CNN BREAKING NEWS
Terrorist Threat in Washington D.C.
Aired November 13, 2002 - 09:41 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We got some breaking news out of Washington.
We're going to check in with Bob Franken right now to find out what's going on.
Bob, good morning, what's up?
BOB FRANKEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning.
The -- well, the police have sealed off the area around 14th and Independence in Washington, an area where the Agriculture Department is. It's also the location of the Holocaust Museum in Washington. About 8:30 this morning, according to police sources, a man driving a rental-type moving van suddenly jumped out of the vehicle and started screaming he wanted to see the president. This according to police officials.
When Federal Protection Service employees arrested him, he claimed that the truck had explosives in it. So what has happened is now that police have blocked off that area -- of course, it comes the time of rush hour -- and they are having bomb squad people, the plan will be that they will open the door. And then according to fire department sources, their hazardous material people will then very gingerly go through the vehicle, the truck, and will look for both explosives and any sort of chemicals that might be dangerous. In other words, it's the standard operating procedure. Police have absolutely no idea whether in fact there is really something in there. They say the man was shouting at the top of his lungs. He demanded to see the president, and that's when they took him into custody, and he claimed that he had explosives in the truck.
According to the police, the Secret Service will ultimately take over this investigation. Because of course it does include claims about the president. But at the moment, it's in a very formative stage, and of course in Washington, which of course is so sensitive since September 11, they are taking every precaution until they know for a fact that there are no explosives in the vehicle -- Paula.
ZAHN: Do we know anything about this man who has been taken into custody?
FRANKEN: Nothing that we know of yet. Obviously, the police have not let us near him. They say that -- they describe him more like hysterical, screaming, that type of thing, not somebody who is acting rationally.
ZAHN: Where are you right now -- Bob.
FRANKEN: I'm close to the area. This is in the Mall area. The area around, right past the Washington Monument, as you head toward Capitol Hill. And of course the police have blocked off a lot of that. So we're within a couple of blocks of where the truck is. Obviously, we're not being allowed to be close to the truck.
ZAHN: And once again, you are saying there -- it appears as though they are get ready to open the door of the van, and that's at the point at which the search will take place.
FRANKEN: Well, that's right. And that will be done by bomb squad people. And of course they act very slowly, very tediously, for the obvious reasons.
ZAHN: And what kind of impact has this had on folks trying to get to work this morning?
FRANKEN: So far, to be honest with you, Washington always has problems with people trying get to work. It doesn't look any worse than usual. There are ways around this particular area if necessary.
ZAHN: All right. We have on the bottom part of our screen saying, officials say no explosives have found. Isn't that little premature? They haven't even done the search of the van yet.
FRANKEN: The van search will include not just a look for explosives, but for other chemicals too. The hazardous materials people are very, very careful in what they do. But it sounds like their first cursory look makes it like they didn't find anything that was very evident. Anything for instance, like an obvious booby trap or anything like that.
ZAHN: All right, Bob, we'll come back to you as soon as you're given more information through the officials there. Appreciate your getting to the scene so quickly.
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