- The Washington Times - Friday, February 1, 2002

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld announced yesterday an eight-point doctrine for fighting terrorism while warning that the United States faces potential terrorist attacks that are "vastly more deadly" than the September 11 strikes.

Mr. Rumsfeld said the war on terrorism has so far produced eight lessons. They include never ruling out ground forces, avoiding coalitions that dictate U.S. war policy and injecting special-operations troops as soon as possible into a conflict.

Armed with growing intelligence from Afghanistan about terror networks, Mr. Rumsfeld said the United States is vulnerable to new forms of terrorism, ranging from cyber-attacks to strikes on U.S. military bases abroad to ballistic-missile attacks on American cities.

"Our job is to close off as many of those avenues of potential attack as is possible," Mr. Rumsfeld said in a speech at the National Defense University, during which he defended President Bush's decision to boost the 2003 defense budget by $48 billion.

As his defense chief spoke, Mr. Bush was in Florida yesterday, continuing the tough talk against adversaries North Korea, Iran and Iraq what he has referred to as the "Axis of evil." With his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, it marked the third straight day the president sought support for what he says will be a long war on terrorism, not a just one-war stop in Afghanistan.

"The rest of the world needs to be with us, because these weapons could be pointed at them just as easily as us," Mr. Bush said, referring to the potential of rogue states attaining weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. Rumsfeld's comments came the same day that The Washington Times reported that U.S. intelligence agencies have issued an internal alert that Islamic terrorists are planning an attack upon an American nuclear-power plant or one of the Energy Department's nuclear facilities.

A government official speaking on the condition of anonymity told the Associated Press that about two weeks ago, an intelligence advisory warned of a possible attack on a nuclear plant or other nuclear facilities. The warning, which did not specify a location, was based on questioning of a single person and was not otherwise corroborated, the official said. Nuclear-plant operators were notified.

Mr. Rumsfeld's remarks coincided with new indications that terrorists are considering a wide range of possible attacks. The FBI warned on Wednesday that al Qaeda terrorists may have been studying U.S. dams and water-supply facilities in preparation for new attacks. And in a report to Congress made public Wednesday, CIA Director George J. Tenet said basic diagrams of nuclear weapons were found in a suspected al Qaeda safehouse in Kabul. Other evidence uncovered in Afghanistan includes diagrams of American nuclear-power plants.

In his speech, Mr. Rumsfeld warned of new enemies who may attack in unexpected ways with weapons of increasing range and power. He appeared to be referring to ballistic missiles, a weapon the administration fears countries like North Korea, Iran and Iraq could either use against America or sell to terrorist groups.

"These attacks could grow vastly more deadly than those we suffered" on September 11, he said.

Mr. Rumsfeld's eight lessons in the war on terror are:

•Use all elements of national power, including law enforcement and covert military operations.

•Set up networks that allow all battlefield elements, such as commandos on the ground and pilots in the air, to communicate contemporaneously during a battle.

•Let allies announce how they are helping the United States.

•Do not let coalition-member countries veto U.S. war strategy. "Wars can benefit from coalitions of the willing but they should not be fought by committee," he said.

•Take the war to the enemy before, not after, it attacks the United States.

•Rule out nothing, including the use of ground forces.

•Inject American special-operations forces as soon as possible into a conflict. In Afghanistan, Green Berets helped turn the tide of battle by designating pro-Taliban military targets for pilots.

•Tell the American people the truth. "We need to tell them the truth," he said. "And when you can't tell them something, we need to tell them that we can't tell them something."

Mr. Rumsfeld's eight-point doctrine is in addition to Mr. Bush's overriding approach to the war on terror: the United States will make no distinction between terrorists and the states that harbor and sponsor them.

Meanwhile, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III yesterday told reporters that "sleeper cells" of would-be terrorists could be operating throughout the world including in the United States and that they pose a potential threat for new strikes against U.S. and other targets.

During an informal press briefing at FBI headquarters, Mr. Mueller said the threat was confirmed through intelligence gathered by FBI, CIA and military officials in interviews with captured al Qaeda terrorists and a review of thousands of documents, videotapes and other material recovered in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

"Can I say there are none in the United States? No, I will not say that. Do I know for sure there are some in the United states? I would say I believe there are, but I cannot say for sure," Mr. Mueller said, when asked about the terrorist threat in this country. He said, however, there was little doubt that terrorist cells were operating overseas.

Mr. Mueller added that the possibility of new strikes and terrorist organizations being in the United States was why the FBI was "still on a very high state of alert, and we will be for some time."

He said the FBI, CIA and military officials have begun looking into a massive inventory of captured Taliban and al Qaeda documents and other materials, scanning them into computers and making them available to investigators on a secure digital network coordinated in Washington.

While he acknowledged that the U.S. military offensive in Afghanistan "has disrupted" the al Qaeda network, led by fugitive terrorist Osama bin Laden, the organization still has the ability to carry out new attacks.

Joseph Curl contributed to this report, which is based in part on wire service reports.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide