Filed at 11:14 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush on Wednesday condemned
terrorist attacks in New York and Washington as ``acts of war,'' and
said he would ask Congress for money to help in the recovery and
protect the nation's security.
``This will be a monumental struggle of good versus evil. But
good will prevail,'' the president said. He said the nation was
prepared to spend ``whatever it takes.''
Bush spoke as administration officials said evidence in Tuesday's
fearsome attacks pointed to suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden,
harbored in Afghanistan. And while Secretary of State Colin Powell
suggested earlier in the day that no military response was imminent,
Bush said, ``We will rally the world'' in the war on terrorism,
fought now on American soil.
Congress returned to the Capitol and federal agencies reopened
their doors for the first time since Tuesday's parallel attacks on
the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon across the
Potomac River from the nation's capital.
Bush, in the Oval Office shortly after sunrise, invited senior
lawmakers to the White House for a national display of unity.
His spokesman, Ari Fleischer, spoke words meant to soothe. ``We
believe the perpetrators have executed their plan and therefore the
risks are significantly reduced,'' he said.
A mile or so from where he spoke, search and rescue teams worked
in the remains of the portion of the Pentagon that collapsed on
Tuesday, hit by a hijacked jetliner. Officials said they doubted
they would find any additional survivors, and said the number of
deaths could reach into the hundreds.
That would pale in comparison to the carnage in New York, where
two more hijacked planes were flown into the twin towers of the
World Trade Center. The buildings collapsed, with thousands feared
In a day-after scare, employees at the Agriculture Department's
main building along the National Mall were evacuated about 9 a.m.
but were allowed back in an hour later. Reports of unidentified
aircraft in Canadian airspace prompted the evacuation, Chris Gomez,
deputy director of the department's office of operations, told
Another U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said
there were three unidentified aircraft over Canada and the Canadian
Air Force was tracking them, but added that the United States was
not greatly concerned.
Making the rounds of the morning television programs, Powell
reinforced Bush's Tuesday night pledge that the attacks would be
avenged. Administration officials say their early investigation has
pointed to suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden, but the secretary of
state made it sound like no military response was imminent.
He said the administration was ``far from selecting any
particular targets for retaliation
``We have to build a case first,'' he said.
Congress convened with prayers and expressions of resolve that
the perpetrators would be found and punished. ``The world should
know that members of both parties and both houses stand united in
this,'' said Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
Powell said Americans have made the judgment: ``We are at war and
they want a comprehensive response. They want us to act as if we are
at war and we're going to do that -- diplomatically and
The State Department, which closed after the attacks, opened
again. Powell said one-quarter of U.S. embassies were still closed
as a precaution.
The U.S. air space, closed to commercial traffic for the first
time, was expected to reopen at noon EDT, said Dorr, speaking for
the FAA. He said it would take time for airlines to get back to
normal schedules, with so many planes diverted to wrong
He suggested passengers who would normally go the airport an hour
before a flight should go two hours in advance.
At the White House, Bush and his wife, Laura, were asking
Americans to donate blood, spokesman Gordon Johndroe said. Bush was
also meeting his national security team.
Pentagon workers were able to enter sections of their building
but nearly half the structure had no power and some employees were
asked not to show up. Among those at their desks were Defense
Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton,
chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
Bush, addressing the nation Tuesday night, condemned the ``acts
of mass murder.'' The death toll in New York was unknown but thought
to be surely in the thousands; the Arlington County, Va., fire
department estimated 100 to 800 people died in the Pentagon
``Our military is powerful, and it's prepared,'' a somber Bush
said in his Oval Office address.
Bush said in his televised address, ``We will make no distinction
between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor
Streets around the White House were reopened overnight, but the
capital city remained under close watch as Wednesday dawned with
more police on patrol than usual. They were supplemented by 30 to 50
National Guardsmen stationed -- in pairs with a Humvee -- at more
than a dozen street corners in the main business section.
Powell said he knew of no indications that terrorists would
immediately follow up on their assault. There was ``nothing to
suggest that there is something waiting to happen today.''
And he said it was realistic to expect that Americans could track
down the terrorists. ``Sometimes it takes a few weeks, sometimes it
takes years. But we won't give up. We will find them and they will
be dealt with.''
Lawmakers also arranged to convene to condemn the terrorism -- a
day after the Capitol was evacuated and congressional leaders were
hastily ferried to an underground bunker 75 miles away.
``The Pentagon is functioning,'' a defiant Rumsfeld said Tuesday
night, despite the crash that sent a bright orange fireball skyward
and caused the collapse of a section of one of the massive
building's five sides.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said U.S. intelligence intercepted
communications between bin Laden supporters discussing the
The suspected fugitive terrorist has been sheltered in
Afghanistan, but that nation's hardline Taliban rulers rejected
suggestions he was to blame.
Officials declined repeatedly Tuesday night to estimate the
number of injured or dead in the attacks. Bush himself referred to
``thousands of lives'' being ended and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.,
said ``I don't think we've had an inkling of the devastation'' in
Amid the devastation, Bush offered reassuring words. ``These acts
of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and
retreat. But they have failed,'' he said. Our country is strong. A
great people has been moved to defend a great