Report: Rumsfeld seeks covert missions

Aug. 2, 2002 at 12:01 AM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld wants more covert missions in the war on terrorism because he is unhappy with the pace at which al Qaida members are killed or detained, the Washington Times reports Friday.

A classified plan completed by Gen. Charles R. Holland, who leads U.S. Special Operations Command, calls for new types of clandestine operations that can be initiated against terrorist targets at a moment's notice. The plan, dubbed "the first 30 percent" because it reflects about a third of the total, is unrestricted by outside restrictions of traditional law enforcement.

Holland, whose draft is circulating inside the Pentagon, was scheduled to brief Rumsfeld as early as Friday, the Times said.

Bush administration officials told the Times Rumsfeld was unhappy with the rate at which Taliban and al Qaida fighters were being captured or killed in Gen. Tommy Franks' theater, Central Command.

One source said Holland would have a bigger say in the type of special-operations mission that is run in Afghanistan.

In recent weeks, Rumsfeld asked Holland and others to come up with a new plan that chiefly uses covert operatives to attack terrorist cells worldwide.

Officials familiar with the "30 percent plan" told the Times Rumsfeld was seeking ideas on how to expand the use of elite Army Delta Force commandos and Navy SEALs. He wants terrorists to be killed or captured outside civilian law enforcement.

"Rumsfeld wants to stay as far away from law enforcement as possible," one source said.

President Bush, who the Times said shares Rumsfeld's view that al Qaida should be eliminated faster, must approve any final plan.

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