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America's New War: Pentagon Planning for War on Terrorism

Aired September 25, 2001 - 06:20   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: All right, let's go on over to the Pentagon where the war against terrorism is gaining some momentum now and on several fronts.

Our Bob Franken checks in for the first time this morning. He's got the very latest.

Hi, Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Leon, and of course we've heard time and again the Defense Secretary say that the military options include the full spectrum and here's an intriguing possibility. Pentagon sources have told CNN, among the plans -- among the plans is consideration of an effort to knock off one of the Taliban government of Afghanistan's main sources of revenue, opium production. There is a plant that's on the border. As I said, it's just one of many that's under consideration which would knock out the drug production facilities, go after the big poppy production. The CIA in 1999 said that Afghanistan had become the major opium exporter in the world bypassing even some of those who had traditionally been that. And that is just one of the plans, one of the many, but it is one of the intriguing ones.

And of course one of the more traditional ones includes deployment. There has been a second deployment order, sources tell CNN, that was signed by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld on Saturday night, it includes special forces -- more special forces deployment, but its main emphasis is on support personnel, including communications, logistics, medical, intelligence, security and as I mentioned, the special forces. And President Bush has made it clear that these forces are being sent around the world.

In fact, he has sent a letter to Congress in which he says the forces are being sent in and around a number of -- quote -- "foreign nations." It is not now possible, the president went on, to predict the scope and duration of these deployments and the actions necessary to counter the terrorist threat to the United States. But he continues in his letter, it will be going on, he said, an operation that will be a lengthy one.

So the Pentagon is hunkering down even as the search for casualties continues after the plane crash two weeks ago into this building. The reconstruction has already started. The search for remains continues. The latest count is 74. They're expected that there are about 189 who have been unaccounted for. Here you see a live picture of the part of the building that was hit by the airplane. They say that the unaccounted are the 189 and they will never be able to account for all of them -- Leon.

HARRIS: Well, Bob, let me ask you if you've heard anything there at the Pentagon about the report we just heard from Major Garrett at the White House, this idea that Japan and the Prime Minister Koizumi is going to bring up the issue when he talks to President Bush about the Japanese military actually chipping in this time around for the first time getting involved internationally since World War II. Any talk there at the Pentagon about this at all?

FRANKEN: Not a lot, but this is the kind of thing that is extremely delicate. Of course Japan has this very traditional role since the end of World War II which is to not get involved in this kind of thing but that is evolving and it's very, very ticklish. The Pentagon planners know that. It's just one of the many subjects that they don't talk about on the record, but they do acknowledge that these talks are in a very preliminary stage.

HARRIS: Yes, just another one of the historic developments involved with (ph) this story.

Thanks very much, Bob. Bob Franken at the Pentagon this morning. We'll talk with you later on.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Building a coalition.

HARRIS: That's right.

LIN: Yes, lots of surprises here.

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