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To combat the terrorists' ambitions, the Administration has tried to sort out the well-aired problems of coordination and analysis that dogged the counterterrorism operation last year. The effort has had mixed success. The Administration's belated proposal for a Department of Homeland Security remains bottled up in Congress. The FBI is just at the beginning of a mammoth reorganization to refocus its mission on counterterrorism. In June, a mere 10 months after Bush and his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, chose retired General Wayne Downing to head counterterrorism operations at the National Security Council, Downing abruptly resigned, frustrated by his lack of power. His successor, retired Air Force General John Gordon--a former deputy director of the CIA--gets higher marks from insiders, though some complain that the Counter-Terrorism Security Group, of which he is chairman, is "too bulky." Meetings of Gordon's committee sometimes have representatives from 15 agencies, among them minor players. If there are 20 to 30 people in a room, some without the highest security clearance, the FBI and the CIA will not share sensitive intelligence, says a White House aide.
Still, in other respects, Bush's war on terror has made some progress lately--partly because there are just more terrorist hunters than there used to be. In addition to the 8,000 members of the armed forces in Afghanistan, there are now nearly 800 U.S. forces based in the East African nation of Djibouti, across the Red Sea from Yemen, and a Marine Corps amphibious assault ship, the Belleau Wood, has been in the area since August. Sources tell TIME the U.S. is looking to use the port of Assab in Eritrea as a naval base to keep an eye on traffic between Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. At home, the CIA's Counter-Terrorism Center (CTC) now has a staff of 1,100 analysts and covert operatives, almost triple the number it had a year ago. Technologists are working on new gadgets to track terrorists, as well as hardware to process the 75,000 cables that come into the CTC from field offices each month. A top-secret website called CT-Link, first established in 1994, has had its reach expanded so that those with the right clearances in 75 government locations in the U.S. and overseas can access the latest intelligence on the fight against terrorism.