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The Triumph of the Official Narrative:
How the TV Networks Hid the Twin Towers’ Explosive Demolition on 9/11

Ted Walter and Graeme MacQueen
Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, 8 Sep 2022
This file is divided into 3 parts. Part One is the Main Body.
Part Two is Appendix A and Part Three is Appendix B.

Appendix B: Brief Osama bin Laden Discussions

Note: For guests who were current or former dignitaries, their highest title is given below.

Fox News

9:03 AM: Jon Scott, anchor

Scott: “Given what has been going on around the world, um, some of the key suspects come to mind — Osama bin Laden...who knows what?”

[Osama bin Laden’s name is given at 9:03 AM, approximately 42 seconds after the airplane strikes the South Tower. Scott offers no reason or evidence.]

9:32 AM: Rita Cosby, correspondent

Cosby: “Jon, I’ve just been told from a U.S. law enforcement official that, they are saying it is evident that this is a terrorist-related attack and among the key targets, key people they’re looking at, is Osama bin Laden.”

[Reason given:] “It was just last Friday that the U.S. State Department put out a world-wide caution to American citizens traveling abroad, and also to U.S. government facilities, and they said that terrorism knows no limits, whether it’s on U.S. soil or outside....they [State Department] were not aware of any specific threat of the targeting of the Twin Towers, but they did have specific threats against Americans and American facilities around the world and that’s why they issued the worldwide caution.”

9:33 AM: Rita Cosby, correspondent

Cosby: “But they are definitely looking at this as a terrorist-related act, looking, at this point, not knowing who is behind it, but looking at the strong possibility that it may be Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the East African embassy bombings several years ago.”

9:34 AM: Jon Scott, anchor, and Bill Daley, guest (former FBI investigator)

Scott: “Bill, I know that Osama bin Laden likes airplanes. And, again, um, we are not attributing this act to his organization, but he was implicated in a plot to blow up something like 13 airliners in 13 days, or eight in eight days...was that back in the Philippines, back in the 1980s, I believe.”

Daley: “Exactly.”

Scott: “Um...airplanes have been his terrorist weapon of choice in the past.”

Daley: “They have because they hold, for someone like a bin Laden, or other terrorists...the fact that you could take a plane and with just the number of people on the plane commit such a horrendous act at one time makes an impact to the world.

10:21 AM: David Shuster, correspondent

Shuster: “Now we have, Jon, from, ah, from sources, intelligence sources, what may be a claim of responsibility here. Now, I want to caution you before I note this that at times like these all sorts of claims are made. So this needs to be treated with some caution. But some intelligence sources are now saying that the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine is claiming credit. In the meantime, however, the Israeli government is said by sources to believe that Osama bin Laden is responsible for the operation and those two organizations are related but they are not exactly the same.”

10:25 AM: Alexander Haig, guest (former U.S. Secretary of State)

Haig: “We have to be reasonably assured that those we are moving against are the perpetrators and I think we know where to center our look. All we have to do is look at the world today with the Palestinian and bin Laden groups.”

10:49 AM: Bill Daley [apparently], guest (former FBI investigator)

Daley: “Clearly, some terrorist experts that I’ve spoken to this morning say this has the signature of Osama bin Laden. That he has had pilots...on his payroll." He goes on to say that three of the “alleged conspirators” involved in the East Africa bombings trial in New York had pilot’s licenses.”

11:05 AM: Eric [Unknown Last Name], guest, and Bill Daley, guest (former FBI investigator)

Eric [Unknown Last Name]: “Did they shoot the pilots and then jump in the seats? What happened? Osama bin Laden, sources have told me, has had pilots on his payroll. We have three pilots that were accused of being conspirators in the East African embassy bombing trial here in New York City...”

[The anchor informs us that Daley was formerly an investigator for the FBI.]

Daley: “As Eric just mentioned, there may have been some involvement of groups like Osama bin Laden or others...”

11:16 AM: Jon Scott, anchor, and unknown speaker

Scott: “In the meantime, an Arabic newspaper — a fairly authoritative source — the editor of that London-based newspaper says bin Laden, Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born, now exiled to Afghanistan rebel leader; Osama bin Laden, according to this newspaper editor, warned three weeks ago that he would attack American interests, and he promised a very big one. Now, we cannot yet attribute this to Osama bin Laden; however, that was the promise from this fairly authoritative London newspaper.”

[Unknown Speaker]: “Well, Jon, certainly sources that I have talked to this morning — terrorist experts — say this has the signature of Osama bin Laden, that he has the money, the network, the ability to carry out this type of coordinated attack. And let me point out that in the East African bombing terrorist trial here in New York City...that three of the alleged co-conspirators...they had pilot’s licenses and they can fly airplanes...Were these planes hijacked by bin Laden people? Did they rush up to the cockpit? You don’t need a gun. You can burst in, several of them, and strangle the pilots or something, and then take over the controls.”

11:36 AM: Jon Scott, anchor, and Newt Gingrich, guest (former Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives)

Scott: “Obviously, it’s too early to know who is responsible, but let’s say that it turns out that Osama bin Laden is somehow behind this, so what does America do, what kind of pressure can we bring to bear on the Taliban government that is harboring him that we haven’t brought to bear already?”

Gingrich: “Well, let me just say that, that we don’t know yet who’s done this and I don’t think we should rush to judgment, but it is fair to say that bin Laden has claimed credit for having sponsored and financed and structured earlier attacks on the embassies in Africa, for example. It is clear that three weeks ago bin Laden said he would strike the United States in the United States. And the only point I’d make today in the middle of a tragedy — I think we first have to take a deep breath and recognize how big this tragedy is for the American people...for eight years we have said publicly that bin Laden is a major threat to the United States. And yet for eight years, while we have launched Tomahawk missiles, we’ve done other things, we haven’t taken him as seriously as he has taken us. And all I’m suggesting is that if we don’t have a decisive response to convince observers that you cannot kill innocent Americans in peace time without retaliation of severe proportions.”

