|Appalachian School of Law Shootings|
Wed, 16 Jan 2002
Anchor: Jim Lehrer
JIM LEHRER: Good evening. I’m Jim Lehrer. On the NewsHour tonight: A summary of today’s news; an interview with the Philippine ambassador about his country’s U.S.-assisted war against terrorists; a look at today’s Supreme Court arguments about managed care health plans; a report on rebuilding the section of the Pentagon damaged in the 9/11 attacks; and a shape of the world conversation with Trudy Rubin of the “Philadelphia Inquirer.”
JIM LEHRER: A federal grand jury returned a new indictment today against the alleged shoe bomber. Richard Reid was charged with attempted murder and seven other crimes. The British citizen allegedly tried to light explosives in his sneakers on a flight from Paris to Miami last month. Fellow passengers subdued him and the plane landed in Boston. Today, Attorney General Ashcroft said it was clear Reid had received training from al-Qaida.
JOHN ASHCROFT: Reid’s indictment alerts us to a clear, unmistakable threat that al-Qaida could attack the United States again. The lessons for Americans are undeniable. We must be prepared, we must be alert, we must be vigilant. Al-Qaida trained terrorists may act on their own, or as part of the terrorist network but we must assume that they will act.
JIM LEHRER: Reid could get life in prison if he’s convicted. He remains jailed outside Boston. An Algerian man was sentenced today to 24 years in prison in a failed bomb plot. It involved a plan to explode a suitcase bomb at Los Angeles international airport around January 1, 2000. The man sentenced in New York supplied cash and fake ID’s to the plotters. Police foiled the scheme when they arrested another Algerian in Washington State in December, 1999. He trained at Osama bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan. The U.S. Military has increased its presence in the Philippines to fight terrorism. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said today more than 200 U.S. troops are already there. He said several hundred more would follow. They’ll train and support Philippine soldiers battling Muslim guerrillas. The rebels currently hold two Americans and a Filipino hostage. We’ll have more on this story in a few minutes. In Afghanistan today, U.S. Intelligence officers questioned a man who walked into the Marine base at Kandahar yesterday. He claimed to have information on the finances of the Taliban and al-Qaida. In Washington, Secretary Rumsfeld said finding Osama bin Laden and the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, remains a challenge.
DONALD RUMSFELD: Lots of information is coming in, how could I say, answer to that any specific information. It’s all specific, most of it’s wrong! But it’s all specific. It is… What we’re trying to know is where somebody is and we don’t know precisely where he is. We have a good sense in the country… We still believe they’re in the country; we’re still working on that basis, although we are looking some other places as well from time to time.
JIM LEHRER: In other developments, a third planeload of Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners arrived at the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A fourth plane left Afghanistan. The general overseeing the operation in Guantanamo said some of the prisoners have vowed to kill an American there if they can. And in Pakistan, searchers found the remains of the last of seven U.S. Marines. They were killed in a plane crash last week. A gunman killed three people today at the Appalachian School of Law in the southwestern Virginia town of Grundy. The dead included the dean of the school, a professor and a student. Three students were critically wounded; the suspect was captured. A doctor at the scene said he was a student upset about his grades. The former lead auditor of Enron’s books met with House investigators today in Washington. His lawyers said David Duncan was cooperating with the congressional inquiry. The Arthur Andersen accounting firm fired him yesterday. It said he organized the destruction of records last October. That was after the Securities and Exchange Commission asked Enron for accounting information. There was more financial fallout from Enron’s collapse today. The banking firm J.P. Morgan Chase said it lost more than $300 million in the fourth quarter of last year. It blamed bad loans to Enron and Argentina. On Wall Street today, the J.P. Morgan losses and a technology sell-off pushed stocks lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 211 points, or 2%, to close at 9,712. The NASDAQ Index dropped 56 points to close at 1944, a loss of 2.8%. In other economic news, the Labor Department reported consumer prices fell last month by 0.2%. For the year, they rose just 1.6%, due mostly to the largest drop in energy costs since 1986. And the Federal Reserve said industrial production fell 3.9% last year. It was the first yearly decline since 1991. The U.S. Supreme Court will decide if states can force outside reviews of HMO decisions. Today, it heard the case of an Illinois woman with a rare nerve condition. After an independent review, her insurance company had to reimburse her for corrective surgery. 40 states allow such reviews, and, in most cases, the conclusions are binding. The HMOS want a single, national standard. The airlines will meet a deadline Friday for screening all checked bags for explosives. Transportation Secretary Mineta confirmed that today. Initially, he had voiced doubt the industry could be ready as early as Congress wanted. But in a Washington speech today, he said airlines and airports would be ready.
NORMAN MINETA, Secretary of Transportation: In working with the airlines, we have taken the necessary action to meet this requirement. Every available explosive detection system, EDS machine, will be used to its maximum capacity. Where we do not yet have EDS resources in place, we’ll use other options outlined in the law.
