Arizona's Congress members react to attack<br>'Incomprehensible and reprehensible,' says senator

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Tuesday morning's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., are "incomprehensible and reprehensible."

He voiced an opinion apparently shared by the rest of the Arizona congressional delegation, saying, "The organization and magnitude of these attacks required more than a few people to perpetrate. It will take some time to determine who they are and who has supported their attacks on the United States."

The attacks were "acts of war" that will be treated as such, he added.

U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said late Tuesday morning that all representatives and senators were secure and were in contact with each other.

Most members of Congress reportedly were at work when the first reports of an attack on the Pentagon came. Soon afterward, the White House, the Capitol, the State Department and other federal buildings were evacuated.

U.S. Rep. Bob Stump, R-Ariz., chairman of the House's Armed Services Committee, opted to stay in his office as the buildings were emptied. He said he and a couple of committee members thought they might be of some service as the military went on alert.

Ironically, the Congressman said the committee had been scheduled to take a defense bill to the House floor Tuesday.

Stump said he also wanted to avoid the "utter chaos in the streets," adding that the office building was locked down and secure. He said the emergency plan for Congress calls for security personnel to move members to "areas of absolute security" until the situation can be determined.

The Congressman was in his office when the first reports from New York came in, and he and staff watched the events unfold on CNN. "Of course, you try to comprehend how someone can do this," he said. "They had to be very organized... You can't guard against this kind of attack."

Stump said he would have to go back to World War II to recall anything close to the devastation that the attacks Tuesday morning brought to New York and the nation's capitol. He added that he planned to stay in his office until late Tuesday night.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., was in a House Judiciary Committee meeting at the time of the attacks and was among those quickly herded out.

Late Tuesday morning, Congress members were still waiting to here from Congressional leadership about how they will proceed this week. No decision reportedly had been made regarding a joint session that had been scheduled Wednesday with Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

Meanwhile, Congress also was waiting for intelligence on the attacks.

U.S. Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., hoped to have Congress called back into session quickly to begin to react to the circumstances. "This is a great nation; this is a strong nation; this is a nation that responds when attacked," he said.

Arizona gubernatorial candidate and former Congressman Matt Salmon, a Republican, issued a formal statement Tuesday, saying, "Out of respect for those Americans who lost their lives in the heinous attacks today on our nation, I am postponing my campaign activities until further notice."

"We must respond to these acts of war forcefully and courageously," he said, adding, "I have confidence that President Bush will do so."

"My heartfelt prayers are with the families of the victims of these attacks," said Salmon.


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