Last update 20 Sep. 2001

Pentagon in flames
Worried Staff fly Bush to USAF base
US asks: How was world's most sophisticated defence network breached?
International offensive against terrorism urged
A Long, Tough Job - by Wesley K. Clark
International reaction and NATO's stance

WTC buildings in New York

September 11 was the blackest day in the U.S.' history since Pearl Harbour - 60 years ago, during the World War 2. Unidentified terrorists hijacked several passenger planes almost at the same time and directed them to New York and Washington. Around 9.00 AM, the first two planes crashed into the two tallest buildings of the World Trade Center in Manhatten, New York; within an hour and a half both twin buildings collapsed because of a very high temperature of the fire inside. It was said, up to 50000 people normally used to work in the two buildings. At least 265 firefighters were in the buildings at the time they collapsed. The third hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon building. The fourth one was aimed for Capitol Hill, but fell down in a forest 80 miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - supposedly, due to its passengers' efforts to stop the hijackers. The announced numbers of casualties change from day to day and on Sept. 17 the estimates have been 5422 missing in New York and about 190 in Pentagon area.

POSTED AT 11:32 PM EDT Tuesday, September 11

Pentagon in flames

Globe and Mail Update with Reuters and AP


The Pentagon was a scene of terror Tuesday as a large plane crashed into the nerve centre for the U.S. military, only moments after two aircraft smashed into New York's World Trade Center.

NBC News reported Tuesday night that at least 800 people were confirmed dead.

A portion of one side of the five-sided structure collapsed burst into flames when a hijacked plane struck around 9:40 a.m. EDT, about an hour after the original blast at the World Trade Center.

American Airlines Flight 77, hijacked while carrying 58 passengers and six crew members from Washington's Dulles International Airport to Los Angeles, tore into the side of the highly fortified facility, which is about six kilometres or a 10 minute drive from downtown Washington but only several hundred yards from the airport. The whole building reportedly shook with the impact of the the Boeing 757.

"There was screaming and pandemonium," said Terry Yonkers, an Air Force civilian employee at work inside the Pentagon at the time.

Secondary explosions were reported and great billows of smoke drifted skyward from the huge building in Arlington, Va., toward the Potomac River and Washington beyond.

te in the afternoon: "There appear to be about 100 casualties" in the building.

"The fire was intense," Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, the Pentagon spokesman, told reporters in a makeshift briefing at a gasoline station across the street.

"If we're lucky ... it would have been more lightly populated than normal," said Mr. Quigley.

The plane's hijackers brandished knives and cardboard cutters but not firearms to take over the aircraft. The information was revealed during two telephone calls that Barbara Olson, wife of Solicitor General Ted Olson, made from aboard the aircraft before the crash. Apparently the hijackers were not carrying firearms.

Barbara Olson, who was also a commentator for CNN, was one of the 64 people who died in the crash of what is believed to be a Boeing 757.

She told him that the hijackers, armed with knives and cardboard cutters, herded the passengers and crew, including the pilot, toward the back of the plane.

According to CNN, Ted Olson immediately called the command center at the Justice Department to inform them of the hijacking. The Department, unaware of the developments, told him they would investigate.

Olson told her husband that there was more than one hijacker, but made no additional comments.

"What should I tell the pilots to do?" CNN reported Olson as asking her husband.

Barbara Olson was a former federal prosecutor and served as Chief Investigative Counsel to the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight.

The evacuation ordered shortly afterward was carried out smoothly. Within hours of the attack on the Pentagon, long lines of blood donors queued up outside area hospitals.

All U.S. Federal buildings in the Washington area - including the West Wing of the White House, the Capitol Building, the Treasury Department and the U.S. State Department - were emptied in the wake of the attacks.

The departments of Justice, State, Treasury and Defence and the Central Intelligence Agency were evacuated - an estimated 20,000 at the Pentagon alone.

