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Source: '100-percent chance' of another attack

Lawmakers caution there's no specific threat

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A senior intelligence official told the Senate Intelligence Committee there is "a 100-percent chance" of another terrorist attack against the United States in the wake of any military action in Afghanistan, according to a source at the meeting.

The source was quick to add: "The warnings are generalized, they don't say who, where or when." He also said the intelligence officials said the threat is high regardless of U.S. military action.

"We are probably going to get attacked anyway," he said. "The only defense in this case is a strong offense. We've got to take out bin Laden's network."

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The source said there has been a recent "surge of information" about possible attacks. "It ebbs and flows, and right now it's flowing. Is it disinformation? Or is it because we have more people listening? We don't know."

But House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss, R-Florida, said the "100 percent" comment was "unnecessarily alarmist."

"That's a big overstatement," Goss told reporters. "I'm not aware of any specific, imminent threat now which will cause me to go about my business in any different way."

Goss said he would suggest that Americans be alert because there is certainly an increasing awareness of the nation's vulnerability.

"I'm glad for the increased awareness, but it needs to be recognized with common sense," Goss said, suggesting that Americans should not overreact to the potential threat of terrorist attack.

House Intelligence Committee members have also received frequent briefings from intelligence officials, but Goss said those briefings "did not mesh" with a report in Friday's Washington Post suggesting retaliation was feared if the U.S. attacked Afghanistan.

Ranking Democratic member on the House panel, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California, added that "an attack is predictable now whether we retaliate against Afghanistan or not."

"We have to watch our exposure and our vulnerability," Pelosi said. "But it is not dependent on whether we retaliate or not."

Pelosi said she was confident that the United States will retaliate. "As the President said, we will bring those responsible to justice," she said.

-- From CNN Congressional Correspondents Jonathan Karl and Kate Snow.



 
 
 
 


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