Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Los Angeles Daily News, Sept. 12, 2001.

SEPTEMBER 12, 2001

FBI teams converge on hotel in Boston
Train stopped; one man arrested but no connection to attacks apparent
Feds investigating possible terrorist links in Florida
Southland steels itself
Solace sought in prayer
Angelenos line up to donate blood
How to help your children to understand terrorism
Locals killed as planes crash
Bush vows to avenge 'evil acts'
Region's House delegates feel nation's tension
Precautionary evacuations, closures
Officials at LAX, Burbank airports expect security to change forever
Timeline of Tuesday's events
Los Angeles Muslims stunned, shunned
Experts say free society makes U.S. an easy mark
Airports accessible to suicidal guerrillas
A miracle of steel can't withstand powerful attack
Country could face recession should consumer spending stagnate following attacks
Shock quickly turns to anger in L.A.
Local closures
Area schools to stay open, offer counseling
Traffic clogs streets; officials stress calm
Witnesses 'shocked, shocked, shocked'
Mixed reviews on TV coverage
Attacks cause film delays

SEPTEMBER 12, 2001
Witnesses 'shocked, shocked, shocked'

By Beth Barrett and Dana Bartholomew
Staff Writers

San Fernando Valley area residents in New York and Washington, D.C., on Tuesday described the fear, shock and horror they experienced being near the scene of the deadly terrorist attacks.

Studio City resident Bruce Bialosky, president of the Republican Jewish Coalition of Los Angeles, was in the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday with a delegation of 26 other local residents when the Pentagon was struck by one of the hijacked airplanes.

"Shocked, shocked, shocked," Bialosky said of the reaction at the Capitol. "Then the shock turned to anger."

Bialosky said the local Jewish group had earlier in the week received a series of briefings on the threat of terrorism and on Monday was in the section of the Pentagon that was ignited by the crash of the hijacked plane.

"What happened to the World Trade towers is horrible, but what happened to the Pentagon is an act of war," he said.

A couple of elderly people with the group, in Washington for a quarterly meeting of the national Republican Jewish Coalition, said the attack was worse than Pearl Harbor in that the terrorists struck at the heart of the country, paralyzing it.

"They said there was the same shock and dismay after Pearl Harbor, but that things weren't shut down," he said. "They said, this is worse."

Bialosky said the Jewish group was immediately convinced that Arab terrorists were responsible for the attacks and called upon the United States to bring immediate retaliation.

"It's a sorry situation the American people have, to have this happen, to realize how serious, how dangerous these people are," Bialosky said. "The only responsible course is to retaliate."

Bialosky said the scene inside the Capitol grew tense after the New York attacks were reported. But as the Pentagon fire was reported, he said grim-faced Capitol guards raced into action, yelling at people to run for their lives.

"All of a sudden, one of the guards started running at me, screaming, 'Get out of here right now,'" said Bialosky, who called the Daily News from a bus headed to Bethesda, Md. "We got about 50 yards out, and there was this plume of smoke over the Capitol."

Ruth Jones, 59, of Lakeview Terrace was talking to her daughter, who works at the Pentagon, about the strikes in New York as the third plane crashed into the five-story building where her daughter and her husband work.

"Oh my gosh, the building's shaking," were the last words Jones heard from her daughter, Toni Callender, before the phone went dead.

It was about six agonizing hours before Jones heard from her daughter again.

"We have been on pins and needles," Jones said. "I thought I was going to die from the anxiety."

Toni Callender and her husband, Ronald Callender, were in a portion of the building spared destruction and were able to make it out alive. It took them 2 1/2 hours to get home a trip that usually takes 15 minutes.

Describing the experience later to her mother, Toni Callender said the day's events were something straight out of the movies and that they were lucky to be alive.

"It was nothing but God's work," Jones said. "It hit everywhere except where they were."

The family is still awaiting the arrival of a 15-year-old son who had been studying at Duke Ellington School of Art in New York.

"It's one of these things you never expect to hit home," Jones said. "It's one of those things you'll never forget."

Chloe Douglas of Bell Canyon, who is studying dance at New York University, said she was lying in bed in Rubin Hall, about a mile from the World Trade Center, when she heard a low-flying plane. She didn't hear an explosion but then heard many many sirens.

"I went outside and looked to my left and I saw the World Trade Center towers, and there were holes in the middle of them. It looked like (the movie) 'Independence Day.' Then it hit me: There are people in there, dying.

"Later, we went up on the roof and we saw the towers fall. When something that big happens, you don't even feel it. You don't even know what to feel.

"I just keep thinking that it's going to be there tomorrow. The sky looks so naked."

Ingrid Ernst, a flight attendant on Lufthansa Airlines, was looking out her hotel window across the Hudson River from New York City on Tuesday morning when she saw a jumbo jet penetrate the second World Trade Center building.

"It was going as fast as a regular plane. I didn't realize what was happening," Ernst, 23, of Hamburg, Germany, told the Daily News by phone from the Sheraton Hotel in Weehawken, New Jersey.

Ernst was relaxing by her window, planning her vacation in Los Angeles today, when she saw one of the hijacked passenger planes crash into the middle-to-upper floors of one of America's tallest landmarks.

"You saw the plane disappear, then fire on the other side," she said of the jet, which appeared small from her vantage across the river. "It was like you are in a movie -- it takes you awhile to realize what's happening. You're just shocked, you can't think anything at the moment.

"I still can't."

Following the explosions, many flooded outside the hotel to line the Hudson promenade. Some wept.

"It's like Pearl Harbor. ... It's like war is breaking out," she said. "It's the scariest thing of all. And to be someone in the airline industry, it's especially scary: We get in airplanes every day; this is our live(lihood)."

Staff Writers Barbara Jones and Bhavna Mistry contributed to this story.

Shock quickly turns to anger in L.A.
By Beth Barrett and Brent Hopkins
Staff Writers

Los Angeles residents joined the nation in grief, shock, outrage and fear Tuesday over the assault by terrorists on New York and Washington, D.C.

Along downtown streets, on corners and in the businesses and shops that kept their doors open, people looked tentatively up at the skyscrapers, shook their heads and sighed quietly, grieving the end of an era in which they could feel safe from terrorism in their city and country.

Edith Porter, 38, of Woodland Hills, a professor of microbiology at California State University, Los Angeles, who was taking a Metrolink train at Union Station, said she watched the terrorism assault initially with disbelief, like it was a disaster movie, but quickly felt the attack deeply and personally.

"This isn't like a fire or a natural disaster. This is specifically targeting the United States," Porter said, calling, with the rest of the country, for swift justice.

"The first thing to do is to find out who did this. I expect that the U.S. will act back with armed response," she said.

Some saw the attack as signaling the end of the world as Americans long have known it.

"What is the world coming to?" Daniel Crutchfield, 42, of West Los Angeles, a construction worker. "Is this the start of a war? What are we gonna do?

"We're not putting up with this. America will defend itself. This beats Pearl Harbor, that's for sure. We're supposed to be prepared for things like this," he said, clutching a radio to his ear to catch updates.

The Van Nuys Courthouse closed at 9 a.m. Tuesday, just as judges and attorneys were arriving for work. Paul Gutman, supervising judge of the northwest district, called the closure an "unprecedented" action.

"It's a tragic event. ... But this is a great nation, and we'll work it through," Gutman said.

People throughout the city were desperate for news of friends and relatives who might have been killed or injured in the collapse of the World Trade Center or the Pentagon fire.

Santa Monica resident Victor Sidhu shuddered when he learned of the attack on New York. His wife, Nancy, an economist with the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp., was in the city's financial district for a conference when the planes slammed into the World Trade Center towers a few blocks from her hotel.

She and five other economists immediately headed north, away from the disaster, and finally found a pay phone nearly 50 blocks away.

New Yorkers visiting L.A., like 29-year-old dancer Jasc Strong, said they were in shock. Strong said he'll take the bus back home, even if commercial air service becomes available.

"I don't want to get on a plane now," he said. "I don't think anyone will hijack a bus."

Many left downtown when they heard the news or as some businesses closed -- including the Central Market -- while other employees left early to be with relatives.

"I'm leaving work early," said Carlos Calderon, 42, a graphics designer from Palmdale who works for International Video Graphics. "It's not closed, but I've got family calling who's concerned. Most of the people decided to go home."

Many shared that sense of disorientation and insecurity as a result of the audacity and ruthlessness of the attack.

"The world's getting pretty (messed) up," said Jacob McCall, 20, who is in a U.S. Navy construction battalion stationed at Port Hueneme in Ventura County. McCall was at Union Station waiting for his wife.

"I don't feel safe anywhere anymore," McCall said.

For older residents, the attacks brought back memories of World War II.

"It reminded me of Pearl Harbor. It's a tragedy that someone is sick enough to do something like this that would cause innocent people to lose their lives," said Marvin Burkett, 73, a retiree from Indiana, who was leaving Los Angeles on Tuesday on an Amtrak vacation.

At the North Hollywood Metro Station, Jasmin Gratt had her trip to Universal Studios canceled when the Universal Studios Theme Park closed because of the terrorist attacks.

"This is why I'm in the U.S., to go to Universal Studios," said the film student from Austria. "I had my tickets and everything, and now it's closed. Guess I'll have to get back on the train."

Others did their best to cope and to express allegiance with those suffering on the East Coast.

Near the Federal Building in Westwood, Robert Hamel, a welder from El Segundo, drove his 1971 Chevy pickup slowly through the streets with a 125-pound steel sculpture of the New York skyline balanced in the back, an American flag fluttering over it.

Hamel said he began making American cities out of scrap metal left from the 1992 Los Angeles riots as his small contribution to civil peace.

He said the attack on New York devastated him and left him without the heart to craft another likeness of the Big Apple.

