The Threat to the United States Posed by Terrorists
Statement for the Record
Louis J. Freeh, Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
United States Senate
Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State,
the Judiciary, and Related Agencies
February 4, 1999
Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee. I am pleased to have this opportunity to join Attorney General Reno and Secretary of State Albright in discussing the threat to the United States posed by terrorists both abroad and at home.
At the outset, I would like to thank you and the Subcommittee for your extraordinary support for the FBI's counterterrorism programs and initiatives. Over the past several years, you have generously provided us with additional agents, technicians, and analysts, as well as the technical and forensic tools, that allow us to respond quickly and effectively to acts of terrorism against the United States and its citizens wherever they occur -- including, most recently, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. Annual funding for the FBI's Counterterrorism program has grown from $78.5 million in 1993 to $301.2 million in 1999. The number of agents funded for counterterrorism investigations has grown from 550 in 1993 to 1,383 in 1999. You have also provided additional funding for many programs in the FBI Laboratory and Critical Incident Response Group that directly support the FBI's capability for responding to the threat and acts of terrorism. I am confident that our efforts will justify your past commitment and continued support to this important area of the FBI's responsibility.
I would also like to commend the Subcommittee for its leadership in directing the preparation of the 5-year interagency plan that was submitted to the Congress on December 30, 1998. As you are aware, the preparation of the plan coincided with the preparation of two major Presidential Decision Directives regarding counterterrorism (PDD-62) and critical infrastructure protection (PDD-63). The plan was also prepared at the same time the FBI and many other agencies were responding to the terrorist bombings of United States Embassies in East Africa. I believe the Subcommittee will find the recommendations of the plan to be particularly timely, consistent with these recent executive orders, and reflect many of the lessons learned from our most recent experiences.
To help put today's discussion in perspective, I would like to start with a summary of the FBI's deployment and investigation of the recent terrorist bombings in East Africa and follow with an assessment of the current international and domestic terrorist threat and lessons learned from our recent experiences. Finally, I would like to describe current FBI counterterrorism initiatives, including those proposed in our 2000 budget request to Congress.
The Bombings in East Africa
On August 7, 1998, at approximately 10:40 a.m., local time, a bomb exploded near the United States Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Almost simultaneously, a bomb detonated near the United States Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. The toll in both bombings, in terms of lives lost, persons injured, and damage to buildings, was substantial. In Dar es Salaam, 11 persons were killed, 7 of whom were foreign service nationals employed by the United States at the Embassy. Another 74 persons were injured, including 2 American citizens and 5 foreign service nationals. In Nairobi, where the United States Embassy was located in a congested downtown area, 213 persons were killed, including 12 American citizens and 32 foreign service nationals employed at the Embassy. Approximately 4,500 persons were treated for injuries, including 13 Americans and 16 foreign service nationals.
Immediately upon notification of the bombings, agencies of the United States Government began to marshal their resources to respond to these acts of terrorism. Two Foreign Emergency Support Teams (FEST) departed Andrews Air Force Base at approximately 2:30 p.m. EST on August 7. FEST is a multiagency team, including members of the FBI, that is deployed to international emergencies involving United States interests to advise and assist local Ambassadors and embassy personnel in dealing with crisis situations. FEST is coordinated by the United States Department of State. The FBI had eight representatives on the two FEST teams. We were also able to include 19 others as part of a FBI advance team.
Based upon our jurisdiction for the investigation of certain crimes committed against American persons and property abroad, the FBI began the deployment of agents, Evidence Response Teams, technicians and laboratory examiners, and other personnel and equipment to Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. We activated our Strategic Information and Operations Center at FBI Headquarters to coordinate FBI efforts with our Counterterrorism Center and other government agencies. Among the first steps we took was to direct our Legal Attaches in Cairo, Egypt, and Pretoria, South Africa, to respond to the scenes in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, respectively. Our Legal Attaches were the first non-resident United States law enforcement officials to arrive on scene. Upon arriving, these individuals were able to establish a cooperative relationship with appropriate Tanzanian and Kenyan law enforcement authorities and United States Embassy personnel, including Diplomatic Security Service agents serving in these posts. Our Legal Attaches also assisted in establishing logistical support for FBI rapid deployment teams that subsequently arrived in both locations. The first increment of the FBI investigative team arrived in East Africa 40 hours after the bombings.
