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Cheney moved to Camp David, security widens

By Associated Press

Friday September 14, 2001

WASHINGTON - President Bush called the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington "the first war of the 21st century" yesterday's and his administration labeled fugitive Osama bin Laden a prime suspect. The United States promised to wage all-out retaliation against those responsible and any regime that protects them.

The nation's capital remained tense two days after the terror attacks that leveled the World Trade Center and severely damaged the Pentagon.

Vice President Dick Cheney was working in the security of Camp David as a precaution, administration officials said. The Secret Service widened the protective buffer around the White House and Air Force jets patrolled the skies over major U.S. cities.

Tears welling in his eyes, Bush spoke of a need to win the battle against terrorism.

"I'm a loving guy. And I am also someone, however, who's got a job to do and I intend to do it. And this is a terrible moment," Bush said.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said the administration's retaliation would be "sustained and broad and effective" and that the United States "will use all our resources."

"It's not just simply a matter of capturing people and holding them accountable, but removing the sanctuaries, removing the support systems, ending states who sponsor terrorism," Wolfowitz said.

Bush comforted burned Pentagon workers and said he would go to New York on Friday. He also proclaimed today a national day of mourning and remembrance and said he would attend a memorial service in Washington with members of Congress.

The government reopened most airports nationwide, though that didn't last long in the New York area.

Officials also said they were speeding benefit checks of $150,000 to families of police, firefighters and other public-safety workers killed in the attacks. Stock markets are to reopen on Monday.

Cheney's spokeswoman, Juleanna Glover, said the vice president had been moved to the presidential retreat in Maryland as a "purely precautionary measure."

In another sign of heightened security concerns, the Capitol was evacuated in the middle of a Senate vote yesterday evening because of a bomb threat. Members were allowed to return when bomb-sniffing dogs did not find explosives.

Meanwhile, searchers found the black box of one hijacked airliner in Pennsylvania and received a signal from the recorder box of the plane that crashed at the Pentagon. Attorney General John Ashcroft said the FBI was working on "thousands and thousands of leads" in the investigation of the attacks.

Ashcroft said a total of 18 hijackers were on the four planes - five on two and four on the other two. All 18 were ticketed passengers, said FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Congress pushed toward approval of an anti-terrorism package with a price tag that could exceed $20 billion, some of it to start rebuilding the Pentagon. Congress will take up separate legislation next week to support Bush's use of force against those responsible for the attacks.

"What happened the other day can never ever happen again in this country," said House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., signaling broad bipartisan endorsement of Bush's handling of the crisis.

Confirming what other administration officials had been saying privately, Secretary of State Colin Powell said "yes" when asked whether Saudi-born terrorist bin Laden, operating in Afghanistan under the protection of the ruling Taliban, was a top suspect.

Bin Laden has been linked to an earlier bombing at the World Trade Center and the 1998 attacks on two U.S. embassies in east Africa.

"We are looking at those terrorist organizations who have the kind of capacity that would have been necessary to conduct the kind of attack that we saw," Powell said.

As the administration weighed military options, both Bush and Powell said the United States had been in diplomatic contact with Pakistan, and wanted to give the government there an opportunity to cooperate.

Pakistan has ties with the government of Afghanistan and is one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban. Pakistan was an important U.S. ally during the Cold War, although relations more recently have been strained.

Bush announced he would visit New York to get a firsthand look at the devastation in lower Manhattan, where city officials say some 4,700 people remain missing.

"There's a quiet anger in America that is real," Bush told New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and the state's governor, George Pataki, in a telephone call shown on national television.

He said the federal government was poised to provide "anything it takes to help New York."

Giuliani told Bush: "We're going to sustain a tremendous loss of our bravest and our best people"

Speaking with reporters after the phone call, Bush said, "I weep and mourn with America. ... I wish I could comfort every single family whose lives have been affected."

He added, "My resolve is steady and strong about winning this war that has been declared on America ... the first war of the 21st century."

At the same time, Bush urged Americans not to exhibit prejudice toward Arab-Americans and Muslims because of the possible ethnic origins of suspects.

Bush's eyes were red and wet as he ended his news conference, his head and hands trembling slightly. He later visited the Washington Hospital Center with the first lady to visit victims of the plane crash at the Pentagon.

About 190 people perished in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon, including 64 aboard the plane. The Army suffered the heaviest blow with 74 people lost, the Pentagon said. Human remains pulled from the building were being taken to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to be identified.

Bush made a round of calls to world leaders to receive condolences and seek support for the United States as it struggles to recover from the most devastating terrorist attack in its history.

Bush called Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson and Prime Ministers Junichiro Koizumi of Japan and Silvio Berlusconi of Italy.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the calls were part of Bush's effort to assemble an international coalition against terrorism.


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