"I would have made more New Yorks if this tragedy hadn't happened this morning," Hamel said. "I could alter it, by taking the twin towers out, but the twin towers were the crown jewels of New York."

Staff Writers Harrison Sheppard, Troy Anderson, Greg Wilcox, Evan Pondel and Rick Orlov contributed to this story.

FBI teams converge on hotel in Boston
by The Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) A heavily armed FBI team searching for suspects in the terrorism attacks in New York and Washington stormed a Boston hotel Wednesday, and a witness said someone was seen being put in a van.

A couple of dozen officers, wearing bulletproof vests and carrying shields, were seen bringing fiber-optic equipment into the Westin Hotel in the Back Bay section.

WHDH-TV reported the officers were using the equipment to check under hotel room doors on hotel's 16th floor, quoting a person who was inside the hotel.

"SWAT teams were all around holding machine guns," said witness R.J. Ryan of Boston, who joined hundreds of other onlookers outside the hotel.

"They put somebody in the van," Ryan said. "Then they started moving everybody."

Three ambulances and a police car were stationed outside the hotel as a crowd of onlookers gathered there. Police officers returned repeatedly to a police truck outside to retrieve the fiber-optic equipment, which can be slipped under doors to see inside rooms, WHDH-TV reported.

Meanwhile, other officers converged on the Park Inn at Chestnut Hill in Newton, a Boston suburb. Newton police officer Russ Adam said the FBI was conducting an investigation at the hotel. A clerk at the hotel confirmed the agents were there but said he could not say anything more.

Law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said a hotel room in the Boston area believed to have been used by one of the hijackers was searched but no arrests were made. The officials said the room was vacant but included information linking it a name on the manifest of one of the hijacked flights. They declined to identify the man.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Associated Press Writer John Solomon in Washington contributed to this report.

Train stopped; one man arrested but no connection to attacks apparent
By Michael Mello
Associated Press Writer

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) A man allegedly carrying a knife aboard an Amtrak train was arrested Wednesday, but authorities said he had no apparent connection to this week's terrorist attacks.

Train No. 173 heading from Boston to Washington, D.C., was stopped by local authorities in Providence, its passengers were ordered off, and city police arrested the unidentified man. Police said three other men were released after questioning.

A man with a long beard was taken in handcuffs from the train station at about 3:20 p.m. The man, who was wearing a green turban, green shirt and dark pants, was put into a Providence police cruiser.

In Washington later, FBI Director Robert Mueller said individuals had been detained and questioned but there had been no arrests by investigators probing the terror attacks.

Col. Richard Sullivan, the police chief, said Providence police were contacted by Boston police, who said there were some people on board the train they considered suspicious.

Providence Mayor Vincent Cianci Jr. said police told him they were looking for as many as four suspects who eluded authorities in Boston. Two of the hijacked planes that crashed Tuesday took off from Boston.

"I don't know if any of these people have anything to do with the events that happened yesterday," Cianci said.

The train was due in Washington at 8:50 p.m. After being stopped for about 90 minutes, it resumed service.

Feds investigating possible terrorist links in Florida
By Ken Thomas
Associated Press Writer

MIAMI (AP) A Florida man says FBI agents told him that two men who stayed with him while getting flight training last year were involved in Tuesday's attacks on the World Trade Center.

Charlie Voss, a former employee at Huffman Aviation in Venice, said FBI agents who interviewed him at his home told him that authorities found a car at Boston's Logan Airport registered to the two men.

"They informed us individuals who had crossed our path were involved yesterday with the airplane in the tragedy at the World Trade Center," Voss said.

Voss said one of men who stayed at the house in July 2000 was named Mohamed Atta. He said he knew the other man only by the name of Marwan.

Shortly after 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, the FBI in Miami issued a national bulletin for law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for two cars. The bulletin did not mention whether the vehicles were linked to Tuesday's attacks.

Records with the Florida Division of Motor Vehicles show that one of the vehicles the FBI was pursuing a 1989 red Pontiac was registered to Atta. Atta, 33, previously had a drivers license in Egypt, state records show.

In Coral Springs, the FBI was at an apartment complex that Atta listed as his last address with the motor vehicle division.

"We were out there with the FBI late last night at that location," said Coral Springs Police Sgt. Rich Nicorvo. He said the FBI was at the address for at least one hour.

Tony Amos, the manager of Shuckums restaurant in Hollywood, said Wednesday that FBI agents showed photos of two men to employees of the restaurant Tuesday night.

The photos had signatures on the bottom, Amos said. Amos was able to identify the photo of a man whose first name was signed Mohamed, but he could not make out the last name, he said. Amos said a waitress and bartender identified both men as customers who ate dinner at the restaurant some time last week.

Amos said the man identified as Mohamed gave him some trouble when the bill came. He said he told the man to be truthful if he couldn't pay.

"The guy said, 'I can afford to pay the bill. I'm an airline pilot,"' Amos said.

Agents were conducting interviews and sought search warrants in southern Florida and in Daytona Beach in central Florida amid evidence that suspected terrorist sympathizers were operating in the area, officials said.

"We are covering leads all over the country and this is one of the many we are covering," said Brian Kensel, an FBI spokesman in Tampa.

In Venice, Voss said the two men said they had just arrived from Germany and wanted to take flight training at Huffman Aviation, where Voss worked for more than 13 years. He no longer is with the company.

The houseguests took flight training on small planes at Venice Municipal Airport, about 60 miles south of Tampa. Voss said the men were asked to leave their home after a week when the couple grew uncomfortable with them.

Voss said he wasn't involved with their training. The company offers training in light, single-engine aircraft like Cessnas and Pipers but no commercial aircraft.

Rudy Dekkers, president and owner of Huffman Aviation, said the FBI was looking at student records at the flight school, including copies of passports from the men.

Kensel of the FBI could not confirm whether a search was conducted in Venice.

Officials at Embry-Riddle, the world's largest university specializing in aviation, would not confirm if the FBI had contacted the school.

Spokeswoman Lisa Ledewitz said one out of every four commercial airline pilots was trained at Embry-Riddle. Students train in single-engine planes and until last December the school used a Boeing 737 simulator.

"We are suffering like the rest of the country," Ledewitz said. She said all international students who enroll in the pilot program have to receive prior approval from the U.S. State Department.

The FBI executed search warrants in Davie in Broward County north of the Miami area, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale reported, quoting Miami FBI spokesman Judy Orihuela. Orihuela declined comment Wednesday.

Hollywood Police Detective Carlos Negron said Wednesday that the department was helping the FBI in an investigation in Broward and declined further comment.

Southland steels itself
By Chris J. Parker and Matt Hufman
Staff Writers

Within minutes of the vicious terrorist attacks on the East Coast early Tuesday, Los Angeles mobilized in a tactical alert, shutting down government offices, airports and the Southland's biggest landmarks.

People across Los Angeles reacted in horror to TV images of a plane crashing into New York's World Trade Center -- the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history -- and prepared for the worst. Three of the four planes hijacked in the attack were bound for Los Angeles, the other for San Francisco.

Gov. Gray Davis called the attacks "an act of war against this country."

In L.A., officials evacuated downtown while police, emergency crews and anti-terrorist crews anxiously prepared, and the threat of terrorism closed down the soul of Southern California -- an awards show, a TV show and all major theme parks and landmarks were locked up. Officials also closed high-rises and other potential targets.

"They got New York and the Pentagon," said Joleen Freeman, 19, of Chino, administrative assistant for Backbone Communications in the Arco Tower. "If you want to get the country, L.A. is going to be next. Then they can do whatever they want."

Bogus bomb threats

While a number of bogus bomb threats were reported throughout L.A., there were no terrorist attacks reported through the evening.

In Los Angeles, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was placed on "high alert," monitoring activities in the city, and federal, state and county courthouses and offices were ordered closed.

City and county Emergency Operations centers were opened, and the U.S. Marshals Service went on a tactical alert, securing all federal buildings in the Southland. The Los Angeles Police Department and the Sheriff's Department also declared tactical alerts, deploying anti-terrorist units and scrambling to bulk up patrol ranks on the street.

Southern California military bases went on heightened alert, sealing off public access.

"I don't want to see military police on our streets," said Vera Volk of Los Angeles, who was stranded at LAX trying to get to a niece's wedding in Omaha, Neb. "There are things I expect my government to do for me, and one of those is not to have terrorist attacks."

LAPD Chief Bernard C. Parks said the Anti-Terrorist Division was deployed to look for places that could be potential "targets." He said there is "no credible threat of any danger to Los Angeles."

Parks said city residents can call (888) 356-4661 for an update on emergency services.

"We're out there. We're on heightened alert," said police Sgt. John Pasquariello. "We're going to be safe, trust me. Everything is under control. People should feel good that we're out there."

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca activated an emergency network, deploying special enforcement units, 1,000 extra deputies and more than 1,600 volunteers who handle communications throughout the county.

Late Tuesday, a tactical planning session, chaired by Baca and including most police chiefs throughout L.A. County and a representative of the governor and the U.S. military, was held.

"Make no mistake about it: We will be about our business," said Steve Whitmore, Baca's lead spokesman. "Tonight, L.A. County is as safe as it can be. Our hope is, it's safe enough. We are at full readiness -- everybody now is on the same page."

About 70 members of the city's urban search and rescue unit was bused to March Air Force Base in Riverside County to be deployed with 50,000 pounds of equipment to New York. Both the city and county fire departments sent out extra crews and equipment throughout L.A. County.

"Our main objective is to keep a sense of calmness in Los Angeles," said L.A. Fire Capt. Stephen Ruda. "Obviously, with the potential out there, we just need to watch and pray."

Tourism slows

L.A.'s hallmark industries -- tourism and entertainment -- were rocked by the news.