At our peak, the FBI had approximately 500 personnel on the ground in East
Africa. Among the individuals deployed were members of our Joint Terrorism
Task Forces from New York City. We also were assisted by explosives experts
from the United Kingdom. Over the course of the eight-weeks immediately
following the bombings, the FBI:
· logged 61 flight missions, of which 16 were transoceanic;
· transported over 1,000 agents, technicians, examiners, and other employees deployed to and from East Africa; and
· moved 295 tons of equipment, supplies, and related items to support our investigative teams.
From the two crime scenes in Tanzania and Kenya, as well as from investigation and searches conducted in surrounding African nations and Pakistan, we collected and transported back to the FBI Laboratory more than three tons of evidentiary materials for examination and analysis. Our on-scene deployments in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi temporarily created what would have been among the largest FBI field offices in the United States.
As you can imagine, providing extended operational and administrative support to such a large overseas contingent was especially challenging and trying. It was not something that we accomplished on our own. In a large-scale overseas deployment such as East Africa, we must depend upon support and cooperation from our partners in the Departments of Defense and State. I would like to acknowledge the tremendous job performed by the men and women of the Departments of Defense and State under very adverse and trying circumstances. And, I am equally proud of the way our own personnel rose to meet the challenges presented by this difficult investigation.
We received exceptional cooperation and assistance from the governments of Tanzania and Kenya in conducting our investigation. They allowed us to recover and remove evidence for examination and transport it back to the United States. They also allowed us to conduct interviews and searches. The relationship established by our Legal Attache from Pretoria with Kenyan authorities was instrumental in that country's decision to allow the removal of two suspects for prosecution in the United States. We were also able to conduct investigation and searches in several other countries and locations.
As a result of these investigative efforts, 11 individuals associated with al-Qaeda, including Usama bin Laden, have each been indicted for conspiracy to kill United States nationals, the bombings of the United States Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and murder. One other individual, also an al-Qaeda member, has been indicted for conspiracy to kill United States nationals, perjury before a Federal Grand Jury, and lying to a Special Agent of the FBI. The progress and results that have been obtained in this case are the result of cooperation among many agencies, including the FBI, the Criminal Division, the United States Attorneys' offices in New York City and Washington, D.C., the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of State, and Department of Defense, working together unselfishly in response to brutal acts of terrorism committed against the United States. Unfortunately, the bombing of United States Embassies in East Africa is only the latest in a series of international terrorist incidents directed against United States interests and policies.
The International Terrorist Situation
The current international terrorist threat can be divided into three general categories that represent a serious and distinct threat to the United States. These categories also reflect, to a large degree, how terrorists have adapted their tactics since the 1970's by learning from past successes and failures, from becoming familiar with law enforcement capabilities and tactics, and from exploiting technologies and weapons that are increasingly available to them in the post-Cold War era.
The first threat category, state sponsors of terrorism, violates every convention of international law. State sponsors of terrorism currently designated by the Department of State are: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Cuba, and North Korea. Put simply, these nations view terrorism as a tool of foreign policy. In recent years, the terrorist activities of Cuba and North Korea appear to have declined as the economies of these countries have deteriorated. However, the terrorist activities of the other states I mentioned continue, and in some cases, have intensified during the past several years.
The second category of the international terrorist threat is represented by more formal terrorist organizations. These autonomous, generally transnational, organizations have their own infrastructures, personnel, financial arrangements, and training facilities. These organizations are able to plan and mount terrorist campaigns on an international basis and actively support terrorist activities in the United States.
Extremist groups such as Lebanese Hizballah, the Egyptian Al-Gama' Al- Islamiyya, and the Palestinian Hamas have supporters in the United States who could be used to support an act of terrorism here. Hizballah ranks among the most menacing of these groups. It has staged many anti-American attacks in other countries, such as the 1983 truck bombings of the United States Embassy and the United States Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, the 1984 bombing of the United States Embassy Annex in Beirut, and the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 during which United States Navy diver Robert Stehem, a passenger on the flight, was murdered by the hijackers. Elements of Hizballah were also responsible for the kidnaping and detention of United States hostages in Lebanon throughout the 1980's.
