Following is the full transcript of Secretrary of State Colin Powell’s prepared remarks to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice Chairman, Members of the Commission, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you regarding the events leading up to and following the murderous terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
It is my hope, as I know it is yours, that through the hard work of this Commission, and other bodies like it, our country can improve the way we wage the war on terror and, in particular, better protect our homeland and the American people.
I am pleased to have with me today Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage. Secretary Armitage was sworn in on March 26, two months into the Administration and he has been intimately involved in the interagency deliberations on our counterterrorism policies. He also participated in National Security Council meetings whenever I was on travel.
Mr. Chairman, I leave Washington this evening to represent President Bush and the American people at the memorial service in Madrid, Spain honoring the over 200 victims of the terrorists attacks of March 11, 2004. With deep sympathy and solidarity, our heart goes out to their loved ones and to the people of Spain.
And just last Thursday, in the garden of our embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, I presided at a memorial service in honor of two State Department family members, Barbara Green and her daughter Kristen Wormsley, who were killed two years ago by terrorists while they worshipped in church on a bright, beautiful spring morning.
I know that the families and friends of the victims of 9/11, some of whom are listening today, grieve just as the Spanish are grieving and just as we at the Department of State did and still do for Barbara and Kristen.
Mr. Chairman, I am no newcomer to the horrors of terrorism. In 1983, I was working for Secretary of Defense Weinberger when 243 Marines and Navy Corpsmen were killed in Beirut, Lebanon.
Later, in 1985, four heavily armed Palestinian terrorists hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro carrying more than 400 passengers and crew. They shot 69-year-old Leon Klinghoffer in his wheelchair, and threw him overboard, wheelchair and all.
I was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1993 when the first bombing of the World Trade Center took place.
In 1996, I was out of government when the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia was bombed. Khobar and all the other terrorist attacks over the years were very much part of my consciousness as I prepared to serve as President Bush’s principal foreign policy advisor and as Chief Executive Officer of the Department of State.
I was well aware of the fact that I was being sworn in just three months after USS COLE was struck in the harbor at Aden, Yemen, taking the lives of 17 sailors and wounding 30 others.
I was well aware — very well aware — that our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania had been blown up in 1998, injuring some 4,000 people and killing 220, 12 of them Americans — the highest number of casualties in the State Department’s history.
As the new Chief Executive Officer of the Department of State, I was acutely aware that I would be responsible to President Bush for the safety of the men and women serving at our posts overseas, as well as for the safety and welfare of private American citizens traveling and living abroad.
The 1999 Crowe Commission Report on embassy security became our blueprint for upgrading the security of all our facilities. Admiral Crowe had done an extensive review and made some scathing criticisms of how lax our country was in protecting our personnel serving abroad from terrorist attacks. One of my first actions was to ask retired Major General Charles Williams of the Army Corps of Engineers to come into the Department and head our building operation. We wanted him to move aggressively to protect our people and our installations, including those that belonged to the United States Agency for International Development. And he did.
At the beginning of the Bush Administration, we were building one new, secure Embassy a year. Today we are building 10 new embassy compounds a year with a hard eye toward security. Many of the compounds have separate facilities for USAID. Additionally, with implementation of standard embassy designs, we have been able to reduce overall embassies program costs by 20% and are now delivering secure new embassy compounds in 24 months as opposed to 3½ to 4 years.
As the principal foreign policy advisor to the President, I was well aware, as was the President and all the members of the new team, that Communism and Fascism, our old foes of the past century had been replaced by a new kind of enemy — terrorism. We were all well aware that no nation is immune to terrorism. We were well aware that this adversary is not necessarily a state and that often it has no clear return address. We knew that this monster is hydra-headed, and many-tentacle. We knew that its evil leaders and followers espouse many false causes, but have one common purpose — to murder innocent people.
Mr. Chairman, President Bush and all of us on his team knew that terrorism would be a major concern for us, as it had been for the past several administrations.
During the transition, we were glad to receive the briefings and information that Secretary Albright and her staff provided us on President Clinton’s counterterrorism policy and on the actions that were underway or proposed to combat terrorism.
Indeed, on December 20, four days after President-Elect Bush named me as Secretary of State-Designate, I asked for and got a briefing on worldwide terrorism from President Clinton’s Counterterrorism Security Group, headed by Dick Clarke. In addition to Mr. Clarke, at the briefing were the CIA’s Cofer Black, and the FBI’s Dale Watson. Also present were representatives from the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and from the State Department’s own Bureau of Intelligence and Research as was our Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism.
A major component of the briefing was al Qaida’s growing threat to U.S. interests and Afghanistan’s role as a safe haven. As a matter of fact, that part of the briefing got my attention. So much so, that later I asked Mr. Armitage to get directly involved as soon as he was sworn in. And he did.
In addition, in my transition book was a paper from Mike Sheehan, Secretary Albright’s Counterterrorism Coordinator. That transition paper, under the rubric “Ongoing Threat Environment” stated that “In close coordination with the intelligence community, we must ensure that all precautions are taken to strengthen our security posture, warn U.S. citizens abroad, and maintain a high level of readiness to respond to additional incidents.” The paper informed me that “The joint U.S. Yemeni investigation of the USS Cole bombing continues to develop new information and leads” but that “It is still too early to definitely link the attack to a sponsor, i.e. Usama bin Laden.” And under “Taliban,” the paper records that “We must continue to rally international support for a new round of UN sanctions, including an arms embargo, against the Taliban.” The paper further stated: “We should maintain the momentum of getting others, such as the G-8, Russia, India, Caucusus states, Central Asia, to isolate and pressure the Taliban…” It continued: “If the Cole investigation leads back to Afghanistan, we should use it to mobilize the international support for further pressures on the Taliban.”
Let me emphasize that the paper covered a range of terrorism-related concerns, not just al Qaida and the Taliban.
So the outgoing Administration provided me and others in the incoming Administration with transition papers as well as briefings that reinforced our awareness of the worldwide threat from terrorism.
All of us on the Bush national security team, beginning with President Bush, knew we needed continuity in counterterrorism policy. We did not want terrorists to see the early months of a new administration as a time of opportunity. For continuity, President Bush kept Director Tenet on at the CIA. Director Tenet’s Counter-Terrorism Center Director, Cofer Black, was kept on until he joined the State Department last year to become my Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism. Dick Clarke was retained at the National Security Council. I retained Ambassador Edmund Hull as Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism until I was able to bring in my team, under the leadership of former Brigadier General Frank Taylor of the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations, Cofer Black’s immediate predecessor. I also retained David Carpenter as Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security and kept Tom Fingar on as Acting Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research. Christopher Kojm, now a staff member of your Commission, was a political appointee from the prior administration and served from 1998 to February 2003 as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence Policy and Coordination. And, of course, FBI Director Louis Freeh provided continuity on the domestic side.