Officials postponed Tuesday night's Latin Grammys at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, and the Emmy Awards show slated for Sunday night at the Shrine Auditorium was also postponed. There was no word when those shows would be rescheduled. "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" was canceled, as was Madonna's Tuesday night show at the Staples Center.

Major L.A. landmarks, including theme parks, tourist attractions and museums were immediately shuttered.

"We're turning tourists away," said Ronald Avila at Disney's El Capitan Theatre. "This is the heart of L.A. If they'd want to hurt someone, they would hit here."

Tour operators canceled planned excursions for peace of mind, if nothing else. While many tourists worried or called home, others -- including some area residents -- continued on with life or sightseeing.

"Why would anyone hit here? They're hitting symbols and things that mean something," said Kyle Haughton, 27, of Los Feliz. "It's all smoke and mirrors here."

Downtown shuttered

Officials took no chances. Downtown was all but shuttered, with flags at the government buildings all flying half-staff.

Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn, who is in Washington, D.C., was "monitoring events" closely and has been in contact with City Council President and Acting Mayor Alex Padilla, said mayoral spokeswoman Julie Wong. Hahn plans to return home as soon as possible.

Davis ordered all nonessential state employees to go home, and closed all state buildings. City Hall and county offices were shut, and the federal government shut its buildings, posting U.S. marshals to stand guard. The state Legislature in Sacramento closed the session for the day.

There were no government-ordered evacuations of privately owned buildings in Los Angeles, however, several buildings were cleared by their owners, including the Arco Towers.

Westfield Shopping Centers, which operates the shops at the World Trade Center in New York City in addition to the Promenade and Topanga malls at Warner Center, sent employees home and closed the malls.

Among the high-profile L.A. buildings shut down or evacuated were the Century City Towers -- the most analogous in prominence to the Trade Center.

The Southern California Gas Co.'s headquarters building in downtown Los Angeles was closed as a security precaution, said company spokesman Peter Hidalgo. People who work in the 60-story building at 555 W. Fifth St. were being asked to stay home.

The Central Library downtown was closed, but all branches remained open.

Downtown was jammed with people trying to get out Tuesday morning. Transportation officials sent extra trains and buses to carry people out. Police and the California Highway Patrol shut down on- and off-ramps around the closed LAX, and MTA officials closed down the Red Line on Tuesday afternoon "as a precaution," officials said, to make sure tunnels were OK.

Amtrak closed down to check its tracks, and the Port of Los Angeles closed boat traffic to the harbor.

LAX and Burbank airports were closed immediately, with all flights canceled. The last plane landed at Burbank Airport at 7:30 a.m.

Officials at Van Nuys Airport requested additional police patrols, closed the control tower and sent home nonessential personnel after the FAA grounded all flights nationwide.

LAX was evacuated at 9 a.m. Domestic flights that were in the air immediately after the attacks were diverted to Ontario International Airport. International flights were diverted to Canada.

Families gather

As families of victims aboard the doomed United and American Airlines jets arrived at LAX, they were escorted to American's Admiralty Club in Terminal 4.

"The emotions I've seen on a few faces have been grief and shock," said Rick Dickinson, a Red Cross grief counselor who had met with about a half-dozen people.

Families checking flight information can call American Airlines at (800) 245-0999. The United Airlines information line is (800) 932-8555.

School was out for the California State University system, including campuses at Northridge, Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Major League Baseball canceled all of its games, including an Angels home game in Anaheim and a Dodgers' game in San Diego. The Pacific-10 Conference canceled football games this weekend, and the National Football League was considering doing the same.

Southland landmarks were kept shuttered as well, including: Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita; Universal Studios Hollywood; Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure and Knott's Berry Farm in Orange County; the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley; Warner Bros. studios in Burbank; the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and the city's 74-story Library Tower, at 1,700 feet the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. The Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona was closed but expected to reopen today.

A handful of post offices -- those in or near federal buildings and at LAX -- were closed today and the postal service will not accept overnight packages destined out of state, according to Postal Service spokesman David Mazer. Parcel delivery is also in chaos.

Suburbs react

Glendale and Burbank both upped their police patrols, calling in off-duty officers, and both cities used their cable channels to keep the public updated.

"We have what is called maximum deployment," said Burbank City Manager Robert "Bud" Ovrom. "Detectives and administrative officers -- they are all in uniforms and put in police cars. Even the police chief is wearing his uniform. That is to create a heightened sense of visibility and security."

"We have a heightened sense of awareness ... and preparedness at all city facilities," said Glendale City Manger Jim Starbird, whose City Council ironically met on -- and approved -- a contract to develop a plan for managing the aftermath of a terrorist attack."But we don't expect a local incident."

Edwards Air Force Base in the Antelope Valley was on a heightened state of readiness, a spokesman said. "We have response squads ready to go," he said.

At Point Mugu and Port Hueneme naval bases in Ventura County, officials heightened security measures and closed all public tours and access to the bases.

Still, many tried to carry on.

Classes continued in the Los Angeles Unified School District, but after-school activities were canceled, and local district offices in downtown were closed as well as district offices at the KPMG building.

Spokeswoman Ellen Morgan said officials are encouraging school officials to have a "normal day of instruction."

Other school districts in the region kept normal classroom hours but many canceled after-school activities. Crisis counselors were deployed to schools in L.A. and Ventura County.

In Ventura County, government was open.

Staff Writers Orith Goldberg, Brent Hopkins, Heather MacDonald, Holly Edwards, Sabrina Decker, Beth Barrett, Mariel Garza, Bhavna Mistry, Dana Bartholomew, Kathleen Sweeney and Helen Gao contributed to this story.

Solace sought in prayer
By Beth Barrett, Mariel Garza and Dana Bartholomew
Staff Writers

People throughout Los Angeles joined the nation in prayer Tuesday for those who were killed, injured or grief-stricken by the worst terrorist attacks in U.S. history.

Across all denominational lines, shocked and saddened people offered their supplications for care and comfort.

"I am horrified and deeply saddened by this morning's terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.," said Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Los Angeles, who issued a prayer dispatch from Washington, D.C., where he was grounded Tuesday.

"Such actions strike at the very heart of our belief in fundamental human rights and the dignity of every person.

"In this time of unprecedented tragedy and fear, we ask God in a special way to pour out his abundant blessing upon all of us, to comfort us, to strengthen us and to bring us together in a spirit of unit and solidarity."

More than 2,000 people gathered Tuesday night at the Church on the Way in Van Nuys, the first time such a prayer service had been held there since the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, said Associate Pastor Jim Nelson.

Inside the church parishioners exchanged hugs and offered words of comfort to their friends and fellow Christians.

For 29-year-old Van Nuys residents Joe Eddings, just being in his regular house of worship brought a sense of peace and understanding after the devastation he watched unfold on his television.

"All of us here believe in God and that there's a reason, a resolve to what went on, where it's not just sorrow or pain, but there's a destiny to all of this," he said.

Members of the San Fernando Valley's Jewish community were clearly on edge, which many attributed to tensions in the Middle East between Arabs and Jews.

Many synagogues planned services to memorialize those lost in the tragedy -- some of them friends -- and to rally community faith.

"One of our members' chief financial officer with his company was in the plane that crashed into the World Trade Center," said Rabbi Gershon Johnson of the Temple Beth Haverim in Agoura Hills, which plans a commemorative service at 8 p.m. today. He was referring to Edmund Glazer, 41, chief financial official of the optical network firm, MRV Communications Inc. of Chatsworth.

"This is a dire situation. Thousands of people have died. Life will never be the same as we know it. We must look deep inside and reach out to help our people find faith and courage in this most difficult time."

Many synagogues looked to their children first and foremost, for their safety and their support.

Members of the Adat Ari El synagogue in Valley Village, which has 400 students, were on heightened security alert. Better to have the children in school, officials reasoned, than at home watching horrific events on the news.

"Certainly, it's devastating," said Alan Karpel, executive director of the synagogue, "and we're praying for everyone across the nation. We're certainly taking care of the children."

Aslam Abdullah, vice chairman of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, held a news conference early in the day at the Islamic Center of Southern California to condemn the violence and ask that the government deliver "swift justice" to the perpetrators.

Abdullah said many people have gathered at the center near downtown Los Angeles. "It's a mood of shock," Abdullah said. "It's a second Pearl Harbor."

Several members of Islamic Center attended a noon, multifaith prayer service at the nearby Immanuel Presbyterian Church on Wilshire Boulevard, organized by pastor Frank Alton.

The hastily arranged multifaith and multiethnic service at Immanuel Presbyterian Church brought many to tears, as passages of different holy books were plumbed for solace and hope.

"As people of faith we wanted those who could come together to find comfort, seek hope and try to find sense in the midst of chaos," said Immanuel Presbyterian pastor Frank Alton, the organizer of the hourlong service.

The Rev. Doei Fujii of the San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple pleaded for calm after Tuesday's terrorist attacks and implored America's leaders to refrain from placing blame until they can get accurate information about the cause of the attacks.

"We usually say: Anger to anger is endless. ... People hate each other and it's endless indeed.

"I feel very sorry for the family members, indeed, who have been victimized in this terrible accident."

People gathered across Southern California on Tuesday night.

Parishioners of Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village telephoned the church throughout the day asking for a prayer vigil.

"It's time for us to pull together," Pastor Larry DeWitt told a group of about 600 people who gathered at Calvary Community in the evening.

Temple Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills held an emotional interfaith service including Christians and Muslims.

Kol Tikvah Rabbi Steven Jacobs had gone to Los Angeles International Airport at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning for a flight to New York, but all flights were canceled before he could take off.

"America is under siege, physically and emotionally and we can't bow to insanity and evil," Jacobs told the interfaith gathering Tuesday night.