The activities of American cells of Hizballah, Hamas, and Al Gama' Al Islamiyya generally revolve around fund-raising and low-level intelligence gathering. In addition, there are still significant numbers of Iranian students attending United States universities and technical institutions. A significant number of these students are hardcore members of the pro-Iranian student organization known as the Anjoman Islamie, which is comprised almost exclusively of fanatical, anti-American, Iranian Shiite Muslims. The Iranian Government relies heavily upon these students studying in the United States for low-level intelligence and technical expertise. However, the Anjoman Islamie also represents a significant resource base upon which the government of Iran can draw to maintain the capability to mount operations against the United States, if it so decides.
The third category of international terrorist threat stems from loosely affiliated extremists, characterized by rogue terrorists such as Ramzi Ahmed Yousef and international terrorist financier Usama bin Laden. These loosely affiliated extremists may pose the most urgent threat to the United States because these individuals bring together groups on an ad hoc, temporary basis. By not being encumbered with the demands associated with maintaining a rigid, organizational infrastructure, these individuals are more difficult for law enforcement to track and infiltrate. Individuals such as Ramzi Yousef and Usama bin Laden have also demonstrated an ability to exploit mobility and technology to avoid detection and to conduct terrorist acts. Fortunately, in 1995, we were able to capture Yousef and return him to the United States to stand trial for the February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the conspiracy to attack American aircraft overseas. Yousef was convicted in two trials and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The FBI believes that the threat posed by international terrorists in each of these categories will continue for the foreseeable future. As attention remains focused on Usama bin Laden in the aftermath of the East African bombings, I believe it is important to remember that rogue terrorists such as bin Laden represent just one type of threat that the United States faces. It is imperative that we maintain our capabilities to counter the broad range of international terrorist threats that confront the United States.
For many of us in this room, the threat of international terrorism was literally brought home by the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993. Although the plotters failed in their attempt to topple one of the twin towers into the other, an outcome that would have produced thousands of casualties, they succeeded in causing millions of dollars worth of damage in a blast that killed 6 persons and injured more than 1,000. After his capture in 1995, Ramzi Yousef, the convicted mastermind behind the New York City bombing and other terrorist acts, conceded to investigators that a lack of funding forced his group's hand in plotting the destruction of the World Trade Center. Running short of money, the plotters could not assemble a bomb as large as they had originally intended. The timing of the attack was also rushed by a lack of finances. Incredibly, the plotters' desire to recoup the deposit fee on the rental truck used to transport the bomb helped lead investigators to them. As horrible as that act was, it could very well have been much more devastating.
We are fortunate that in the nearly six years since the World Trade Center bombing, no significant act of foreign-directed terrorism has occurred on American soil. At the same time, however, we have witnessed a pattern of terrorist attacks that are either directed at United States interests or initiated in response to United States Government policies and actions. Among these acts are:
- the 1993 murders of two Central Intelligence Agency employees and the wounding of several others by Mir Amal Kasi in Langley, Virginia;
- the March 1995 attack against three employees of the United States consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, which resulted in the deaths of two Americans;
- the July 1995 hostage taking of four western tourists, including an American, by terrorists in Kashmiri, India;
- the plot by Shayk Omar Abdel Rahman and his followers to bomb several New York City landmarks, including the United Nations building, the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, and federal buildings;
- the November 1995 bombing of a Saudi Arabian National Guard building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which resulted in the deaths of five United States citizens assigned to the United States military training mission to Saudi Arabia;
- the June 1996 bombing at the Al-Khobar Towers, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, which resulted in the deaths of 19 United States servicemen and the injury of 240 other military personnel and dependents;
- a plot led by Ramzi Yousef to destroy numerous United States air carriers in a simultaneous operation;
- a plot, also led by Ramzi Yousef, to kidnap and kill United States diplomats and foreign officials in Pakistan;
- the November 1997 ambush and massacre of foreign tourists in Luxor, Egypt, which appears to have been undertaken to pressure the United States Government to release Shayk Rahman from federal prison;
- the November 1997 murder of four United States businessmen and their driver in Karachi, Pakistan, believed to be in retaliation against the FBI's capture and rendition of Mir Amal Kasi;
- the kidnaping of seven Americans during 1998 in Colombia by terrorists groups, bringing to 92 the total number of United States citizens reported kidnaped in that country between 1980 and 1998, of which 12 Americans have died in captivity; and
- the December 1998 kidnaping of a group of western tourists, including two Americans, by terrorists in Yemen, during which four hostages were killed and one American hostage wounded when Yemeni security forces attempted a rescue operation.
