President George W. Bush called the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington ``the first war of the 21st century'' and his administration labeled fugitive Osama bin Laden a prime suspect.
The United States promised Thursday to wage all-out retaliation against those responsible and any regime that protects them. Action could take weeks or months rather than days, a senior administration official indicated.
As part of the effort, the United States urged Pakistan to close its border with neighboring Afghanistan, where bin Laden operates, and to cut off funding for terrorist groups.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the United States also asked Pakistan for peas evacuated in the middle of a Senate vote Thursday evening because of a bomb threat. Members were allowed to return when bomb-sniffing dogs did not find explosives.
Tears welling in his eyes, Bush spoke earlier of a need to win the battle against terrorism.
``I'm a loving guy. And I am also someone, however, who's got a job to do and I intend to do it. And this is a terrible moment,'' Bush said, talking to reporters in the Oval Office.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said the administration's retaliation would be ``sustained and broad and effective'' and that the United States ``will use all our resources.''
``It's not just simply a matter of capturing people and holding them accountable, but removing the sad thousands of leads'' in the investigation of the attacks
Ashcroft said a total of 18 hijackers were on the four planes _ five on two and four on the other was an important U.S. ally during the Cold War, although relations more recently have been strained.
Bush announced he would visit New York to get a firsthand look at the devastation in lower Manhattan, where Washington Hospital Center with the first lady to visit victims of the plane crash at the Pentagon.
About 190 people perished in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon, including 64 aboard the plane.