In Encino, about 70 people gathered at the Bahai Community Center.

"This is painful to a lot of people," said Bahai member Fernando Huerta. "We want to give people a chance to pray for the families and the victims. It's such senseless devastation."

About 1,000 people gathered Tuesday night at Bel Air Presbyterian Church on Mulholland Drive, where they shed tears and asked why this happened.

"We're often asked that question: Why?" said pastor Doug Folsom. "It's a certain mystery in life."

In the Antelope Valley, First Missionary Baptist Church in Littlerock held a prayer service Tuesday night. Temple Beth Knesset Bamidbar, Antelope Valley's Reformed Jewish congregation, scheduled a prayer service at 7:30 p.m. today.

"It's devastating, it's heartbreaking, and it's absolutely confusing," said First Missionary's pastor, the Rev. Henry Hearns, who is also Lancaster's vice mayor. "What we have to do is pray and believe that God knows what is going on."

After getting about a dozen calls, the pastor at Calvary Baptist Church said he decided to organize a special service at 6:30 p.m. today. The church is at 7115 Shoup Ave. in West Hills, church secretary Edith Pendleton said.

"I'm going to ask everyone to come and pray together," she said. "The main thing we can do is to pray for our country and our people."

"At this moment, we are so stunned," Pendleton said. "The world is so stunned. A matter of prayer is the greatest thing we can do."

Staff Writers Heather MacDonald, Jim Skeen, Karen Maeshiro, Sandra Barrera, Jason Kandel and Sabrina Decker contributed to this story.

Angelenos line up to donate blood
By Jason Kandel and Jill Painter
Staff Writers

Steven Vlottes holds his arm with the help of nurse Carmen Pena after donating blood.(Michael Owen Baker / Daily News)
Lines formed around local hospitals Tuesday, as residents rolled up their arms to donate blood after the worst act of terrorism in U.S. history.

At the Red Cross' Van Nuys office, overwhelmed volunteers had to direct a steady stream of cars into a makeshift parking lot and others started sign-up sheets for blood donors to return later this week.

Stacy Myers, a 19-year-old student at California State University, Northridge, organized a group of 20 fraternity and sorority members to give blood.

"It's a really sad thing that happened, and we just want to do anything we can to help," Myers said. "We've been devastated. My roommate was crying. It's a big, scary thing."

The phone lines were open at Kaiser Permanente in Woodland Hills to schedule blood donations.

"Everyone is in shock and upset right now," said Linda Quon, a hospital spokeswoman. "They're flocking to donate blood. There's going to be a need for blood for several weeks. If that momentum and generosity continues, that's going to be helpful. Blood is going to be needed for several weeks."

Others believe that with a shortage of blood in Los Angeles County, officials on the East Coast will rely on more local supplies before coming to California for blood.

"Unfortunately, there is a critical shortage of blood in L.A. County," said Ron Yukelson, a spokesman at Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center, which plans to hold a blood drive sometime this week. "I don't believe they're going to be looking to the West Coast for blood immediately."

Regardless, hundreds of residents waited two to four hours to roll up their sleeves and donate blood at Glendale Adventist Medical Center. At Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in neighboring Burbank, so many donors showed up the hospital had to shift its donor center to the auditorium.

"It's just tragic," said Glendale Adventist spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez. "I've never seen this. I think it's wonderful the community has come to help the people in need, the victims."

Red Cross workers were dispatched to local hospitals to collect blood for the emergency.

"I can tell you that this is the first time since we had the Oklahoma disaster that I have seen so many people," said Carvel Gay, a spokesman for the Glendale-Cresenta Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross. "The halls are lined with people here. It shows you that Americans come through in emergencies like this. This is just unbelievable."

Gay was optimistic that if a similar tragedy were to strike L.A., blood would be shipped in from elsewhere.

"We would get blood here one way or another," he said. "We pool from the whole country. Sure we've been going through a shortage of blood, unfortunately. And when you go through a situation you have right now, you think, God, God are we going to be able to care of all these people? The response is unbelievable."

At the Lancaster United Methodist Church, where the Red Cross had a blood drive scheduled already, people lined up outside the building and filled chairs in the auditorium, waiting as long as 90 minutes to give blood.

"I wasn't going to donate blood because I have to take time off work, but after everything that's happened, I felt I needed to," said Mary Henson, 58, of Lancaster. "Hopefully, it will help some of those people hurt this morning."

On an average day, the Santa Clarita Red Cross on Valencia Boulevard draws blood from about 40 donors. But within an hour of the terrorist attacks, dozens of people had begun lining up to give blood.

"I'd want people to help us if this happened in California," said Stevenson Ranch resident Cathy Pfeifer. "I just feel so far away from (the victims). This is the only way I could reach out to them."

How to help your children to understand terrorism

Locals killed as planes crash
By Valerie Kuklenski and Orith Goldberg
Staff Writers

A co-creator of the sitcom "Frasier," an executive of a San Fernando Valley business and two Los Angeles Kings' scouts were among those killed Tuesday after terrorists hijacked three Los Angeles-bound airliners.

Producer David Angell, 54, one of the co-creators of the acclaimed NBC sitcom "Frasier," and his wife, Lynn, were among the passengers aboard Flight 11, the first plane to hit the World Trade Center, officials said.

Edmund Glazer, 41, the chief financial officer and vice president of finance and administration for Chatsworth-based MRV Communications Inc., was also on the plane, company officials said. Glazer, a former Woodland Hills resident who lived in the Boston-area heading up an MRV operation, was on company business, said his wife, Candy.

Garnet "Ace" Bailey, 53, of Lynnfield, Mass., the director of pro scouting for the Los Angeles Kings, and scout Mark Bavis were on the second plane that crashed into the World Trade Center, airline officials said. (See sports for a full story.)

The Angells were returning from Cape Cod, Mass., where they had spent the weekend to attend the wedding of a Boston cousin, said Gloria Gibson, spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, Vt., where Angell's brother -- the Most Rev. Kenneth A. Angell -- lives.

"They were just a very special couple," Gibson said. "They were not all that impressed with fame."

Angell -- who created the Emmy-award winning "Frasier" with partners Peter Casey and David Lee -- and his wife were mourned for their work in the community as well as television.

The Angells were known in the Pasadena area for their philanthropy, having supported the Hillside Home for Children there. In recent years, Angell was a board member at the Pasadena Playhouse and was lauded for his support and generosity of the program.

Partners mourned a man they also called friend.

"He was a kind and gentle man with a quiet exterior that masked one of the sharpest comedy minds ever to write for television," Casey and Lee said in a statement. "His fingerprints are all over some of the funniest moments in 'Cheers,' 'Wings' and 'Frasier.' What few know is that he was also a man of great faith, a quality that allowed him to navigate the shoals of the entertainment industry with unusual grace and level-headedness."

Casey and Lee also praised Lynn Angell as the love of David's life and said she "epitomized Southern graciousness and charm."

"As we write these words it is still impossible for us to imagine that they are gone," they added.

The television community mourned as well.

"The news that David and Lynn Angell were on American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston has devastated all of us at Paramount," said a statement from the studio, which housed the production company.

"Words cannot express our sorrow at this incredible loss. David has been at Paramount since 1983 and his grace, wit, humor and talent will be deeply missed. We cherished our relationship with David and Lynn and our hearts go out to their family and friends, especially David's partners, Peter Casey and David Lee."

The series won an unmatched five consecutive Emmy awards for outstanding comedy series in the 1990s and is up for another in that category this year. "Frasier" also has received awards ranging from the Humanitas and Peabody to Viewers for Quality Television and People's Choice.

Gibson said Bishop Angell had known his brother was on a flight returning to Los Angeles and held a noon Mass, praying for a colleague whose brother was on the 17th floor of the Twin Towers. That man survived, she said.

The bishop, she said, is in "deep shock," and said David and Lynn were devout Catholics who often attended the bishop's services.

Glazer, who had lived in Woodland Hills before moving to Boston to head up an operation for MRV Communications in 1998, had rushed to make his flight to L.A. on a business trip, his wife said.

"My God, I wish he was late," said Candy Glazer from her Boston-area home. She said she was apprehensive every time he flew and talked with him via cell phone as he taxied, telling him to call as soon as he landed. He never would.

"He was a loving husband," she said. "For 11 years, he used to bring me coffee in bed every morning when he wasn't traveling and he read to his son at least two books every evening."

He had been with the fiber-optic, high-tech holding company for the past seven years, moving up from controller to chief financial officer. Co-workers were in shock Tuesday evening.

"The first couple of hours, it was denial," said Jeff Graham, the company's director of marketing. "Then it was reality. This is a horrible national tragedy that came all the way home back to us."

Bush vows to avenge 'evil acts'

Region's House delegates feel nation's tension

WASHINGTON - Numbed Southland lawmakers pondered Congress' next move Tuesday as terrorism wrought havoc on the nation's capital and brought the government to a standstill.

"The nagging question I have is, Did we somehow fail the American people?" said Rep. Howard Berman, D-Mission Hills. "Are there things we could have done, consistent with American values and laws, that could have prevented this from happening?

"Now we have to put aside our partisan battles and find some solutions."

Others called for retribution.

"We have to be smart and strong, and we can't strike out blindly," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach. "But once we identify the cowards who did this, we have to track them down and kill them."

Some predicted sweeping changes.

"Americans' lives are going to be changed drastically," predicted Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, who said his Southland offices had received calls seeking assistance in locating loved ones who may have been aboard the hijacked planes used in the attacks.

"There won't be any more of those easy check-ins at airports. We also have to beef up our intelligence and our defenses."