Responding to the Threat of International Terrorism
The United States has developed a strong response to international terrorism. Legislation and Executive Orders enacted over the past 15 years have strengthened the ability of the United States Government to protect its citizens through five affirmative ways: diplomacy, sanctions, covert operations, military options, and law enforcement actions. For this, the Congress and the Executive Branch deserve the gratitude of the American people. We cannot accurately gauge how many potential strikes our government's strong stand against terrorism has discouraged. We can, however, measure with considerable satisfaction the success we have had in preventing plots detected in the planning stages and our successes in investigating, locating, apprehending, and prosecuting individuals who have carried out terrorist activities. I would like to highlight two aspects of this response, renditions and fund raising, that demonstrate the commitment of the United States Government to combating terrorism.
During the past decade, the United States has successfully obtained custody of 13 suspected international terrorists from foreign countries to stand trial in the United States for acts or planned acts of terrorism against our citizens. Based on its policy of treating terrorists as criminals and applying the rule of law against them, the United States is one of the most visible and effective forces in identifying, locating, and apprehending terrorists on American soil and overseas. The majority of terrorist renditions have been accomplished with the cooperation of the foreign government in which the terrorist suspect was located. Among the individuals recently returned to the United States by this process have been Mir Amal Kasi, who shot and killed two Central Intelligence Agency employees in Langley, Virginia, in 1993, and who was rendered from Afghanistan to the United States in 1997, and Tsutomo Shirosaki, a Japanese Red Army member, who was rendered to the United States in 1996, more than 10 years after firing rockets at the United States Diplomatic Compound in Jakarta, Indonesia. Every time the United States obtains custody of a terrorist for trial, we send a clear message to terrorists everywhere that no matter how long it takes, no matter the difficulty, we will find you and you will be held accountable for your actions.
During Fiscal Year 1998, FBI investigative actions prevented 10 planned terrorist acts. Nine acts were prevented with the arrest of six members of an Illinois-based white supremacist group who were planning to target the Southern Poverty Law Center and its founder, Morris Dees; the Simon Weisenthal Center; and the New York City office of the Anti- Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. This group had also discussed robbing an armored car using a LAW rocket; poisoning the water supply of East St. Louis, Illinois; and committing several murders, including a homosexual man, a black female attorney, a member of another white supremacist group who had made derogatory comments about the Aryan Nations, and a former member of their own group. The arrest of Byron Bazarte in August 1998 prevented the bombing of an unspecified target in Washington, D.C.
Using the authorities provided under Section 302 of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, has designated 30 groups as foreign terrorist organizations. This designation allows the United States Government to take actions to block the transfer of funds in the United States in which these organizations have an interest. The FBI provided information concerning various organizations to the Department of State to assist it in compiling the list of foreign terrorist organizations. Consistent with provisions of the Act, the FBI did not make recommendations concerning which groups should be designated as foreign terrorist organizations.
In July 1998, the FBI arrested Mawzi Mustapha Assi, a procurement agent for a foreign terrorist organization, in Dearborn, Michigan, in July 1998, on criminal charges relating to providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, export of materials on the munitions control list, and other export violations. The FBI and the United States Customs Service seized $124,000 worth of sensitive night vision and navigational devices. Assi became a fugitive after the Government's unsuccessful attempts to detain him prior to trial.
We believe these provisions provide law enforcement with a potentially powerful tool to disrupt the ability of terrorist organizations to fund their destructive activities. Investigations into the financial operations of clandestine organizations on the shadowy fringes of international politics can be particularly complex, time consuming, and labor intensive. Organizations have demonstrated an ability to reinvent themselves with new names in an effort to thwart law enforcement efforts. As with measures of this type, its most powerful impact may be from its deterrent effect. As investigators and prosecutors build successful cases and precedents to enforce anti-fund raising activities, targeted groups may decide that fund raising in the United States is too difficult and risky.
