|SLUG: 2-268445 Senate / Ship Attack (L-Update)||DATE:||NOTE NUMBER:|
TITLE=SENATE-SHIP ATTACK (L-UPDATE)
/// EDS: UPDATES Senate-Ship Attack (L) that moved as 2-268422 ///
INTRO: The Pentagon is facing new questions about whether it could have prevented the terrorist bombing of the U-S-S Cole in Yemen and the death of 17 sailors. A defense intelligence officer has told Congress he warned of such attacks and resigned in protest the day after the blast. V-O-A's David Swan reports.
TEXT: The man is described as a counter-terrorism analyst, an expert on the Middle East and Persian Gulf. His name and the exact nature of the information he developed have not been disclosed.
But senators say the man felt his superiors failed to heed his warning that terrorist strikes were possible. He spent six hours before the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed hearing this week. Republican Pat Roberts, who announced the resignation at another committee hearing (Armed Services), says the man's analysis may have slipped through the cracks at the Pentagon.
/// ROBERTS ACT ///
This young man is a very - or was a very - good employee, and has resigned out of concern that his threat assessment basically was not considered. I don't think it was suppressed so much as it was not considered.
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The Defense Intelligence Agency (D-I-A) has strongly denied suppressing warnings of a threat. A spokesman confirms a staffer did resign, but declines to give any details.
Other officials insist there was no clear sign the Cole was in danger before the apparent suicide bombing ripped a hole in the destroyer's hull. The head of the U-S military's Central Command, General Tommy Franks, defends the decision to use the Yemeni port of Aden for refueling. He also says the attack will not drive American forces out of the Gulf.
/// FRANKS ACT ///
We will never reduce the risk to our people to zero, but we will reduce the risk to our people in every way we can. Our forward presence in this region remains in fact key to preserving America's vital interests. U-S Centcomm will not back away from this mission.
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Yemeni and U-S officials are reportedly compiling evidence of an elaborate conspiracy in the blast. The authorities are said to be scouring three safehouses in Aden. Sources are quoted as saying investigators found bomb-making material at one of them. (Signed)