Terrorism was on the agenda early Tuesday for Rep. Jerry Lewis, R- Redlands. His House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee had just started debating an increase in funding for counterterrorism efforts when Capitol Police advised him of the New York and Pentagon attacks. They ordered an immediate evacuation of the Rayburn House Office Building.

"This is a wake-up call. The terrible message of terrorism has been delivered to the American people," said Lewis, who offered refuge to his staff in his home in the Capitol Hill area. "This is still a very dangerous world, and we have to absolutely be prepared to defend ourselves and to find and punish the people behind these outrages."

Following the evacuation, more than 150 House and Senate members met at a police station near the Capitol. They briefly debated whether they should ignore police concerns and strike a symbolic blow against terrorism by reconvening in the Capitol. The proposal, backed by Rohrabacher and Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, was eventually dropped.

Jo Powers, an aide to Rep. David Dreier, R-Covina, was in her Capitol office just after 9 a.m. when the evacuation order came. "The cops were screaming for us to run out of the building and keep running as far as you can get from the Capitol."

Fear was etched in the faces of hundreds of workers who fled the White House, Executive Office Building and dozens of other federal offices Tuesday morning. They mingled in the sidewalks with bewildered tourists.

Tension grew as hundred of evacuees tried to use cell phones to contact friends and loved ones, but cell systems quickly crashed amid the overload.

Rumors were rampant early Tuesday, including false reports that explosions had hit the Executive Office Building, State Department and the Capitol. But, to the west, very real plumes of smoke could be observed billowing from the stricken Pentagon, which is directly across the Potomac River from the White House area.

Just after 10 a.m., predicted zero hour for yet another suicide plane rumored to be headed to Washington, a sonic boom shook the downtown area. All eyes scanned the horizon for signs of another explosion as squadrons of fighter jets streaked overhead.

"My God, it's like we're at war," an anxious Commerce Department employee said.

Police in full SWAT gear brandished automatic weapons. Later in the day, they were joined by National Guard units. Fire and ambulance crews set up command posts along Pennsylvania Avenue, near the White House.

The streets were soon gridlocked with traffic headed out of town. By 5 p.m., Washington was a ghost town.

"This message has been delivered many times, with the previous World Trade (Center) tower bombing in New York and the bloody attack on our barracks in Saudi Arabia," Lewis said. "But, until today, I'm afraid we really weren't listening.

"Americans tend to think of war in terms of battles and soldiers. Our real danger is from people who are willing to destroy themselves and hundreds of human lives to make a point."

Lewis predicted a proposed $500 million increase in anti-terrorism funding will quickly win passage.

Precautionary evacuations, closures
by Associated Press

Closures and evacuations nationwide in response to Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington:


Federal Aviation Administration shuts airports nationwide.
Greyhound cancels bus service in the Northeast. Bus terminals closed within one mile of federal office buildings. Service later resumed except in Washington; New York City; Newark, N.J.; and Norfolk, Va.
Amtrak temporarily suspends train service along the northeast corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C.
U.S. section of the St. Lawrence Seaway closed.
Manhattan subway lines shut down; limited service later restored. Bridges and tunnels leading into Manhattan closed.
Louisiana's Offshore Oil Port handling supertankers in the Gulf of Mexico suspends operations.
Security for Great Lakes shipping tightened. Coast Guard inspecting ships at St. Marys River, which links Lake Huron and Lake Superior.


Tunnel between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, temporarily closed to car traffic. Security tightened at all U.S.-Canada border crossings.
Ports of entry along the U.S. Mexico border remain open with officials on high security alert.


Space shuttle operations halted. Some 12,000 employees of Kennedy Space Center in Florida sent home.
Nonessential personnel from the Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek, S.C., evacuated and 1,700 workers at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center sent home.
Montana's Big Sky resort locked down, highway blocked and 20 National Guard troops brought in to secure a meeting of the emergency management directors.
Oklahoma police created a one-block perimeter around jail where bombing conspirator Terry Nichols is housed.


All U.S. financial markets close, including New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq Stock Market and Chicago Board of Trade.


There was heightened monitoring of all bridges and dams:

Grand Coulee Dam and powerhouse in central Washington state locked down, tours canceled and visitor center closed.
Hoover Dam on Nevada-Arizona line closed, including highway that crosses it.
Heightened security at Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.


United Nations building evacuated.
General Motors Corp. gives 6,000 employees at Detroit's Renaissance Center headquarters the day off.
Ford Motor Co. closes world headquarters in Dearborn.
Michigan's Internal Revenue Service closed its 18 tax offices and sends 1,600 employees home.
Sears Tower shut down in Chicago.
Upper floors of Louisiana's 34-story Capitol building closed.
51-story IDS Center closed in Minneapolis, as is the Mall of America in suburban Bloomington and World Trade Center in St. Paul.
Various state and federal buildings closed nationwide.


New York City's mayoral primary election postponed. Syracuse and Buffalo elections also delayed.
Southern Governors' Association cancels annual fall meeting.
Democratic National Committee canceled meetings scheduled to begin on Thursday in Miami.


All major league baseball games postponed.


All Broadway shows canceled.
In Los Angeles, Tuesday night's Latin Grammy ceremony canceled, Sunday's Emmys postponed.
In Florida, Walt Disney World evacuates and closes four theme parks and shopping and entertainment complex.
Philadelphia Liberty Bell and Independence Hall closed.
Seattle's Space Needle evacuated and closed.
New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art shut down.
In California, Knott's Berry Farm in Orange County closed. The Museum of Tolerance and the 1,700-foot Library Tower in Los Angeles shut down.
New Mexico State Fair closed; horse races canceled.

Officials at LAX, Burbank airports expect security to change forever

Burbank and Los Angeles International airports were shut down Tuesday and will remain closed indefinitely as federal and airline officials determine how to beef up security and try to guarantee the safety of the nation's travelers.

Passenger terminals were evacuated, and police handlers with dogs swept baggage areas and parking lots as officials reacted to the hijacking of four commercial jetliners - three bound for Los Angeles - that were then used to destroy the World Trade Center in New York and to cripple the Pentagon.

"We are all shocked at the tragedy that happened. LAX will remain closed until directed to reopen by the FAA," said Lydia Kennard, director of Los Angeles World Airports, which operates LAX.

Officials predicted that more stringent security procedures will be put in place before airports are allowed to reopen.

"I would venture to say that airport security as we know it today will change forever,'' said one airport official who asked not to be identified.

Sheriff Lee Baca said he is ready to deploy hundreds to deputies to the city-owned airport, where there are 2,200 flights and more than 175,000 passengers during an average day.

"We need to harden the target," he said.

Bernard Wilson, chief of the Airport Police, said plans that include a number of options already are in place for resuming operation, but the Federal Aviation Administration will make the decision of how and when the airports will reopen.

LAX officials said late Tuesday they won't be able to reopen the airport until the FAA gives the OK. They said that the airport could be back in operation this morning, if ordered to do so, but that they doubted it would reopen that soon.

"Anything is possible," said Michael DiGirolamo, deputy executive director of Los Angeles World Airports. "I am very confident we will be ready to go with the airlines when the FAA gives us that go-ahead."

Thousands of passengers were stranded at LAX and at the airport in Burbank, jointly operated by Glendale and Pasadena. The Salvation Army stepped in, helping arrange reservations and transportation to nearby hotels for those unable to make connecting flights.

About 60 stranded travelers received shelter from the Red Cross.

Some grounded travelers opted to travel by Amtrak train or Greyhound bus to their destinations.

"We're just trying to get home," said Jeff Bishop, 30, a computer programmer who lives in New Jersey. "I'm not a very confident flier in general, especially when things like this happen. I have an uncle who works - worked - in the twin towers. I haven't heard from him.''

He and his wife, Shannon, 26, bought tickets on an eastbound Greyhound bus after their flight home to the Atlantic Coast was canceled.

Bert and Rhonda Green were in Los Angeles catching a connecting American Airlines flight home to Jackson, Miss., when they were told by the crew that the flight had been canceled.

Only after they got off the plane did the Greens hear about the terrorist attack.

"We're going to have to start thinking militarily in a different manner," Bert Green said. "We're going to have to really start putting a lot of our resources into counterterrorism."

Kathryn Cross, who had a layover in Los Angeles as she flew from Seattle to Baltimore, said she was frightened but also concerned about the terrorists' victims.

"I keep thinking of all those people in the World Trade buildings. It puts life in perspective."

Down in the baggage-claim area, FBI agents and other law-enforcement officials were examining the countless unattended bags, looking for anything suspicious.

Nancy Quinn of Ojai had arrived at the Burbank Airport at 6:30 a.m. to catch an America West flight to New York, where her father was scheduled to undergo heart surgery. Her flight, like all others, was canceled.

"I just feel like I'm in total shock. It's devastating. I don't feel I have a grasp of it yet," she said.

In downtown Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was honoring Metrolink rail passes to get people who normally take the trains onto buses and out of the congested downtown area.

And an extra Metrolink train was added to bring Santa Clarita and Antelope Valley residents home from downtown Los Angeles, where many offices were closed in fear of a local attack.

"Everybody (at work) was kind of in a state of shock, I think," said Chris Gannon of Palmdale, who works at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. "You know a lot of people who hadn't seen it on the news were finding it hard to believe. But there was definitely a lot of worry about L.A. targets."

Staff Writers Helen Gao, Greg Botonis, Brent Hopkins and Amy Raisin contributed to this story.

Timeline of Tuesday's events

Los Angeles Muslims stunned, shunned

Los Angeles Muslims fought a dual battle Tuesday as they struggled to distance themselves from the terrorist attacks on the East Coast and prepare for possible retaliatory threats.

Several Muslim organizations issued statements condemning the attacks on the World Trade Center in Manhattan and the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C. Organization leaders called for the American public to avoid stereotyping all Muslims as terrorists.