The Domestic Terrorism Threat
Domestic terrorist groups are those which are based and which operate entirely within the United States, or its territories, and whose activities are directed at elements of the United States Government or its civilian population. Domestic terrorist groups represent interests that span the full political spectrum, as well as social issues and concerns. FBI investigations of domestic terrorist groups or individuals are not predicated upon social or political beliefs; rather, they are based upon planned or actual criminal activity. The current domestic terrorist threat primarily comes from right-wing extremist groups, Puerto Rican extremist groups, and special interest extremists.
Right-wing Extremist Groups. The threat from right-wing extremist groups includes militias, white-separatist groups, and anti-government groups. All right-wing extremist groups tend to encourage massing weapons, ammunition and supplies in preparation for a confrontation with federal law enforcement, as well as local law enforcement who are often perceived as agents for the State/Federal government.
The goal of the militia movement is to defend and protect the United States Constitution from those who want to take away the rights of Americans. The militia movement believes that the United States Constitution gives Americans the right to live their lives without government interference. The FBI is not concerned with every single aspect of the militia movement since many militia members are law-abiding citizens who do not pose a threat of violence. The FBI focuses on radical elements of the militia movement capable and willing to commit violence against government, law enforcement, civilian, military and international targets (U.N., visiting foreign military personnel). Not every state in the union has a militia problem. Militia activity varies from states with almost no militia activity (Hawaii, Connecticut) to states with thousands of active militia members (Michigan, Texas).
The American militia movement has grown over the last decade. Factors contributing to growth include:
- GUNS- The right to bear arms is an issue which almost all militia members agree and most militia members believe a conspiracy exists to take away their guns. The national system of instant background checks for all gun buyers, mandated by the 1993 Brady Act and which actually was implemented on November 30, 1998, has further angered many militia groups. These militia members see this new law as another example of how the government is conspiring to take away their guns. The banning of semiautomatic assault weapons has also angered many militia members .
- STATE LAWS- Militias resent state laws forbidding them to gather together to fire weapons. Sixteen states have laws which prohibit all militia groups and 17 states have laws which prohibit all paramilitary training.
- MISTRUST OF FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT- is frequently mentioned in militia literature and overall militia mythology. FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) actions, such as Ruby Ridge, the Branch Davidians, and the Freeman standoff, are cited, and thus are hated and distrusted by many militia members.
- TAXES- Militia members believe that they pay too many taxes and that those tax dollars are wasted by a huge, uncaring and inefficient bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. Since the Internal Revenue Service collects federal taxes, it is widely hated by militia members.
- THE UNITED NATIONS - is perceived as an organization bent on taking over the world and destroying American democracy and establishing "the New World Order." The New World Order theory holds that, one day, the United Nations will lead a military coup against the nations of the world to form a one-world government. United Nations troops, consisting of foreign armies, will commence a military takeover of America. The United Nations will mainly use foreign troops on American soil because foreigners will have fewer reservations about killing American citizens. Captured United States military bases will be used to help conquer the rest of the world.
Many white supremacist groups adhere to the Christian Identity belief system, which holds that the world is on the verge of a final apocalyptic struggle between God/Christ and Satan (The Battle of Armageddon) in which Aryans (European Caucasians) must fight Satan's heirs: Jews, nonwhites and their establishment allies (i.e., the Federal Government). The Christian Identity belief system (also known as Kingdom Identity) provides a religious base for racism and anti-Semitism, and an ideological rationale for violence against minorities and their white allies. Christian Identity teaches that the white race is the chosen race of God, whites are the "true Israelites" and Jews are the Children of Satan. Adherents believe that Jews have increasingly gained control of the United States Federal Government and are attempting to enslave the white population by enacting laws subjugating the white people, such as affirmative action, pro-choice, and anti-gun statutes.
To prepare for Armageddon, many Identity adherents engage in survivalist and paramilitary training, storing foodstuffs and supplies, and caching weapons and ammunition. As the next millennium approaches, Identity's more extreme members may take action to prepare for Armageddon, including armed robbery to finance the upcoming battle, destroying government property and infrastructure, and targeting Jews and nonwhites.