JIM LEHRER: And those other options include matching bags to passengers, using bomb- sniffing dogs and increasing hand-searches by security officers. Three former members of the Symbionese Liberation Army were arrested today in California and Oregon, they face murder charges in a bank robbery in California in 1975. Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst took part. The radical group had kidnapped her a year earlier. She served two years in prison for a later bank job before President Carter commuted her sentence.
FOCUS - WIDENING THE WAR
JIM LEHRER: Now some details on the Philippines story - the opening of another front in the war on terrorism. We start with some background from Spencer Michels.
SPENCER MICHELS: Since last fall, a small number of American military advisors or “consultants” has joined the Philippine Army in its fight against Muslim Separatists linked to al-Qaida. Until now, the details of their mission have been kept secret.
REPORTER: How do you find the Philippines army so far?
SOLDIER: No comment.
REPORTER: What can you say?
SOLDIER: I can’t comment.
SPENCER MICHELS: Today Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that the American mission to the Philippines—a former U.S. colony– will expand soon. Within a month, the U.S. contingent will number around 600, including 150 Navy Seals, Army Green Berets, Marines and Special Forces.
At the Pentagon, Rumsfeld used the words “training exercises” to describe the mission.
SEC. DONALD RUMSFELD: I believe, the last time I looked, something like 240 or 250 Americans, military personnel, in the country. They are located in several locations in the country. More are going in. They are there for training purposes, they are there for logistics purposes, they are there for an exercise with the Philippine government. As you know, we have a very long military-to-military relationship between the United States and the Philippines. And I expect that there will be several hundred more people going in.
SPENCER MICHELS: The American forces will help train more than a thousand Filipino soldiers in their fight against Muslim extremists.
The targeted group is Abu Sayyef—one of several armed Islamic groups in the largely Catholic country.
Based in the southern islands of Basilan and Jolo, Abu Sayyef has kidnapped foreigners for ransom, often killing them in grisly fashion.
Last year’s victims included American Guillermo Sobero. Two other American missionaries from Kansas, Martin and Gracia Burnham, have been held since last May.
Investigators believe Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida helped fund Abu Sayyef in the early 1990s, and said bin Laden’s brother-in-law met directly with the group.
There’s also a Philippine connection to Ramzi Yousef, the man linked to al-Qaida and convicted of plotting and participating in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
Yousef once lived in this Manila apartment. In a 1995 raid, Philippine authorities found evidence of al-Qaida plans to crash a jet into the CIA headquarters, blow up several American airliners, and assassinate the Pope.
At the Pentagon, Secretary Rumsfeld was asked if Abu Sayyef was involved in September 11th.
SEC. DONALD RUMSFELD: There is no question that there have been linkages between al-Qaida and activities that have taken place in the Philippines. And second, the United States is clearly interested in al-Qaida. We are interested in a lot more than al-Qaida.
REPORTER: If I could follow—all the documents, the cell phones, the laptops, the evidence that you’ve gathered—does any of that directly point to the involvement of Abu Sayyaf in the September 11th attacks? Does any of that support that at all?
SEC. DONALD RUMSFELD: I’m not in a position to respond. I don’t—and I don’t know that I would want to if I happened to have gone through and reviewed all of that material.
SPENCER MICHELS: Concern about terrorism in the Philippines is part of the administration’s worry about Islamic militancy throughout the region.
Last month Malaysian officials arrested 13 radical Muslims. They say the men contacted Zacharias Moussaoui, the alleged 20th hijacker, in September or October. Singapore has arrested 13 men as well, saying eight trained in al-Qaida camps. The Singapore government also released this alleged al-Qaida videotape. It shows a train station believed to be one of the group’s targets. Western embassies and American companies in Singapore were also on the list.
And in Indonesia, the government believes al-Qaida funded a terrorist training camp used by local Muslim militants.
To help fund the new Philippine mission, President Bush in November committed $100 million in military aid to the government of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. But Arroyo told the NewsHour last November she did not ask for ground troops. Foreign combatants are both unpopular and banned in the Philippines.
JIM LEHRER: You do not want the United States to send armed troops in there to help your army get rid of these people?
PRESIDENT GLORIA ARROYO, Philippines: (November 19, 2001) Well, I think our… I think that our armed forces are quite good in what they’re doing. So what we really need would be really a technical assistance and equipment, materials, joint planning.
SPENCER MICHELS: Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said the Philippine training exercises are scheduled to last six months.
JIM LEHRER: And with us now is the Philippine Ambassador to the United States, Albert del Rosario.
Mr. Ambassador, welcome.
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Thank you. Thank you, Jim.
JIM LEHRER: Have things changed since I had that interview with your president in terms of the situation on the ground in the Philippines and the need for U.S. assistance, military assistance?
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Well, basically, Jim, what’s happened is that the - Abu Sayyef, which has been operating in about one or two of the seven thousand islands has—have been very elusive. And although the numbers of the group have been reduced from an estimated 1,200 to what is now purportedly at less than 100, we’re talking about the core group now. The terrain and the dense forest have made the capture and the eradication of this group very difficult. And to cover this last mile, the Philippines has invited the United States to provide help in terms of technical assistance, in terms of advice, and in terms of training.
