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Rumsfeld Touts Intelligence in Fight Against Terrorism - 2001-10-05


U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says intelligence information may be more effective than military power in eliminating terrorism. The defense secretary spoke to reporters in Egypt before heading to Uzbekistan, the next stop on his tour of Middle East and Central Asian countries.

It will not be bombs, alone, that root out terrorism. It will be a decades-long process fought on many fronts. That's the word from U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

During his stay in Cairo, Mr. Rumsfeld emphasized that the chances of any military action affecting any single terrorist would be modest. Instead of cruise missiles and bombs, he said, "it was more likely a scrap of intelligence information will be the thing that will help roll up these terrorist networks."

Mr. Rumsfeld said the war on terrorism will be a sustained effort that will be fought on political, diplomatic, military, and financial fronts.

The defense secretary said his tour is aimed at allowing individual countries to participate in the fight against terrorism in ways of their own choosing. "We recognize that each country has a distinctive situation and a different perspective and we want to cooperate with the countries in ways that they want to cooperate with us," he said. "I have adopted a very simple policy that each country involved in these coalitions, that are concerned about terrorism, are doing it in their own way."

The defense secretary warned that people around the globe should be extremely concerned about terrorism, saying that while thousands died in New York and Washington, if terrorist groups get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, he said, next time it will be many more.

Mr. Rumsfeld said there is absolutely no doubt that suspected terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network were involved in the terrorist attacks in the United States. He said there are any number of lieutenants in the al-Qaida network, along with other terrorist organizations, all of which, he said, are a danger to free people around the world.

The defense secretary has so far visited Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Egypt. He left Cairo Friday following a late Thursday night meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Mr. Rumsfeld's trip is scheduled to conclude following visits to Uzbekistan and Turkey.