Early on, we made clear to the Congress and the American public that we understood the scope and compelling nature of the threat from terrorism. For example, on February 7, 2001, my Acting Assistant Secretary for Intelligence, Tom Fingar, who had served in the same position in the prior Administration, testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence regarding “Threats to the United States.” In the first part of his testimony, he highlighted the threat from unconventional sources, saying: “The magnitude of each individual threat is small, but, in aggregate, unconventional threats probably pose a more immediate danger to Americans than do foreign armies, nuclear weapons, long-range missiles, or the proliferation of WMD and delivery systems.”
Fingar then went on to single out Usama bin Laden, stating that: “Plausible, if not always credible, threats linked to his organization target Americans and America’s friends or interests on almost every continent.” The Department of State was well aware of the terrorist threat.
The new Bush Administration formed, as had the Clinton Administration, counter-terrorism and regional interagency committees to study the counterrorism issues in a comprehensive way. The committees reported to a deputies committee, chaired by Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, on which Secretary Armitage was my representative. The Deputies, in turn, reported to the cabinet level Principals Committee, which answered to the National Security Council, chaired by the President. These committees, however, were not by any means the sum and substance of our interagency discussions on counterterrorism.
In order to keep in constant touch on counterterrorism issues, as well as all the other items on our agenda, Secretary Rumsfeld, Dr. Rice and I held a daily coordination phone call at 7:15 AM every morning, in addition to our regular and frequent meetings. At the State Department, we held 8:30 AM Senior Staff meetings every day, in which my principals and I frequently discussed terrorism and terrorism-related matters. We formalized regular luncheons with the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense and me, and the National Security Advisor in which terrorism was a subject of conversation.
Above all, from the start, the President, by word and deed, made clear his intense desire to protect the nation from terrorism. He frequently asked and prodded us to do more. He decided early on that we needed to be more aggressive in going after terrorists and especially al Qaida. As he said in early spring, “I’m tired of swatting flies.” He wanted a thorough, comprehensive diplomatic, military, intelligence, law enforcement and financial strategy to go after al Qaida.
It was a demanding order, but a necessary one. There were many other compelling issues requiring our new administration’s attention — a Middle East peace policy that had just collapsed, the sanctions on Iraq had been unraveling steadily since 1998, relations with Russia and China were complicated by the need to expel Russian spies in February, and we had the plane collision with a Chinese fighter in April. There were many foreign leaders who wanted to engage with the new team also.
Yes, we had to deal with all of these pressing matters and more, but we also were confident that we had an experienced counterterrorism team in place. President Bush and his entire national security team understood that terrorism had to be among our highest priorities. And it was.
Now, what did we do to act on that priority?
Our counterterrorism planning developed very rapidly considering the challenges of transition and of a new administration.
We were not given a counterterrorism action plan by the previous administration. As I mentioned, we were given good briefings on what they had been doing with respect to al Qaida and with respect to the Taliban. The briefers as well as the principals conveyed to us the gravity of the threat posed by al Qaida. But we noted early on that the actions the previous administration had tried had not succeeded in eliminating the threat.
As a result, Dr. Rice directed a thorough policy review aimed at developing a comprehensive strategy to eliminate the al Qaida threat. This was in her first week in her new position as National Security Advisor. This decision did not await any Deputies or Principals review. It was simply made.
We wanted the new policy to go well beyond tit-for-tat retaliation. We felt that lethal strikes that largely missed the terrorists, such as the cruise missile strikes in 1998, led al Qaida to believe that we lacked resolve. These strikes had obviously not deterred al Qaida from subsequently attacking USS COLE.
We wanted to move beyond the rollback policy of containment, criminal prosecution, and limited retaliation for specific terrorist attacks. We wanted to destroy al Qaida.
We understood that Pakistan was critical to the success of our long-term strategy. To get at al Qaida, we had to end Pakistan’s support for the Taliban. So we had to recast our relations with that country. But nuclear sanctions, caused by Pakistan’s nuclear weapons tests, had soured our relations considerably. We confronted a difficult task. Going to the Congress, for instance, to argue for a relaxation of sanctions we knew was going to be very tough. We knew also that achieving sustainable new relations with Pakistan meant moving more aggressively to strengthen and shape our relationship with India. So we began this rather more complex diplomatic approach very quickly upon assuming office, even as we were putting the strategy on paper and deciding its more complicated elements.
For example, in February 2001 Presidents Musharraf and Bush exchanged letters. Let me quote a few lines from President Bush’s letter to the Pakistan President on February 16:
“Pakistan is an important member of the community of nations and one with which I hope to build better relations, particularly as you move ahead to return to civilian, constitutional government. We have concerns of which you are aware, but I am hopeful we can work together on our differences in the years ahead. ...
“We should work together to address Afghanistan’s many problems. The most pressing of these is terrorism, and it inhibits progress on all other issues. The continued presence of Usama bin Laden and his al-Qaida organization is a direct threat to the United States and its interests that must be addressed. I believe al-Qaida also threatens Pakistan’s long-term interests. We joined the United Nations in passing additional sanctions against the Taliban to bring bin Laden to justice and to close the network of terrorist camps in their territory. I urge you to use your influence with the Taliban to bring this about. ... ”
President Bush was very concerned about al Qaida and about the safe haven given them by the Taliban. But he knew that implementing the diplomatic road map we envisioned would be difficult.
The Deputies went to work reviewing all of these complex regional issues. Early on we realized that a serious effort to remove al Qaida’s safe haven in Afghanistan might well require introducing ground forces. Doing this without the cooperation of Pakistan was out of the question. Pakistan had vital interests in Afghanistan and was deeply suspicious of Indian intentions there. Their mutual fears and suspicions threatened to boil over into nuclear conflict. The situation was delicate and dangerous and any effort to effect change had to be calibrated very carefully to avoid misperception and miscalculation.
Under the leadership of Steve Hadley, the Deputies met a number of times during the spring and summer to craft this strategy for eliminating the al Qaida threat and dealing with the complex implications for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
So we began to develop this more aggressive and more comprehensive strategy. And while we did so, we continued activities that had been going on in the previous administration aimed at al Qaida and other terrorist groups, including intelligence activities. For example, during the summer of 2001, the CIA succeeded in a number of disruption activities against terrorist groups. These are activities where our agents create turmoil among those groups they know to be associated with terrorists so that the terrorists cannot assemble, communicate effectively, plan, receive support or money, and are generally unable to act in a coordinated fashion. You will hear from DCI Tenet tomorrow, but I want to emphasize that at no time were we presented with a vetted, viable operational proposal, which would have killed Usama bin Laden.
