Cohen, Albright Brief Lawmakers On Raids
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Aug. 21) -- Defense Secretary William Cohen and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright came to Capitol Hill Friday to brief legislators on the U.S. anti-terrorism strikes, telling reporters this week's missile attacks were necessary and successful.
William Cohen and Madeleine Albright on Capitol Hill Friday
Meanwhile, lawmakers generally continued to support the Clinton Administration's decision to fire cruise missiles against the alleged terrorist-related targets in Afghanistan and Sudan Thursday, though some members wished there had been more consultation in advance.
"We know that we launched what we believe to be a successful attack
upon a training camp, a terrorist training camp, and we believe it's successful in the sense that we destroyed a number of facilities..." Cohen said. Cohen called the Afghanistan camps a "terrorist university."
Cohen said the U.S. is "determined to take down those facilities and disrupt them to the extent that we can help to minimize the ability of these individuals to wreak their terror upon innocent people, and so striking the facilities in themselves is a worthy goal."
Albright called the fight against terrorism "the war of the future" and said the U.S. is determined that people should not have to live their lives "under the threats of those who believe that taking down innocent people is some form of political expression."
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said the U.S. strikes were justified.
"Based on intelligence provided to me Wednesday, the administration has very reliable information linking the terrorist Osama bin Laden and his bases to the cowardly attacks on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania," Lott said in a statement. "Our response appears to be appropriate and just. As I said in my State of the Union response in January: 'Despite any current controversy, this Congress will vigorously support the president in full defense of America's interests throughout the world.'"
Vice President Al Gore, on vacation in Hawaii, said the U.S. will respond to the threat of terrorism.
"A network of terrorist groups led by Osama bin Ladin have made clear in word and deed that they are waging an all out war against America, targeting all, sparing none. Today we delivered our response. We will be relentless in defending our interests and our people against the murderous threat of terrorism," Gore said.
President Bill Clinton left Washington late Friday to rejoin his family on vacation on Martha's Vineyard.
White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and daughter Chelsea were "certainly understanding" that the president had to temporarily delay their family time. McCurry said this is a family "working through some issues," but the first lady had been aware of the possibility of a pending U.S. attack for many days.
Mrs. Clinton spent much of Thursday morning helping the president prepare his address to the nation about the attacks.