12:34 PM: Rita Cosby, correspondent

Cosby: “Also, law enforcement sources are telling us, and [inaudible] this is interesting, that there was word put out through an Arab newspaper about three weeks ago that bin Laden himself, the mastermind behind the East African bombings, the embassy bombings there in east Africa, that he apparently did put out word about three weeks ago, saying that he was planning an unprecedented attack against U.S. interests.”

[Osama bin Laden’s picture is shown on the screen.]

“Since that time they got other information that there may be some sort of attack against U.S., possibly, governmental facilities. And then as we know on Friday the State Department did put out a worldwide caution basically telling U.S. citizens, and also particularly government and officials that they should be in a heightened state of alert.”

[She goes on to say that despite this, officials were stunned and said they had no idea the attack was going to be on U.S. soil.]

“I will tell you also law enforcement officers do know that Osama bin Laden — right now they believe he’s sort of the prime suspect.”

12:55 PM: Shepard Smith, anchor

Smith: “There is a report from Afghanistan now, from Kabul, Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden’s people, and actually the Taliban now responding to this. [He now appears to be reading from his computer screen.] Afghanistan’s hardline Taliban rulers have condemned this devastating terrorist attack in New York, and the one in Washington, and rejected suggestions that Osama bin Laden could be behind them. The Taliban’s ambassador to neighboring Pakistan has now said that bin Laden, the Saudi dissident who has been given asylum in the country, does not have the facilities needed to carry out such an attack.”

1:17 PM: Shepard Smith, anchor

Smith: “The Taliban has made a statement as well, saying that it is not right to be putting this off on Osama bin Laden at this moment, that he does not have the resources available to do such a thing. And the Taliban there has itself condemned today’s attacks.”

1:19 PM: Jon Scott, anchor, and Bill Richardson, guest (former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations)


Richardson: “It looks like the work of Osama bin Laden, who I had tried to extradite several years ago from Afghanistan as UN Ambassador. It’s a coordinated attack. I think we have to get the best intelligence we can from our allies and friends around the world and then basically plan a huge, massive response against these perpetrators.“

Scott: “Well, as you say, you have tried to get him extradited before: the U.S. has been pressuring the Taliban to give him up for years. What further pressure can we bring to bear?”

Richardson: “Well, I believe that the first thing we need to do is penetrate those terrorist cells to find out exactly where he is. We need a massive response against him there. Secondly, we have to raise the stakes in the international community — to initiate sanctions if nations don’t cooperate in extraditing him to the United States or finding him. This man is a menace to the international community, not just to the United States. And, thirdly, I believe that we have to bring the international community, our allies in developing countries, in a war against terrorism. Terrorism hits across borders...”

1:22 PM: Rita Cosby, correspondent

Cosby: “Jon, I’ve been talking to intelligence sources...a few hours, and the last thing that they said to me was all signs are strongly pointing to Osama bin Laden. One intelligence — this is a senior official in an intelligence agency — told me that on June 20th of this year, bin Laden released a video to his followers, saying, quote, “It’s time to penetrate America and Israel and hit them where it hurts the most,” signalling that he may plan some sort of attack on U.S. soil. In addition to this, Jon, they’re also looking at who would have had the capability, who would have had the motivation. They said in recent weeks there has been a lot of activity on Islamic chat rooms, talking about threats against the United States. But in terms of actual training for Osama bin Laden, he does own a number of planes, also trains specific pilots to actually be able to carry out these type of attacks. And this is something that intelligence sources are saying that they were aware he was doing this type of training — not necessarily to attack the U.S., but to train for suicide attacks on planes and other mechanisms. He also, as we know, is believed to be behind the attack on the U.S.S. Cole...”


“They do, believe, however, if he is connected to this — and, again, this is just a strong possibility that they’re looking at — that it would have been augmented by another group. They said that of course he has widespread tentacles across the world, and has followers across the world, and among the possibilities that could have, that they’re looking at right now in [inaudible] augmenting, would have been a Palestinian group and also the Hezbollah.”

1:29 PM: Newt Gingrich, guest (former Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives)

Gingrich: “Bin Laden has been a known opponent of the United States for eight years, and we have not exerted the kind of pressure we’re capable of. This is an act of war against the American people, against freedom as the President said, and I think we have to react on behalf as we did in 1941 after Pearl Harbor. We have to react with total effort to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”

1:38 PM: Shepard Smith, anchor

Smith: “This now coming from the Associated Press, which has just been handed to me [he scrutinizes a sheet of paper], an update coming from AP: “With editor of a London-based Arabic newspaper, saying he received a warning from associates of Osama bin Laden, but did not take them seriously.”

1:39 PM: Shepard Smith, anchor

Smith: “Osama bin Laden’s name has been mentioned here. The Taliban has said throughout the day, rejecting claims that Osama bin Laden may have been involved. There is dancing in the streets in one city on the West Bank it is now being said [he’s still looking at a sheet of paper, it seems]. We have video tape as a matter of fact.” He adds that people are handing out candy in the streets and saying that God is dead.

“Now, this as an aside. In June a United States judge had set this Wednesday — tomorrow — as the sentencing date for a bin Laden associate, for his role in the bombing of a US embassy in Tanzania that killed 213 people. So an associate of bin Laden would have been sentenced tomorrow in Manhattan at a courthouse just across the street from the World Trade Center.”

1:54 PM: Jon Scott, anchor, and Alexander Haig, guest (former U.S. Secretary of State)

Scott: “Is it time to be talking about that? Is it time to declare some kind of a war here, Mr. Secretary?”

