The Bush administration released an assessment of its terrorism-combatting efforts to date. It takes credit for thwarting several attacks, but acknowledges many challenges, including an Al Qaeda network far more decentralized and media-savvy than pre-Sept. 11—and thus much more elusive and dangerous.
The Bush administration proclaimed significant progress in the war on terror Tuesday but said the enemy has adjusted to U.S. defenses and that “America is safer but we are not yet safe.”
Releasing an updated counterterrorism strategy in advance of a speech that President Bush was to deliver later in the day, the White House said: “The United States and our partners continue to pursue a significantly degraded but still dangerous al-Qaida network.”
“Yet the enemy we face today in the war on terror is not the same enemy we faced on Sept. 11,” said the 23-page terrorism strategy update. “Our effective counterterrorist efforts in part have forced the terrorists to evolve and modify their ways of doing business.”
The White House also rejected Democrats’ calls for replacing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. “It’s not going to happen,” presidential spokesman Tony Snow said. “Creating Don Rumsfeld as a bogeyman may make for good politics but would make for very lousy strategy at this time.”