JIM LEHRER: Now many Americans are viewing this as a new step in the U.S. war against terrorism. How do the Philippines see what’s going on with the introduction of more U.S. troops?
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Well, I think we are grateful for the assistance from the United States. But I think the public should not view the Philippines as being in the category of some of the other countries being mentioned. We are not harboring terrorism; we are fighting terrorism, Jim.
JIM LEHRER: And the U.S. troops, there’s a lot of terms that can be misused or misunderstood in this case, they are there to train and Secretary Rumsfeld as we just heard, to provide logistics, but they’re also combat soldiers, are they not? They’re going to be armed and if something happens they can shoot back, is that correct?
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Well, the presence of U.S. troops in the Philippines is not for combat purposes. They are supposed to observe and assist, and in the process of doing that yes they are armed and they may defend themselves if so attacked.
JIM LEHRER: This is a sensitive issue in the Philippines, is it’s not, having foreign troops, particularly from the United States on the ground?
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: I think, Jim, that there is clearly a legal framework in terms of the mutual defense treaty and the visiting forces agreement, that appropriately covers this activity.
JIM LEHRER: But in terms of the politics of the Philippines, I read some things today that some people say this is a violation of Philippines sovereignty, violation of the constitution; the U.S. soldiers should not come. I mean how do you read that sort of thing?
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Well, I think it’s a matter of education. The U.S. troops are there for essentially three missions. One is to provide assistance, training and advice
In terms of pursuing the Abu Sayyaf. The second is to be able to train this one or two light reaction companies in addition to that which has already been trained earlier. And of course the third is to be able to conduct the joint military exercises under the visiting forces agreement that is actually a yearly occurrence.
JIM LEHRER: Now, Abu Sayyaf, you say there are only about 100 of them left still at large. Tell us about them. Who are these people, where do they come from, what do they believe in?
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Well, the Abu Sayyaf are a, this is a splinter group of a much larger group which advocates the establishment of an independent Muslim state. The main group now is under a peace process, and this splinter group actually was formed by a former trainee of bin Laden from Afghanistan. And when he came back from Afghanistan in 1990, he started this group, and they started by their wave of terrorism by bombing churches and Christian groups. And then they went on to accelerate these terrorist activities in terms of engaging in kidnap for ransom activities. Subsequently, after this was founded by this person, Janjalani was his name, –
JIM LEHRER: Janjalani.
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Yes—there was also a fellow called Kalifa, who happened to be the brother-in-law of bin Laden who came to the Philippines to start several foundations, purportedly for funding terrorism activity in the Philippines. Now, he was shut down in—his organizations were shut down by the government in 1995—1995 I think it was. And after that, later on a few years later Janjalani was killed in a firefight. So there is documented evidence, Jim, that there is a historical link dating back to 1990 that this group is affiliated with the al-Qaida group. But after 1995, it becomes rather hazy and circumstantial in terms of that link. Although in—sometime last year—late last year there was a bombing in Suwbwanga, and the perpetrator who was caught, a fellow called Marvin Gjonson, I believe, he was related to the Abu Sayyaf, and there were documentation found in his person that seem to link him to the al-Qaida groups. So there you are.
JIM LEHRER: Okay. Why is it so hard to find these 100 people? What is it that the U.S. Military, what kind of expertise can they bring to this manhunt that has now been going on for several years now already in the Philippines?
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Well, I think, as I mentioned earlier, Jim, the terrain is very difficult.
JIM LEHRER: Describe the terrain. What kind of terrain?
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: I’ve not been there, but I’m told, and there’s documentary evidence from the U.S. Military itself that the terrain is difficult because you have mountains and you have dense jungle, and you have very heavy fog in that area. So I think looking for a band of less than 100 would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Now, in terms of intelligence, I think the Philippine forces have human intelligence, but it’s not real time, for example.
JIM LEHRER: You find out something two weeks too late you mean?
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: That’s right. Before that human intelligence gets its information back, and before the Philippine troops can mobilize and get transported to that area where the Abu Sayyaf may have been viewed, it’s too late, they are not there any more. So what we’re looking for from the United States is equipment, real-time intelligence.
JIM LEHRER: Technology as well?
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Yes, yes. And the objective, I think I might add, of this joint training is, it gives the U.S. Military exposure in terms of working in terrain like that, and the exchanges that the Philippine forces are able to train in terms of using modern equipment.
JIM LEHRER: Is there any word at all, new word at all on the Burnhams, the two captured American missionaries who are being held for ransom?
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: There are supposed to be sightings of the Burnhams, and they seem to be, they are physically weak, but they’re still moving around, they’re being moved around, and they are alive. And it is our prayer that the military and the cooperation between the Philippines and the United States will be able to safely rescue them, Jim.
JIM LEHRER: Mr. Ambassador, much is being made, as you saw in the newspapers this morning, about this new arrangement, in other words the decision to send more U.S. troops there. In the first place, is too much being made about this? Do you see, in the Philippines the introduction of the U.S. troops, as many as 600, is this a big a deal there as it appears to be here for us because it relates directly to Afghanistan or appears to?