Haig: “Well, the terrorists have declared war on us for a number of years now; we simply haven’t treated it as a war. I’m sure this very shocking and horrible day will, will certainly energize that kind of thinking. And I would be for it, certainly. We should declare war on terrorism. And we should take all the actions necessary to stamp it out. And that means working with our allies in close harmony, but also not to be hog-tied by moral equivalence arguments which have seemed to dominate our response up till now.”

[Haig tells Scott we should certainly be having second thoughts about having let Saddam Hussein survive the Gulf War.]

“But we also know that bin Laden has made it very clear that this is a war against the United States and Israel. And we should take action accordingly. We haven’t done that. And those who are giving them harbor and sanctuary we should talk to in very forceful terms, and take action is that’s necessary.”

2:18 PM: Rita Cosby, correspondent

“In addition to that, we are told from a number from a number of U.S. officials are telling Fox News that there are, quote, “strong indications” that people linked to Osama bin Laden, and also his group, the al-Qaeda group, which is his group that he organizes out of Afghanistan, that they are strong indications that people linked to him and his group are possibly behind this. They say that for a number of reasons. They say that they have the training in place, they have the capabilities in place, the resources in place. Also, an intelligence official telling me that they do have information that bin Laden is in Afghanistan, and that there was some movement of his troops in recent weeks — in the last week and a half, specifically.”

[Then she talks about the assassination (“in recent days”) of Masoud (she doesn’t name him, just calls him a Norther Alliance leader), described as very much against bin Laden and the Taliban.]

“And soon after that bin Laden’s followers put out a word, saying that we’re going to attack all enemies of bin Laden. In addition to this, on June 20th of this year, bin Laden and his followers released a videotape in which bin Laden was saying, quote, “It is time to penetrate America and Israel and hit them where it hurts the most.”

“...intelligence sources are telling me that they had no idea that this attack was going to happen, but they were certainly getting some hints that there may be something on U.S. soil based on this message that he put out just June 20th of this year. And also, they said, on some of the Islamic chat rooms there’s been a heightened amount of activity...particularly in the last week and a half. And U.S. officials are strongly looking at the possibility of bin Laden and also his group, al Qaeda, being behind this.

“...They also said that there was information, some intelligence information, that it was training individuals for suicide bombings, as we know from the USS Cole. Of course, a number of Yemenese have been tried in that case — the trials are still going on at this point — but some of them are believed to have ties to Osama bin Laden and intelligence officials tell me privately that they believe he was behind that attack...”

[She continues, talking about the Cole bombing and the East Africa bombings...the trial in New York, the involvement of pilots. She concludes...]

“So he certainly had the capabilities, the finances, and intelligence officials — one senior official telling me just a few moments ago, strong indications that this attack could be possibly linked to him and his group.”

2:30 PM: Tony Snow, anchor, and Sandy Berger, guest (former U.S. National Security Advisor)

Snow: “Mr. Berger, first your reaction. Does this at least have the feel to you of an Osama bin Laden operation?”

Berger: “Well, it’s a massive and coordinated attack on the United States, of a kind that we have not seen before — a major escalation of a terrorist assault on the United States. It’s a sophisticated operation, uh, that obviously involved, uh, dozens of people in the United States, penetrating the United States, um, and, um, I think we’ve got to be careful not to leap to conclusions, but certainly, uh, bin Laden and al Qaeda would be a suspect.”

3:35 PM: Unknown interviewer and Lawrence Korb, guest (former Assistant Secretary of Defense)

Interviewer: “We understand that at least three Palestinian groups — Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine — they have all denied any responsibility for these terrorist acts. Some, actually a number of terrorist experts, have believed, have said that they believe, it is the work of Osama bin Laden. What do you think?

Korb: “Well, he certainly has said he was going to do something, and so that would be logical to expect him to do it.”

3:53 PM: Unknown anchor

Unknown anchor: “No one able to figure out why particularly September 11th, the year 2001. One person has mentioned that it was supposed to be tomorrow that an associate of Osama bin Laden was due to be sentenced in New York. And others have mentioned that they believe Osama bin Laden is perhaps the only terrorist with the kind of organization who could plan something this massive and this deadly.”

4:08 PM: Lawrence Eagleburger, guest (former U.S. Secretary of State)

Anchor: “Mr. Eagleburger, we thank you very much for being with us. Your first thoughts as to who might be capable of coordinating this massive terrorist attack.”

Eagleburger: “Well, you have to start out with the normal, conventional wisdom, which is Osama bin Laden, the point being, I think it’s now very clear that this took tremendous planning. It was, in its own way, brilliantly done. The timing was perfect; they did everything very, very professionally. It took money; it took training; it took time. And you have to ask yourself who is capable of that, and you start out with Osama bin Laden.”

4:21 PM: Professor Barry Levin, guest (terrorism expert)

[Levin is asked who are the prime suspects.]

Levin: “Well, there are a handful of organizations, I think, obviously. Osama bin Laden is at the top of the list.”

4:25 PM: John Gibson, anchor, and Colonel Robert McGinnis, guest (Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army)

Colonel Robert McGinnis says that, because of lack of funding, U.S. human intelligence has deteriorated in recent years and we might have to resort to something like forensic investigation to figure out who did this. He mentions Osama bin Laden as a possibility and he mentions Palestinians as a possibility, and he mentions the possibility of a plane headed for Camp David. He thinks the signs are that this has something to do with the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. He says tension, and dissatisfaction with the US, is the highest he’s seen in three decades.

News anchor John Gibson expresses his puzzlement that people are angry at the US.