Let me return to our diplomatic activities. From early 2001 onward, we pressed the Taliban directly and sought the assistance of Pakistan and other neighboring states to put additional pressure on the Taliban to expel bin Laden and to shut down al Qaida.
On February 8, 2001, less than three weeks after this Administration came into office, we closed the Taliban office in New York, implementing the UN resolution passed the previous month.
In March, we repeated the warning to the Taliban that they would be held responsible for any al Qaida attack against US interests.
In April 2001, senior Department officials traveled to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan to lay out our key concerns, including about terrorism and Afghanistan. We asked these Central Asian nations to coordinate their efforts with the various Afghan players who were opposed to the Taliban. We also used what we called the “Bonn Group” of concerned countries to bring together Germany, Russia, Iran, Pakistan and the United States to build a common approach to Afghanistan. At the same time, we encouraged and supported the “Rome Group” of expatriate Afghans to explore alternatives to the Taliban.
In May, Deputy Secretary Armitage met with Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Trubnikov to renew the work of the U.S.-Russia Working Group on Afghanistan. These discussions had previously been conducted at a lower level. We focused specifically on what we could do together about Afghanistan and the Taliban. This, incidentally, laid the groundwork for obtaining Russian cooperation on liberating Afghanistan immediately after 9/11.
In mid-June 2001, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Sattar traveled to Washington and heard in no uncertain terms from me, Dr. Rice and others, that Pakistan needed to work with us to convince the Taliban to take action on bin Laden and al Qaida. Later that month, we delivered a strong message in Islamabad to the Taliban envoy there that the Taliban would be held responsible for any bin Laden-led attack anywhere in the world. We also met with our Indian counterparts here in Washington to discuss how India could play a greater role in our global fight against terror.
In early July, our Ambassador in Islamabad met with Taliban Deputy Foreign Minister Jalil to highlight yet again the severe consequences to the Taliban and Afghanistan if bin Laden attacked American interests. Two weeks later, our Assistant Secretary for South Asia, Christina Rocca, held a lengthy discussion with President Musharraf in Islamabad to emphasize that we wanted to re-engage with Pakistan but that the Taliban was the single biggest issue standing between us. During the same trip, she also urged the Taliban envoy to Islamabad to expel bin Laden from Afghanistan.
On August 16, 2001 we met in Washington with Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Inam ul Haq. Our primary objective was to convey our sense of urgency regarding cooperation on Afghanistan and against the Taliban and al Qaida. We also held a working group that week which included Pakistani ISI intelligence officials and hammered home the same points.
On September 5, we met in Washington with the Director General of Pakistan’s ISI. We sent another tough message on Pakistan’s cooperation with us on the Taliban and al Qaida. We told him that Pakistan needed to take immediate, concrete, visible steps alongside the United States to choke off terrorist threats emanating from Afghanistan.
On September 8 and 9, we continued to use every diplomatic channel to change the status quo in Afghanistan, including participating in a group under U.N. chairmanship in Geneva where we and Iran could discuss Afghanistan directly. On September 9, State Department officials were meeting with the Iranians when word came of the assassination of Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Masood.
During the period I just described, we also put into play, in addition to diplomacy and intelligence activities, some of the ideas Dick Clarke’s team had presented that had not been tried by the previous administration. These activities fit the long-term time frame of our strategy and were presented to us that way by Clarke and his team — that is, as 3-5 year actions and not immediate actions. If these ideas made sense, we explored them and, if they looked workable, we adopted them. For example, we provided new counterterrorism aid to Uzbekistan because we knew al Qaida was sponsoring a terrorist effort in that country led by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). We also accelerated the initiative to arm the Predator. In fact, we drove that effort forward so fast we probably broke some records in weapons development. But I will let Secretary Rumsfeld tell you all about Predator later this afternoon. Let me just say, though, that even with that remarkable acceleration, we calculated that armed Predator was not going to be ready as a weapon to use against al Qaida leaders before the fall of 2001. The Predator was ready in the fall. And we used it, repeatedly and effectively.
Other ideas were under consideration but made no practical sense in isolation. As a result, we deferred them until our broader strategy was more firm and we could see a place for them within it, or discard them. One such idea was to provide limited military aid to the Northern Alliance. It did not make sense to pursue the idea in late April outside of a broader strategy. That broader strategy would have to coordinate, or at least deconflict, such a move with efforts toward Iran and Russia at a minimum. So we deferred the matter until the broader strategy was further developed. All of Mr. Clarke’s ideas were examined as our comprehensive strategy developed.
Let me now describe the basic elements upon which our broader strategy rested:
First and foremost, our goal was to eliminate al Qaida. It was no longer to roll it back or reduce its effectiveness. Our goal was to destroy it.
The strategy would call for ending all sanctuaries given to al Qaida. We would try to do this first through diplomacy. But if diplomacy failed, the strategy called for additional measures, including intelligence operations and, if it came to it, military operations.
Military action would be more than launching cruise missiles at already-warned targets. In fact, the strategy called for attacking al Qaida and the Taliban’s leadership, their command and control, their ground forces, and other targets.
The strategy would recognize the need for significant aid, not only to the Northern Alliance, but to other ethnic and tribal groups in Afghanistan. The purpose here was not simply to tie down al Qaida but to compel the Taliban to terminate al Qaida’s safe haven. If necessary, even to change the Taliban regime. We now know that even if we had succeeded in the minimalist task of tying down al Qaida fighters, those fighters would not have included the 9/11 terrorists. By June 16 of 19 were already in America.
Finally, our strategy would greatly expand intelligence authorities, capabilities, and funding.
Much of this detailed and deliberate work allowed us to launch the war on terror after 9/11 much more rapidly and effectively than we otherwise would have been able to do.
While all of this work was taking place to develop a comprehensive strategy, we vigilantly monitored the intelligence and we took action within the Department of State and the government as a whole to respond to the threat from terrorism and protect our citizens and facilities. These efforts had nothing to do with Principals Committees and everything to do with President Bush’s determination to safeguard American lives. The President was adamant on this. Indeed, one of the new President’s first instructions to his Chiefs of Mission, his ambassadors, in the field reads: “I expect you to take direct and full responsibility for the security of your Mission and all the personnel, for whom you are responsible, whether inside or outside the chancery gate.”
During the late winter, spring and summer of 2001, my Bureau of Intelligence and Research prepared for either me or my principal advisors 79 assessments on terrorism and they were disseminated widely in the Department. These INR assessments, and the all-source assessments provided by the Intelligence Community as a whole, made clear the breadth and seriousness of the terrorist threat, but the intelligence was not precise enough for preemptive action. The intelligence also indicated that the primary danger was to Americans and American facilities outside the United States, not to our homeland.