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: I think the numbers would require some explanation. We do have a joint military exercise that is taking place at the same time as the pursuit of the Abu Sayyaf. Out of the 600 that you mentioned, only 100 or so are Special Forces. The other 500 are support and maintenance personnel, because they will also have aircraft and they will also have some other equipment there that need to be upgraded and maintained.
JIM LEHRER: As a practical matter, would this military arrangement have even happened if there hadn’t been September 11? I mean, would the Philippines have felt compelled in the atmosphere that existed before to ask the U.S. for this kind of help?
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: I think that in the context of what happened on September 11, Jim, the terrorism per se is abominable, it is a scourge, and I think that the international coalition in pursuing the eradication of terrorism throughout the world is, was the September 11 was the catalyst for this.
JIM LEHRER: And an impetus that led to this?
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Yes, that’s correct.
JIM LEHRER: Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much.
ALBERT DEL ROSARIO: Thank you, Jim, I enjoyed being with you.
FOCUS - MANAGING CARE
JIM LEHRER: Still to come on the NewsHour tonight: Managed care before the U.S. Supreme Court, rebuilding the Pentagon, and Trudy Rubin of the “Philadelphia Inquirer.” Margaret Warner has the court story.
MARGARET WARNER: At issue before the Supreme Court today was whether a state, in this case Illinois, can force managed health care plans to abide by an independent review when there is a dispute with a patient. We get more on the case and today’s proceedings from the NewsHour’s regular court- watcher, Jan Crawford Greenburg of the “Chicago Tribune,” and Susan Dentzer of our health unit, a partnership with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All right, Jan, tell us about this case. Tell us about this Ms. Moran.
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Debra Moran was diagnosed in 1996 with a rare and very painful nerve condition in her right shoulder. At first she had trouble blow-drying her hair, but it progressed to the point where she couldn’t even pick up a fork without her husband helping her. She went to doctor after doctor, through her HMO plan, she saw orthopedists, rehab doctors, physical therapists, but nothing, she said, alleviated or helped the pain. It always would come back. So she heard about this specialist in Virginia, and the specialist was doing a more aggressive newer kind of surgery. And she explored that option. The specialist thought that Ms. Moran would be an ideal candidate for this kind of surgery. But the specialist was not in her HMO’s network. So Ms. Moran went back to her primary care physician who agreed that this surgery was medically necessary, recommended that she go ahead and have it. Her HMO, Rush Prudential, refused to pay for the cost and said no, you need to see our network surgeons, we’ll pay for that, it’s a less complicated and less expensive surgery, but we think that’s good enough and that’s medically necessary but the Rush affiliated surgeons were proposing a treatment that they said only carried with it about a one-third chance of success and also a one-third chance that something could go wrong, including possibly paralysis. Debra Moran obviously didn’t like those odds. So she decided to go ahead and pay for the surgery herself. She said she - you know—maxed out her credit cards, borrowed money from other sources and paid $95,000. Then she asked again –.
MARGARET WARNER: And was successful?
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Right. So she asked Rush again to pay for this, Rush declined. She went to state court to get a judge to order Rush to go through, which had been declining to do too, to go through this independent review process so that an outside physician could look at her case to see if she was right. And the state court ordered Rush to do that. The process began, the outside independent reviewing physician from Johns Hopkins Medical center agreed with Moran, and the specialist that the surgery was necessary. So Rush, the reviewer says you played for the claim. Then Rush changed its approach.
MARGARET WARNER: So this, I gather, went through, she’s now suing to get her money back, and the first court ruled –
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Right. Rush then changed its approach a bit and raised a different argument in federal court. Then it said, look, this state law is invalid, this independent reviewing process, that’s just invalid, we don’t have to pay for this procedure because a federal law, federal employee benefits law, supersedes or takes precedence over this state law. So we don’t have to go through this process at all. The federal district court agreed with Rush. But a federal court of appeals in Chicago disagreed and it sided with Ms. Moran and it said that the state law didn’t conflict, the state law was valid, Rush took that appeal, took that case to the Supreme Court and that’s how we got here today.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. Susan, tell us about this federal law, because we hear a lot about this, ERISA a very difficult acronym. What is this law?
SUSAN DENTZER: It’s the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. It was passed in 1974. And it was designed really because Congress wanted to encourage the provision primarily of pensions and other employee benefit plans. And it was worried that the states were nickeling and diming employers, who often operated in multiple states, with lots of independent state statutes that conflicted in many instances. So Congress said we need one overriding federal statute on employee benefits, therefore passed ERISA in 1974. Over time it’s come to also apply to other employee benefits other than pensions and retirement plans, like health insurance. The critical issue, as Jan says, in this case is do the provisions of ERISA, which apply to employee benefits, override state statutes that pertain to insurance and the regulation of health care? Traditionally the regulation of insurance and health care has been left to the states. However, ERISA itself also carves out some exceptions. So now the parties are arguing over whether ERISA should apply in this case or whether the state law governing insurance, which HMO products are, in most states, or whether it is regulation of health care, and therefore that that is also under the purview of the State of Illinois in this case.
