13 Jan 2009

Terror attack against US still a threat - Bush

6:02 am on 13 January 2009

Outgoing US President George Bush has warned his successor that a terrorist attack is still the "most urgent threat" to the United States.

At his last press conference before handing over to Barack Obama on 20 January, he said there were enemies who want to inflict damage on the American homeland.

Mr Bush was only eight months into his presidency when attacks were made against the US on 11 September, 2001.

Mr Bush wished Mr Obama good luck, saying he would be well supported.

Other threats listed by the president included North Korea, which he believed might have an enriched uranium programme. Mr Bush also said Iran was "still dangerous".

In a wide-ranging question and answer session with the media, Mr Bush was asked about his mistakes, the economy, the Middle East and his future.

Questioned about America's "moral standing" in the world, he strongly disagreed with suggestions that it had been damaged by the war in Iraq.

But he acknowledged that it had been a mistake to make a speech about US troops in Iraq underneath a banner proclaiming "mission accomplished" in 2003.

US troop numbers were subsequently increased and 140,000 remain in Iraq.

Other "disappointments" cited by Mr Bush were the prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib, and "not having weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq - the main reason given by the US for launching a war on Saddam Hussein.

Domestically, he said the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 in New Orleans had been fast enough, but conceded that "things could have been done better".