McGinnis notes the $3 billion the U.S. gives to Israel every year and explains that the Israelis have been using U.S. weapons to kill Palestinian leaders. He says there are many radical Islamic groups that are possible, but the question is, who has the deep pockets? So here’s where Osama bin Laden becomes a natural suspect.

4:32 PM: Rita Cosby, correspondent

Cosby: “Law enforcement sources are telling me that all the focus is still right now as the prime suspect — and, again, they’ve stressed, just a suspect — but all signs, they say, are still pointing as to Osama bin Laden as most likely being the candidate behind this, him and his group, al Qaeda, which has been behind a number of additional attacks. They are saying that this group, and particularly Osama as the mastermind, are really the only ones that seem to have the specificity, the sophistication, also the coordination to carry out this type of attack. Law enforcement sources are saying no one has claimed responsibility, which is typical of the case when bin Laden’s group has been involved in all the prior attacks that they believe that he’s been responsible for — he has never claimed responsibility. So they believe they’re seeing a pattern of sophistication, and they do know that he was training pilots, was training suicide pilots, in addition to other types of suicide bombers, so he certainly had the capability to carry this out.”


9:55 AM: John King, correspondent

“...I spoke to an Administration official shortly after the President delivered his statement, who said obviously the operating assumption here is terrorism. The initial assumption, this official said, was that this has something to do — or at least they were looking into any possible connections — with Osama bin Laden. The administration recently released a warning that they thought Osama bin Laden might strike out against U.S. targets.”

11:12 AM: David Ensor, correspondent

Ensor: “In terms of claims of responsibility so far, there is an Agence France press report in which a group with the word ‘Palestine’ in the name claims responsibility. There is also a report quoting personnel close to Osama bin Laden, the fugitive Saudi, accused terrorist, denying that that group was involved. But, again, US officials say they can’t shed any light on whether these reports are correct or incorrect.”

11:14 AM: Aaron Brown, anchor, and David Ensor, correspondent

Brown: “As a practical matter, there are not a whole lot of groups that the United States government knows about that are sophisticated enough and have the kind of money, the resources, to pull off something like this. Fair enough?”

Ensor: “That’s absolutely true, and obviously, despite the denial, attention will quickly turn to the bin Laden group because it has long tentacles; it has connections with all sorts of other groups. We saw at the millennium a group of Algerians apparently involved in trying to arrange bombings in the United States, and now there is evidence being produced in court sessions that those Algerians were working for the bin Laden group. So that group will come under immediate suspicion — there are very few others that could have pulled this off.”

11:34 AM: Judy Woodruff, anchor, and General Wesley Clark, guest (former Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO)

Woodruff: “Well, speaking of that, General Clark, wouldn’t you agree there are very few of the terrorist groups, at least that we’re familiar with, who would have the capability to pull off something this coordinated, on this scale?”

Clark: “I think that’s exactly right. There’s only one group that has ever indicated that it has this kind of ability and that’s Osama bin Laden’s. So, obviously, that’ll be the first suspicion.”

12:27 PM: Judy Woodruff, anchor

[Woodruff says we’ve finally got a statement from the Taliban. She quotes from part of the statement, saying Afghanistan feels your pain (directed to U.S. children) “and we hope that the courts find justice.” The statement is by the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan. She says this statement was made in Islamabad, and that a statement from Kabul is coming up.]

Woodruff: “Afghanistan being the country where we have every reason to believe Osama bin Laden, the leader of a huge terrorist network, continues to live in hiding. The Taliban has denied his presence there from time to time but it is believed by those who follow the activities of his organization that he is in Afghanistan.”

12:40 PM: U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, guest

[Hatch says he is on both the Judiciary Committee and the Intelligence Committee, and he says he’s been briefed by the highest levels of both the FBI and “the intelligence community.”]

Hatch: “They’ve come to the conclusion that this looks like the signature of Osama bin Laden and that he may be the one behind this.”


“What it means is that it seems to me that if that turns out to be true, we’re going to have to revitalize Shah Masoud and the other people in Afghanistan...”

[It is interesting, given his vaunted intelligence connections, that he doesn’t yet know Masoud is dead.]

[Hatch adds that we’d also have to ask our friends in Pakistan to be more cooperative than they have been in the past.]

“Then we’d have to work with our allies to have an international strategy to combat this kind of international jihad against the West.”

12:54 PM: Taliban News Conference


[Taliban Foreign Minister in Kabul, Wakil Ahmed Mutawakel, speaking through a translator. Denies involvement of both the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.]

1:04 PM: Aaron Brown, anchor

Brown [looking at a document of some kind]: “We also have a report coming out of London from the Associated Press that followers of Osama bin Laden warned three weeks ago that they would carry out a huge and unprecedented attack on U.S. interests. That according to a London-based Arab journalist. He adds, they said it would be huge and unprecedented but did not specify what it was.”

1:14 PM: Peter Bergen, analyst, and Jeff Greenfield, analyst

[CNN’s Peter Bergen has supposedly been tracking the government of Afghanistan for some time, and he joins by video link, having listened to the Taliban spokesperson.]

