Bush: Bin Laden Wanted Dead or Alive

ByABC News

Sept. 17, 2001 -- President Bush Monday repeated his vow to track down Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in last week's terror attacks while Wall Street reopened to its biggest point drop ever.

"I want justice," Bush said. "And there's an old poster out West, I recall, that says, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive.'"

Nearly a week after the assault on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, New York City tried to return to work and the nation braced for the economic impact of the tragedy.

Wall Street was shaken by the tragedy, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing down 684 points, or 7 percent, to 8,921. It was the biggest point drop ever for the Dow and the first time it fell below 9,000. It was the biggest point drop ever for the Dow and the first time it fell below 9,000 since Dec. 3, 1998. The Nasdaq closed down 115.59 points, also about 7 percent.

Last Tuesday, two hijacked jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center's twin towers, leaving possibly thousands dead. A second hijacked aircraft crashed into the Pentagon while a fourth — which investigators speculate was headed for another Washington target — went down in southern Pennsylvania, killing all 45 aboard.

In other developments Monday:

Attorney General John Ashcroft urged more federal authority to combat terrorism, including a loosening of restrictions on wiretapping

A Pakistani delegation tried to persuade Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia to turn over bin Laden

Bush visited the Islamic Center in Washington to condemnthe "backlash" attacks against Arab-Americans

Major League baseball returned to action, with games across the country dedicated to the victims of the attacks

Citing loss of business because of the attacks, US Airways announced plans to lay off 11,000 workers — almost one-fourth of its workforce — and reduce its flight capacity by 23 percent

Demand for Justice and Patience

At the damaged Pentagon, where 188 people are feared dead, officials prepared orders for 35,000 reservists. Bush again vowed to track down bin Laden and put countries and individuals who make have harbored and fed the hijackers responsible for last week's attacks "on notice."

The president also warned Americans that the war on terrorism would be long and could be costly and might be short of the kinds of operations and obvious victories seen in traditional wars.

"The American people are going to have to bemore patient than ever with … our combined effortsnot just ourselves, but the efforts of our allies, to get them runningand to find them and to hunt them down," he said.

At the Justice Department, Attorney General John Ashcroft asked Congress to bolster the powers federal authorities have to fight terrorism, including a proposal to substantially loosen restrictions on wiretapping. He also announced that more armed federal agents will be put on commercial flights.

Ashcroft seeks "roving" wiretap authority, allowing one order to cover all phones a suspect may use. Plus, he wants the ability to get a nationwide wiretap order from a federal judge, rather than having to obtain a separate order for individual jurisdictions.

Pakistan Plea for Bin Laden

Meanwhile, a meeting Monday between a high-level Pakistani delegation and Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia failed to result in having bin Laden turned over.

The Taliban has provided bin Laden with a safe haven in recent years, claiming that he is a guest and was not responsible for last week's attacks or other incidents such as the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen last year.After a three-hour meeting, Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar said, the Taliban leadership decided to leave the choice up to the country's council of Islamic clerics.

The Pakistani delegation was expected to travel to the Afghani capital of Kabul for meetings with the clerics on today. Tens of thousands have reportedly fled from major Afghan cities in fear of U.S. retaliation for last week's attacks.

Bush has said that multilateral cooperation and international help would be need to make the United States' war on terrorism to be effective. Sources told ABCNEWS that French President Jacques Chirac and British Prime Tony Blair plan to meet with Bush either later this week or next week. In a poll commissioned by the Guardian newspaper in Britain, 49 percent said they support going to war alongside the United States. Sixty-six percent of thosepolled said they support military strikes, compared to 14 percentopposed and 20 percent undecided.

Hopes Dim in New York

At the spot where the World Trade Center stood, the one the city calls "ground zero," the 24-hour search-and-rescue operation continues. In addition to the more than 5,000 people who have been reported missing, the New York police report that 201 are confirmed dead, and 135 have been identified.

No one has been pulled out of the rubble alive since Wednesday.

"I've been told by experts thatpeople survive for longer periods than the six days that have goneby since the attack," Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said during a press conference. "The simple reality is that we're not going to be able to recover significant numbers of people, but we will continue to try."

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