- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 10, 2001

President Bush yesterday stepped up the U.S. war against terrorism, appointing special advisers to prevent attacks and protect computer networks, and told congressional leaders the campaign was open-ended.

"It is not possible to know at this time either the duration of combat operations or the scope and duration of the deployment of U.S. armed forces necessary to counter the terrorist threat to the United States," Mr. Bush wrote in a letter to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican, and Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat and president pro tempore.

Mr. Bush yesterday named retired Gen. Wayne A. Downing as deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism. In addition, the president promoted Richard A. Clarke to the newly created position of special adviser for cyberspace security. Both men will work as part of the newly created Office of Homeland Security.

"We intend to exert unrelenting pressure on global terrorism and on the nations and the groups that support global terrorism wherever we can find them, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year," Gen. Downing said at a ceremony in the Old Executive Office Building. "We intend to give these people and those who support them no place to hide."

Said Mr. Clarke: "Our economy, our national defense, increasingly our very way of life, depends upon the operation, secure and safe operation of critical infrastructures, that in turn depend on cyberspace. … America has built cyberspace, and America must now defend its cyberspace."

Mr. Clarke, who last year warned against a "digital Pearl Harbor," said his job will be to join with the private sector to secure cyberspace.

"We'll be working even more with them in the future, to secure our cyberspace from a range of possible threats, from hackers to criminals to terrorist groups, to foreign nations, which might use cyber-war against us in the future," Mr. Clarke said.

Mr. Clarke has served as counterterrorism chief at the White House for several years, appointed by President Clinton as the first national coordinator for security, infrastructure protection and counterterrorism under the National Security Council.

"Protecting this infrastructure is critically important," said new homeland security chief Tom Ridge. "Disrupt it, destroy it or shut it down, these information networks, and you shut down America as we know it, as we live it, as we experience it every day."

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, who with Mr. Ridge will oversee the two new posts, said, "We need America's very best people to be a part of an effort of this magnitude.

"We will make sure that what we are doing abroad to protect and defend American national security is closely coordinated and matched with what we are doing to protect the security of Americans at home," Miss Rice said.

Mr. Bush sought yesterday to reassure Americans that the federal government was making every effort to ensure their safety.

"The people of America should go back to business, should go about their daily lives knowing full well that our government, at all levels, is doing everything we can to disrupt any potential action," the president said.

The announcements of the new posts came one day after Mr. Bush formally created the White House Office of Homeland Security. New polls show Americans are worried about terrorist attacks as retaliation for U.S. military strikes at terrorist sites in Afghanistan.

"Let's not make any bones about it. This is going to be an extremely difficult job," Gen. Downing said. "[Terrorism is] a tough foe. It's a determined foe. And as events have shown us, it's a very, very smart foe and a crafty one."

The White House said Gen. Downing will act as the president's adviser on "all efforts designed to detect, disrupt and destroy global terrorist organizations and those who support them."

The retired general has criticized as insufficient the U.S. responses to previous terrorist attacks. He wrote a scathing report on military security lapses after 19 U.S. soldiers were killed in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers barracks in Saudi Arabia.

The report recommended the government regard terrorism as an "undeclared war against the United States."

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