Bergen [described on screen as “CNN TERRORISM ANALYST”]: “Well, we just heard from the Foreign Minister, Wakil Mutawakel, who’s, relatively speaking, a moderate of the Taliban movement. He basically repeated what I think is a standard Taliban line — we’ve heard it for the past at least couple of years — which is that Osama bin Laden isn’t a terrorist and that he’s being contained by the Taliban, and that he’s not able to conduct political or military missions. This, unfortunately, is really a false statement, since Osama bin Laden has been fingered by both Yemeni and U.S. authorities for the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in October, 2000. There isn’t an indictment there yet — the FBI continues to investigate — but senior Yemeni officials and senior U.S. officials have said that he’s the primary suspect. So, we’ve seen that bin Laden was able to bomb two U.S. embassies in Africa in ’98 within nine minutes of each other; we’ve seen that bin Laden was able to blow a huge hole in the side of one of the most sophisticated warships in the U.S. navy, the USS Cole, in Yemen in October of last year; and, unfortunately, he must be top of the list the persons sophisticated enough in terms of operations to bring off these kinds of terrible disasters we’ve seen today. If you’re looking for who is the most likely suspect, he has to be it. You’ve got an operation which several people appear to commit suicide. You’ve also got an operation in which people obviously had some skill in piloting planes. These are clearly attributes of his organization. We know that he has pilots in his organization; we’ve seen in several instances members of his organization commit suicide in attacks. We’ve also seen a pattern of warnings in previous bin Laden attacks, in which this fits. Nine weeks before the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa in August of ’98 bin Laden held a press conference in Afghanistan talking about quote, “good news in coming weeks”. A few months before the USS Cole was bombed in Yemen a videotape circulated around the Middle East in which bin Laden was wearing a Yemeni dagger, which he’s never done in previous photographs, and his Number Two called for attacks on U.S. targets in Yemen. Just recently there’s been a videotape floating around the Middle East in which bin Laden, a very confident bin Laden, calls for attacks on the United States — says that the victory of Yemen, referring to the USS Cole attack, will continue. People that I’ve talked to familiar with the bin Laden organization said that the threats on this tape were very serious, that there was an imminent attack in the works. I spoke to somebody who was familiar with the organization a few weeks ago who made those statements to me. I had been very concerned about a potential attack as a result of this tape. It fits with the modus operandi, which is to talk about potential attacks coming up relatively soon without being particularly specific.”

[Aaron Brown interrupts and says Senior Analyst Jeff Greenfield is there with Brown and has a question.]

Greenfield: “Hi, Peter. If I’m not mistaken, you actually interviewed Osama bin Laden some years ago. Correct?”

Bergen: “Yeah, in ’97. For CNN.”

Greenfield: “Now, at that time what did he say about the notion of targeting civilians? I mean, what is the rationale behind targeting civilians for death and destruction?”

Bergen: “Well, at that time, Jeff, he told us that because of the American military presence in the Middle East, that he was calling for attacks on U.S. soldiers. Now, he said, if American civilians got in the way, that was sort of their problem. So at that time in ’97 he was really only calling for attacks on American military targets. Later, that position evolved — like, by ’98 he was calling for attacks on all Americans, whether civilian or military. I think the rationale behind that thinking is that in his view if you’re an American tax-payer you’re subsidizing the “anti-Islamic,” quote, activities that he’s against, whether that’s in Saudi Arabia, with the American military presence there, or with America’s support for Israel in the ongoing Intifada.”

[Horrific video images of WTC destruction are playing in the background during this conversation.]

1:18 PM: Aaron Brown, correspondent

[Aaron Brown thanks Bergen for the background and context that help us understand why the focus is on bin Laden and the says...]

Brown: “But we should add that as we talk to you now we can’t be certain. We do not know that that’s who is behind what has happened.”

1:23 PM: Richard Holbrooke, guest (former Assistant Secretary of State), and Jeff Greenfield, analyst

Holbrooke: “But I need to underscore one point. To find the people responsible is going to take a unified international effort. No one nation, not even the United States, can do it on its own. We must have the full cooperation of the Russians, of the states in the Middle East — I think the assumption that that’s the region where this was planned — and — and I repeat this again — any nation that is seen to have harboured or abetted or sheltered any of these people must be treated as co-equally responsible. They cannot hide behind the facade we just saw in the remarks of the Taliban Foreign Minister. And Peter Bergen’s extraordinarily insightful explanation a few minutes ago on CNN, I think, is the first real glimpse into...that the viewers have had into how dangerous this is. If the Taliban shelters Osama bin Laden, as they do, and if Osama bin Laden is responsible for this, as, I think, almost everyone is going to suspect, then the Taliban must be held equally responsible for what has happened today.”

Greenfield then asks: “Ambassador Holbrooke, what — I’d like you to be specific — what does that mean? Are you talking about a retaliatory strike...[continues in this vein]?”

Holbrooke: “Jeff, let me be very frank — and I don’t want to lapse into bloody-minded verbal excesses at a moment of high emotion. But let’s be very blunt about this. If a country, or regime — the Taliban or some other regime to be determined by the intelligence community — has sheltered people who played a role in this, they cannot hide behind the attributes of “they didn’t know it, they had nothing to do with it.” They must cooperate in the pursuit of the people responsible. And since the Taliban leader has been publicly proclaimed by Osama bin Laden as the present spiritual leader of the Muslim world — I’m referring to bin Laden’s declaration that Mullah Mohammed Omar is the rightful spiritual leader of the Muslim world, something he said on tape, quoted by John Burns in the New York Times two days ago, and if, in fact, these people are in some degree of collusion, I personally believe — and I’m only speaking for myself here — I personally believe that the Taliban should be regarded as co-equally responsible for this, and therefore, if and when we consider military action, it is fully justified and the Taliban should face the same consequences.”

2:30 PM: Nic Robertson, correspondent

Robertson, reporting by telephone video live from Kabul: “We are hearing from Mullah Omar in the spiritual capital of Afghanistan about 300 miles south of here [Kandahar]. Mullah Omar in the spiritual leader of the Taliban here, and he’s recently issued a short statement. In that statement criticizes what he called “an act of terrorism”, and he was very explicit: He said that Osama bin Laden was not responsible for it, and he said that all he wanted for his country was peace, and peace for other countries in the world. And he went on to say that he believed Osama bin Laden could not have been responsible for such a complex act of terrorism. And he also said that Afghanistan is a poor country and therefore he believed there was no way that Afghanistan could be involved in such a complicated act of terrorism.”