The Capitol was cleared out as well, sending lawmakers and aides into the surrounding streets. By late in the day, though, officials said the House and Senate would convene Wednesday. The first order of business: a resolution condemning the attacks.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said government agencies will be open for business in the Washington area on Wednesday, including the Pentagon. Federal workers, however, will be allowed to take unscheduled leave.

"The Pentagon is functioning. It will be in business tomorrow," Rumsfeld said from a Pentagon briefing room.

Rumsfeld said that he was in his office when the aircraft hit on the opposite side of the building. He had just run there after hearing of the Trade Center attack in New York while at a meeting on missile defence in his private dining room.

U.S. Rep. Christopher Cox, R-Calif., also at the meeting, said Rumsfeld had just predicted that the United States would face another terrorist incident at some point.

"He said, 'Let me tell ya, I've been around the block a few times. There will be another event.' And he repeated it for emphasis," Cox said. "And within minutes of saying that, his words proved tragically prophetic."

After the Pentagon attack, Rumsfeld went "running down to the site where the aircraft hit, was helpful in putting some of the injured onto some stretchers," Quigley said.

The plane hit near a helicopter pad, one building away from the offices of U.S. Defense Secretary and the joint chiefs of staff.

"This is the second Pearl Harbor. I don't think that I overstate it," said U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel, referring to the attack 60 years ago that surprised the United States and propelled it into the Second World War.

Wesley K. Clark

The 9:45 a.m. attack on the Pentagon appeared to take place on the Army side of the building, said retired U.S. Gen. Wesley Clark, former supreme commander of NATO, on CNN. "It hasn't been announced that it is over, we don't know how it will finally conclude so there is likely to be more trouble before all of this concludes."

"We've known for some time that there were groups planning [something like] this," he said. "I think the American people should know that the men and women in government and all the agencies have worked very hard and very diligently against this. Obviously we didn't do enough."

The Pentagon is one of the world's largest office buildings, considered an architectural landmark since it was built during World War II. Built of 435,000 cubic yards of concrete, it was deemed capable of withstanding any attack.

That wasn't the case. Smoke billowed from the five-sided defence centre for hours after the attack as crews battled the huge blaze that had erupted as a result.



Terror in America

Worried Staff fly Bush to USAF base


WTC buildings collapse

PRESIDENT BUSH temporarily moved his White House team co-ordinating the response to the worst terrorist attack in the country’s history to the Strategic Air Command base in Nebraska last night because of fears for his safety if he returned to the White House.

For a bizarre few hours Air Force One, the President’s special Boeing 747, zigzagged across the country from the President’s early morning appointments in Florida to Louisiana and on to Nebraska before returning to Washington and the White House, giving the impression of a panicky response.

Mr Bush had been on a trip to Florida to promote his education plans when he received word of the attacks that will almost certainly prove to be the greatest test of his presidency. Within half an hour he appeared looking grim in front of television cameras at a junior school in Sarasota to condemn the “apparent terrorist attack” and announce that he was returning immediately to Washington.

When news broke of the attack on the Pentagon, the Secret Service said that Mr Bush’s safety could not be guaranteed at the White House. He was flown to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, where he hastily convened television cameras to address the nation. Then he was on the move again.

When he reached Strategic Air Command at Offutt Air Force Base, the President convened an urgent meeting of national security aides via teleconference facilities from the base, the White House said. Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, was among aides left behind in Florida when Mr Bush took off after the terrorist attacks in New York and the capital.

In a televised address to the nation from the Oval Office early this morning, Mr Bush gave the first acknowledgement from the White House of the scale of the carnage when he said that “thousands” of lives were “suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror”.

He promised retaliation: “The search is under way for those who are behind these evil acts. We will make no distinction between the terrorists and those who harbour them.” He said the victims were “secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers, Moms and Dads, friends and neighbours”. He added: “These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”


Earlier, Mr Bush had said in a statement that “freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward. Freedom will be defended.”

He added that “all appropriate security precautions” had been taken to protect the American people. Speaking defiantly, he said: “Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts.”

He gave no indication of how America might retaliate, but said that the military had been put on high alert.

