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War on Terrorism

September 26, 2001 at 12:00 AM EDT


KWAME HOLMAN: President Bush left the White House this afternoon and rode to the nearby headquarters of the CIA, where reportedly employees have been working around the clock, sleeping in the building, in order to stay on top of the anti-terrorism campaign. The President praised their dedication and said they all have his confidence, including CIA Director George Tenet.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: There’s no question that I’m in a hall of patriots and I’ve come to say a couple things to you. First, thanks for your hard work. You know, George and I have been spending a lot of quality time together. (Laughs) There’s a reason. I’ve got a lot of confidence in him, and I’ve got a lot of confidence in the CIA. (Applause) This is a war that is unlike any other war that our nation’s used to. It’s a battle — it’s a war of a series of battles that sometimes we’ll see the fruits of our labors and sometimes we won’t. It’s a war that’s going to require cooperation with our friends. It is a war that requires the best of intelligence.

KWAME HOLMAN: But since September 11, CIA Director Tenet has been criticized by prominent members of Congress from both parties for failing to provide warning of the attacks. Today, two Democratic Senators, Robert Torricelli of New Jersey and Dick Durbin of Illinois, called for a board of inquiry to review the government’s entire intelligence-gathering apparatus.

SPOKESMAN: And I agree with Senator Torricelli. This is something we should not put off. We ought to do it and do it soon. It is not a reflection of disunity on the part of those of us who suggest it, but just the opposite. As we have stood with the President to make sure that he is effective in fighting this war for America, let us stand together in a bipartisan fashion to concede our weaknesses and shortfalls in the past.

KWAME HOLMAN: Meanwhile Secretary of State Colin Powell kept up the administration’s anti- terrorism coalition building, meeting with Ireland’s foreign minister. Ireland will assume leadership of the United Nations Security Council on Monday. Powell also received Egypt’s foreign minister. Both men praised the new Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire and pledged to help them continue to move toward peace. In New York City, massive traffic jams caused by security checks have become characteristic. Security and traffic got tighter after the Justice Department warned yesterday of the possibility of additional attacks using trucks carrying hazardous materials. Today, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani urged more use of public transportation and prepared to mandate carpooling.

MAYOR RUDOLPH GIULIANI: We are putting together the plan for tomorrow for no single-ride cars below 62nd Street. That would be a south of 62nd Street ban. And it would go from 6:00 in the morning until 12:00 at night. You have to have at least one other person in the car. It will not apply to a whole group of emergency type vehicles.

KWAME HOLMAN: Family members of the missing lined up today to register their loved ones officially as deceased. A death certificate is necessary for families to file insurance claims. More than 6,300 remain missing. And in Congress, insurance executives told a House Committee the dollar amount of claims will be staggering.

SPOKESMAN: As of last Friday, we had received 21 claims, but that number will grow as the hope to find the thousands of people missing gradually dims. The first of those claims was paid on the life of a young Cantor Fitzgerald employee. The $190,000 death benefit was delivered to the victim’s surviving relatives by their New York Life agent this past Saturday.

KWAME HOLMAN: Analysts estimate the total claims at between $2 billion and $6 billion.