3:06 PM: Aaron Brown, correspondent, and William Cohen, guest (former U.S. Secretary of Defense)

Brown: “Secretary Cohen, you were in office, if memory serves me correctly, when the Cole was attacked. Obviously, this is a much more horrific event. Did the Cole incident flash back in your mind?”

Cohen: “It flashed back in my mind, but also the bombings in East Africa flashed even more vividly before me because they were, again, nearly simultaneous explosions directed against innocent civilians.”

3:41 PM: CNN Banner


3:45 PM: Judy Woodruff, anchor

Woodruff: “I can report that sources are telling CNN's National Security Correspondent, David Ensor, that there are, quote, ‘good indications’ that people with links to the Osama bin Laden organization are responsible for today’s attacks. We can’t do much better right now at identifying [she winces] these sources, but again they’re saying ’good indications’. And this is, again, no proof but this is very much in line with what [still photo of OBL on screen at this point, with AK-47 in the frame] high-ranking people have been telling us throughout this day, all the way from former NATO Commander, Wesley Clark, [video clips of OBL on screen] told us hours ago, and then again just a few moments ago — we spoke with him just a few moments ago. He said that there are very few organizations that would have the sophistication, the financial resources, the organization, the network of contacts to carry out an attack this sophisticated, this organized, where we have planes hitting these key locations...within just minutes of one another. People who could take over the cockpit of an airplane...”

3:46 PM: CNN Banner


4:00 PM: David Ensor, correspondent, and Judy Woodruff, anchor

Ensor: “Comments by the Afghan government, by the Taliban government by [the Taliban foreign minister] and Mullah Omar, the leaders over there who have commented today in which they deny that Osama bin Laden has ever organized terrorism out of Afghan territory. One official calling that lies. ‘Lies, lies, lies’...and when I asked whether there were considerations being given to some sort of retaliation against targets in Afghanistan, one official said: ‘I wouldn’t be planning your vacation there if I were you.’”

Woodruff: “When they describe this new and specific information, do you know enough about the kinds of sources, or the methods here that you could characterize where this information might be coming from or in what form?

Ensor: “Well, they are not saying anything specific about exactly what the nature of this information is, as you can expect, Judy. However, when I talked to officials about the kinds of information that they would be gathering now, they confirmed that that information includes passenger lists of the aircraft that were downed, videotape at airports, from cameras, from security cameras in the airports. In a few days they will have cockpit recordings. And there’s also a limited number of people who are suspected of belonging to terrorist groups who are known to be able to fly aircraft...”

Woodruff: “Absolutely chilling...”

4:01 PM: CNN Caption


4:50 PM: CNN News Crawl


5:49 PM: Judy Woodruff, anchor, and Lawrence Eagleburger, guest (former U.S. Secretary of State)

[Woodruff says to Eagleburger that many Americans are going to want to strike back quickly. She asks for his reaction.]

Eagleburger: “Oh boy, that’s a very tough question. Well, it won’t be quick, I think. It’ll take us some time to organize ourselves and try to figure out who was responsible for this, although I might say, by the way, that’s less of a concern to me than it will be to a number of others. We know who most of the terrorists are — we may not know which ones did this, although they have to have been very, very well organized and very well financed. But, “getting back at” almost is the wrong way, I think, to put this, though that’s what a lot of people will want. What I think we need now to understand is, this really is a war with terrorism, and we need to be prepared to act as if we are at war. And that does not necessarily mean that you have to strike back only at those that you know were the perpetrators of this thing.”

Woodruff: “Well, what does it mean?”

Eagleburger: “We know a lot of terrorists around the world and we know a lot of governments that have financed and supported terrorism. And you start with Osama bin Laden, I suppose, you start with the Afghans, but either...”

Woodruff: “What can you do, Mr. Secretary?”

Eagleburger: “Well, what you do, and this is...what you do is you strike at them militarily. I mean I know this is going to sound awful. But my point is there’s only one way to begin to deal with people like this and that is, you have to kill some of ‘em, even if they are not immediately, directly involved in this thing. We do know that the Taliban, and the government of Afghanistan, has mothered Osama bin Laden for years: they need to be hit. Either they need to be hit or they need to understand very quickly that they have got to stop supporting terrorism, and then make it evident that they are stopping the terrorism.”

Woodruff: “So you’re not talking about a long, drawn-out investigation as we had with Pan Am 103 over Lockerby...

Eagleburger: “I hope not.”

Woodruff: “...a long drawn-out effort to extradite possible suspects...”

Eagleburger: “I hope not, I hope not. Because if that’s the case...well, you saw what happened with Pan Am 103. I mean by the time it was all done, uh, first of all, many people had lost all interest in the subject. This is an act of war — when they compare this to Pearl Harbor I don’t think they’re wrong, in the sense that it’s a surprise attack and, I suspect, if we are wise about this, Pearl Harbor brought the American people together and made us recognize we had something we had to deal with. Perhaps this will do the same thing for all of us.”

5:55 PM: CNN News Crawl

News crawl at bottom of screen: “SEN. JOHN KERRY: ‘I HAVE NO DOUBT IN MY MIND IT’S OSAMA BIN LADEN.’”

5:57 PM: CNN News Crawl

News crawl at bottom of screen: “EXPLOSIONS IN KABUL, AFGHANISTAN”

6:10 PM: CNN Banner


6:11 PM: Judy Woodruff, anchor, and U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, guest

Woodruff [still discussing the explosions in Kabul]: “If this were the West, if this were the United States, would it be appropriate to retaliate so quickly?”

