KWAME HOLMAN: This morning, President Bush invited the press into a session with Jordan's King Abdullah, the latest leader to show public support for the U.S. effort and the first Arab head of state to do so in Washington. The meeting came amid reports-- first in the Pakistani press, then in the U.S.-- that elite American forces already are operating inside Afghanistan. The President was asked about military deployments.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: We will not be discussing any of the... our military plans. It is very important for the American people to know that any public discussion of military or intelligence matters could jeopardize any mission that we may be thinking about.
KWAME HOLMAN: The President also was asked if the Soviet army's failed invasion of Afghanistan over nearly ten years in the 1980s held lessons for the United States. Osama bin Laden fought then on the side of the Afghans.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I am fully aware of the difficulties the Russians had in Afghanistan. Our intelligence people and our State Department people are also fully aware. It is very hard to fight a conventional war, a guerrilla war, with conventional forces, and we understand that. That's why I have explained to the American people that the new war on terror is going to be a different war. Sometimes people will be able to see what we do on the television screens; other times the American people won't be able to see what we're doing. But make no mistake about it, we're in hot pursuit.
KWAME HOLMAN: Islamic leaders in King Abdullah's Jordan have warned of a backlash in the Arab world from the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism. This morning, the king denounced the September 11 terrorists.
KING ABDULLAH, Jordan: What these people stand for is completely against all the principles that Arab and Muslims believe in. And so on those principles alone, I think it will be very, very easy for people to stand together. As the President said, this is a fight against evil, and the majority of Arabs and Muslims will band together with our colleagues all over the world to be able to put an end to this horrible scourge of international terrorism, and you'll see a united front.
KWAME HOLMAN: At the Justice Department, Attorney General John Ashcroft displayed a letter believed to have been carried by three of the September 11 hijackers. It reads in part: "The time of judgment has arrived; you have to be convinced that those few hours that are left to you in your life are very few. Check your safety before you leave. Make sure that nobody is following you." The letter instructed them to pray: "When you enter the plane - God I trust in You; God I lay myself in Your Hands."
JOHN ASHCROFT: A four-page, hand-written letter was found in the suitcase of Mohamed Atta, one of the hijackers on American Airlines Flight 11. There was a suitcase that did not make it to the plane and was recovered by the FBI in Boston. A second copy of the letter was also found at Dulles Airport in a vehicle that was used by Nawaf Alhazmi, one of the hijackers on American Airlines Flight 77. Additionally, a third copy of the letter was found at the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. This letter is clear evidence linking the hijackers on the three separate flights on September 11. The letter is written in Arabic and contains instructions to the hijackers, as well as Islamic prayers. It is a disturbing and shocking view into the mindset of these terrorists. The letter provides instructions to the terrorists to be carried out both prior and during their terrorist attacks. Let me make clear that while this letter contains a number of religious references, I do not believe it to be representative of Muslims or the Islamic faith. The letter is a stark reminder of how these hijackers grossly perverted the Islamic faith to justify their terrorist acts.
KWAME HOLMAN: Meanwhile, Secretary of State Powell kept up the dizzying pace of coalition building, hosting the foreign ministers of Senegal and the former Soviet Republic of Kazakstan. Kazakstan is one of the first Central Asian countries to offer its military bases and airports for the anti-terror mission. Overseas, in London, British authorities arrested an Algerian man wanted by the U.S. Prosecutors say Lotfi Raissi gave flight instruction to four the hijackers.
RICHARD EGAN, Attorney for Lotfi Raissi: He adamantly denies any involvement in the recent appalling tragedies, and he is confident that he will be absolved of all involvement.
KWAME HOLMAN: Elsewhere in Europe, Spanish authorities continued questioning six other Algerians about connections to Osama bin Laden. And in France, trial began for 24 Islamic militants charged with arming an Algerian group that had ties to bin Laden.