Due to Christian Identity adherents' widespread propaganda efforts and Identity's racist/anti-Semitic/anti-government appeal, there are a number of churches and diverse organizations throughout the United States that embrace the doctrines of Identity. Identity beliefs are also increasingly found in the rhetoric of all types of right-wing extremist groups, including, but not limited to, militias, survivalist communes, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, skinheads, tax protesters, and common law courts. Thus, with the approaching millennium, there is a greater potential for members from such Identity influenced groups to engage in violent activities as well.
As the next millennium approaches, violent and illegal acts may increase, due to Christian Identity's belief that the world is on the verge of a final apocalyptic struggle (aka The Battle of Armageddon) between God/Christ and Satan. Identity members believe that this entails Aryans (European Caucasians) fighting Satan's heirs (Jews, non-whites, and their establishment allies). To prepare, Identity adherents engage in survivalist and paramilitary training. As the year 2000 approaches, more extreme members may take action to prepare for or bring about "Armageddon," including armed robbery to finance the upcoming battle, destroying government property and targeting Jews and non-whites.
Other Anti-Government Groups. The other right-wing anti-government groups include Freemen, "sovereign" citizens, and common law courts. The Freemen and sovereign citizens believe they have the right to renounce their citizenship, after which they do not have to comply with any laws or rules and the federal government would have no influence over them. In addition, some, like the Freemen, believe they have the right to issue their own money which is called "certified comptroller warrants."
Some members of the right-wing have formed their own system of laws to enforce and follow (called common law courts) to replace the existing court system. The common law courts have no basis in jurisprudence, but participants claim legitimacy based on the laws of the Old Testament, English common law, the Magna Carta and commercial law. Some common law courts have issued arrest warrants, but as of yet, there are no reports that any of these arrests have been accomplished.
Puerto Rican Extremist Groups. A resurgence in Puerto Rican extremism has occurred in the past six months. A nearly decade-long hiatus in terrorist activity ended on March 31, 1998, with the detonation of an incendiary device at the "Superaquaduct" construction project in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. On June 9, 1998, a bomb exploded outside a branch of Banco Popular in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. The EPB-Macheteros publicly claimed responsibility for both attacks, citing environmental concerns and opposition to the privatization of the Puerto Rico Telephone Company.
Puerto Rican extremism remains a concern to the FBI. Traditionally, the Puerto Rican Terrorists have targeted United States establishments and interests in an effort to gain Puerto Rican independence. On December 13, 1998, Puerto Ricans voted in a non-binding referendum concerning Puerto Rico's political status. Voters were given the opportunity to vote for independence, continued commonwealth status, statehood, free association, or none of the above. Independence garnered precious little support in the referendum, receiving a mere 2.5% of the vote, according to media reports. Despite the lack of popular support for independence, militant independence activists continue to pursue independence through illegal means. Recently, July 25, 1998 marked the 100-year anniversary of the United States invasion of Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War. In addition, several convicted Puerto Rican terrorists remain incarcerated within the federal prison system, and militant pro-independence activists continue to lobby for their release. The militant independentistas may engage in violence as a response to the prisoners' continued incarceration, or as a symbolic commemoration of over 100 years of American control over the island.
Special Interest Extremists. Special interest or single issue extremists advocate violence and/or criminal activity with the goal of effecting change in policy vis a vis one specific aspect of society. The most recognizable single issue terrorists at the present time are those involved in the violent animal rights, anti-abortion, and environmental protection movements. Each of these issues evoke strong emotions within society at large, and violent aberrants continue to tarnish the legitimate public debate on each issue.
The FBI continues to vigorously investigate various bombings of abortion clinics and incidents of violence targeting abortion providers across the country. The January 1998 bombing of an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, has resulted in a significant allocation of FBI manpower and resources to the investigation of the bombing. The recent assassination of Dr. Barnett Slepian in Buffalo, New York, serves as an acute reminder of the very real threat posed by anti-abortion extremists.