Aslam Abdullah, vice chairman of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, denounced the violence and urged the U.S. government to deliver "swift justice" to the perpetrators.

The Islamic Center of Southern California near downtown Los Angeles was evacuated after receiving several threats, including one that was e-mailed to the executive director. The threats vowed vengeance for the attacks.

"We are afraid for our children," said Omar Ricci of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. "The entire Muslim community will be looking over our shoulders.''

The threats vowed "to get us back," Ricci said, reading the Koran's prohibition against the murder of innocents.

Sixty-five students were sent home from the Islamic Center on Vermont Avenue, while 200 children were evacuated from a school in Pasadena, according to officials at the center. Parents were called to pick up 10 students from a school in the Westside, while 80 students were sent home from an Irvine school.

Approximately half a million Muslims call Southern California home, said Amir Hussain, a professor of religious studies at California State University, Northridge, who left his native Canada to study the region's large Muslim population.

He said the American Muslim population comprises a vast array of people, from African-American Muslims to those from Iran and other countries that defy a monolithic identity.

Besides fear of retaliation, American Muslims share the same fears as other Americans, he said.

"We feel our country is under attack," Hussain said. "American Muslims are, as every other American, feeling under attack, and our thoughts and prayers go to the victims in New York and Washington."

"It's totally unbelievable," said Mohammad Chaudhry, president of the Islamic Center of Northridge, who spent the day talking with members of the local Islamic and Jewish communities.

"We feel terribly sorry for the loss of life," Chaudhry said. ``We hope whoever did this will be brought to justice."

Middle East experts and Muslim community leaders also cautioned the public to avoid blaming a particular group of people. They pointed to the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma as an example of how initial rumors about the involvement of Islamic fundamentalists turned out to be incorrect.

An American, Timothy McVeigh, was found guilty of the bombing and sentenced to death.

"Our natural tendency is to blame a particular group," said Steven Spiegel, a Middle East expert at the University of California, Los Angeles. "We should be very careful not to lose focus and not to discriminate against people of that group."

Staff Writers Heather MacDonald, Sabrina Decker and Dana Bartholomew contributed to this report.

Experts say free society makes U.S. an easy mark
By Beth Barrett and Orith Goldberg
Staff Writers

The worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil was an exploitation of a free country's inherent vulnerabilities by fanatical elements bent on exploding the world's order, experts said Tuesday.

Striking at the symbolic military and financial heart of the nation -- the Pentagon and World Trade Center -- in a highly orchestrated attack, the terrorists accomplished their goal of raising audaciousness and outrage to a new international level, they said.

"They are looking for the greatest possible offense," said Edward P. Haley, a terrorist expert and professor of international relations at Claremont McKenna College. "They want to discombobulate, to turn the world upside down."

By penetrating into America's dominant institutions and killing scores of innocent people in a country that historically has been spared the horrors of war, the terrorists challenged the very moorings of the country, Haley said.

It was the kind of terrorist attack foreshadowed by the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, but whose magnitude nonetheless caught most Americans completely off guard, the experts said.

That's because the sophistication and coordination required for such slaughter against the world's sole superpower seemed almost inconceivable, they said.

"It is not a simple thing to pull off, like the movies and James Bond make us think," Haley said, adding the bombings required tremendous secrecy, orchestrated movement and sequestering of people, and expertise, including presumably the ability of the terrorists to pilot airliners.

Some of the attacks seem to suggest the fingerprints of infamous international terrorist Osama bin Laden, implicated in the bombing of the American Embassy in Kenya and other high-profile attacks, experts said. Others mirror recent terrorism in the Middle East, particularly the willingness of the terrorists to commit suicide. Experts suggested another country could be behind it.

"The level of the attack would suggest deep pockets and a (government) to me," Haley said.

The United States, despite its military might, is a relatively easy target for determined fanatics willing to shatter every accepted international rule of decency and fair play to shock and outrage, the experts added.

Open borders, relative freedom of movement, freedom of speech, and a democracy that values due process all have served as a disincentive to tightly monitoring the daily movements of Americans, the academics said.

Unlike countries, including Israel, that fly commercial planes with armed guards on board, the United States has resisted the most obtrusive and restrictive forms of security.

"It's pretty easy," to breach the commercial air system, said William C. Banks, a law professor at Syracuse University College of Law, and an expert on national security.

"No system of security is perfect and foolproof, and you can strong-arm a plane, unless like the Israelis you do such things as full body searches, use much more sophisticated surveillance equipment, and have armed security guards on aircraft and in the airports. The U.S. has been unwilling to do that."

Rick Charles, an associate professor at Georgia State University's School of Public Administration and Urban Studies, said terrorists increasingly have learned to get around the best security screening efforts.

A well-trained platoon of people could take over a jetliner -- even without weapons -- and a pilot among them could fly the plane into the target, experts said. Once on board a commercial jetliner, and then at the controls, fanatical terrorists have what they want -- a potent weapon capable of unspeakable carnage.

David Rapoport, professor emeritus at University of California, Los Angeles, who has taught a course on terrorism since 1970, said there is no precedent for such a terrorist attack anywhere in the world. He placed blame on American security lapses.

"Obviously, there's been an enormous intelligence failure, because there are so many people involved in something like this and it takes time, and somehow (intelligence) was looking at the wrong groups," he said, predicting a tremendous angry outcry for retaliation.

"I do believe there is going to be a massive cry for a reprisal should we know about anybody, any state or institution that has a connection with this," Rapoport said.

Airports accessible to suicidal guerrillas
by Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The most brazen attack on the United States since Pearl Harbor blasted the headquarters of the most powerful military in the world on Tuesday.

How was this possible?

How could a hijacked airliner fly through Washington air space and crash into the Pentagon, the five-sided symbol of American military might?

The simple, if tragic, answer is that there is no air defense to thwart a pilot's suicide strike in an aircraft on the capital of the United States.

Until September 1994, when a Maryland truck driver with a history of mental illness flew a stolen Cessna two-seater onto the White House grounds, killing himself, there was no plan to defend against such an incident. Now, according to analysts and government officials, Secret Service agents have access to shoulder-fired ground-to-air missiles that can be launched from the roof of the White House.

Shortly before the Cessna incident, author Tom Clancy published "Debt of Honor," a novel in which a vengeful Japanese pilot flies a Boeing 747 jumbo jet into the U.S. Capitol.

Air defense around Washington, D.C., is provided mainly by Air Force fighter planes from the Andrews base in Maryland near the District of Columbia border. The Air National Guard for the district is equipped with F-16 fighter planes also based at Andrews, a National Guard spokesman said.

But the fighters took to the skies over Washington only after the devastating attack on the Pentagon, which is alongside a flight path to Ronald Reagan National Airport.

"They did not target the White House or the Capitol," said a former official with the National Security Council who asked not to be named. "You can fly right over the Pentagon. You can fly 150 feet over the 14th Street Bridge (over the Potomac River) or take out the bridge. There's no way to stop this."

The idea of using missiles to knock down enemy planes around Washington went out of vogue in the 1950s, according to Dale B. Oderman, a retired Air Force colonel and a professor of aviation technology at Purdue University.

"It's a huge expense, and the question has always been, What targets do you protect?" Oderman said. "It's not a question that was even being asked until today."

But many questions will likely be asked in the coming weeks and months as Congress decides what steps it must take to protect the capital and assesses whether the nation's anti-terrorism strategy has been misguided.

Although the federal government has spent tens of millions of dollars in the past decade on homeland defense programs designed to thwart terrorist attacks, the programs have been heavily focused on defense against chemical and biological weapons, which could cause widespread panic and mass casualties.

But that thinking may have expired Tuesday.

"The terrorists caused thousands of casualties -- not with chemical, biological or nuclear agents, but with aviation fuel," said Joseph Cirincione, an expert on weapons of mass destruction with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "No one had anticipated or predicted attacks on the scale and with the coordination of the explosions in New York and Washington. But experts had warned of the possibility for years, particularly after the first attack on the World Trade Center came so close to collapsing the building with conventional truck bombs.

"This should be a transforming event in the way America evaluates its national security threats," Cirincione said.

In fact, on Monday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden, Jr., D-Del., made a scathing critique of the Bush administration's plans for a national missile defense system.

"We will have diverted all that money to address the least likely threat, while the real threats come into this country in the hold of a ship or the belly of a plane or are smuggled into a city in the middle of the night in a vial in a backpack," Biden said.

Robert Blitzer, a veteran former FBI counterterrorism chief who now works for a private international security firm, said that defending against kamikaze air attacks on Washington is extremely difficult.

"If someone in an aircraft -- particularly a jet aircraft -- is intent on crashing into a building, there's little you can do to prevent it," Blitzer said. "You have all those planes coming down the river. What does it take to divert (one)? Even if it was the White House, what would prevent a suicidal terrorist from taking a sharp left on his approach into National (Airport)?"

The federal government's consultants on anti-terrorist strategies said the kinds of measures needed to protect against such air attacks might be inconsistent with the values of a democratic society.

"If you want the totality of security and protection, then you need the institution of totalitarian measures -- like martial law," stated a consultant who said his government contract requires anonymity. "In America, you can pay the price for freedom of movement."

The consultant, who assisted the government in preparing a security plan for President Bush's inauguration, said the Federal Aviation Administration had to issue a special declaration to close the airspace over the U.S. Capitol just before the noon swearing-in on Jan. 20.

"This is a worst-case scenario that no one ever thought would happen -- and it has happened," the consultant said.

A miracle of steel can't withstand powerful attack
By Sharon L. Crenson
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The image of the World Trade Center's 110-story twin towers crumbling seemed a scene of impossible destruction.

But the miraculous steel and concrete architecture that made them could not withstand the power of Tuesday's attack and ensuing fire. No building designed today could, said Masoud Sanayei, a civil engineering professor at Tufts University.