When in the spring and summer, the level of threat reporting began to increase, the State Department and other Departments and agencies responded vigorously.
We sent out Travel Warnings or Public Announcements, which were cleared as necessary within the Department and inter-agency community. These texts were transmitted to posts via message format and were posted on the website for our Bureau of Consular Affairs — “travel.state.gov.” This website got almost 118 million hits in 2001 and is now getting well over that number annually. Embassies and consulates abroad immediately posted the texts and disseminated them to American citizens abroad through their warden networks — so family members, tourists, business people all get this information. Our Public Affairs bureau distributed the texts to the media here in the U.S. for even more extensive dissemination.
We issued a Worldwide Caution to the public on January 5, 2001, during the transition. We issued country-specific cautions on April 9 with regard to Malaysia and on May 3 with regard to the Philippines.
On May 11 we issued another Worldwide Caution, and again on May 29. The Caution on May 11 warned as follows:
“The U.S. Government has learned that American citizens abroad may be the target of a terrorist threat from extremists groups with links to Usama bin Laden’s Al-Qaida organization. In the past, such individuals have not distinguished between official and civilian targets. As always, we take this information seriously. U.S. Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert.”
The May 29 Worldwide Caution warned as follows:
“... U.S. citizens are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness to reduce their vulnerability. Americans should maintain a low profile, vary routes and times for all required travel, and treat mail and packages from unfamiliar sources with suspicion. In addition, American citizens are urged to avoid contact with any suspicious, unfamiliar objects, and to report the presence of the objects to local authorities.”
On June 13 and June 14, more warnings went out with regard to the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in the Philippines.
On June 22, another Worldwide Caution was sent out.
On July 27, a specific warning went out with regard to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. And on August 3 and August 10, updates to these specific warnings were disseminated.
On September 7, we issued another Worldwide Caution. This Caution reiterated our May warning about al Qaida, as well as focusing attention on our military facilities and troops in Japan and Korea. The Caution noted again that “U.S. Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert.”
Moreover, State Department issued country specific Travel Warnings on January 12, February 21, February 27, May 14, May 31, June 9, June 27, July 20, August 7, and August 10. These warnings related to Yemen, Indonesia, Pakistan, Algeria, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, and Iraq. All of these warnings contain references to bombings, terrorism, or terrorists and the threat to Americans traveling overseas.
Every day at the State Department we have to balance decisions about openness and security. We take these decisions very seriously because they mean lost dollars and diplomacy when we batten down the hatches, and lost lives if we leave ourselves too open. During the spring and summer of 2001, we were clearly tipping the scales to the side of security. We did not want a repeat of what had happened to our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. We did not want more of our people killed in a terrorist attack.
In addition to these warnings and cautions, on June 23, our Diplomatic Security Bureau issued what we call an All Diplomatic Posts Warning. This warning directed all of our ambassadors and other chiefs of mission overseas to convene their Emergency Action Committees. These local committees would review weaknesses, discuss their particular situation and take action to heighten security. This included seeking additional protection from local police and other protective services. Our Middle Eastern and African posts held regular Emergency Action Committee meetings for two weeks and reported back to us on the very significant additional security measures they were taking.
We even reduced staffing at one of our embassies during the summer. On June 9, I approved the authorized departure of non-emergency personnel from our embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, due to heightened terrorist threat information.
But we did more than just issue warnings. We got ready.
Throughout this period, the State Department-led Foreign Emergency Support Teams (FEST) were prepared to deploy to two overseas locations simultaneously within four hours notice. As a matter of fact, one of these teams was on exercise in Budapest on September 11, 2001. We have deployed this asset forward before to be ready for terrorist attack — for example during the Millennium threat. We had smaller teams ready as well.
During the summer of 2001, we also organized six flyaway response teams for possible terrorist attacks abroad. These teams consisted of senior officers plus 25 diplomatic security officers and were ready to move on a moment’s notice.
I know too that the Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet, sent a special message to all of his CIA Station Chiefs, who reside in our embassies and consulates overseas, warning them of the increased possibility of terrorists attacks on Americans. This warning included instructions that the U.S. ambassadors and their security officers be briefed and that liaison security services be told about the situation and be asked for additional support.
I know also that Secretary Rumsfeld was directing his overseas commanders to tighten their security. DOD’s Central Command and European Command raised the status of security in nine countries on June 22. The ships of the U.S. Fifth Fleet left port in Bahrain and a U.S. Marine Corps exercise in Jordan was stopped and the troops withdrawn. After June 27, commanders in these overseas areas were given leeway to vary their security measures and to implement new procedures in a random fashion so as to keep terrorist guessing as to what measures would be in effect on what days.
As early as March 20, 2001, I sent a message to each of our Ambassadors and other Chiefs of Mission around the world alerting them that they may soon be hearing from the military commands regarding requests for enhanced security measures for U.S. military forces in their host countries. This message noted that the attack on USS COLE emphasized the importance of State-DOD cooperation to improve our defenses against terrorism abroad, and I instructed our ambassadors to be directly involved in this effort to gain host government cooperation on enhanced force protection measures. I will quote from the message: “We will need Chiefs of Mission, with the full support of the CINCs, to push as hard as possible to obtain the maximum security feasible in local circumstances.”
In addition to what State and DOD were doing, the FBI and the FAA were issuing their warnings in June and July as well, and on July 5, the NSC chaired a meeting with FAA, INS, Customs, FBI, and the Coast Guard to inform all of them that intelligence indicated upcoming terrorist attacks. The emphasis was on overseas attacks, but it was noted that attacks on the U.S. homeland could not be ruled out. But no additional intelligence came in to confirm attacks on the homeland. Subsequent intelligence focused on overseas targets.
While my Department as well as other Departments and agencies were increasing their security measures, warning Americans, and doing what they could to disrupt or preclude terrorist attacks, the Counterterrorism Security Group was hard at work.
To sum up then, we were doing two interrelated things: we were aggressively pursuing the existing policy and, while doing so, we were pressing ahead on developing a comprehensive policy. Our efforts culminated in a National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) on terrorism, which was sent forward for approval on September 4, 2001.
But well before the NSPD was completed, a decided shift from just “swatting flies” had already begun to occur. This NSPD did not speak of the rollback or the erosion of al Qaida as the previous policy had elaborated; rather, it spoke of the elimination of al Qaida.