Mr Bush offered prayers for the victims and added: “I want to reassure the American people that the full resources of the federal Government are working to assist local authorities to save lives and to help the victims of these attacks.”

A war or a response to a big terrorist outrage would normally be co-ordinated from the situation room at the White House. Vice-President Richard Cheney was preparing the initial response to the attacks with military leaders and the President’s National Security advisers from the high-security nerve centre. Mr Bush and his deputy were communicating on secure telephone lines.

All other members of Mr Bush’s Cabinet in the capital were moved to unidentified locations after the decision to abandon federal buildings in Washington. Concern about the security of members of the Cabinet spread as far as Tokyo, where Paul O’Neill, the Treasury Secretary, cancelled meetings with Japanese government officials.

Inside the Capitol, in Washington, guards ran through the halls shouting at people to leave and herding senior members of Congress to safety. “There’s a plane coming,” one frantic guard shouted. “Get out!” Laura Bush, the First Lady, who was to make her policy debut before a Senate committee yesterday, instead stepped in front of the cameras and tried to help to calm the nation. “Parents need to reassure their children everywhere in our country that they are safe,” Mrs Bush said.

Mr Bush’s advisers were preparing a list of options, according to a senior official. He said it was too early to discuss military options because investigators were still trying to determine who was responsible for the attacks.

George Tenet, the CIA Director, was meeting other senior agency officials “trying to collect any information we have that could have any bearing on this”, Mark Mansfield, the CIA spokesman, said. Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, chief Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said there was no warning of the attacks.

Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, cut short his first South American tour to return to the US and help in organising the response. “A great tragedy has struck our country. It will not affect the nature of our society. We will find out who is responsible and bring them to justice,” he said before he left Lima.

Wesley K.Clark

General Wesley Clark, the former Nato Supreme Commander, set out the huge problems Mr Bush faces in the short and long term.

He said that it was clear that the attacks were the work of Osama bin Laden and that they might not be over. “There is only one group that has ever indicated that it would be capable of such attacks. That is Osama bin Laden,” he said.

He said that it had been clear for some time that there were groups planning this. He added: “We didn’t have the tools or co-operation or good enough information we needed to prevent it.” He said the long-term task of rebuilding the nation’s confidence would be daunting. “The primary issue that has to be addressed is how to restore — ever — a sense of normalcy to the country. Will it ever be the same?” The scale of the problem is clear for all to see, even in protecting only the White House. For instance, the roof of the building is patrolled by Secret Sevice agents armed with powerful weapons, but they would be unable to bring down a large aircraft. That would be the responsibility of the Air Force; however, the difficulty of keeping an aircraft away from the building was demonstrated in 1994 when a man crash-landed a Cessna on the South Lawn. Frank Corder, 38, was killed in the incident.

James Witt, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency under President Clinton, said yesterday that preventing attacks such as yesterday’s was almost impossible. “How can you prevent something like this without having anti-aircraft guns on top of buildings?” he said.



US asks: How was world's most sophisticated defence network breached?

Security Agencies

By David Usborne in New York

12 September 2001


The security agencies that are meant to protect the United States, with their sophisticated hardware and multibillion-dollar budgets, will come under scrutiny in the response to yesterday's attacks and be asked the simple question: How could this have happened?

From the tax-paying public to the politicians on Capitol Hill, one answer will keep coming back. Somehow, in spite of all that money and in spite of their reputations as the keenest gatherers of intelligence on the planet, American's secret agencies, including the CIA, stumbled tragically.

Nor does the episode reflect well on the FBI which has been playing a major role in anti-terrorism operations. It has signally failed on two recent occasions, to get to the bottom of the barracks bombing in Saudi Arabia in 1996, and then to find those responsible for the attack on USS Cole in Aden.

Last night the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, making an appearance in the Pentagon press room intended to show that the military establishment was still functioning, refused to say whether the Pentagon or any other US agency had an inkling of the attacks. "We do not discuss intelligence matters," he said.

