Rumsfeld Details Progress In War on Terror
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 12, 2002 The United States has foiled a number of terrorist attacks since the war on global terrorism began, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said at the Pentagon April 12.
Intelligence gathered in Afghanistan and around the world allowed the United States and other nations to foil terror attacks in Singapore and on American embassies in other parts of the world. Secret operations have prevented other attacks, Rumsfeld said during an interview with cable networks.
"There's no question but that intelligence information has been gathered, shared by dozens and dozens of countries that have, in fact, stopped terrorist attacks and led to the arrest of people who were engaged in planning terrorist attacks," he told MSNBC.
The war on terror is unlike any war the United States has been involved in. The secretary said the United States continues to gather intelligence and will strike at the most vulnerable points with the most appropriate weapon.
"There is not a line and the good guys are on one side and the bad guys are on the other side; where everyone can see how you're doing and see the progress," he said. "Our effort is worldwide, and it involves all elements of national power. It involves shutting down bank accounts, arresting people, law enforcement, maritime intercept of ships as a deterrent to see that they don't transfer terrorists or terrorist capabilities."
U.S. officials will piece together intelligence information to foil further attacks, Rumsfeld said during an interview with Fox News Live. U.S. intelligence officials have questioned Abu Zubaydah the Al Qaeda terror networks operations chief. Rumsfeld said the terrorist was shot three times during the operation to capture him, but that U.S. medics expect Zubaydah to recover. Rumsfeld said some information is coming from Zubaydah.
"He had holes in him and he had some infections and he was not in great shape, and he obviously talked when people asked him questions and he said this, that and the other thing," Rumsfeld said during a press stakeout. "Has he started to give any intelligence? I would assume so, but anything useful? It's not clear yet."
Rumsfeld said that while progress has been made in Afghanistan, much remains to be done. "There are still Al Qaeda and Taliban in the country. They're in the mountains, they're in the villages, they're also over the borders, and attempting to regroup from time to time."
U.S. forces will find those pockets, he said, and go after them. "I think that there will be additional operations that will take place in Afghanistan in the period ahead.
Rumsfeld said the unrest in the Middle East "is not a help" to the U.S. campaign against terrorism. He said the unrest has not been a problem, yet, between the United States and Muslim countries that support the U.S. offensive.
Rumsfeld told MSNBC that countries that are developing weapons of mass destruction are of particular concern to the United States. In some cases, such as Syria, Iran and Iraq, there are ties to terrorist organizations. He said if terrorist organizations or rogue states use these weapons, the casualties would not be in the thousands like Sept. 11, but in the hundreds of thousands.
"This is something that people have to take aboard, they have to consider, they have to weigh in their minds," Rumsfeld said. As people contemplate this danger, they will become convinced something must be done to stop these regimes, Rumsfeld said.