Hatch: “Well, we have some information, you know, about a month ago we had information that they were planning on some big strikes — people who were affiliated or associated with bin Laden. Then, just today we’ve intercepted some information where some people who are associated with bin Laden basically said that they had hit two targets. So, it looks to me like there’s increasing evidence, even though it’s fragmentary, and even though it’s not positive, that bin Laden is behind all this. And, of course, I first warned the nation in 1996 on Meet the Press that we’d better get hold of bin Laden or he’s going to kill Americans.”

6:16 PM: Paula Zahn, anchor, and Aaron Brown, anchor

[They’re looking at the live video-phone images from Kabul.]

Zahn: “I think we need to make it clear at this point that no group has claimed responsibility for the multiple attacks today, and yet, U.S. intelligence officials confirmed with David Ensor earlier today that they believe a group connected to Osama bin Laden may have been involved.

“You have talked about this all day long [no, Brown actually hasn’t], and I think you’ve done a very good job of explaining how well financed would had to have been, how well orchestrated. It begs the question, if not Osama bin Laden, then who?”

6:22 PM: Paula Zahn, anchor, Orrin Hatch, guest, William Cohen, guest (former U.S. Secretary of Defense), and Aaron Brown, anchor

[Zahn asks Orrin Hatch what he thinks of William Cohen’s view that you plan an attack on someone until you know they actually carried out this attack on the U.S. Hatch says he agrees with Cohen — we have to be very cautious — but he refers approvingly to what, according to him, Eagleburger said, namely...}

Hatch: “Look, the Taliban have been harboring Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden has said that it is the duty of every Muslim to kill Americans. There’s no indic...there’s every indication that he has been behind some of the attacks against American installations, and we happen to know just today that we’ve got information that, that ...indicates that representatives who are affiliated with Osama bin Laden were actually saying over the airwaves, that, uh, private airwaves at that, that...they had hit two targets...

“So...they should not be harboring this criminal and we’ve gotta, it seems to me, go after ‘em, and it does look, although the evidence is fragmentary, as though he’s had a major role in what’s happened here today.”

Zahn: “Secretary Cohen, are you as convinced as Senator Hatch is that Osama bin Laden played some role in this tragedy here today?”

Cohen: “I think if you were to cast the searchlight of probability on these footprints they would lead to Osama bin Laden, but I still think that we have to get more evidence. This is not evidence that you would need in the prosecution of a criminal act. I distinguish between terrorism and a criminal act, and so I would think you just need more evidence than we have right now. But it doesn’t have to be something you can use in a court of law. I think that the probability is that points to Osama bin Laden himself or the groups that he supports, and therefore I think we ought to keep our focus very much on him but not exclude others. And so I think a little more time is necessary but I don’t disagree with Secretary Eagleburger that we need to respond swiftly and very strongly to those who have inflicted this great tragedy upon the American people.”

Brown: “Secretary Cohen, it’s Aaron Brown. We have heard in a number of conversations that we’ve had today that the United States needs to be more aggressive, or more proactive, in its counterterrorism efforts, and you can’t wait until something’s happened and you have to stop it before, and it may be that some innocents will suffer because of it. That’s a political problem, isn’t it?”

Cohen: “It is. And the thing we have to keep in mind is we do not want to allow terrorists to strike such terror in the hearts of the American people that we become like them — that we become indifferent to how many innocent people that we might kill. That is what separates us from terrorism.”

6:25 PM: Aaron Brown, correspondent, and U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, guest

Brown: “And, Senator Hatch, do you think that the political equation on how the United States deals with this has changed because of what’s happened today?’

Hatch: “No question about it. We can’t take this kind of action without a very heavy response. And we have some information, it may be fragmentary but the fact is we have some information, that indicates that Osama bin Laden and many of his affiliates and associates — he’s certainly the motivating force behind these people; he certainly has the money and he certainly has the ability to motivate antagonistic forces against the United States and he’s said he wants to do that. So, it looks, it looks very much like that, although we’re not absolutely certain at this point.”

Brown: “Senator, what Secretary Eagleburger said a little while ago others have said: it’s not that we as a country, not that the United States, responds all the time, that at some point it needs to take a proactive — it needs to strike before the attack itself, before the terrorist attack. And if some innocents are hurt, if mistakes get made, that is an unfortunate reality. Has that — that’s a political problem and I want to know, I guess, from you if you think the country which has been reluctant to do that will be less so because of today.”

Hatch: “Well, this is an act of war. As far as I’m concerned, war’s been declared against the United States: we ought to act accordingly. And we should have a very stiff response to that. And to be honest with you, it looks to me as though what’s happened in New York — just think about it, there are literally, there must be thousands of people killed here. Probably more than at Pearl Harbor, by far. And, and there is evidence, there is indication, that there were people who have been affiliated with Osama bin Laden, whose communications have been intercepted, that, basically, have said that they got two targets. There’s a lot of other information that is coming forward, although it’s fragmentary and nobody can absolutely be guaranteed in the surety of it, but we all know that Osama bin Laden is doing everything he can to antagonize American forces, to try and hit against Americans. He’s called for the death of Americans, and we ought to respond forcibly.”

“As a matter of fact, we haven’t been putting enough money into the intelligence community and we certainly haven’t been putting enough human on the ground...and we gotta start doing that...we’ve been allowing our military to deteriorate...and the people who are excited about this over in the Middle East, who are dancing in the streets, who are making fun of the United States, we oughta remember who they are because they’re enemies of our country.”

7:48 PM: Richard Holbrooke, guest (former Assistant Secretary of State)

Holbrooke: “In the past, Osama bin Laden and other terrorists, who do not represent national governments — a distinction which is critically important — but are sheltered in various countries in the world, including Afghanistan, sometimes North Korea, Iraq, Libya, have played this shell game...”

[For the remainder of his comments, see under the War on Terror narrative section.]