From January 20, when the new administration came into office, through the months we developed the comprehensive strategy; until it was completed in early September, let no one think that we were idle. We were responding to the threat. We were warning people. We were pressing on the diplomatic front. The NSPD reflected all the diplomatic work, which we already had started with Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and surrounding or supporting countries, as well as friends and allies. We were taking action on the intelligence front. We were looking for bin Laden. We didn’t know where he was. And let me be clear, even if we had known his location and could have taken him out, his assassins already were in the United States preparing to strike.
Then came the tragedy of 9/11.
I had departed Washington on September 10 for a Special Assembly of the Organization of American States in Lima, Peru to adopt an Inter-American Charter on Democracy. The next morning, I was having breakfast with President Alejandro Toledo and his cabinet. We were discussing textiles when the first note was handed to me about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. A few minutes later, another note came about the second plane. This was no accident, it was terrorism.
I immediately ordered my plane readied for departure back to Washington. At the OAS Conference, the nations of the Hemisphere stood in solidarity with us, condemned the attacks and pledged to strengthen antiterrorism cooperation throughout the Americas. In a brief statement I thanked our hemispheric neighbors for their outpouring of condolences and said that:
“A terrible, terrible tragedy has befallen my nation, but it has befallen all of the nations of this region, all the nations of the world, and befallen all those who believe in democracy. Once again we see [the work of] … terrorists, people who don’t believe in democracy, people who believe that with the destruction of buildings, with the murder of people, they can somehow achieve a political purpose. They can destroy buildings, they can kill people … but they will never be allowed to kill the spirit of democracy.”
And in the hours and days that followed, in addition to our OAS neighbors, a host of other countries and international organizations denounced the attacks — NATO, the European Union, the Association of South East Asian Nations, the Organization of African Unity, and the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council. Our alliances in Europe, Asia and the Western Hemisphere invoked the collective defense provisions of the NATO, ANZUS and Rio Treaties.
Meanwhile, within the U.S. Government, we accelerated the elements of our comprehensive plan. Two days after 9/11, Deputy Secretary Armitage told Pakistan’s Intelligence Chief, who was in Washington on an official visit, exactly what we expected of his country, listing 7 requirements. The next day I called President Musharraf to get his answer. President Musharraf agreed and turned away from the Taliban. In the weeks ahead, Pakistan’s support would be absolutely vital to our fight against the Taliban. President Musharraf has been a strong partner ever since.
Two days later, on Saturday the 15th, the National Security Council met at Camp David. The President decided to go after al Qaida and give the Taliban one last chance to cease aiding and abetting the terrorists. The Taliban did not do so and we acted.
On September 20, 2001, the President spoke to the nation from the floor of the House of Representatives. He made it clear that this was going to be a long campaign against terrorists everywhere who threatened us and against those individuals and states who harbored them. The global war against terrorism would take time, patience and steely resolve, and the application of every tool of statecraft we had at our disposal.
The September 11 attacks had changed radically the environment in which we were operating — the eyes of the Nation and the world were suddenly and dramatically opened to the peril we faced. As a result, our options — diplomatic and other — for combating terrorism had expanded enormously.
Most significantly, as we were clearly at war and no longer pursuing what many had before characterized as aberrant criminals best pursued by law enforcement means, the use of decisive lethal force became a real option. At the same time, I want to emphasize, we found much greater receptivity to our non-military efforts — financial, law enforcement, intelligence-sharing, and diplomatic efforts in particular. Since September 11, using all of those instruments is precisely what we have been doing.
Our superb military was able to root out al Qaida in Afghanistan. Intensive diplomatic engagement ensured that this was not a unilateral effort, culminating in the remarkable fact that NATO is now a major force and presence in Afghanistan.
The military results themselves required intensive diplomacy as well. For example, our most immediate objective was getting our forces to the fight in remote, land-locked Afghanistan. Pakistan’s support was critical but not sufficient. We had to focus on getting base access in Uzbekistan. This access was the determining factor in the start of the air campaign. To this end, our diplomats negotiated a status of forces agreement in three days, likely a record. At the same time, other diplomats were busy getting basing access and transit rights throughout the region — securing overflight clearances, for example, from 89 countries. Working with the Joint Staff in the Pentagon, we also marshaled an impressive military coalition for Afghanistan — on the sea, in the air, and on the land. Today, 8,000 troops from 41 countries are operating in Afghanistan, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom or the International Security Assistance Force.
Intensive diplomacy was also used with Middle Eastern and South Asian countries to press them to step up anti-terror efforts across the board. We held near continuous discussions with our allies to build and sustain the then-growing anti-terror coalition. For example, I personally made more than 50 telephone calls to world leaders in the three days following 9/11. My Deputy, Mr. Armitage, was similarly occupied.
On the home front, we were doing other important things. We put in place sweeping changes to tighten visa and border procedures, working closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in light of its new role with respect to visa policy. In particular, we required the personal appearance of most visa applicants, we increased the number of applicants subject to special security advisory opinions, we significantly enhanced data sharing with DHS and other agencies, we increased mandatory training for consular officers, and we embarked on an ambitious program to collect biometrics as part of the visa application process. That biometric program, which will be closely integrated with DHS’s US-VISIT program, will be in place at every one of our over 200 embassies and consulates where we issue visas worldwide by October 26, 2004 as mandated by law. We recognize that for some these changes suggest a “do not enter” sign on America. Nothing could be further from the truth. We want a safer, more secure America not only for our citizens and legal permanent residents but for those scientists, medical doctors, students, business people, and tourists whom we welcome to our shores.
In addition, we implemented new measures in financial counterterrorism. For example, Executive Order 13224 — signed by President Bush on September 21, 2001 — gave the U.S. new authorities to freeze terrorist assets. Likewise, we worked hard — and are still working hard — to support the United Nations 1267 Sanctions Committee in its global effort to freeze terrorist assets. Six hundred eighty five terrorist-related accounts have been blocked around the world, including 106 in the United States.
EO 13224 set up the first U.S. sanctions regime specifically targeting the financial assets of all terrorist groups around the world. Unlike Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) legislation, which targets major terrorist organizations, EO 13224 allows us to go after individual financiers, front companies, and other organizations — including charities — that support terrorism. More than 280 terrorists or financiers of terrorism have been designated under Executive Order 13324.
The Department of State was the major force behind the adoption of UNSCR 1373. This resolution obligates all UN member states to freeze “without delay” assets linked to terrorism. More than 172 countries have issued orders freezing over $136 million in terrorist-related financial assets. It is encouraging too that over 80 countries have introduced new terrorist-related legislation, and 84 have established Financial Intelligence Units.
The U.S. and other governments around the world have also engaged in an unprecedented effort to designate through the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee entities and individuals with links to al Qaida, the Taliban, and Usama bin Laden whose assets UN member states are obligated to freeze.
