|SLUG: 2-268209 U-S Ship Warning (L only)||DATE:||NOTE NUMBER:|
TITLE=U-S SHIP WARNING (L ONLY)
INTRO: The U-S Defense Department will look into possible intelligence lapses that may have contributed to last week's deadly attack on the U-S navy destroyer Cole in the Yemeni harbor of Aden. But as V-O-A Pentagon Correspondent Alex Belida reports, officials already suggest that little could have been done to protect the ship's crew against suspected terrorist bombers.
TEXT: Pentagon officials say warnings of possible terrorist activities aimed at American interests in the Middle East are routinely passed on to U-S military commanders, including the captains of ships like the U-S-S Cole.
The officials tell V-O-A such warnings are the reason the alert level aboard the Cole was raised for its planned refueling stop in Aden harbor last week and resulted in the posting of armed guards on the destroyer's deck.
However these officials say they do not believe a reported warning in mid-September of a possible extremist attack against a U-S warship would have been considered specific enough to warrant cancellation of the Cole's port visit. That warning did not say where or when the attack would occur.
The Pentagon has said a special panel appointed by Defense Secretary William Cohen to study lessons stemming from the Cole incident will examine intelligence questions related to such warnings.
Spokesman Ken Bacon has said this will include whether intelligence about threats reached the right people at the right time, whether the information was as accurate as possible, and whether there was a proper distinction between general threats and specific threats.
Pentagon officials say other planned refueling stops in Aden by U-S warships have been canceled in the past because of more specific warnings. (Signed)