Tags: Bush | Pep | Talks | CIA | FBI

Bush Pep Talks CIA, FBI

Wednesday, 26 September 2001 12:00 AM

"It's important for America to realize that there are men and women who are spending hours on the task at making sure our country remains free," Bush said in brief remarks at the agency's headquarters in Langley, Va.

"Men and women of the CIA who are sleeping on the floor, eating cold pizza -- calling their kids on the phone saying, 'Well, I won't be able to tuck you in tonight,' because they love America," Bush said. "You're giving your best shot, long hours, all your brain power, to win a war that we're going to win."

Bush added, "Keep doing it."

Bush also said he had a "lot of confidence" in CIA Director George Tenet, despite criticism the agency has come under for failing to predict and head off terrorists attacks Sept. 11.

Bush's call on the CIA followed a similar appearance at the FBI Tuesday, when the president told employees there: "Stay at it. The nation is counting on you."

White House officials said Bush plans to take a similar message to employees at Chicago's O'Hare airport when he visits Thursday.

"The president's trip is designed to talk to the airline workers and to thank them for returning to the flight schedules that they have returned to, to thank them for doing their part to combat terrorism, and to get America moving again," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said.

Fleischer said Bush also wanted to "talk to people in the airline industry, because they're hurting as a result of the lack of passengers."

Fleischer also said Bush will discuss the administration's plans to implement tougher airport security measures in the wake of the recent suicide hijackings.

On Sept. 11, hijackers commandeered four jetliners, crashing two into New York's World Trade Center Twin Towers while a third struck the Pentagon. A fourth, believed to be headed for a target in Washington, crashed outside Pittsburgh.

Airport officials have stepped up security procedures as airports resume operations after being closed initially because of the attacks. Air carriers are advising passengers to arrive up to four hours before their scheduled take off and to expect long lines as bags and tickets undergo increased scrutiny.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta has been consulting Bush and lawmakers about further, permanent steps the federal government can take to increase air travel security.

Proposals under consideration at the White House and on Capitol Hill include posting armed guards on flights, strengthening cockpit doors to seal off pilots from possible hijackers and creating a federal airport security force to replace local officials currently in charge of air hub checkpoints.

A ranking GOP official on Capitol Hill said the White House backed proposals for increased sky marshals, stronger cockpit doors and federal standards for airport security practices.

But Bush stopped short of disclosing what steps the administration would take, though he dampened speculation that the White House supported calls by some in the airline industry to arm pilots.

Bush did say part of his message in Chicago would be aimed at convincing "the American public it is safe to fly" in a later appearance at the White House with Muslim community leaders.

"I presume many of you came to Washington today by flying, and you're here safely," Bush said, turning to address the group during a session with reporters.

Earlier, Fleischer told reporters that on average up to 6,500 flights crisscrossed the United States everyday before the attacks. After being halted altogether, daily flights now number up to 5,500, said Fleischer, acknowledging that most flights were less than half full.

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Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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It's important for America to realize that there are men and women who are spending hours on the task at making sure our country remains free, Bush said in brief remarks at the agency's headquarters in Langley, Va. Men and women of the CIA who are sleeping on the floor,...
Bush,Pep,Talks,CIA,,FBI
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2001-00-26
Wednesday, 26 September 2001 12:00 AM
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