We also developed new initiatives to build other nations’ CT capacity and to enhance CT cooperation worldwide, and we accelerated our already dramatically improved and ongoing efforts to improve security at U.S. facilities around the world.
We moved more aggressively against Foreign Terrorist organizations, blocked their assets, and made those involved with these groups ineligible for U.S. visas by designating and redesignating them. At the same time, we continued and increased pressure on state sponsors of terrorism such as Syria and Iran.
We used intelligence operations to interdict and disrupt terrorist activities while expanding intelligence sharing with our partners to unprecedented levels, leading a massive worldwide effort to unravel 9/11 planning and execution, arrest suspected terrorists, and interdict al Qaida cells in the U.S. and abroad. Most notably, we strongly encouraged the Saudis to go after terrorists in their midst and they are doing so quite vigorously. When I visited with Crown Prince Abdullah last week, I was convinced of his commitment to this effort.
Moreover, we built a worldwide coalition against terrorism that continues to bring results. Since September 11th, actions at home and abroad have led to more than two-thirds of al Qaida’s top leadership being killed or captured, most significantly 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and key plotters Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Abu Zubaydah — all captured in Pakistan. More than 3,400 al Qaida associates have been detained in over 100 countries, including Bali bombing mastermind Hambali. Entire cells have been wrapped up in Singapore and Italy, as well as in Buffalo, Portland, and North Carolina.
The Bush administration also established the Department of Homeland Security, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) and the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC). We are pleased that the State Department’s pioneering counterterrorism (CT) watch list — TIPOFF — has served as the foundation for the watch listing activities of both the TTIC and the TSC. At the same time — and in part through these new structures — we expanded our intelligence and law enforcement capabilities by improving the integration and analysis of terrorism-related information, by coordinating better our law enforcement and intelligence activities, and by quickly disseminating information to the front lines.
As we move forward, Mr. Chairman, we know there are crucial actions that we must continue to push hard. For example, we must continue to develop and sustain our partner nations’ political will. This is the area where diplomacy is so all-important. From aviation and border security, to the safety of ships at sea and in port, to blocking terrorism financing, to stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, we must continue to advance our CT efforts by working closely with our international partners on a bilateral basis and in various multilateral fora, including the UN Security Council’s CT Committee, the G-8’s Roma-Lyon and CT Action Groups, the OSCE, APEC, and the OAS Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE).
Similarly, we must continue to enhance foreign government capacity to combat terrorism. We are working hard to address the considerable gaps (diplomatic, financial, military, law enforcement, and intelligence) some countries face today and will likely face in the future as the terrorism threat continues to change and grow. The State Department’s key CT capacity-building programs include:
CT finance training and technical assistance;
Diplomatic Security Anti-Terrorism Assistance (DS/ATA) program, which provides tactical, investigative, consequence management, and interagency coordination assistance; and
The Terrorism Interdiction Program, which enhances host government’s border security.
We must also continue to enhance CT coordination, both internally among our own activities and agencies, and with our partners. We have made significant progress, but more needs to be done to improve information sharing, database development, and planning and operations among our diplomatic, law enforcement, intelligence and military agencies. We need as well to look for ways to ensure that our friends and allies get the timely and comprehensive intelligence and law enforcement information they need to work with us successfully.
Likewise, we must continue to encourage all countries to criminalize terrorism and terrorism finance. The State Department is working on a bilateral and multilateral basis to urge countries to ratify the 12 UN international conventions and protocols, and fold these legal instruments into domestic legal systems.
We must also continue our efforts to protect our people serving overseas. As I mentioned earlier, General Williams is improving the security of our overseas buildings as fast as he can. Since March 2001 we have built 12 new secure facilities and are working on 25 more at a rate now of 10 per year. We more than quadrupled funding, from about three-quarters of a billion dollars to $4B, for our secure construction projects. Every U.S. mission has received security upgrades in the form of shatter-resistant window film, reinforced perimeter walls, and other measures. We are reaching out now to overseas schools where U.S. children are students, and to our recreational facilities for our employees overseas, to increase their security a well. With the superb help of the Congress, we have made enormous progress in this regard, but there is much more that we need to do. And we have a long-range building plan to do it. The total cost of executing this plan is over $17 billion, but we remain confident that the Congress will continue to support these efforts. We remain confident that our efforts to make our people overseas more and more secure, will succeed.
But, I must be candid and tell you that despite this solid progress, the danger persists. Recent audiotapes by al Qaida’s leaders continue to call for further violence and threaten the U.S., our allies, and our friends. To continue to combat these terrorists, we must sustain and even redouble our efforts, always keeping in mind that the terrorists are learning about our methods and so we must develop new tactics that enable us to continue our success.
More in the long-term sense, we must continue our efforts to diminish the underlying conditions that create opportunities for terrorists to exploit. As I have said before, poverty, corruption, religious conflict, and ethnic strife breed frustration, hopelessness and resentment — and ideological entrepreneurs know how to turn those emotions into either support for terrorism or acquiescence to it. Worse, they know how to recruit their ranks from such conditions.
At the forefront of these efforts is our initiative to expand democracy in the Middle East This initiative is critical to eradicating international terrorism. We are increasing our diplomatic and assistance activities in the Middle East to promote democratic voices — focusing particularly on women — in the political process, support increased accountability in government, assist local efforts to strengthen respect for the rule of law, assist independent media, and invest in the next generation of leaders.
As the President emphasized in his speech last November at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), transformation of the Greater Middle East is of vital importance to the future of peace and stability in that region as well as to the national security of the United States. As long as freedom and democracy do not flourish in the Middle East, resentment and despair will continue to grow — and the region will serve as an exporter of violence and terror to free nations. For the United States, promoting democracy and freedom in the Middle East is a difficult, yet essential calling.
In April 2003, the Administration launched the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), an intensive inter-agency effort to support political and education reform and economic development in the region. The President continued his commitment to this initiative by providing $150 million in FY05 for these efforts.
Moreover, to enhance this government effort with a key NGO, the President has doubled the NED budget to $80 million specifically to create a Greater Middle East Leadership and Democracy Initiative. NED is a leader in efforts to strengthen democracy and tolerance around the world through its work with civil society. We want that work to flourish.
As President Bush said in his November speech at NED: “The United States has adopted a new policy, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. This strategy requires the same persistence and energy and idealism we have shown before. And it will yield the same results. As in Europe, as in Asia, as in every region of the world, the advance of freedom leads to peace.”
We also know that democracy flourishes with freedom of information and exposure to diverse ideas. Therefore, we are promoting expansion of democracy in the Middle East by providing public access to information through exchange programs and radio and television broadcasting.