But other senior ex-officials were more outspoken. The agencies had worked hard, said General Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Commander in Europe, "but clearly they did not do enough". Indications were that some generic warnings had been received in recent days of a possible impending attack, but with no indication of when or where.

There has been a series of assaults on US targets in recent years, stretching back to the bombing of the World Trade Centre itself in 1993. And, for years, the focus of the CIA's efforts has been Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of the attacks, who lives in hiding in Afghanistan. Experts suggested that the intelligence community had simply not been expecting an attack either on the scale of what happened in America yesterday or with the weapons deployed.

"This has been a long and carefully planned operation,'' suggested Gene Poteat, the president of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. "They flew the planes themselves. No pilot, even with a gun to his head, is going to fly into the world towers."

Resources have been poured into dealing with a possible attack usingbiological weapons. Yesterday, experts from the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta were rushed to New York in case any such substances were part of the attacks. None was found.

The CIA director, George Tenet, who will take the brunt of the criticism, had met senior agency officials "trying to collect any information we have that could have any bearing on this", a CIA spokesman said.

The Taliban, meanwhile, insisted that even Mr bin Laden would have been incapable of such an extensive series of attacks. "What happened in the United States was not a job of ordinary people. It could have been the work of governments. Osama bin Laden cannot do this work, nor us," a Taliban spokesman said.


International offensive against terrorism urged.
Threats too widespread, flexible for one nation to defeat, experts say

By Mark Matthews
Sun National Staff
Originally published September 12, 2001


WASHINGTON -- As it responds to yesterday's series of catastrophic terrorist attacks, the United States will be forced to step up its war against an elusive and adaptable enemy, with weapons that have so far proved inadequate.

In its more than two-decade struggle against international terrorism, the United States has deployed sophisticated law enforcement, diplomacy, missiles and all the intelligence capability at its disposal. But those steps failed to provide clear warning of a Pearl Harbor-like escalation in the war or to prepare the nation for the destruction and carnage it wreaked.

And so a variety of analysts and former officials cautioned yesterday that the nation must go beyond retaliation to build a new international offensive against terror.

"It's not possible to have only one nation deal with international terror," said Gen. Wesley K. Clark, retired supreme commander of NATO.

As the Navy dispatched aircraft carriers and guided-missile destroyers toward New York and Washington to guard against a still-obscure, unnamed threat, U.S. intelligence agencies opened the painstaking task of determining who was responsible.

"It's too early to tell, but there are indications that people with links to Osama bin Laden and [his] al Qaeda organization may have been responsible," a U.S. official said.

Even from his remote hideouts in Afghanistan, bin Laden commands a worldwide terror network with the resources and infrastructure able to "pull something like this off," the official said -- even commandeering aircraft from diverse locations thousands of miles away. CIA Director George J. Tenet, testifying to Congress in February, asserted that bin Laden was "capable of planning multiple attacks with little or no warning."

John Pike, an intelligence analyst in Washington, said, "It is possible that [the terrorists] could have hatched the plan with trusted reliable people who infiltrated into the U.S. one at a time, waiting for a prearranged signal," and staying away from traditional communication devices, he said.


In recent years, the United States and its allies have been relatively successful in preventing attacks sponsored by rogue states such as Libya, Iran and North Korea, whose actions are easier to monitor and who know they risk severe retaliation.

"State-sponsored terror activity has almost vanished in recent years," said Philip C. Wilcox, Jr., former ambassador-at-large for counterterrorism. "It's easier for non-state actors to conspire and coordinate without drawing attention."

But pinning the attack conclusively on bin Laden might be difficult, because, as Tenet said, he develops surrogates to commit crimes so as to avoid detection himself. Intelligence agencies will be sifting through and analyzing previously gathered information for clues.

As President Bush decides what steps to take, his first priority must be "information -- good information," said Anthony Lake, President Bill Clinton's first national security adviser.

Then, Lake said, "you need to step back a bit and think strategically as well as spasmodically."

"It reminds us how much we are part of the world," he said. "The response must clearly be American, but we must use it as part of a way of building a global response to terrorism."