Experts in skyscraper construction said video of the collapse led them to believe the towers were perhaps weakened by the initial impact of the airplanes that hit them Tuesday, but that heat from the resulting fire was likely the most punishing blow.

Hyman Brown, a University of Colorado civil engineering professor and the Trade Center's construction manager, speculated that flames fueled by thousands of gallons of aviation fuel melted steel supports.

"This building would have stood had a plane or a force caused by a plane smashed into it," he said. "But steel melts, and 24,000 gallons of aviation fluid melted the steel. Nothing is designed or will be designed to withstand that fire."

Sanayei said the heat may have disconnected one of the towers' concrete floors from the tubular steel columns that ringed the buildings. If one or two floors collapsed, it would have created a pancake effect of one massive floor caving into the next.

"In my opinion, the fire weakened the connection between the floor system and the columns on the higher floors and caused a couple of the floors to collapse," Sanayei said. "The floors are very heavy, made of reinforced concrete, so when one hits the next, they cause a domino effect ... and it can go all the way down to the first floor."

Architect Minoru Yamasaki, who died in 1986, worked with engineers John Skilling and Leslie E. Robertson to design the fabled twin towers, once the world's tallest buildings.

In his 2000 book "Building Big," architect David MaCaulay described the towers' engineering as "a series of load-bearing exterior columns spaced 3 feet apart and tied together at every floor by a deep horizontal beam, creating a strong lattice of square tubing around each tower."

The core surrounding the elevators inside was much the same, with a giant lattice work of steel covered by poured concrete connecting the interior columns to the exterior ones. The design was free enough for each of the towers to hold 4 million square feet of space unencumbered by columns or load-bearing walls.

Sections of exterior wall were wrapped around the outside in 24- and 36-foot-high sections, creating a sort of patchwork so that not all the floor joints would meet walls at the same height, according to MaCaulay.

Both Brown and Saw-teen See, a managing partner in Robertson's engineering firm, said the twin towers were originally designed to sustain a direct hit by a large jetliner, but that such construction couldn't make them fire- or bombproof.

Brown said it appeared the attack was meticulously planned.

"If they did it lower in the building, the fire department could have gotten to it sooner. In its simplicity, it was brilliant."

He said that the two towers have staircases in all four corners of the buildings and were designed to be evacuated in an hour, but it appeared that since the planes crashed into the corners, escape was cut off for those on the floors above.

"I could never conceive of anybody being able to bring down those two buildings," Brown added.

Minoru Yamasaki Associates issued a statement Tuesday saying the firm was in contact with authorities and had offered assistance.

"We believe that any speculation regarding the specifics of these tragic events would be irresponsible," the statement said. "For obvious reasons, MYA has no further comment at this time."

Country could face recession should consumer spending stagnate following attacks
By Jeannine Aversa
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The United States could very well be propelled into recession should the economy's life blood consumer spending - dry up in the wake of terrorist attacks on the nation's business and government hubs, private economists say.

Tuesday's attacks in New York City and in the nation's capital intensified economists' greatest fear and one of the biggest dangers facing the economy: that consumers, who have been the main force keeping the economy afloat, will sharply cut their spending and throw the United States into its first recession in 11 years.

"We need to wipe earlier economic forecasts clear off the table and put a new one together," said Sung Won Sohn, chief economist at Wells Fargo. "Hopes are gone for a recovery in the fourth quarter."

Even before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the economy was in bad shape, showing the toll of a yearlong slump. The economy barely grew in the second quarter, expanding at an annual rate of just 0.2 percent, its weakest performance in eight years.

And last week's news that the country's unemployment rate shot up to 4.9 percent in August, as job losses in manufacturing climbed above 1 million, rekindled recession fears and made some economists worry that the current quarter could turn out to be a lot weaker than many had thought.

Still, many economists continued to hope that the Federal Reserve's seven interest rate cuts this year and tax-rebate checks totaling nearly $40 billion would help the economy return to better rates of growth later this year. Now analysts aren't nearly as hopeful.

"Given that they hit the nerve center of a lot of markets and businesses ... I'd be surprised to see any real economic recovery before March of next year," said Clifford Waldman of Waldman Associates.

Worries over whether consumers, whose spending accounts for two-thirds of all economic activity, will hang tough or collapse could be exacerbated depending on how financial markets react when they are opened, economists said.

The major stock exchanges were shut down Tuesday and officials said that the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq Stock Market and the American Stock Exchange would remain closed on Wednesday.

But President Bush sought to bolster the nation's confidence. "Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business as well," he said in a TV address Tuesday evening.

Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who was in Japan when the attacks occurred, also expressed confidence the United States' financial system would weather the current crisis.

"Our nation's financial markets are strong and resilient," O'Neill said Tuesday. "In the face of today's tragedy, the financial system functioned extraordinarily well, and I have every confidence that it will continue to do so in the days ahead."

Against the backdrop of the new uncertainties facing the economy, analysts said there's a much greater chance that Fed policy-makers might opt to cut short-term rates for an eighth time this year - before their next scheduled meeting on Oct. 2.

"I think the odds are high that they will respond to this by lowering interest rates before the October meeting," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Economy.com.

"When it's all said and done, the economic impact of the attacks will be determined by how people and businesses respond," Zandi said. "If they don't panic and cut spending and they work through this, then this will be just an asterisk in our economic history. But if consumers and businesses freeze, it will have a very debilitating impact and the attacks will go down in history as the main cause of the 2001 economic recession."

The attacks disrupted business throughout the country. Stock trading was halted. Air travel was paralyzed. Business meetings were canceled and people were sent home from work.

But economist Ken Mayland of ClearView Economics said he is optimistic that the fallout will be temporary. "I think consumers are going to be in the very short run glued to their tubes and stay close to home, but I think that will pass very quickly and that normal business activity will resume," Mayland said.

Shortly after the attacks Tuesday, the Fed announced that it stood ready to pump extra money into the economy if needed to try to avert a full-blown downturn.

Local closures

Area schools to stay open, offer counseling
By Sonia Giordani
Staff Writer

Los Angeles and Ventura County schools were scheduled to remain open today with crisis counselors on hand to soothe anxious students and staff in the aftermath of the worst terrorist attack in American history.

Parents were encouraged to send their children to school and minimize exposure to the nonstop television footage of Tuesday morning's disaster, while teachers and employees were called upon to help students voice their fears and concerns.

"We need to provide a comforting and safe atmosphere in which our kids can absorb this tragedy," said Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Roy Romer. "They need to be in school to talk to their classmates and their teachers and try to understand the depth of this tragedy and how to deal with it as part of a democratic nation."

Los Angeles schools and after-school child-care programs, including L.A. BEST, were expected to remain open today. Individual campuses will decide this morning whether to proceed with scheduled field trips, after-school sports and other extracurricular programs.

On Tuesday, those programs were canceled in the region's schools. School board meetings in Los Angeles and Ventura counties were also postponed, and a meeting of the California State University Board of Trustees was canceled.

Classes at all state public colleges, including California State University, Northridge, were suspended at midday Tuesday, but are expected to resume today.

Los Angeles and other districts also announced increased security efforts. In Burbank and Glendale, extra school resource police officers were assigned to patrol campuses, with Glendale hiring overnight security for middle and high schools.

Ventura County Superintendent Charles Weis kept a close eye on the 30 schools located near Point Mugu Naval Station. Camarillo High School posted campus supervisors at all its gates, instead of just at the front entrance, and a counseling center was established for distressed students, school Principal Sylvia Jackson said.

Throughout the Southland, school administrators and teachers struggled to explain the crisis to bewildered students and debated whether to show coverage to students in classrooms equipped with televisions.

At the Glendale Unified School District, where about one-third of the students are of Middle Eastern origin, officials opted not to show live televised coverage of the day's tragedy.

"We're asking teachers to discuss this on a minimal basis," Glendale Unified School District spokesman Vic Pallos said. "We don't want to cover it up, but, at the same time, we want to reduce the level of stress."

Despite letters sent home, some parents planned to keep their children home for a few days. North Hollywood resident Anna Garrett picked up her two children after school Tuesday and said they were heading straight to her mother's home in a remote neighborhood outside of Palm Springs.

But Romer counseled against pulling kids from schools.

"Traditionally, there is some drop in attendance after an event like this. But we think it's much better for the kids to be in school," said Romer, who said children at home during the day are more likely to be exposed to the barrage of footage from the grisly scenes at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Among many students, especially those in the secondary schools, the day's discussions naturally focused on Tuesday's tragedy.

At El Camino Real High School, many students were in shock. Some were angry and called for retaliation; others felt the U.S. government was partly responsible for the attack.

"Kids were either 'let's go to war' or 'people die!"' said Wes Leisen, 14, of Woodland Hills. "There is no sympathy. I saw a lot of racism today."

El Camino student Cyrus Azari, 14, blamed much of the attack on the U.S. government.

"Our government has abused the Middle East for years," he said. "We shoot into their country and expect them not to retaliate back. It will teach Americans a lesson. We're all vulnerable."

At many area schools, parents flooded offices with calls and personal appearances, looking for reassurances that their children would be safe. At Lankershim Elementary School, where students had to deal with the tragedy of a crossing guard's death just last November, Principal Debbie Martinez-Rambeau said teachers and counselors worked closely with youngsters to ensure they felt safe and comfortable.

Erick Chinchilla, a fourth-grader at Lankershim, said he and his friends and teacher talked about televised news broadcasts they'd seen before school.

"It was scary to see that on TV," said Erick, adding that part of the school day was also spent watching the Disney movie "Aladdin."

Tarzana resident Edward Rotenberg waited anxiously for his 14-year-old son outside North Hollywood High School.

