"New war" to be fought with unprecedented secrecy

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'New war' to be fought with unprecedented secrecy

By Jamie McIntyre, CNN Washington

WASHINGTON (CNN) --America's "new war" against terrorism will be fought with unprecedented secrecy, including heavy press restrictions not seen for years, Pentagon sources said Monday.

Planning for possible military action has been "highly compartmentalized" to ensure the fewest number of people possible have access to classified war plans, the sources said.

According to Pentagon officials close to the process, the Bush administration has decided to clamp down on even routine information because it could prove of some use to potential terrorists.

"I want to make it clear to the American people that this administration will not talk about any plans we may or may not have," President Bush said Monday. "We will not jeopardize in any way, shape or form, anybody who wears the uniform of the United States."

In response to the attacks, the U.S. Defense Department has stopped posting on the Internet the general location of U.S. warships. The department's Web pages that show ship location haven't been updated since September 10, the day before hijacked airplanes struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

In addition, the Pentagon currently has no plans to allow reporters to deploy with troops, or report from warships, practices routinely carried out in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Sources said the Pentagon is drawing up "high-end" and "low-end" options for military action. The "high-end" options include air strikes against countries that support terrorists,while "low-end" plans include the use of special forces to capture or kill terrorist leaders, such as Osama bin Laden, sources said.

The actual plans are under close guard and have not been shared with news agencies. The rationale, according to Pentagon officials: Terrorist organizations lack the intelligence-gathering capacity that nations possess, relying instead on news organizations to find out what their enemies are doing.

-- Swissrose (cellier3@mindspring.com), September 18, 2001

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