MARGARET WARNER: And some 40 states have passed some kind of patient protection that provides for some kind of independent preview process?
SUSAN DENTZER: Exactly, 41 states now and the District of Columbia have provisions that allow for this independent review—as does Medicare, the federal benefits program for the elderly.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. So Jan, tell us about court today. I gather the lawyer for the HMO went first - what did he argue –
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Right. John Roberts represented the HMO and he said the state law is invalid because it conflicted with ERISA. I mean—obviously just the sound of it, I mean these cases - as Roberts said today—can be extremely complicated, but this case, he see, was a straight forward one. States cannot require HMO’s to abide by whatever decision an independent reviewer may make because that’s a different remedy for someone who may have a complaint about a denial of benefits. If you’ve got a complaint about your benefits being denied, you’ve got to look at ERISA. The federal law, that’s the only remedy, that is a different remedy, Roberts said, so therefore is out the door, it’s out the window, we’ve got to rely on ERISA.
MARGARET WARNER: Did any of the Justices give him a hard time?
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Well, several of the Justices seemed inclined to do so - Justice Souter, Justice O’Connor even and Justice Stevens, but they didn’t really give him much resistance. They suggested, Justice O’Connor for example at one point said, well, what about insurance, I mean as Susan said? Is this really a law about HMO or employee benefits, or is it about insurance? And of course that’s the point that the lawyer for Debra Moran tried to make when he stood up next.
MARGARET WARNER: So what happened?
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Well, his main argument is that this isn’t about employee benefits, we know that that’s the purview of ERISA. This is about insurance, this is a law regulating insurance, ERISA says, that’s one of these exceptions, ERISA says insurance, that’s the state’s business. There’s another Supreme Court case that suggests there may be exceptions to that. But his bottom line was that this is about insurance, and he said all Debra Moran ever saw in this case is the benefits she was entitled to, which - you know - he said saved her right arm—trying to make this to a very straight forward case like Roberts had done before. But at that point Justice Scalia - Antonin Scalia—jumped right in and really framed the issues and in this case and said, look, the question is who gets to decide if she is entitled to those benefits, or who gets to decide what are the benefits that she gets. So you know Moran says the states can decide. The states can set up these independent reviewing boards, Rush Prudential says no, we’ve got this federal law and that’s what’s supposed to govern here. So that’s really what it boiled down to. I think Justice Scalia offered some resistance to Ms. Moran’s lawyer, as did Justice Kennedy and even the chief justice to some degree, they seemed to suggest they were not willing to embrace this Illinois law, or by extension maybe some of the other 39, 40 laws.
MARGARET WARNER: And there is a lot at stake here, Susan.
SUSAN DENTZER: Absolutely. In fact, for all of these states that have passed these provisions, they view that as a very important protection against decisions being made that are not based on medical necessity, not really based on the medical evidence. Consumer advocates think that if the Court rules in favor of the plans on this, in effect it would void all of those, it could have the possibility depending on how expansive the ruling is that could void all of those state statutes and that’s very problematic. And even the health plan industry is conflicted on this, because it has embraced external review as a very important element that nudges people to looking truly at the issues of medical necessity, is a procedure really medically necessary -
MARGARET WARNER: Rather than going to court.
SUSAN DENTZER:—rather than going to court—but also understanding the true medical evidence that something works or doesn’t work. So there’s a lot at stake on all sides.
MARGARET WARNER: So if the Court rules in favor of Rush, then the only way to get in these independent reviews would be for Congress to have to do something?
SUSAN DENTZER: In effect probably, depending again on what the Court actually says. But in fact, that is a big issue at stake in the fight to pass a patients bill of rights. All of the provisions that have passed on the Hill have an external review provision in them with various differences. The health plans as an industry want a national external review provision, they want that very much, again as a protection against excessive litigation and also nudging towards the scientific practice of medicine. So whatever the Court says, in fact there could be at the end of this a legislative remedy that restores an external review process for all Americans, but at a federal level, and in fact getting at the very issue that ERISA was designed to attack, to have one overall national standard on that issue.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. Well, thank you Susan and Jan.
FOCUS - REBUILDING
JIM LEHRER: Now, rebuilding the Pentagon building after the 9/11 terrorism attack. Ray Suarez has that story. (Sirens)
RAY SUAREZ: When a hijacked jetliner sliced into the Pentagon on September 11, Lee Evey was sitting in his office supervising the completion of the first phase of a 20-year, $1.2 billion renovation of the Pentagon.
LEE EVEY, Pentagon Renovation Program Manager: We were about five days from completing that process—a process that had taken us about three years. We were moving people in, following right behind the completion of the construction, and we were about half finished.
RAY SUAREZ: When Evey got to the crash site, he found the plane had crashed diagonally through a part of both the new renovation and the old building. Fire fed by 10,000 gallons of jet fuel was just beginning to spread. Eventually it would damage two million square feet, almost a third of the building.
