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America's New War: Pentagon Prepares For War

Aired September 24, 2001 - 06:35   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: For the latest now on the Pentagon preparations in America's new war, let's go to CNN national correspondent Bob Franken, who is keeping duty there at the Pentagon this morning. He joins us now with an update -- good morning, Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Leon.

And the Pentagon, of course, continues to grind out -- well, that's an exaggeration -- dribble out deployment orders, which send military forces to the far reaches of the globe. And the defense secretary, of course, points out that we should not just be focused in the United States on bin Laden and the Afghanis, but that he wants military forces in place -- whatever action President Bush ultimately orders.

And speaking of Osama bin Laden, they are quite skeptical here, to put it mildly, of the claims by the Taliban that they know -- they do not know where he is. They say that, of course, the Taliban knows or can easily find out where he is, and the United States is insisting that the Taliban government in Afghanistan turns Osama bin Laden over to the United States. Thus far, of course, that has not happened.

Now, of course, the Pentagon goes to great pains to keep most of its military operations, or say that it's keeping its military secret, but it does acknowledge the existence of at least one drone -- an unmanned surveillance flight -- the existence, but the absence. The Pentagon says that the claims of the Taliban that it was shot down -- that they shot down one of these planes cannot be confirmed. They will only confirm -- the defense secretary will -- that it is, in fact, missing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We -- the United States has, in fact, lost a -- lost contact, I should say, with an unmanned aerial vehicle. That happens from time to time in terms of the controls. We have no reason to believe it was shot down as the press is reporting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANKEN: That is about as specific as the defense secretary would get -- about as specific, Leon, as he gets about anything these days, citing the need for operational secrecy. But, of course, we know that that means that there are plans under way for some sort of operation some time -- Leon.

HARRIS: And that's about all we do know at this point -- thanks, Bob.

Let me ask you quickly, if we can. What's the latest now on the cleanup there at the Pentagon from that crash site?

FRANKEN: Well, they continue to search for bodies, although they have turned -- they have turned this crime scene over to the FBI. The search goes on. Pentagon officials admit that they will never be able to, in fact, find everybody who is unaccounted for, but they're going to continue to try.

HARRIS: All right, thank you very much -- Bob Franken at the Pentagon.

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