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Target: Terrorism - Confidential E-mail Gives Candid Assessment of How War in Afghanistan May Go

Aired October 4, 2001 - 05:15   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: For the first time we are learning the most detailed account of how a military strike might unfold inside Afghanistan. It comes from a confidential e-mail by retired General Barry McCaffrey, the former drug control policy director of this country.

CNN national correspondent Brian Cabell has more on this story from the Pentagon -- intriguing, Brian.

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is, indeed, Carol.

It comes from General McCaffrey of who, of course, was in the Persian Gulf War, and he is now an instructor at West Point, and this was sent to a cadet kind of indicating how he believes the war will play out.

Let me read a little bit of it for you, if I can.

He said: "We are going to disrupt these people through preemptive attack. At selected points and times, they will be killed suddenly in significant numbers and without warning. Tomahawk missiles, 2,000-pound laser-guided weapons dropped from B-2s or F-22s at very high altitude, remote control booby traps, blackmail, and at places -- small groups of soldiers or SEALs will appear in total darkness -- blow down the doors and kill them at close range with automatic weapons and hand grenades."

"We will isolate them from their families. We will try to dominate their communication function and alternately listen, jam or spoof it. We will make their couriers disappear. If we can find out how they eat, or play, or receive rewards, or where they sleep, we will go there and kill them by surprise."

Again, that from retired General Barry McCaffrey to a cadet at West Point, an indication -- a rather harsh and candid assessment of how he thinks this war will play out -- Carol.

LIN: Brian, how did this e-mail get out?

CABELL: That's a good question. We don't know precisely how it got out, but we can tell you that McCaffrey was quite happy that it has gotten out and that it has been circulated. And in fact, a U.S. military official commented upon it, said it looks to be a very accurate account and a very insightful account of how this war might, in fact, play out.

LIN: We just don't know when yet. Thank you very much -- Brian Cabell reporting live from the Pentagon this morning.

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