LEE EVEY: It just seemed like a box of puzzle parts that had been dumped on a table. There seemed to be no rhyme, nor reason, to it at all. The people we had in the building are accustomed to constructing buildings, are accustomed to building them, not disassembling them and taking them apart. We went out and we hired very, very quickly, overnight, some people who are experts in blast recovery. They had worked Mexico City, they had worked Oklahoma City, they had worked the earlier blast at the Twin Towers in New York, and got them on site as quickly as possible.
RAY SUAREZ: Chief among those hires was Alan Kilsheimer, a structural engineer with years of experience in blast recovery. He arrived on site the afternoon of the 11th and has been on the rebuilding job 18 hours a day since.
ALAN KILSHEIMER, Structural Engineer: They asked me to “a.,” design it, “b.,” be responsible to make sure it’s built the way we want it built. I told them we had three rules. One is there are no rules except for my rules, and that they had to keep all the people with paper and all the bureaucrats out of my face. And they did that. They’ve been… I’ve never seen anything like it. I couldn’t get away with this in downtown Washington on a private job. I have no rules.
RAY SUAREZ: Kilsheimer says his working motto is simple: “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.” The reconstruction has brought together an odd couple, the blunt and irreverent Kilsheimer, and the clean-cut and buttoned down project manager for the Pentagon, Will Colston. The two have been working closely since September 11. Both say it’s a partnership that works.
RAY SUAREZ: He may have only been half joking, that he demanded up front that people not be waving pieces of paper in his face, and that instead they wave them in your face. (Laughs) That’s the stuff that comes cascading down on the…
WILL COLSTON, Project Manager: That’s funny. He’s throwing a ton of drawings on top of me, which is on paper, itself. But no, it’s absolutely right. I mean, one of the key things that I do as the project manager for the government is to try to put the contracting methods, to put the funding, to be able to put any of the resources needed in place to support Alan as well as the contractor, and the other people working on this job to get it done.
RAY SUAREZ: While the fires were still burning, the reconstruction team decided to rebuild the damaged building as quickly as possible. Their goal is to have office workers in at least the outermost section, the building’s public face, where the jet hit the building, by September 11 of this New Year.
ALAN KILSHEIMER: Construction people are… They were really upset by this, what happened. It was an attack on them and what they stand for, and they’re going to show these people that they can do whatever they want to us, but we’re going to recover, and we’re going to recover faster than anybody ever imagined.
RAY SUAREZ: The original Pentagon structure is actually five different structures, or wedges; each one a separate entity connected by expansion joints. Five concentric rings of offices connect the wedges. The plane plowed through three rings just to the right of an expansion joint, almost like the first cut in a wedding cake.
ALAN KILSHEIMER: If you looked at the photographs early on, you saw a vertical clean line. That was the expansion joint. So everything to the left didn’t collapse and everything to the right collapsed within an hour or two.
RAY SUAREZ: On that left side was wedge 2, part of the unrenovated original Pentagon with no sprinkler system and tons of asbestos. On the right side was the newly renovated wedge 1 with a brand new advanced sprinkler system.
LEE EVEY: That fire went nowhere in wedge 1. Now I did get a heck of a lot of water damage in wedge 1, as a result of that, but the fire went nowhere. Wedge 2, the fire just took off. The heat of the fire was so intense that it damaged the concrete, and it damaged it further than we had initially thought that it had. In some areas, the fire was intense enough that the windows had actually melted.
RAY SUAREZ: After the rescue and crime scene personnel left the site in mid-October, demolition crews flattened a 100-yard-wide section of the building. Working around the clock, crews removed 47,000 tons of debris, more than 5,000 dump truck loads. Instead of the usual six months, the demolition phase took just a month and a day. Then they immediately began pouring concrete, and they haven’t stopped since. Ground was broken for the Pentagon on September 11, 1941, as the United States was about to enter World War II. The building, all 29 acres of it, went up in just 16 months. It was built so fast, the architectural drawings were completed after the fact, creating any number of design headaches. Since the attack, Evey and Kilsheimer have continually explored the site and say they were continually surprised by what they found.
LEE EVEY: Pick a building code– the Pentagon doesn’t comply with it. Okay, we do not comply with a single building code.
ALAN KILSHEIMER: It was done differently in ‘41 than the very sketchy drawings we had showed, or it had been worked on over the years so that we, even today, are still finding things differently than we thought, and we have to keep adjusting what we’re doing to accommodate what we uncover.
RAY SUAREZ: For example:
ALAN KILSHEIMER: There are tunnels and things all in and around here that were done over the years, and we’re trying to work around all those things.
RAY SUAREZ: Now I’m going to guess that there was a lot of conduit, cable, communications lines that because this was a 1941 building, had to be run in sub-optimal places.
ALAN KILSHEIMER: Yes.
RAY SUAREZ: But now that you’re building from scratch, you have a chance to do it right?
ALAN KILSHEIMER: Yes.
RAY SUAREZ: And you had those wires…
ALAN KILSHEIMER: Yes, it will be done a lot better than it was done before.
