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Rumsfeld Blasts Unnamed Person Over Classified Special Ops Leak

Aired October 23, 2001 - 06:19   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's check in now at the Pentagon and get the latest word from there -- strong words coming from the defense secretary yesterday. Bob Franken checks in for the first time this morning -- good to see you, Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Leon -- and some strong action overnight.

The bombing runs continued in the Kandahar area. Of course, Kandahar is really the spiritual center of the Taliban government. And once again, these were attacks on fuel supplies -- pretty spectacular, as a matter of fact -- the bombs from U.S. jets screaming overhead.

It's had quite an affect, as a matter of fact. The price of anything petroleum is about 30 percent higher now in Afghanistan, which is just another pressure that the United States hopes to put on the Taliban government, squeezing every way that they can.

And, of course, there's still quite a bit of discussion about these special forces -- commando raids over the weekend that U.S. ground troops pulled off very quickly -- lightning strikes on Friday night and Saturday morning, and complaints by the U.S. defense secretary that while they were going on, there were leaks coming out of the Pentagon -- defense officials talking to reporters. This caused some scathing comments from Rumsfeld at his Pentagon briefing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I think that the release by a person in the government, who had access to classified information, to the effect that the United States of America was planning and was about to engage in a special operation in Afghanistan clearly was, A, a violation of federal criminal law, and second, it was something that was totally in disregard for the lives of the people involved in that operation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FRANKEN: But Rumsfeld acknowledged that there were no U.S. casualties. In fact, contrary to Taliban claims, no capture of U.S. personnel and no shoot down of the two helicopters that the Taliban claims to have shot down -- that the United States vehemently denies -- Leon.

HARRIS: All right. Thank you very much -- Bob Franken at the Pentagon. We'll talk with you later on.

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