updated 4/13/2004 3:36:34 PM ET 2004-04-13T19:36:34

Introduction

Good afternoon. My name is Cofer Black. From 1999 until 2002 I was the Director of the DCI's Counterterrorist Center. We call my old unit "CTC". It is in that capacity that I am here to testify today, I promise to be brief in my opening remarks so we can get to your questions.

I am here today to tell you and the American public what we did, what we tried to do, and where we fell short in order to help this Commission and the Nation understand what happened and encourage the kind of discussion that will help us avoid a similar tragedy in the future.

And believe me our enemies are still out there plotting to attack us and our allies in the war on terrorism. These attacks could take the form of spectaculars like 9/11 or could be smaller, but still deadly operations that are easier to mount, like what happened in Madrid.

I am not here to testify as part of a political process or to create another politico firestorm over some new perceived allegation of negligence, inattention, or error by someone else.

Too often in this election year, the effort you are engaged in has revolved around what people in this country perceive as partisan issues. I do not want to engage in an exercise that reflects that kind of unproductive exchange.

Frankly, what mattered to me and the men and women I led within the Counterterrorist Center did not depend on the flavor of the Administration, but rather was driven by what we thought needed to get done in our attempt to protect American citizens, property, and interests.

Overall Strategy
In order to understand the threats that emerged during 2001 and our response to those threats I want to briefly provide some context. A lot of this activity is highly classified so I will provide an overview.

I want to begin by describing our overall strategy. We have been systematically attempting to counter the terrorist threat since William Casey established CTC in 1986. Over the following 15 years we saw the nature of that threat evolve. Our approach to dealing with the threat also had to evolve.

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