In the past, presidents have responded legally and militarily, sometimes pursuing both routes.

"America's capabilities to defend itself against the threat of terrorism and to pre-empt or respond to such attacks arguably still remain inchoate and unfocused," Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism specialist at the RAND Corp., told Congress this year.

Tempting as a quick, severe military response might be for Bush -- particularly given a likely public clamor for revenge -- "the use of a military response is fraught with difficulty," Wilcox said. "Unless you have a clear identity of the enemy, you shouldn't use it. And there is a danger that innocent civilians will be killed."

Analysts are still debating whether the United States was justified in attacking a suspected poison gas factory in Sudan in 1998.

Bush vowed last night to punish not only the perpetrators but also those who harbor them. But going after the Taliban, the zealous Islamic conservatives ruling most of Afghanistan, might not be enough to rein in bin Laden. The Taliban have defied international pressure for years.

This problem "can't be dealt with one retaliatory blow," former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger said yesterday. A "systemic attack" is needed, he said, but he acknowledged in a TV interview: "I don't know what that means."

Intelligence-gathering is a vital weapon in that fight, and a question reverberating through Washington yesterday was whether U.S. agencies are responsible for a colossal failure in this case.

"I have no doubt there will be an orgy of finger-pointing," Lake said. "Terror groups are aware of our intelligence methods and are getting better at evading them." But other U.S. agencies not usually associated with a war effort, including the U.S. Customs Service and the Coast Guard, might need strengthening against this shadowy threat, he said.

Several analysts said yesterday that this is a fight the nation can't win alone.

"We're going to need the Europeans, Russians, Chinese -- any country that in the past has flirted with both sides of the street," said Richard C. Holbrooke, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Sun staff writer Laura Sullivan contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2001, The Baltimore Sun


The Washington Post

A Long, Tough Job

By Wesley K. Clark
Friday, September 14, 2001; Page A37

WTC buildings in New York

America is indeed at war. The attacks in New York and Washington have raised the dangers posed by international terrorism to a new level. But despite the awful familiarity of the devastation in New York and Washington, an effective U.S. response is likely to be something new and unfamiliar.

For the United States, the weapons of this war should be information, law enforcement and, on rare occasions, active military forces. The coalition that will form around the United States and its NATO allies should agree on its intent but not trumpet its plans. No vast military deployments should be anticipated. But urgent measures should be taken behind the scenes, because the populations and economic structures of Western nations will be at risk.

And the American public will have to grasp and appreciate a new approach to warfare. Our objective should be neither revenge nor retaliation, though we will achieve both. Rather, we must systematically target and destroy the complex, interlocking network of international terrorism. The aim should be to attack not buildings and facilities but the people who have masterminded, coordinated, supported and executed these and other terrorist attacks.

I can hear some warning us to narrow our objectives because the task before us is so difficult, warning that there may be failures and actions that can never be acknowledged. But now all must accept at face value the terrorists' unwavering hostility to the United States and what we stand for. There is no room for half-measures in our response.

Our methods should rely first on domestic and international law, and the support and active participation of our friends and allies around the globe. Evidence must be collected, networks uncovered and a faceless threat given shape and identity.

In some cases, astute police work will win the day, here and abroad. In other cases, international intelligence collaboration may be necessary. Special military forces may be called on to operate in states that are uncooperative or simply unable to control their own territory. In exceptional cases, targets will be developed that may be handled by conventional military strikes.

But in the main, this will be arduous, detailed and often covert work to track, detain or otherwise engage and "take down" our adversaries, rolling them up cell by cell and headquarters by headquarters.

These terrorist networks may well have state sponsorship. And here, more intense, visible action involving not only strikes but also substantial ground action may be required to gain the surrender of hostile governments or the end of their support for terrorists. But we should not underestimate the overpowering impact of an aroused and determined America and its allies in forcing preemptive changes in previously uncooperative states.

