Panetta Vows Justice for U.S. Enemies

Article excerpt

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta pledged at the Flight 93 Memorial Monday afternoon to remain vigilant against terrorists.

As he visited the memorial in Somerset County, Panetta said it was an honor for him to pay tribute to the heroes who lost their lives fighting the terrorist attacks 11 years ago on Sept. 11.

"These people put their lives on the line to protect this country. We should never forget their sacrifice," Panetta said after visiting privately with Flight 93 family members at the Wall of Names near Shanksville.

"Our pledge to the families and to all Americans is that we will remain forever vigilant to threats to our homeland. Nobody strikes the United States and gets away with it."

Noting the slaying of Osama bin Laden and two other al-Qaida leaders since the 2001 attacks, Panetta said that while the leadership of al-Qaida has been dismantled, the threat of terrorism remains real in Yemen, Somalia and North Africa.

But Panetta warned terrorists that the Obama administration "will pursue and fight you wherever you go."

"There will be no place they will be able to hide from justice," he said.

It was Panetta's first visit to the permanent memorial that honors the 40 passengers and crew of United Flight 93 who lost their lives while disrupting terrorists' planned attack on the nation's capital. The jetliner crashed into the field when passengers and crew fought back.

Panetta recalled he was in the Capitol building, which may have been the target of hijackers who took over Flight 93. …