- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 9, 2001

The United States yesterday showered Taliban targets with bombs and missiles for the second day in a row as President Bush swore in a homeland-protection czar and the FBI probed a second case of anthrax exposure.
"This will be a long war," Mr. Bush warned in the East Room of the White House. "America is not immune from attack."
The president then signed an executive order creating the Office of Homeland Security to coordinate intelligence that is gathered by a dizzying array of turf-conscious agencies. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas swore in the first director, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who acknowledged there "may be gaps" in America's defenses against terrorism.
"We must open lines of communication and support like never before between agencies and departments," Mr. Ridge said. "The only turf we should be worried about protecting is the turf we stand on."
Meanwhile, the administration notified the United Nations that the U.S.-led attacks could spread beyond Afghanistan.
"We may find that our self-defense requires further actions with respect to other organizations and other states," said John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in a letter to the organization.
White House counselor Karen Hughes added: "We have to be prepared to combat terrorism wherever it springs up."
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said, "The Negroponte letter speaks for itself."
"This is about an entire network that has people in place in some 60 countries that presents a threat to the United States," Mr. Fleischer told reporters. "If you're asking me to provide a list of any nations that it may or may or not apply to, I decline to do so."
The FBI and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began probing a second case of anthrax exposure in Florida, where a 63-year-old man died of the disease Friday. Although no evidence of terrorism surfaced, authorities are taking the case "very seriously," said Attorney General John Ashcroft, who added "we have not ruled out" bioterrorism.
In his most explicit warning to date that terrorists could launch a second strike against the United States, Mr. Bush said "they might come again." But in the same breath, he promised that America would be better prepared this time.
"We will take strong precautions aimed at preventing terrorist attacks and prepare to respond effectively if they might come again," the president said. "The best defense against terror is a global offensive against terror, wherever it might be found."
That offensive was not as sweeping yesterday as it was Sunday, when a larger number of bombs and cruise missiles slammed into airfields and training camps run by Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld tried to lower expectations for a swift military victory, citing the dearth of valuable targets in a nation that had already been decimated by decades of conflict.
"It is very unlikely that the air strikes will rock the Taliban back on their heels," Mr. Rumsfeld said at a news conference. "We have to have a clear understanding of what is possible in a country like that."
He added: "The Soviet Union pounded it year after year after year. Much of the country is rubble."
Mr. Bush suggested the attacks would continue indefinitely.
"We're going to be ongoing and relentless as we tighten the net of justice," said Mr. Bush, who asked for "understanding and patience from the American people."
Mr. Fleischer said the president "is trying to prepare the American people and, frankly, I think the American people are prepared, I think they do understand it that this can last months, if not years."
In a sign of heightened security, Vice President Richard B. Cheney was kept in a secure undisclosed location away from the White House for the second day in a row yesterday. On the other hand, the administration felt secure enough to put the president, most of his Cabinet, a Supreme Court justice and the mayor of Washington in the same room for the swearing in of Mr. Ridge.
The administration also went to great lengths yesterday to portray the war as more than just a military offensive against bin Laden. As the difficulty of finding bin Laden became more evident, White House officials emphasized that the war is against more than any one man.
"This isn't just one person, "said National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. "This is a network."
The administration also emphasized that the military strikes are just one aspect of a multifaceted war that also includes starving the terrorists of funds and isolating regimes that harbor them.
"Think about this war in a different way than you viewed World War II or previous wars our nation has fought, even more recent ones," Mr. Fleischer told reporters. "In so many ways, a person sitting at a computer terminal wearing a suit, who was able to shut down and dry up terrorist money, plays just as valuable a role on the financial front as people do on the military front."
During his remarks in the East Room, Mr. Bush barely touched on the specifics of the first night of military strikes. He spent more time talking about the "culturally neutral" vegetarian food rations that were dropped to starving Afghans.
"The military mission of yesterday was executed as planned, "the president said, "and at the same time that our good nation dropped over 37,000 kits of food and medicine. This is an important part of a war already under way that is being conducted on many fronts."
As that war continued abroad, Mr. Bush turned to an old friend to defend America against the kinds of attacks that claimed more than 5,000 lives Sept. 11. Mr. Ridge, a decorated combat veteran of Vietnam, was once on the short list of running mates that Mr. Bush considered during last year's presidential campaign.
The president gave Mr. Ridge broad powers to coordinate intelligence from 42 federal agencies to "design a comprehensive, coordinated national strategy to fight terror here at home."
"In the war on terror, knowledge is power," Mr. Bush said. "We face a united, determined enemy. We must have a united and determined response."
That entails security measures of staggering proportions. For starters, the president told Mr. Ridge to "strengthen and help protect our transportation systems, our food and water systems and our critical infrastructure by making them less vulnerable to attack."
Mr. Ridge appeared upbeat about his new job, comparing it to some of the most important undertakings in American history.
"This job calls for a national effort," said Mr. Ridge, who appeared with his wife and two children. "We've seen it before, whether it was building the Transcontinental Railroad, fighting World War II or putting a man on the moon."
But accomplishing the task will depend in part on the administration's ability to safeguard classified information. Last week, The Washington Post reported on a closed-door briefing in which members of Congress were warned there was a "100 percent chance" of further terrorist strikes against the United States.
Mr. Bush on Friday sent a memo to the heads of various agencies, urging them to maintain "the proper level of confidentiality" for "protecting American lives."
The memo was sent to the attorney general, the heads of the FBI and CIA, and the secretaries of State, Defense and Treasury. In it, Mr. Bush ordered the senior department chiefs not to provide classified information to members of Congress who are not part of the leadership.
The president also continues to reach out to foreign leaders for help in his war against terrorism. Yesterday, he spoke by phone to New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and Chinese President Jiang Zemin.
While Britain has been participating in the U.S.-led military strikes since Sunday, Canada is expected to enter the fray within days. Canadian Defense Minister Art Eggleton yesterday pledged six ships, six warplanes and more than 2,000 troops, including a special commando unit.
Asked by The Washington Times to describe Mr. Bush's demeanor on his first full day as a wartime president, Mr. Fleischer said: "He is resolute, and he is determined."

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