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Bush: We're safer now since 9/11

Published September 8, 2006

ATLANTA - Terrorists today would have a tougher time plotting and carrying out attacks like the ones of Sept. 11 because of security improvements in the past five years, President Bush said Thursday.

There's no way to know if the attacks would have been prevented by the changes, Bush said, but he contended the nation is safer.

Keeping his focus on national security leading up to Monday's anniversary of the attacks and November's congressional elections, Bush said more still needs to be done.

He pressed Congress to take quick action on two new laws - legislation proposed Wednesday by the White House that would allow terror suspects to be tried by a military commission and a bill that would give specific authority for his antiterror eavesdropping program.

Bush said improved screening by the Transportation Security Administration, an increased number of federal air marshals, hardened cockpit doors and pilots trained to carry firearms would help stop a similar plot.

Al-Qaida marks anniversary with Osama bin Laden tape

CAIRO - An Arab television station broadcast previously unseen footage Thursday of a smiling Osama bin Laden meeting with the top planners of the Sept. 11 attacks in an Afghan mountain camp and calling on followers to pray for the hijackers as they carry out the suicide mission.

The sections shown on Al-Jazeera TV were part of a video that al-Qaida announced it would release later on the Internet to mark the fifth anniversary of the attacks.

The video includes the last testament of two of the hijackers, Wail Alshehri and Hamza Alghamdi. It shows bin Laden strolling in the camp, greeting followers, who Al-Jazeera said included some of the hijackers.

The comments were apparently filmed before the attacks.

Sarasota students remember 'My Pet Goat'

SARASOTA - Tyler Radkey and other second-graders at Emma E. Booker Elementary School didn't know what to think when an aide whispered something to President Bush on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

"His face just started to turn red," said Tyler, now 13 and in seventh grade. "I thought, personally, he had to go to the bathroom."

For seven minutes, the youngsters read aloud from the story The Pet Goat while the shaken president followed along in front of the class, trying to come to grips with what he had been told - that a second plane had just hit the World Trade Center and the nation was under terrorist attack.

"He looked like he was going to cry," said Natalia Jones-Pinkney, 12.

Millions of Americans have a story of where they were on 9/11. But the kids of Booker Elementary were sitting alongside a president in the midst of crisis.

"All of us shared an experience," said Michael Alexander, now 15. "No one else can say that."

[Last modified September 8, 2006, 02:27:08]

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