Some will call for full disclosure and near-legal standards of evidence before acting. Others will arm a hair trigger, seeking to use the most readily available information, even if scant. But we must not pose legality and expediency as opposite extremes. To be expedient, we must act within the bounds of international law and consistent with consensus among the allied coalition that is emerging. And maintaining this consensus will be one of the prime challenges we face.

A second key challenge is to recognize that we are in an action-reaction struggle with a capable and competent adversary. Almost certainly there are other gambits in preparation to be used against us. When they are unable to hide, terrorists may be even more willing to strike. More horrifying scenarios than Tuesday's are easily imaginable.

We must strengthen our protective measures at airports, at utilities and other public service facilities such as communications networks, and prepare necessary public health and disease control capabilities for the possibility of nuclear and biological events. And if we are successful in preventing further attacks, another challenge will be to maintain our resolve.

If these attacks were the second Pearl Harbor, then it is also true that it will likely take more than a second Doolittle raid to win this war. Months and years may be required. But we should remember that awful sight in downtown Manhattan and at the Pentagon the morning of Sept. 11, and resolve that it shall never, ever happen again. And we should renew our resolve during every inconvenience we suffer at an airport and every additional impediment to our activities.

For a decade the United States has periodically declared that its top priority, or one of its top priorities, is to protect our people against international terrorism. In hindsight, it is clear that a well-intentioned defense wasn't enough. This is a problem that now requires more active measures and a commitment to eliminate terrorism as a threat. And doing so requires an old concept, "decisive force," but defined and used in a new kind of war.

The writer is former supreme allied commander in Europe and the author of "Waging Modern War."

© 2001 The Washington Post Company



International reaction and NATO's stance

Christiane Amanpour: 'Profound sense of shock'

September 12, 2001 Posted: 9:04 PM EDT (0104 GMT)

CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour
CNN's Christiane Amanpour reports from London on world reaction and NATO's commitment to back the United States. And she talks with Gen. Wesley Clark about the task of responding to the attacks' perpetrators.  
By Christiane Amanpour

(CNN) -- All day, people have been describing this as "a day that will live in infamy." The shock is growing, and it is a profound sense of shock.

People and nations across the world have been shaken to the very core: If the once-impregnable fortress, America, can be attacked in this unbelievably appalling manner, they say, then which nation is safe?

In an unprecedented act, NATO has met and invoked a Cold War-era treaty clause that says, essentially, that when one member is attacked, then all members are attacked. That's NATO saying, in essence, that should the United States decide that it needs to take a military response, NATO will stand foursquare behind the United States and help it militarily or politically.

Amongst the U.S. allies around the world -- particularly here in Britain -- outpourings of sympathy and solidarity. People here really believe the momentum is gathering for some kind of retaliation -- some kind of attempt to, as British Prime Minister Tony Blair says, defeat and eradicate these terrorists.

People here are saying that while cool heads should prevail, that while leaders should make sure they do not act under impulse, they should neither ignore the scale and the magnitude of what has happened, not just to the United States but to the entire civilized world.

Flags are flown at half-staff in England and around Europe. Flowers pile up at U.S. embassies. Sympathy and especially shock are growing. In the wake of the worst terrorist attack anywhere -- on a scale Western leaders say they had never even contemplated -- newspapers talk of a "declaration of war" on America. Politicians from the world's democracies say that today everyone is American.

European bourses and brokers suspended trading for a minute Wednesday to show respect for the dead. European leaders have called emergency security meetings.

One after the other, world leaders stand up in sympathy and solidarity -- President Vladimir Putin saying that Russia will observe a moment of silence Thursday. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder says that Germany stands with America and everyone who's for peace and freedom around the world. The same messages came from all European capitals, from Japanese leaders and the Chinese president as well.

There were sour notes sounded, too. Some people in some countries said the catastrophe should be a warning to the United States and the Bush administration not to make policies that bully other countries.

In Britain, one of America's strongest and closest allies, Prince Charles came to offer condolences to the U.S. ambassador, mindful that many Britons working in New York are likely to be among the victims.