8:20 PM: Wolf Blitzer, anchor, and L. Paul Bremer, guest (Chairman of the National Commission on Terrorism)

Blitzer: “Whose fingerprints do you suspect are over this operation?”

Bremer: “There basically are four groups that you can imagine having the capability of doing this. Bin Laden is certainly one.” [The others are “some of the more radical Palestinian groups” and two states, “Iraq and Iran.”]

8:23 PM: CNN Banner


8:34 PM: John King, correspondent, and Aaron Brown, anchor

King: “Just before the President was speaking I checked in with a couple of Congressional sources who are telling CNN that in private briefings today key members of Congress were told by senior Administration officials that the Administration is, quote, ‘confident,’ based on the early evidence in this investigation, quote, ‘confident,’ that Osama bin Laden is responsible for this attack. Now, in those briefings, we’re told, the Administration did not say that with a certainty, but did say it was confident that it had hard evidence in hand, that the investigation was continuing...”

Brown: “Mr. bin Laden has been an elusive character out there for a long time now. I guess he is on notice today — I think the President pretty clearly made that known — but he has not been easy to find, Mr. bin Laden, has he?”

King: “He has not been easy to find and there has been a great deal of criticism — some from the Congress, some from members of this President’s Cabinet now during the prior administration — that the United States government was not doing enough on the second point, not only to try to go after Mr. bin Laden but to take action against those governments that provided him sanction [sic].”


“Obviously, as we learn more about the investigation in the days ahead and the outreach from this government to allied governments around the world, and perhaps to other governments suspected of giving aid and comfort to Mr. bin Laden, in the next few days...”

8:37 PM: Paula Zahn, anchor, and Jeff Greenfield, analyst

Zahn: “There was a report in an Arab newspaper that is actually based in London where the editor actually indicated that Osama bin Laden had telegraphed this attack as long as three weeks ago. If that is true, one could expect there to be some political fallout from this.”

Greenfield: “Peter Bergen, who interviewed bin Laden three or four years ago and who was on earlier, made the point that every time bin Laden has been involved in an attack on American interests or personnel he has, in fact, telegraphed, as he did, presumably, with the USS Cole and other events. And, he said, bin Laden, who once targeted American soldiers, has now changed his view: any American civilian [inaudible] taxpayer [inaudible] bin Laden thinks, is complicit in what he regards as America’s misdeeds. So, you know, that’s why the speech tonight [i.e., the speech just given by Bush] is just the first of a very long chain of events whose end we can’t possibly predict.”

9:04 PM: Larry King, host, and William Baker, guest (former U.S. Secretary of State)

[Larry King interviews James Baker, former Secretary of State. Baker responds to King’s question as to whether this is a failure on the part of American policy.]

Baker: “I don’t think it’s a failure on the part of American policy, Larry, I think that there probably were some, perhaps some lapses in security.”


“You know, my favorite suspect here, and I have no inside information with respect to this, is Osama bin Laden. He seems to be the favorite suspect of a lot of people. And this guy has done some things in the past that didn’t depend on whether or not we were making progress towards peace in the Middle East.”

[Baker lists past attacks allegedly carried out by bin Laden.]

9:35 PM: Larry King, host, and William Cohen, guest (former U.S. Secretary of Defense)

King: “Were you shocked or was there an expectancy of something like this?”

Cohen [says he was shocked to witness the event, but]: “Was I surprised? The answer is, no. We have known for some time that Osama bin Laden and other organizations have targeted the United States abroad and at home. We formed the so-called Hart-Rudman Commission [chartered under Cohen’s direction in 1998, released January 31, 2001] several years ago and they filed three reports, the last of which was quite prophetic, indicating that we should anticipate acts of terrorism on American soil by terrorists who may, in fact, use weapons of mass destruction and engage in nearly simultaneous types of multiple attacks.”

[He says he agrees with much of what other commentators have said, but...]

“We also have to take care that we don’t engage in the wholesale slaughter of innocents abroad.”

[In response to further questions from King he says we need more information, even though he thinks the footprints are currently indicating bin Laden. We go to those harboring the suspect individuals and ask them to produce them. We take diplomatic, economic, and “perhaps even military action.”]

9:51 PM: Larry King, host, and Tim O’Brien, correspondent

[Anonymous phone-in caller to Larry King’s show. She says that “on all of the channels, and especially on CNN...Osama bin Laden seems to be the prime suspect” and “he, supposedly, three weeks ago, gave notice that this was going to happen.” She wants to know who dropped the ball.]

King: “Tim, was that a fact? Did we know that bin Laden had made some sort of threat three weeks ago?”

O’Brien: “There was knowledge that he made some kinds of threats but they were general and there was nothing new about that. He’s making threats all the time.”

10:49 PM: Bill Richardson, guest (former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations), and Julie Sirrs, guest

[Wolf Blitzer has Bill Richardson on the show. Blitzer notes that Richardson went to Afghanistan and met with Taliban leaders in 1997. He also has Julie Sirrs on the show, former DIA agency analyst specializing in bin Laden and the Taliban.]

Richardson: “My gut feeling, Wolf, is, yes, that every indicator, which is similar to the bombing of our two embassies, to the USS Cole, the modus operandi, the three to five [inaudible], that mostly likely it is Osama bin Laden. I believe that intelligence is also indicating that he’s now in Afghanistan.”

Sirrs: “I agree with Ambassador Richardson and the other experts that I know you’ve had on throughout the day that, yes, all the indicators do seem to point to Osama bin Laden being responsible for this attack.”

[She says the Taliban are fully responsible for harboring bin Laden.]

10:50 PM: CNN News Caption

Caption at bottom of screen: “U.S. INTEL. OFFICIALS: ‘GOOD INDICATION’

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