KWAME HOLMAN: President Bush began the day with a Rose Garden appearance. At his side was Japan's prime minister, Junichiro Korizumi, the latest foreign representative to visit the White House and pledge solidarity with America's anti-terrorism campaign. The President made note of the rising tally of supporting nations.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Not only am I pleased with the great cooperation that we're having with our friend, the Japanese. I am most pleased to... that the Saudi Arabians yesterday cut off relations with the Taliban and that President Putin in a strong statement to the world talked about the cooperation that Russia and the United States will have in combating global terrorism as well.
KWAME HOLMAN: What the Russians promised was support for rebel groups opposing Afghanistan's ruling Taliban regime. Speaking to Germany's parliament in Berlin today, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he also would not rule out providing airfields for antiterrorist operations. On the military front, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was asked in Washington if the current U.S. troop build up eventually will require reinstating the draft.
DONALD RUMSFELD: That is not something that we have addressed, and it is not something that is immediately before us. There's no question but that we may have to make additional call-ups under the emergency authority. The numbers of demands that are being made on the Department are continuing, and there are a lot of them; but as those things happen, we will certainly announce them, and I at the moment don't foresee a need to do that.
SPOKESMAN: I'd like to call the sub committee back to order.
KWAME HOLMAN: Meanwhile, members of the House Transportation Committee considered new airline security measures, including a proposal froe main commercial Airline Pilots Union that its members be allowed to carry firearms. Duane Woerth is President of the Airline Pilots Association or ALPA.
CAPT. DUANE WOERTH, President, Air Line Pilots Association: The cockpit must be defended and pilots must play a pivotal role in protecting their place of work. ALPA asks Congress to deputize all airline pilots who complete the FBI training course and meet the criteria as deputy law enforcement officers who are certified to carry a weapon before the airline. We believe that this action would mean the deputization of thousands of airline pilots.
KWAME HOLMAN: A representative of the union of flight attendants however had reservations.
PATRICIA A. FRIEND, President, Association of Flight Attendants: We believe that we all have a right and a responsibility to be able to defend ourselves and defend our passengers, but I'm very uncomfortable and I know many, many of our members are very uncomfortable with the concept of a lethal weapon introduced into essentially in our workplace.
KWAME HOLMAN: And the Senate Judiciary Committee heard from Attorney General John Ashcroft, who said authorities now feel secure in lifting the two-day ban on flying crop duster aircraft.
JOHN ASHCROFT, Attorney General: Today I can report to you that our investigation has uncovered several individuals including individuals who may have links to the hijackers who fraudulently have obtained or attempted to obtain hazardous material transportation licenses. Given the current threat environment, the FBI has advised all law enforcement agencies to remain alert to these threats.
KWAME HOLMAN: As he did in testimony yesterday, Ashcroft asked lawmakers for expanded federal powers to help prosecute the ongoing investigation.
JOHN ASHCROFT: As the members of this committee understand the deficiencies in our current laws on terrorism reflect two facts: First, our laws fail to make defeating terrorism a national priority. Second, technology has dramatically outpaced our statutes. Every day that passes, every day that passes with outdated statutes and the old rules of engagement is a day that terrorists have a competitive advantage.
KWAME HOLMAN: Among the new powers Ashcroft proposes: Allowing a court-ordered wiretap to cover the entire nation and monitoring of Internet communications; extending the statute of limitations, or the amount of time the government has to bring charges; and allowing more discretion in detaining people who are subject to immigration laws. Though the committee was generally supportive of the measures, Massachusetts Democrat Edward Kennedy had questions about the constitutionality of detaining suspects indefinitely.
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY, (D) Massachusetts: Can you explain what your proposals evidentiary requirements are for certifying that the attorney general has reason to believe that an alien may be involved in terrorist activity and therefore be subject to mandatory, indefinite detention?
JOHN ASHCROFT: The provision that we have in this proposal is that if the attorney general determines that the individual meets a standard of being a threat to national security, et cetera, that when that person... During the pendancy of adjudication of being deported on other grounds, that person can be held in custody and that's the nature of this provision.
KWAME HOLMAN: Ashcroft said he'll continue to confer with members about their concerns over the constitutionality of some of the antiterrorism measures. During an afternoon visit to FBI headquarters in Washington, Mr. Bush said the measures pass constitutional muster, and he urged quick passage by Congress.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I want you to know that everyone of the proposals we made on Capitol Hill, carried by the Attorney General, has been carefully reviewed. They are measured requests. They are responsible requests. They are constitutional requests. Ours is a land that values the constitutional rights of every citizen, and we will honor those rights, of course. But we're at war. A war we're going to win. And in order to win the war, we must make sure that the law enforcement men and women have got the tools necessary within the Constitution to defeat the enemy.