All Agencies Join Effort Against Terror
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sep. 28, 2001 It's a war, but there is no declaration of war. The enemy is not a nation, but a shadowy group of terrorists.
Following the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon, U.S. officials declared terrorism is "a clear and present danger" to the United States. President Bush signed an executive order on Sept. 14 declaring a "national emergency by reason of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, New York, New York, and the Pentagon, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States."
Before Sept. 11, few people could conceive of a terrorist turning modern jetliners into guided missiles. Now the war against these terror networks will be unlike any in America's past -- in this war, the military will play a part, but just a part, in finding and stamping out the terror networks.
DoD has responded in a massive way. The president authorized the department to call to active duty up to 50,000 reserve component service members. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed deployment orders for active and reserve personnel. DoD began positioning units where they will do the most good should the president call on them.
The Justice Department will play a large role in tracking terror cells in the United States and thwarting internal threats. Attorney General John Ashcroft said all federal law enforcement agencies are working with local and state officials to track any terrorists operating in the United States. Based on that and other intelligence, Ashcroft said there is a "potential for additional terrorist incidents."
The State Department is working with friends and allies worldwide to isolate the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. State Department officials are also working to build coalitions to attack global terror networks. State already has had some successes. The United Arab Emirates withdrew its recognition of the Taliban on Sept. 22, and Saudi Arabia followed suit Sept. 24.
U.S. officials have also been working with Pakistan, the one country that still has relations with Afghanistan, to pressure Taliban leaders to turn over Osama bin Laden and shut down his Al Qaeda network in the country.
The Transportation Department is working to thwart further hijackings and is using the Coast Guard to ensure port facilities are safe. Transportation plans to use National Guardsmen to help augment security at U.S. airports.
The Treasury Department is working to choke off the money that is the lifeblood of terror networks. Bush on Sept. 24 announced his executive order striking "the financial foundation of the global terror network" by freezing the assets of 27 terrorist organizations, leaders, a corporate front and several nonprofit organizations. Other countries are joining this financial attack.
This interagency cooperation must continue to grow, DoD officials said. Legislation is before Congress to allow law enforcement agencies and national security agencies to exchange intelligence, for example.
Officials said closer cooperation is needed to defeat the terror networks. "Some of the elements of terrorism are best defeated by some of our law enforcement agencies, the Central Intelligence Agency, economic tools can come into play," said Gen. Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "You have to put it all together. As a military individual, I am very happy with what I see at the interagency approach to the campaign against terrorism. And that'll make it considerably more effective than just trying to use one tool that's in the kit bag."