Our new public diplomacy efforts include the Partnerships for Learning (P4L) and Youth Exchange and Study (YES) initiatives to reach a younger and more diverse audience through academic and professional exchange programs. In FY05, the P4L and the YES programs, funded at $61 million, will focus more on youth of the Muslim world, specifically targeting non-traditional, non-elite, often female and non-English speaking youth.
U.S. broadcasting initiatives in the Middle East encourage the development of a free press in the American tradition and provide Middle Eastern viewers and listeners access to a variety of ideas. We revamped our Arabic radio broadcasts in 2002 with the introduction of Radio Sawa, which broadcasts to the region twenty-four hours a day. As a result, audience size for our Arabic broadcasting increased from under 2 percent in 2001 to over 30 percent in 2003. Based on this successful model, we introduced Radio Farda to broadcast to Iran around the clock. The FY05 President’s Budget Request provides over $70 million for Arabic and Persian radio and television broadcasts to the Middle East. Last month, we launched the Middle East Television Network, an Arabic language satellite network that will have the capability of reaching millions of viewers and will provide a means for Middle Easterners to better understand democracy and free market policies, as well as the U.S. and its people. This network kicked off on February 14 with nine hours per day of broadcasting. Now the broadcasting is 24/7.
We have also put in place an innovative approach to development assistance, one that will help us in drying up the swamp and alleviating the conditions terrorists require to recruit successfully. The President’s Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) is funding initiatives to improve the economies and standards of living of qualified developing countries. Afghanistan, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Yemen, for examples, are on the list of prospective countries already.
The Congress appropriated $1 billion for MCA for FY04 and our FY05 Budget request of $2.5 billion makes a significant second year increase and paves the way to reaching the President’s commitment of $5 billion in FY06. With this program, we plan to revolutionize the way we aid development overseas. This cannot help but have a positive effect on some of the deplorable conditions that currently provide sustenance to terrorists. And we will execute this new approach to development assistance at the same time we continue to carry out the good works of USAID.
Continuing with our strategic moves, we have put in place an entirely new relationship with Pakistan, as I touched on earlier. Some view this new relationship as a temporary marriage of convenience. I do not. President Bush does not. Those who do underestimate the strength of our mutual commitment and lack the vision to realize the promise of our partnership.
President Bush’s proposed five-year $3 billion aid package for Pakistan embodies America’s abiding commitment to Pakistan. The package contains an economic component, which supports poverty reduction and will help Pakistan’s people prepare for success in the 21st Century. Our assistance will promote the expansion of Pakistan’s economy and we will contribute to that country’s overall macroeconomic stability through debt relief, building on the one billion dollars in bilateral official debt we have already forgiven. Our funding will help improve the lives of Pakistan’s people by enabling the government to increase its spending on education reform, on basic health care, and to provide rural communities with reliable sources of water. We will continue to work with Pakistan to strengthen civil society and independent media, promote respect for human rights and the rule of law, and train new legislators for participation in democratic institutions. We are committed to Pakistan’s full recovery and entry into the world of peace and prosperity.
But at the pinnacle of our long-term, strategic efforts sit Iraq and Afghanistan. We simply must ensure both countries’ transition to full and secure constitutional democracies. And we are hard at work at this all-important task.
The United States faces one of its greatest challenges in developing a secure, free and prosperous Iraq. We are contributing almost $21 billion in reconstruction funds and humanitarian assistance to this effort. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are expected to provide another $4 to 8 billion in loans and grants over the next three years. These resources, coupled with the growing assistance of international donors, will ease the transition from dictatorship to democracy and lay the foundation for a market economy and a political system that respects human rights and represents the voices of all Iraqis.
The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) have made great strides in the areas of security, economic stability and growth, and democratization. Iraqi security forces now comprise more than half of the total security forces in the country. In addition, the CPA has established a New Iraqi Army, issued a new currency and refurbished and equipped schools and hospitals. And, as you know, the CPA is taking steps to help the Iraqi people form a truly sovereign government this summer.
Much work remains to be done. Working with our coalition partners, we will continue to train Iraqi police, border guards, the Civil Defense Corps and the Army in order to ensure the country’s security as we effect a timely transition to democratic self-governance and a stable future.
At the same time, we are helping provide critical infrastructure, including clean water, electricity and reliable telecommunications systems which are essential for meeting basic human needs as well as for economic and democratic development. Thousands of brave Americans, military and civilian, are in Iraq now working tirelessly to help Iraqis succeed in this historic effort. Alongside their military colleagues, USAID, State Department and the Departments of the Treasury and Commerce are working to implement infrastructure, democracy building, education, health and economic development programs. These efforts are producing real progress in Iraq.
As a definitive example of this progress, on March 8, the IGC formally signed the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) — essentially an interim constitution for Iraq. This was a remarkable milestone. The TAL recognizes freedom of religion and expression, the right to assemble and to organize political parties, and other fundamentally democratic principles, as well as prohibiting discrimination based on gender, nationality or religion. This is a huge step for the people of Iraq and for the region — a step toward constitutional democracy. It is a step that just a year ago, Iraqis would not have imagined possible.
We face a similar challenge in Afghanistan. There, the U.S. is committed to helping build a stable and democratic country that is free from terror and no longer harbors threats to our security. We have demonstrated our commitment to this effort by providing over $3.7 billion in economic and security assistance to Afghanistan since 2001.
Through our assistance and the assistance of the international community, the government of Afghanistan is successfully navigating the transition that began in October 2001. Afghanistan adopted a constitution earlier this year and is preparing for democratic national elections in June. With technical assistance from the U.S., Afghanistan successfully introduced a new stable currency in October 2002 and is working to improve revenue collection in the provinces. The lives of women and girls are improving as women pursue economic and political opportunities and girls return to school. Since 2001, the United States has rehabilitated 205 schools and 140 health clinics and trained fifteen battalions of the Afghan National Army (ANA). Also, President Bush’s commitment to de-mine and repave the entire stretch of the Kabul-Kandahar highway was fulfilled. The road had not been functional for over 20 years. What was once a 30-hour journey can now be accomplished in 5 or 6 hours.