RAY SUAREZ: The rebuilt part will also be tougher and more resistant to blast damage. In wedge 1, the newly renovated section of the Pentagon, interlocking steel-beam supports and blast resistant windows, interspersed with a Kevlar, or bulletproof-type cloth, had just been installed. Evey says they were well worth the cost.
LEE EVEY: They cost us about $10,000 a piece when you put all the stuff together: The steel, the Kevlar, the windows, etc.. When the time came for these windows to account for themselves, in less than a second, they, you know, worked extraordinarily well and we strongly believe helped reduce the loss of life and injury in the building.
RAY SUAREZ: Those target-hardened window systems are built in a way that’s totally unlike any normal replacement window at home.
ALAN KILSHEIMER: So these are actually built into the forms that we pour the concrete in. So when we take the forms off the wall, these frames will be in the wall, imbedded in the concrete, and then the windows, the blast windows, will attach to this.
RAY SUAREZ: So these are purpose- built, designed for this job.
ALAN KILSHEIMER: Yes. Absolutely.
RAY SUAREZ: Is that common?
ALAN KILSHEIMER: No.
RAY SUAREZ: No, I didn’t think so.
ALAN KILSHEIMER: There’s nothing common to this job.
RAY SUAREZ: There’s also nothing common about how the workers rebuilding the Pentagon feel about the job they’re doing. There’s pride in the punishing schedule, and the rapid progress.
JEFF WINCHESTER: It’s moving kind of fast. Yeah, normally other projects are a little laid back, but right now, because it’s the Pentagon, the boss is asking everybody to pitch in. All those that are not going to pitch in, we’re letting them go.
TONY ARAUJO: I feel a little privileged to be out here. One day when I’m older, I’m going to be able to tell my kids, “I was there,” you know. “I did the reconstruction of the Pentagon after the plane went through it.”
KEVIN REED: It’s important to everybody out here. I mean, everybody… We come in early and work late, and we’re trying to get this thing put back together as fast as possible, and everybody’s willing to do it. It’s like bin Laden can’t come over here and hurt this country, because we can put it back together.
RAY SUAREZ: Pentagon historians can’t tell their story without September 11, the groundbreaking in 1941; the attack in 2001; and, if this construction crew has its way, a return to work in a completed new ring on September 11, 2002.
SERIES - THE SHAPE OF THE WORLD
JIM LEHRER: Finally tonight, another New Year conversation about the United States in the world with American commentators on international affairs. Gwen Ifill has tonight’s.
GWEN IFILL: And joining me is Trudy Rubin, a foreign affairs columnist for the “Philadelphia Inquirer.” Welcome, Trudy. It’s nice to see you in person for a change.
TRUDY RUBIN, Philadelphia Inquirer: It’s very nice to be here.
GWEN IFILL: You have written in your columns that what separates pre-September 11 from post- September 11 is a new global or an old global reality that we just weren’t paying attention to before. Elaborate on that.
TRUDY RUBIN: 9-11 was really a wake-up call. We were living in a very happy 1990s la-la land, where I think we didn’t understand that being a superpower has costs as well as benefits. Everybody was familiar with the benefits you gain from trade– we were doing very well economically, no one could really challenge us abroad. But I think what most Americans didn’t realize was that being a sole superpower breeds resentments and it breeds more resentments if you handle it casually or arrogantly. And I think they also didn’t understand that in the kind of world we live in now where information and mobility are so easy to come by and where everyone can move without being tracked, that it was very easy for stateless groups or individuals to harm America and that a highly industrialized society is very vulnerable to low-tech threats.
GWEN IFILL: But clich s aside, you write that September 11 did not change everything.
TRUDY RUBIN: No. It didn’t change things as much as we think because I think a lot of the same issues that we were discussing without the same intensity before 9/11 still exist: For example, the whole question of multilateralism versus unilateralism. Certainly we went into Afghanistan virtually alone. We had an alliance and the Brits helped us militarily, but basically it was our show, yet there were still questions about multilateralism that resonate more strongly after 9/11. For example, if you have failed states like Afghanistan, who is supposed to pick up the pieces, and who is supposed to do the peacekeeping? If you have a situation in Afghanistan where the country could break down again, if the United States isn’t involved in strengthening multilateral organizations that can provide the wherewithal and the people and money for that, then it’s not going to get done.
GWEN IFILL: So are you saying that the unilateralism of the United States that this administration was accused of prior to September 11 will come back in a different form?
TRUDY RUBIN: I think it never really went away. For example, the issue of how to deal with Russia—it is true that we have a new alliance, an antiterrorist alliance, but the same questions still resonate. The U.S. Has unilaterally decided to pull out of the ABM Treaty, and the relationship with Russia is still uncertain. And that needs to be worked out. And the same issues about peacekeeping, about foreign aid that were on the back burner before 9/11 haven’t really emerged to the front burner, and I think they will because they’re relevant in dealing with the kind of failed states that breed terrorism.
GWEN IFILL: You talked a moment ago about what happens next, nation-building, peacekeeping, whatever you want to call it. But you also have written that in order to, that the United States can’t get into this war without planning to win it. What is winning in a war like this? How do you define that?