Animal rights extremists continue to pose significant challenges for law enforcement as well. Various arsons and other incidents of property destruction have been claimed by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). For example, on October 19, 1998, the Vail Ski Resort suffered a series of arson attacks that damaged or destroyed eight separate structures and resulted in approximately $12 million in property damage. In a communique issued to various news agencies in Colorado, ELF claimed responsibility for the arsons in retaliation for the resort's plans to expand its ski areas. The group claimed that the proposed expansion would destroy the last remaining habitat in Colorado for the lynx.
Although the frequency of terrorist incidents within the United States has decreased in number, the potential for destruction has increased as terrorists have turned toward large improvised explosive devices to inflict maximum damage. The ease with which people can obtain the recipes for manufacturing explosives and developing chemical and biological weapons facilitates the potential of a major incident. As technology and materials become more accessible, the possibility of misuse and subsequent fatalities increases. One has only to look at the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building, in Oklahoma City, to see the devastating potential for a terrorist act. Prior to April 19, 1995, no one would have believed that Americans would commit such a tragic act against other Americans. But they did, and the potential for another such incident continues.
If there was ever any doubt about the level of commitment and determination that drives rogue terrorists to strike their perceived enemies, convicted terrorist Ramzi Yousef provided a glimpse into the mind set of these individuals. When sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, Yousef boasted of his destructive exploits saying, "Yes, I am a terrorist and proud of it."
Today's terrorists have learned from the successes and mistakes of terrorists who went before them. The terrorists of tomorrow will learn from the successes and mistakes of the Ramzi Yousef, Usama bin Laden, and others. Tomorrow's terrorists will have an even more dizzying array of deadly weapons and technologies, including chemical and biological agents and computer networks, available to them for committing their insidious acts. We cannot lull ourselves into a false sense of security based on the capabilities that exist today and the successes we have achieved. Rather, we must continue to improve upon our existing readiness and develop the capabilities, technologies, and techniques that will be required to keep pace with acts of terrorism in the future.
The FBI has developed its Strategic Plan for 1998 - 2003 to guide us as we deal with the challenges and changing crime problems that face this organization. Under this plan, we have identified as our highest priority foreign intelligence, terrorist, and criminal activities that directly threaten the national or economic security of the United States. Two of the strategic goals set for this priority area are especially relevant to the problems we are discussing today:
· Prevent, disrupt, and defeat terrorist operations before they
· Deter the unlawful exploitation of emerging technologies by foreign powers, terrorists, and criminal elements.
Our goal is to move beyond just responding to acts of terrorism, whether these terrorist acts be bombings here in the United States or in foreign countries or cyber attacks against the national information infrastructure. We recognize that to be successful in the future, the FBI must become more proactive in dealing with these complex threats and problems.
I would like to discuss several areas that I believe are especially important to our national response to the problem posed by terrorism. In doing so, I would like to highlight some of the programs and investments the Subcommittee has supported in prior years and our requests for the 2000 budget. For 2000, the FBI is requesting increases totaling $9,000,000 for our Counterterrorism initiative and 207 positions (60 agents) and $36,742,000 for our Technology and Cyber Crimes initiative.
Rapid Deployment. The United States Government's response to the bombings in East Africa demonstrated the firm and unequivocal commitment to responding to acts of terrorism wherever they may occur. Terrorists must know that if they act against the United States, the FBI will pursue them relentlessly and for as long as it takes to bring them before the bar of justice.
Earlier, I described the scope of the deployment of FBI personnel to East Africa. Based on that experience, in the aftermath of the near simultaneous bombings in Tanzania and Kenya, I directed the establishment of five FBI Rapid Deployment Teams to provide a capability of responding to multiple incidents. With the funding you provided in the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations and Emergency Supplemental Act of 1999, we are establishing teams in New York City, Washington, D.C. (2), Miami, and Los Angeles. Since the establishment of these teams, there have been three instances where teams have been placed on full alert due to the receipt of intelligence information indicating a potential terrorist act.
We readily recognize that improvements are needed in working with our partners at the Department of Defense so that necessary airlift support for future deployments can be staged in a more timely and organized manner. Again, your interest and assistance in the improving the capability of the Department of Defense to provide aviation support to the FBI is greatly appreciated and will help us place advance teams on scene faster. As directed by Congress, we are also working to develop a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Defense to address the full scope of airlift support and related services that are required by the FBI.
