21 February 2002
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says al-Qaida and other terrorist groups are on the run, but still pose a deadly threat requiring "urgent" attention. He spoke to reporters during a visit to the Winter Olympics at Salt Lake City.
Mr. Rumsfeld says it is difficult to catch terrorists. But speaking in Salt Lake City while meeting troops involved in Olympic security, the defense secretary says the United States has been very successful in collecting intelligence information about terrorist networks.
He says that has hurt terrorists and is helping to prevent further attacks. "We've got them on the run all across the globe. They are not doing well," he said. "They are finding it harder to raise money. They're finding it harder to recruit people. They're finding it more difficult to retain the people they have recruited. They're finding it more difficult to communicate. And they're finding it harder to move between countries."
According to Mr. Rumsfeld, it means the number of future terrorist incidents will diminish.
But again warning of terrorist interest in acquiring weapons of mass destruction, Mr. Rumsfeld stressed there is an urgent need to do even more in the war against terrorism. "Given the nexus between terrorist networks and weapons of mass destruction," he said, "it is just urgent that we do the best possible job to gain the kinds of intelligence so we can stop these folks before they use those considerably more powerful weapons."
Mr. Rumsfeld spoke the day after another defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters at the Pentagon that al-Qaida remains a "potent threat."
However the official says the terrorist group has lost its aura of invincibility, following the U.S.-led attacks on its bases in Afghanistan and he says the al-Qaida organization has been severely disrupted.