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America's New War: America Will Moved in Measured Retaliation

Aired September 19, 2001 - 05:32   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: The nation's military leaders say that they are moving in a measured way in America's new war against terrorism. CNN's Mark Potter is standing by live at the Pentagon. He's got the latest on that front for us this morning. Hello, Mark.

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Leon. A senior U.S. official tells CNN the Pentagon is still in the planning phase and is not ready to take action yet in the war on terrorism.

First, he says, the U.S. must gather more intelligence information on the terrorist groups and their locations. Sources suggest the first military strike would be something on the order of a commando style special forces extraction raid that would aim at capturing or killing a terrorist leader such as Osama bin Laden.

The Pentagon, however, is revealing very few details -- in fact, no details. It is talking hardly at all. The Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, does say, however, that this is going to take time -- that this will be a long range, wide spread attack on the terrorist networks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE OF THE UNITED STATES: They're benefiting form the support of governments, they're benefiting from the support of non-governmental organizations that are either actively supporting them with money, intelligence and weapons or allowing them to function on their territory and tolerating if not encouraging their activities. In either case it has to stop.

We will have to deal with the networks. One of the ways to do that is to drain the swamp they live in and that means dealing not only with the terrorists but those who harbor terrorists. This will take a long, sustained effort. It will require support of the American people as well as our friends and allies around the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

POTTER: Now at the Pentagon, which was attacked a week ago, the estimated death toll has now climbed from 188 to 189 people. A Pentagon staffer who was critically injured when the American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building has now died. So far only 18 victims from the scene have been identified.

The Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said the terrorists were mistaken when they thought they could frighten the U.S. public into retreat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUMSFELD: The people who committed these acts are clearly determined to try to force the United States of America and our values to withdraw from the world or to respond by curtailing our freedoms. If we do that the terrorists will have won and we have no intention of doing so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

POTTER: With the previously scheduled deployment today of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt carrier battle group the U.S. will now have five carrier groups at sea. Sources say the Roosevelt group is headed for the Mediterranean Sea and perhaps points east.

Now we have some information on the Roosevelt itself and we'd like to show you in a graphic here. It's home port is Norfolk, Virginia, it has approximately 5,500 personnel aboard. There are about 85 aircraft on this aircraft carrier and it was commissioned in October of 1986.

And even more detail on another graphic -- it has a speed -- a top speed of 34 1/2 miles an hour. There are two nuclear reactors aboard, the flight decks take up 4 1/2 acres and it has more than 3,000,000 gallons of aviation fuel aboard.

Now two other carrier groups are out in the Persian Gulf-Arabian Sea area. Another group is in the Pacific. Another -- yet another is in the Atlantic area. But, again, because of the wartime restrictions now on information, the Pentagon is not revealing any more detail about where those groups are located. Again, here at the Pentagon, Leon, they are holding everything very close to the vest.

HARRIS: Yeah, we've seen that done the last few weeks -- the last couple of weeks now. Mark Potter at the Pentagon -- thank you very much.

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