TRUDY RUBIN: Winning, I think is a word that is… Now needs to be redefined after the fighting is over in Afghanistan. Winning does not mean ending terrorism because terrorism is a phenomena that was with us before 9/11 and there will always be terrorists at some level. There will always be local conflicts that will breed terrorism. And it doesn’t mean that we will be able to wipe it out everywhere in the world, because local conflicts, whether it’s Etta in Spain for Basque separatism, or the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, are going to be there. We can give advice, help cut off funds, we can share intelligence. But winning, in terms of Afghanistan, I think we have already done what I would think of as winning.
GWEN IFILL: Can the United States claim any kind of real victory if bin Laden has not been captured?
TRUDY RUBIN: Yes, and I think bin Laden probably will be captured because I think somebody will sell him out. I think that the elements that we have achieved which are extremely important, we have broken his charismatic glow. Bin Laden on al-Jazeera will not have the same impact. People see the fraudulence of his dreams of rebuilding an Islamic radical caliphate in the whole world. So we’ve struck a blow in this regard in discrediting radical Islamism. It won’t go away, but we have achieved something. Pakistan, crucial. General Musharaff made an incredibly courageous speech. He’s basically trying to do just what many Pakistanis had dreamt of and hoped, which is end the Talibanization of his society. These are real victories.
GWEN IFILL: Is it possible to replicate this kind of victory that has happened in Afghanistan—if that’s what it is—in Iraq? That’s the big debate.
TRUDY RUBIN: Right. You can’t just take the template and transfer it. There’s no northern alliance. There’s no southern alliance. The Iraqi National Congress once had a base in northern Iraq. President Clinton basically sold them out in 1996. They don’t have the fighting force on the ground. There are some Iraqi exiles in Iran. It’s not clear if they could come across to fight or if they’re still Islamists or have changed their tune. That’s one big difference. A second big difference is you have to convince Iraq’s neighbors and Iraqis themselves that we’re serious. We called on them to rise in 1991; we sold them out then, too. They rose and were smashed by Saddam. So you have a harder sell. In Afghanistan people believed we would fight to the end. In Iraq, you will have to convince people, and you will have to count on convincing them and have Iraqis rise.
GWEN IFILL: Another difficult part of this puzzle is what’s happening in the Israeli-Palestinian question. You have written that you’ve never seen it this bad. Is it because it is getting lost in the Afghanistan swirl, or is it its own intractable issue that the United States hasn’t figured out how to cope with?
TRUDY RUBIN: I don’t think it’s insoluble. At the moment, it seems intractable. Obviously, the U.S. attention was taken away from it, although with this horrible phase, even with new attention paid, it’s not so clear that you can move. One big plus: If we do go after Saddam Hussein and succeed, I think that might be the lever that could unleash a new peace process in Israel and with the Palestinians because if that threat were taken away, I think there would be a lot of changes in the Arab world. It would make it easier to deal with Israel and the Palestinians.
GWEN IFILL: But you’ve written that Yasser Arafat is a failed leader; “a tragic failed leader,” I think were your words. Is he the one we still have to deal with in order to work this through, in spite of that?
TRUDY RUBIN: At the moment, there is not an apparent alternative. After Arafat is either chaos or Hamas. If one wants to cultivate an alternative amongst Palestinians themselves, because they have to pick the new leadership, there are people on the Palestinian side who are very clear in the commitment to states no more final end to conflict. And Israel has to cultivate those people. But unfortunately leaders like Saren Asayba and Mustafa Bargudi have been arrested recently, although released after a few hours. Mustafa Bargudi, a prominent doctor heads medical relief committees, beaten up. This is not the way to deal with moderate leaders that might be the future.
GWEN IFILL: Finally, I do want to throw some of your words back at you and have you respond. You wrote at one point in October, “Perhaps these dark days will produce some positive legacy, shock some leaders into wiser behavior. It may only be a dream, but I can’t bear to wake up yet.” Have you awakened yet?
TRUDY RUBIN: I actually am hopeful to a certain extent about the Middle East after this, because I see the beginnings of debate. I am thrilled with what is happening in Pakistan. The debate in the United States, however, I don’t think has been engaged, yet because we do have to debate what kind of a superpower we want to be in the world, what we need and want to do beyond military, and how to reach out; better trade policies, more opening to third world trade, more aid. We can’t solve the world’s problems, but if we’re the sole superpower, we have to do more than provide weapons.
GWEN IFILL: Trudy Rubin, thank you very much for joining us.
TRUDY RUBIN: You’re very welcome.
JIM LEHRER: We’ll continue this series next week with Tom Friedman of the “New York Times.”
JIM LEHRER: And again, the major developments of the day. A federal grand jury issued a new indictment against the alleged shoe bomber, Richard Reid. He was charged with attempted murder and seven other crimes. The U.S. Military said it has increased its presence in the Philippines to fight terrorism. And a gunman killed three people at the Appalachian School of Law in Southwestern Virginia. The school’s dean was among the dead. We’ll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. I’m Jim Lehrer. Thank you and good night.