Graham, Goss Talking Of Terror As Attacks Happeon on U.S. Soil

by Jennifer Sergent
The Vero Beach Press Journal
September 12, 2001

"We're not going to have the same way of life," he added. "As a nation, we can't go back to relaxing."

- Rep. Mark Foley

When the news came, the two Florida lawmakers who lead the House and Senate intelligence committees were having breakfast with the head of the Pakistani intelligence service.

Rep. Porter Goss, R-Sanibel, Sen. Bob Graham and other members of the House Intelligence Committee were talking about terrorism issues with the Pakistani official when a member of Goss' staff handed a note to Goss, who handed it to Graham.

"We were talking about terrorism, specifically terrorism generated from Afghanistan," Graham said.

There was much talk that Tuesday's attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. were masterminded by terrorist Osama bin Laden, who lives in Afghanistan, protected by the military Taliban government.

Mahmood Ahmed, director general of Pakistan's intelligence service, was "very empathetic, sympathetic to the people of the United States," Graham said.

Goss could not be reached Tuesday. He was whisked away with much of the House leadership to an undisclosed "secure location." Graham, meanwhile, participated in late-afternoon briefings with top officials from the CIA and FBI.

Sen. Bill Nelson was among 50 to 60 senators who received briefings from Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss. Daschle and Lott briefed their colleagues by remote telephone from the secure location where Goss was taken.

Nelson serves on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, which deal directly with military operations and terrorism issues.

"There is absolute resolution that we will go after and take out and punish the ones who were responsible for this. That will be done," Nelson said.

Aides to Rep. Mark Foley, R-West Palm Beach, were panicked early Tuesday when they heard that two hijacked airplanes had hit the World Trade Center towers in New York.

Foley was in New York on Monday night and got on a shuttle at 8 a.m. Tuesday to return to Washington.

Until he called his office, his staff thought he might have been on one of those planes.

Foley would have been in Florida on Tuesday with President Bush if bad weather in New York hadn't caused the cancellation of his flight back Monday night.

He had been in New York to discuss trade issues with the Securities Industry of America in the city's financial district, ironically near the World Trade Center.

"It's surreal," Foley said. "Nobody can articulate what we're feeling. It's scary. It's extremely scary. It's a sense of hopelessness.

"We're not going to have the same way of life," he added. "As a nation, we can't go back to relaxing."


Copyright 2001

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