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America's New War: Pentagon Preparing Silently

Aired September 20, 2001 - 05:10   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.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, right now let's get to the latest on the investigation at the Pentagon. CNN's Mark Potter is standing by there. Good morning, Mark.

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESOPNDENT: Good morning, Carol. Well, U.S. officials say that the Pentagon is still in the planning stage for the war on terrorism. Planes and ships, as we just saw, are on the move but a long-range plan still has not been worked out as officials continue to gather intelligence information.

Meanwhile here at the Pentagon building itself workers are still sifting through the rubble from last week's terrorist attack. At last word federal officials say that 33 victims have been positively identified. We're looking here at a live picture of the work site this morning at the Pentagon. The estimated death toll here is 189 including those who died on the American Airlines 757 jet.

Now on scene with the recovery workers are investigators from the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board who are gathering evidence and meanwhile U.S. officials warn the public that the fight against terrorism will not be quick and is not against just one terrorist leader or one organization.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a lot of evidence about a number of countries harboring terrorists that are working across the globe. And if you think about it the Al Qaeda network probably has activities in some 50 or 60 countries not just in Europe or the Middle East but even in Asia and certainly in the United States of America.

So the evidence is very clear that a number of states are doing that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

POTTER: Now there is no word yet on when or where U.S. ground troops will be deployed for Operation Infinite Justice. Carol, back to you.

LIN: Mark, I'm just wondering what should any of us read into the deployment of the U.S.S. Roosevelt yesterday out of Norfolk? POTTER: Well, that was a previously scheduled deployment. It was until the events of last week to be just a routine deployment. Of course, it is anything but routine now and I guess what we should read into this is what people are saying about the destination. They are saying it is heading at least to the Mediterranean and perhaps to points east, which suggest the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.

We do not know that but there is a possibility that if it goes there that there would be three carrier groups in that region and as Jamie McIntyre reported that would mean that they would all be within strike distance of Afghanistan.

LIN: As we've been reporting, Mark - to the Mediterranean as well as parts unknown. Thank you very much - reporting live from the Pentagon this morning.

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