli palestinians fighting with many palestinians accusing washington of siding with israel. >> for those of you who think that events in far off places like in the middle east or afghanistan or in the subcontinent or in places in
asia have no effect on us, this is the answer today. this place remains an enormous 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 find out more what is being done for those who were injured in these attacks. leslie is with the american red cross. i believe she is joining us from washington. miss van zandt can you hear me? >> i can. >> what resources do you have available to you to pour into the areas here in washington, d.c. and new york city and outside pittsburgh. >> we have volunteers and they are the first people on the scene and responding. unfortunately probably now some of them are also victimized by the events. we are mobilizing 80,000 units of blood to transfer to regions as needed. and we are taking guidance from emergency management personnel on what assistance we can provide to them to make this , you know, response go smoothly.
>> is there anything that -- i know it's early after this has happened but is there anything you can think of that people might be able to pep ehelp you out with in 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, maybe call and schedule an appointment so we make sure the supplies are ready. disaster volunteers and mental health volunteers are going to be responding as tom mentioned this is going to be a long response. the emotion trauma and emotional impact is going to be felt weeks, months into the feature and even years. so we're going to be working very hard at this for a long time. >> leslie van zandt with the american red cross, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> now to kathleen of new york university hospital. that is about five minutes away from the world trade center where many of the victims have been brought. i know we spoke to you an hour or so ago, kathleen. can you tell me what is going on in the hospital now?
okay. apparently we're having problems with kathleen and i'm sure it's chaotic there as st. vincents where we heard a moment ago a line with cardinal egan outside delivering last rights. we will try to touch base with kathleen in a moment. andrea mitchell? >> i've been told the state department evacuation was precautionary only. no car bomb at least had been reported or rumored not here on nbc but precautionary only. some officials now there being redeployed to another location in virginia. the cia is still operational and they are meeting at langley but those officials have also evacuated the nonessential employees. the current working theory as you have been reporting and speculatizing that there was only one terror organization in
this world that could coordinate this kind of event and that 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 attacks against the united states, that they would hold afghanistan responsible so we most likely will expect retaliation. military retaliation. but i think right now the full focus of the u.s. government is finding out how many other possible targets there might be and how many vulnerabilities there might be making sure there is no chemical or biological element out there. i spoke to former secretary of defense bill cohen and others who have 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. >> andrea, thank you. we will check in with kathleen of new york university hospital. tell me what the scene is like at your hospital. >> we're at nyu downtown hospital in lower manhattan. and we have had a steady stream of patients coming through the door 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 severe burn case, one individual, amputee and neurosurgical injury and and whole range from debris and smoke inhalation and respiratory issues related to smoke and debris from the collapse of the two buildings. >> so how many medical personnel
do you have working there at nyu hospital? >> we have medical staff of 500 plus physicians. the entire medical staff has been mobilized, as has the nursing staff and they are working as hard as is possible to work. >> to work. >> tell me again, kathleen, i know it's hard to estimate how many people you have seen so far? >> it's in the hundreds. our entire cafeteria has been transformed to a triage area, and it is wall-to-wall people at the present time. >> kathleen, thank you very much for that update. i'm sure we will be checking back with you a little bit later on. thank you very much. let's go to nbc's bob hager. i think it's important we recount -- a short while ago we were talking about four planes that were unaccounted for. it seems now we know what happened to all of 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 and now ntsb is able to
match the particular flights to the particular accidents or acts of terrorism, so the two planes that hit the world trade center were both takeoffs from boston. one belonging to american airlines, and it had been bound for los angeles. the other belonging to united airlines. it, too, bound for los angeles. those are the two planes, american airliner first and then the united plane that went into the world trade center. the other two flights, that one that went into the pentagon was an american airlines flight bound from washington's dulles airport to los angeles, and 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 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 were american airlines flight 10. it had 92 aboard. that's one of the ones that hit the world trade center. >> let me just interrupt you for
a second. we have been reporting all morning it was american airlines flight 11. >> you know, i'm mistaken. you're right. it's 11. american flight 11 with 92 aboard. and 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 on how many on board it. the flight that went into the pentagon was american airlines flight 77, bound washington-dulles to los angeles. there were 64 people aboard it and the united airlines flight that went down south of pittsburgh was united's flight 93 and there's no number on the number of passengers on it. but, again, you have four flights known to have been hijacked, known to have crashed, and no flights at the moment that are outstanding that we know of. >> bob, that crash that you just mentioned near pittsburgh, i just want to say that that is a united flight that was on route from newark to san francisco. is that accurate? >> that's what i have. and i have heard it two ways,
newark to san francisco. i heard one report that there was an intermittent stop, that it was to make at washington's reagan national but that's not confirmed. >> united is now confirming that apparently, robert. we also have a report from the mayor of cleveland, michael white, saying a boeing 767 out of boston made an emergency landing at cleveland hopkins international airport because of concerns it may have a bomb on board but no confirmation. >> we also have just because i have a personal friend who was flying from kennedy to los angeles this morning, that, that plane was diverted to kansas city. so apparently many planes that were on route to certain locations have made special emergency landings in the wake of this, and because of concerns that there may be more problems aboard certain airplanes. >> and what happens, unfortunately in situations like this, the terrorists themselves don't call in to say there's a bomb on board. you have the twisted minds of other people who call in and say, by the way, there's a bomb on board that flight.
so it is chaos in the skies for those flights that were already in the air. other flights have been grounded. this country has been immobilized in terms of where its attention now is 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. the president has been rushed back to washington, d.c. the pentagon has been attacked by an airliner in effect and on capitol hill, code red. the speaker of the house was taken to a very secure area because he's third in line for success to the president of the united states. we are, as we have been saying this morning, in a state of war with terrorism. >> and as a result of army has been placed at threat con delta. that means that armed personnel will be guarding u.s. insta lakes 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. and for so many years we have come accustom to seeing the
world trade center standing there in the background behind the empire state building that you see in the foreground. those two towers no longer stand after a terrorist attack this morning. nbc's pat dawson is close to the scene of that attack. pat? >> that's right. >> can you hear me? >> yes, i can, matt. if there was a war, a war against terrorism that started rather ongoing right now, it started here at about quarter to 9:00 this morning as you describe, a big hole in the sky line, southern tip of manhattan, where the two world trade center towers 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. chief albert terry 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 that at one point he had 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 that at that hour of the morning, you can have upwards of 10,000 people in each of those towers. that would be 20,000 people total in each tower. the chief safety of the fire department of new york city told me that shortly after 9:00, he had roughly ten alarms, roughly 200 men in the buildings, trying to affect rescues of some of the civilians in there and 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 but he said that there was another explosion which took place.
and then an hour after the first hit here, the first crash that took 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 that were plan the ed in the building. one of the secondary devices that he thinks took place after the initial impact, 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 the building. so that's what we have been told by albert terry, who is the chief of safety for the new york city fire department. he told me that just moments ago. we are continuing to hear explosions. we are continuing to hear explosions here downtown, and what we have 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 here, basically what we have are hundreds of new york city firefighters and other new york city rescue units who are amassed here. there is a cordoned off area down there. we are not sure to be honest if some rescue workers have tried to go beyond that point as yet. when we spoke to the head of the port authority police, that would be the -- 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 i'd say 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 that there were literally hundreds, if not thousands, of people in those two towers when the explosions