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Leaked Terror Memo Meant As Starting Point

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2003 – The "global war on terrorism memo" dominated a press conference at the Pentagon today.

The memo, leaked to USA Today, was meant as a starting point for discussions with senior leaders in the Defense Department. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told reporters he wrote the memo after meeting with U.S. combatant commanders and discussing the global war on terrorism with them.

"They reported what they're doing in the global war on terror," he said. "I started taking everything they'd said, adding it up, and saying to myself, 'Gee, have we got our eyes up off the ground and across the horizon far enough? Are we looking out far enough in a way that would enable us to think of ways and approaches that might make us be able to do still better than we're currently doing?'"

He said he wrote down the ideas and sent the memo to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, JCS Vice Chairman Marine Gen. Peter Pace and Defense Undersecretary for Policy Douglas Feith with the idea of reading the memo and using it as a starting point for long-range planning. "I re-read the memo in the paper and thought, 'Not bad,'" Rumsfeld said.

The secretary said he has been asking questions like the ones raised in the memo all his life, "and I probably will continue doing it."

Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita said the memo is perfectly in keeping with the secretary's portfolio when he took the job at Defense. "He was asked to take this job with the eye toward transforming the department," Di Rita said before Rumsfeld came to the briefing studio. "He has engaged the senior leadership of the department to do that."

Di Rita and Joint Staff Operations chief Air Force Lt. Gen. Norton Schwartz spoke about continuing operations in the global war on terrorism.

Schwartz said the Iraqi border police are beginning to show their worth. Border police detained 18 Iraqis attempting to enter Syria north of Rabiya.

The 101st Airborne Division conducted raids against several weapons caches, and troopers from the division found large amounts of high-explosive rounds and fuses. They also captured the man believed to be responsible for a major cache.

"In Baghdad, coalition forces conducted three simultaneous raids against individuals suspected of placing improvised explosive devices against coalition forces," Schwartz said. "Eight people were detained, along with six AK-47s, numerous (rocket-propelled grenade) rounds, grenades and 1.3 million in Iraqi dinars."

Along the Shatt al-Arab waterway, Operation Sweeney is having a notable effect on smuggling. DoD officials said Marines and Iraqis have captured more than 130 people along with barges, boats, petroleum tankers, generators and fuel pumps and other paraphernalia associated with smuggling operations.

In Afghanistan, Operation Mountain Viper continues near Kandahar and near Orgun-E, and has resulted in the confiscation of more than 1,000 82 mm mortar rounds, numerous rockets and smaller-caliber munitions.

Schwartz said enemy incidents in the Baathist Triangle area have risen lately. He said some of the incidents may be a result of U.S. activity.

"The 82nd Airborne (Division) has been focused on the Fallujah and al-Ramadi area," he said. "That is where a lot of these attacks have occurred. So the bottom line is there's a combination of things some elevation in the attacks by the enemy, but likewise (in) our tempo as well to take these guys out."

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