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Bush: U.S. military on 'high alert'

(CNN) -- "Faceless cowards" carried out Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, President Bush said Tuesday afternoon, and he promised that the United States would "hunt down and punish" those responsible.

Here is a transcript of the president's statement:

"Freedom itself was attacked this morning by faceless cowards. And freedom will be defended.

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"I want to reassure the American people that the full resources of the federal government are working to assist local authorities to save lives and to help the victims of these attacks.

"Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts. "I've been in regular contact with the vice president, secretary of defense, the national security team and my cabinet. We have taken all appropriate security precautions to protect the American people. Our military at home and around the world is on high alert status and we've taken the necessary security precautions to continue the functions of your government.

"We have been in touch with the leaders of Congress and with world leaders to assure them that we will do whatever is necessary to protect America and Americans.

"I ask the American people to join me in saying a thanks for all the folks who have been fighting hard to rescue our fellow citizens and to join me in saying a prayer for the victims and their families.

"The resolve of our great nation is being tested. Make no mistake. We will show the world that we will pass this test.

"God bless."

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