America's Arab allies -- moderate Arab states -- have also unanimously condemned the terrorist attacks against the United States. The 57 Islamic nations that make up the Organization of the Islamic Conference have also condemned the attack, saying it stands against Islam.

Countries we might not expect sympathy from -- countries like Libya which has a history of antagonism with the United States -- have also expressed sympathy and support. Countries like Cuba have also done the same.

There have been some isolated incidents -- for instance, among some of the Palestinians in refugee camps and in parts of Israel and the Occupied Territories, who have celebrated what happened in the United States. And there is, it has to be said, an increasingly anti-American feeling on the streets of the Arab nations, particularly in the Occupied Territories, since the 11 months of the intifada, the Palestinian uprising.

But overwhelmingly, the feeling around the world has been one of support, sympathy and solidarity, not just for the United States but for the values, they say, the common values that make everyone in the world a target.

We're now joined by Gen. Wesley Clark, who is in Little Rock, Arkansas. Gen. Clark was the commander of NATO forces, and he's now a CNN military correspondent.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Gen. Clark, we've been speaking about NATO invoking this clause. Can you explain to us exactly and precisely what that means and what action NATO took tonight that's so important?

Gen. Wesley Clark, CNN military analyst
Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO commander and now a CNN military analyst: "A very clear signal to those around the world that the United States is supported completely by its NATO allies."  

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: This is essential political action taken by the NATO members acting together to say that they stand with -- and will stand with -- the United States in taking whatever actions might become necessary to deal with this attack on the United States. So it's the precondition that will make everything else possible.

AMANPOUR: Is this important in the speed with which it was done? -- You remember from building the coalition for Kosovo that it took a long time, relatively, to do so. Is this an important timeline that we see here?

CLARK: I think the timeline is highly significant. Of course this is in response to an attack on a NATO member state. It's the first time, to my knowledge, that Article 5 (of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization charter) has ever been invoked. It's the first time we've had an attack on a NATO member state. And I think that NATO scholars and diplomats from previous eras would never have suspected that the state to be attacked first would be the United States. So I think this is a very clear signal to those around the world that the United States is supported completely by its NATO allies. And I think that's a very powerful weapon to have in our arsenal.

AMANPOUR: This is an unprecedented attack not just against U.S. interests and territory but against any interests that we've seen in recorded memory. There has not been this kind of act of terrorism that anybody I've talked to can remember. Does the United States have to take military action? Not in revenge but to deter any further terrorism such as this?

CLARK: The first thing the United States has to do is determine precisely what its objectives are. And, as we've heard the president articulate over the last couple of days, it seems pretty clear that the objectives are beyond revenge. They're certainly beyond retaliation. He wants, and has directed, it seems, that we're going to go after and destroy these terrorist organizations and that we're going to hold any states that support them equally responsible.

This is, thus far, the most sweeping interpretation of the objectives. What it means is that we're in for a relatively long campaign. We've seen some of the opening moves by the United States.

Today, we've seen the FBI extraordinarily active and very, very effective, by first reports -- we've had the word from Attorney General (John) Ashcroft and the FBI director (Robert Mueller) about their activities and what they've found in the Boston area, for example, and they're following up leads in Florida. And, presumably, other nations are taking, right now, the same or similar activities -- either in response to this or other chains of evidence that might be available.

So the first step was to gather the information and then to follow it through -- and take this organization and people out.

And Christiane, if I may just say, there may well be a military strike associated with this. But let's remember that the targets here aren't buildings -- these are the people who masterminded this, and all their supporters. Striking in revenge at an isolated training camp or whatever, that's not likely to be the objective here. Not now.

AMANPOUR: So what is, Gen. Clark? We're talking about a faceless, maybe nameless terrorist organization, potentially -- if they decide that it is Osama bin Laden, this is an organization apparently that has successfully morphed into semi-autonomous operating cells around the world. Can you tell us how you take these people out?

CLARK: I think we're seeing the first evidence of that right now by the FBI and the local police in Boston. I think you take them out, face by face. It is an organization of faces, and they can be identified and removed.