2. SOUNDBITE (English) Torie Clarke, Assistant Secretary of Defence, Public Affairs
"It is a tragic day for America. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their families and the casualties. We are taking every appropriate step and precaution to prevent further attacks. We are making every effort to take care of the injured still in the building and we are taking appropriate measure to determine who is responsible. The Secretary of Defence is in the building, he has been there the entire time. He has been directing our efforts and working closely with the President, the Vice-President, the national security advisor and the joint staff."
"He was in his office when he felt the concussion, went down the hallway to see what was going on, went outside the building. He actually came over to the west side and was actually there and helped get people onto stretchers and into ambulances."
Pentagon officials said on Tuesday the U-S Secretary of Defence, William Cohen remained in the building which houses the U-S defence headquarters, following the terrorist attack in which a hijacked plane was crashed into the roof.
The explosion from the impact sparked a huge fire, following two earlier plane crashes into the New York World Trade Centre leading to both towers' dramatic collapse.
Secondary explosions were reported in the aftermath of the attack on the Pentagon and great billows of smoke drifted skyward toward the Potomac River and the city beyond.
Assistant Secretary of Defence, Public Affairs said Cohen helped the injured outside before returning inside where he is directing operations.
President George W. Bush, outside Washington at the time of the attack, said the military had been placed on "high-alert status."
The Capitol and White House were immediately evacuated after bomb threats.