"I want to make sure my kid is safe. It's terrifying. You know in Pearl Harbor there were about 2,700 casualties," he said. "Here we have, what, 10 Pearl Harbors? Twenty Pearl Harbors? We don't even know yet."

Staff Writers Sabrina Decker, Helen Gao, Karen Maeshiro and Bhavna Mistry contributed to this story.

Traffic clogs streets; officials stress calm
By Rick Orlov, Troy Anderson and Brent Hopkins
Staff Writers

Downtown Los Angeles froze in gridlock Tuesday as tens of thousands of workers showed up to work, only to be told to return home when scores of businesses and offices closed early because of the terrorist attacks on the East Coast.

Los Angeles officials sought to provide assurances that the city was safe at press conferences throughout the day. Acting Mayor Alex Padilla said City Hall would reopen today unless some emergency developed overnight.

"We want to return to normal as quickly as possible," Padilla said. "Los Angeles has been fortunate, and we should resume providing services for our public."

The Civic Center area of downtown Los Angeles went from gridlock to a near ghost town within a matter of hours Tuesday as government offices and adjacent high rise buildings closed for the day following the terrorist attack.

City and county officials immediately ordered the lowering of all flags to half-staff in memory of those who died.

"We are all brothers, all Americans," Acting Mayor Alex Padilla said at a solemn news conference in front of City Hall with other city officials. "It's hard to imagine this kind of violence in this country."

Mayor James Hahn was in Washington, D.C., on a previously planned trip to meet with federal officials. Aides said he went to the federal emergency operations center reviewing its procedures.

Police Chief Bernard Parks, whose Intelligence and Anti-Terrorist Divisions were fully deployed, said there was no credible threat that Los Angeles was being targeted for an attack but that officials were taking every precaution to provide public safety.

Parks said teams of officers were assigned to provide protection to high-profile areas as well as to groups that could be subject to attack, such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

In addition, officers were placed on tactical alert to beef up police presence on the streets.

The chief also encouraged residents to return to a normal lifestyle.

"I suggest the city of Los Angeles is a thriving community, and we should not be paralyzed out of fear," Parks said.

State and court employees were directed to go home, and county employees had the option to go home although some stayed to keep some functions operating.

Yellow tape, labeled with the warning "Do Not Cross," stretched across the entrance at the county civil courts building at 111 N. Hill St.

Law enforcement vehicles were parked throughout the area as officers patrolled.

The downtown business area was more active than the government offices area, as some workers waited at bus stops to leave or were walking.

"I'm in shock. I can't believe it. Of all places, this can't happen here," said Ros Paz, 56, of Rowland Heights, a computer specialist for Los Angeles County government. "Some people went home or called in sick today. They are worried of course. They don't know what's going on."

Others found it unbelievable as well.

"It was just devastating. I couldn't believe this was happening," said Jean Wilson of San Pedro. "I tried to call New York because I have relatives there, but I couldn't get through. I'm just very sad and overwhelmed that this happened.

"America thinks this would never happen to us, not of this magnitude. We always think we are so protected."

Los Angeles County police Sgt. Richard Robinson said, "We are on alert and standby. We are providing additional police for the county properties. This office is on high alert."

Robinson said members of the county police force also were affected by the attacks. "The officers are like everybody else. They are in shock."

Said Diane Powers, 53, of Palmdale, who works in computer services for a state court of appeal, as she waited for a Metrolink train downtown: "I want to be at home. Downtown is just shut down now. I'm glad to get out of here."

Mixed reviews on TV coverage
By David Kronke
Television Writer

Caption: Greg Sabol watches TV in the Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood (Fla.) International Airport. (Lou Toman / A.P.)
As the unthinkable happened throughout Tuesday, network news organizations were at first as ill-prepared to cope with a tragedy of this magnitude as the government was to prevent it. Soon, however, stolid, grim professionalism carried the television coverage.

First, the major television networks suspended competition, agreeing to share all footage gathered during the terrorist attacks and their aftermath, on suggestion of "60 Minutes" creator Don Hewitt.

ABC gathered its senses first, and best. Anchor Peter Jennings maintained an epic composure under unimaginable conditions.

"It's a time to watch, absorb, and think," he stated simply as the second tower of the World Trade Center collapsed, live, on TV at 7:30 a.m. PST. He continued to provide perspective, pointing out that Americans' psychological response was also an ingredient of the act of terrorism, a tacit call for calm.

Other anchors were not so circumspect. CBS's Dan Rather, as usual, was the most histrionic. He railed against security in American airports: "Anyone who's been in an airport could tell you how (the multiple hijackings) could happen," he ranted. Later, he amplified his theme: "Security are napping. We've all known that for some time."

Rather ladled on the melodrama: "It's almost impossible to conceive of the blood and screams of the dying."

Rather finally calmed down around noon and, in one of the more insightful interviews of the day, gave some perspective to the Arab world with an expert on the Middle East who ominously noted that "a missile shield doesn't protect you from four kids who hijack planes."

NBC's Tom Brokaw, who early on spent some ill-advised time deciding who in the day's ordeal experienced the most terror, called the tragedy "a marker in our history," while Tim Russert volleyed the otherwise under-noticed fact that the head of Saudi Arabian intelligence had recently resigned without explanation.

All the news networks settled into a dedicated workmanship by early afternoon, though at that point they were simply recycling the same facts, conjecture and images.

Late in the afternoon, CNN seemed to have a scoop on an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan; the other networks glommed onto the exclusive image until Wolf Blitzer confirmed the bombing was part of a civil war and not any U.S. retaliation. Kabul quickly became a distant memory, as yet another building crumpled at the World Trade Center.

Networks were weighing their options Tuesday as to whether the fall season would begin as scheduled next Monday. The Emmy Award ceremony scheduled for Sunday was postponed.

Those with DirecTV and East Coast network feeds were able to behold some of the most compelling footage from ground zero that was available from WABC, New York's ABC affiliate, which had had correspondents -- Jeff Rosen, Jim Hoffer and Joe Torres -- who reported from the panic-stricken scene, including footage of the second tower toppling virtually from directly beneath it.

Otherwise, for the first few hours, television images, which are usually intimate, came from ominously, distant vantage points, making the disaster seem somehow surreal, more difficult to process. Bush's catch-me-if-you-can country-hopping -- he traversed from Florida to Nebraska to Washington in the course of the day -- coupled with few organized comments from government officials added to the aura of unease.

Ghoulish questions were posed to witnesses: "How high were the floors from which they were jumping?" "Is this something you ever envisioned?" Repeatedly, reporters and interviewees equivocated: This was "probably the most horrible thing I've seen in my life," many of them proclaimed. Which begged the question: What could possibly compete for the title?

CNN's Jeff Greenfield declared, "This may be the day that America's luck ran out." Dramatic, certainly, but, really, on a day when life as we know it was irretrievably changed, what could these people say?

Still, while these inanities were being bandied about, crucial questions went vexingly unanswered throughout the day: Did anyone at the airports where the hijacked planes were boarded register anything? Was it possible the planes contained chemical or biological weapons?

CNN and ABC titled their coverage "America Under Attack," while MSNBC, NBC and CBS offered the variation "Attack on America." Fox News Channel labeled it: "Terrorism Hits America."

Sen. Hillary Clinton intimated they had a good idea who was behind the terrorist act on MSNBC, and Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch made the first public proclamation that evidence tied it to Osama bin Laden, one that almost went unnoticed initially.

CNN brought on techno-novelist Tom Clancy, because he had written a thriller about terrorists crashing a plane into the Capitol. Clancy, however, did attempt to provide some perspective in the early confusion, warning against a knee-jerk reaction against Islam and making a plea for a sane reaction to the tragedy: "It's the principles you hold on to in times of trouble that really count."

Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., echoed that thought: "If we have to change our civil liberties, then we have lost the war."

Attacks cause film delays
By Bob Strauss
Staff Writer

Like most other centers of American life, Hollywood was affected by Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Two films scheduled for release on Sept. 21 were postponed indefinitely: "Big Trouble," a caper comedy that makes fun of airport security so lax that a nuclear bomb travels on commercial airliners, and "Sidewalks of New York," a light romantic comedy set in the city devastated by Tuesday's attack.

"Due to the national tragedy that occurred, Touchstone Pictures has postponed the release date of its comedy 'Big Trouble,' " a statement released by the distributor, a division of the Walt Disney Company, said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this terrible tragedy."

A spokesman for "Sidewalks," which Paramount Classics is distributing, noted that it seemed inappropriate to release a New York-set romance at this time.

Other changes were not announced Tuesday, although it seems likely that the Oct. 5 scheduled release of action picture "Collateral Damage," in which Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a firefighter seeking revenge against Colombian terrorists, will be moved. Like most Hollywood studios, the film's distributor Warner Bros. closed early Tuesday, and no final decision on "Collateral's" release date will be made until business resumes today or Thursday.

Upcoming pictures that may also be considered inappropriate for release so close to the attacks include Paramount's Ben Stiller comedy "Zoolander" (scheduled for Sept. 28), in which a male model uncovers a vast assassination conspiracy; New York-based Miramax's "Serendipity" (Oct. 5), a frothy romantic fantasy set in a fairy-tale pretty Manhattan; and DreamWorks' "The Last Castle" (Oct. 12), in which Robert Redford's disgraced general leads a revolt in a military prison.

Another question is how this will affect the fall television schedule, which is set to launch beginning next week. In the pilot episode of the new Fox series "24," terrorists blow up an L.A.-bound plane. On CBS' new drama series "The Agency," the CIA prevents a bombing in London. "Agency" is set to debut Sept. 20, followed by "24" in late October. "Alias" also concerns the CIA but in a more comic-book way.

David Kronke contributed to this story.

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