While the Afghanistan of today is very different from the Afghanistan of September 2001, there is still much left to accomplish. In the near-term, the United States will assist the government of Afghanistan in its preparations for elections this summer to ensure that they are free and fair. To demonstrate tangible benefits to the Afghan people, we will continue to implement assistance on an accelerated basis. The FY05 Budget request contains $1.2 billion in assistance for Afghanistan that will be focused on education, health, infrastructure, and assistance to the ANA, including drawdown authority and Department of Defense “train and equip.” For example, U.S. assistance efforts will concentrate on rehabilitation and construction of an additional 275 schools and 150 health clinics by June 2004, and complete training and equipping of 10,000 soldiers. To date, we have provided more than $50 million to fund demining operations and mine risk education for the civilian population, and we plan to provide over $11 million in FY04 to fund demining operations by Afghan NGOs. The U.S. and its partners, Japan and Saudi Arabia, will also extend the Kabul-Kandahar road to Herat so that people and commerce will be linked East and West across Afghanistan with a ground transportation link between three of the largest cities.
Next week, I will travel to Berlin to attend a conference whose purpose is to continue international support to ensure progress in Afghanistan continues. At the conference, we will underscore our firm commitment to reconstruction and democracy in Afghanistan. We will pledge $1 billion for this purpose — to be added to the $1.2 billion we pledged in Dubai in September 2003. This will increase our total FY04 assistance package approved by the Congress to $2.2 billion.
Earlier, I placed Iraq and Afghanistan at the very top of our strategic priorities. Close to that point also is the Israeli-Palestinian situation and the Middle East Peace process overall. The Palestinians must stop terrorist attacks against Israel and we must get back on the Road Map and we must begin moving toward realization of the President’s two-state vision. We are deeply troubled by this week’s events in Gaza. There is no doubt about Israel’s right to self-defense against the brutal use of terror by Hamas and other terrorist organizations. At the same time, we believe that a targeted assassination such as that conducted by Israel this week increases tension and does not help efforts to resume progress towards peace. We believe that all sides need to remain focused on measures to bring an end to the terror and violence and to avoid actions that escalate tensions. We want all parties to avoid actions that would make more difficult the restoration of calm. We know that bringing peace to the Middle East involves meeting the difficulties of such challenging situations and getting back to the Road Map.
Now, let me tell you how much President Bush values and supports the work our partners are doing in the war on terrorism. These partners are crucial to our strategy and will continue to be so until the war on terrorism is won.
The President established a clear policy to work with other nations to meet the challenges of defeating terror networks with global reach. This commitment extends to the front-line states that have joined us in the war on terrorism and to those nations that are key to the successful transitions to democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Our assistance enables countries cooperating closely with the United States to prevent future attacks, improve counter-terrorism capabilities and tighten border controls. Our FY05 Budget for International Affairs provides more than $5.7 billion for assistance to countries around the world that have joined us in the war on terrorism, including Turkey, Jordan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines.
U.S. assistance has also resulted in unparalleled law enforcement and intelligence cooperation that has destroyed terrorist cells, disrupted terrorist operations and prevented attacks. There are many counterterrorism successes in cooperating countries and international organizations. For example:
- Pakistan has apprehended more than 500 al Qaida terrorists and members of the Taliban through the leadership of President Musharraf, and it has implemented stronger border security measures and law enforcement cooperation throughout the country. As you know, Pakistani soldiers were involved just last week in heavy fighting in the border areas between their country and Afghanistan.
- Jordan continues its strong counterterrorism efforts, including arresting two individuals with links to al Qaida who admitted responsibility for the October 2002 murder of USAID Foreign Service officer Lawrence Foley in Amman.
- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has endorsed an ambitious transformation agenda designed to enhance its capabilities by increasing deployment speed and agility to address new threats of terrorism.
- Colombia has developed a democratic security strategy as a blueprint for waging a unified, aggressive counterterror-counternarcotics campaign against designated foreign terrorist organizations and other illegal, armed groups.
The U.S. and its Southeast Asian allies and friends have made significant advances against the regional terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiyah which was responsible for the Bali attack in 2002 that killed more than 200 people. In early August 2003, an Indonesian court convicted and sentenced to death a key figure in that bombing.
- While progress has been made attacking terrorist organizations both globally and regionally, much work remains to be done. The FY05 President’s Budget strengthens our financial commitment to our coalition partners to wage the global war on terror. Highlights of the President’s request include $700 million for Pakistan to help advance security and economic opportunity for Pakistan’s citizens, including a multi-year educational support program; $461 million for Jordan to increase economic opportunities for Jordanian communities and strengthen Jordan’s ability to secure its borders; and $577 million for Colombia to support President Uribe’s unified campaign against drugs and terrorism.
Mr. Chairman, one of the aspects of the War on Terrorism that gives us a particular sense of urgency is proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These terrible weapons are becoming easier to acquire, build, hide, and transport. Stopping their proliferation is one of the world’s most important tasks.
On February 11, President Bush proposed seven measures to strengthen the world’s efforts to prevent the spread of WMD:
- Expand the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) to address more than shipments and transfers, even to take direct action against proliferation networks.
- Call on all nations to strengthen the laws and international controls that govern proliferation, including passing the UNSCR requiring all states to criminalize proliferation, enact strict export controls, and secure sensitive materials.
- Expand our efforts to keep Cold War weapons and other dangerous materials out of the hands of terrorists — efforts such as those accomplished under Nunn-Lugar.
- Close the loophole in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that allows states such as Iran to produce nuclear material that can be used to build bombs under the cover of civilian nuclear programs.
- Universalize the IAEA Additional Protocol.
- Create a special committee on the IAEA Board of Governors to focus on safeguards and verification.
- And, finally, disallow countries under investigation for violating nuclear nonproliferation treaties from serving on the IAEA Board of Governors.
As the President has said, the nexus of terrorists and WMD is a new and unique threat. It comes not with ships and fighters and tanks and divisions, but clandestinely, in the dark of the night. But the consequences are devastating. No President can afford to ignore such a threat. And President Bush is not ignoring it.
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice Chairman, Members of the Commission, I want to leave you with my thoughts on what I consider a fundamental of terrorism — and it is a frightening fundamental but one that we must all face, every American, and every member of the civilized world.
That fundamental is this: sometimes, you can do almost everything right and still suffer grievous losses from terrorist attacks.
The recent train bombings in Spain demonstrate this tragic but inescapable fact. Spanish authorities were well prepared. Prior to the bombings, they were deeply concerned — and said so publicly — that spectacular terrorist attacks were being planned in the lead-up to the Spanish elections.
Spain’s highly capable security forces were on high alert and security had been increased across the country. In fact, several weeks earlier, they had apprehended terrorists with a truckload of explosives.
Nonetheless, and despite all their best efforts and all their precautions, Spain still suffered these horrific attacks that produced such terrible casualties.
Before this war is won, there will be more such attacks.
So your task is crucial, to find ways to strengthen our abilities to protect our people and to disrupt, find, kill or bring to justice the terrorists who would do them harm.
Thank you, and now Secretary Armitage and I will try to respond to your questions.