Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke Talks

Notes Cole Blast Probably Required Extensive Prep

The terrorist bomb that took the lives of 17 aboard the USS Cole was similar to bombs that killed 224 in terrorist attacks against American embassies in East Africa, Richard Clarke, the man who coordinates America's global anti-terrorism efforts, said in a rare interview with CBS News' 60 Minutes.

"There are some similarities we see with (the bombs used in) East Africa," Clarke says of the boat bomb that crippled the Cole while in the port of Aden,Yemen. "They were very large and did extensive damage," he told Correspondent Lesley Stahl. Clarke added that the one used against the Cole was "shaped so that the blast went into the ship."

The other similarity, Clarke says, was in the planning. "This is something that began long before the recent violence in the Middle East," says Clarke. "There are indications of safe houses and planning and moving the personnel in...a sophisticated attack," Clarke said.

Evidence collected from the bomb scene is now being analyzed at the FBI's command center in Washington, the heart of the effort to find out who and what attacked the American warship. Stahl and her 60 Minutes crew were the only reporters allowed in the Yemen crisis center.

Clarke also said he's examining reports that many people in the port of Aden, where the Cole was refueling during the attack, stood on shore watching the ship, as if waiting for the explosion, but played down the significance. "They stand around every month when the ship comes in," Clarke said. "There are lots of these urban legends."

In addition, Clarke also took Stahl and 60 Minutes cameras to one of the eight secret pharmaceutical stockpiles the U.S. maintains containing 450 tons of antibiotics, antidotes and medical equipment to be used in case of chemical or biological attack.

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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