Intelligence Collection, Analysis, and Dissemination. The collection, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence regarding terrorist activities and threats are critical to the success of FBI efforts to prevent incidents and in the investigation of acts that do occur. Within the FBI, we have several programs and initiatives to do this.
With the Subcommittee's support, the FBI established the Counterterrorism Center at FBI Headquarters in 1995. The FBI Counterterrorism Center encompasses the operations of the FBI's International Terrorism Operations Section and Domestic Terrorism Operations Section. Just this week the Diplomatic Security Service joined nineteen other federal agencies assigning personnel to the FBI Counterterrorism Center. Other agencies in the Center include: the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Internal Revenue Service, the National Security Agency, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the United States Customs Service, the United States Marshals Service, and the United States Secret Service. The proposed National Domestic Preparedness Office would also become a partner with the Counterterrorism Center to ensure domestic preparedness programs and activities can benefit from counterterrorism operational experiences and reflect the most up-to-date threat information for making decisions on training and equipment grants.
Providing intelligence and threat information to our State and local partners is accomplished through the Counterterrorism Center and the National Infrastructure Protection Center. Depending upon the nature of the information, we use one or more of several avenues for dissemination. The FBI has expanded the Terrorist Threat Warning System, first implemented in 1989, to reach all aspects of the law enforcement and intelligence communities. Nationwide dissemination of unclassified information is achieved through the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS). In addition, the FBI transmits threat information to security managers of thousands of United States commercial interests around the country through the Awareness of National Security Issues and Response (ANSIR) program. The National Infrastructure Protection Center also uses NLETS and ANSIR to reach State and local law enforcement and others regarding cyber and infrastructure-related threats and information. The Center has developed the InfraGard program which facilitates the sharing of information about computer intrusions and research related to infrastructure protection among network participants. The proposed National Domestic Preparedness Office anticipates providing special bulletins and related information on weapons of mass destruction issues to a much broader base of State and local agencies, consisting of law enforcement, fire fighter, emergency medical services, public health, and emergency management, through the Law Enforcement On-Line intranet, a website accessible through the Internet, newsletters, and a toll- free assistance number.
Another mechanism for promoting coordination during an incident is the FBI's new Strategic Information and Operations Center, which was dedicated this past November. Congress provided funding for this project beginning in 1995. The new Strategic Information and Operations Center allows us to handle multiple incidents simultaneously. It also provides us with greatly enhanced communications capabilities between FBI Headquarters and field offices, as well as between the FBI and other federal agencies. Our coordination of operational efforts in East Africa were hampered, somewhat, by the physical and technical limitations of the old center.
The FBI and the Central Intelligence Agency have taken several steps to improve cooperation between agencies, including the exchange of deputies, exchange of personnel assigned to each agency's counterterrorism center, joint meetings, and joint operational and analytical initiatives.
At the field operational level, the FBI sponsors 18 Joint Terrorism Task Forces in major cities to maximize interagency cooperation and coordination among federal, State, and local law enforcement. Currently, 327 full-time and part-time federal, State, and local law enforcement personnel participate on these task forces, in addition to FBI personnel. Federal law enforcement participants include the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the United States Secret Service, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Protective Service, United States Marshals Service, United States Customs Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the United States Border Patrol, the United States Department of State, the Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service. All task force participants are provided appropriate security clearances that are necessary for their involvement in task force operations and investigations. Joint Terrorism Task Forces have played a critical role in many significant terrorism investigations. The FBI recently expanded this concept to include Regional Terrorism Task Forces. Regional task forces, of which two are now in existence, are designed to meet the needs of communities where a terrorism problem exists across a broader regional geographic area, but the situation does not warrant a full-time task force. Regional task forces meet on regular intervals to share information they have collected and determine if there is a nexus for that information to any ongoing investigation. The 5-Year Interagency Counterterrorism and Technology Crime Plan supports further expansion of FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces where warranted by assessments of activity.
One of our most effective means of obtaining information is the use of court- authorized electronic surveillance. Communication, either written or conversations with accomplices, is central to any collaborative effort -- including terrorist conspiracies. The capability to lawfully intercept communications between criminals, terrorists, and foreign intelligence agents, has been instrumental in our past successes. These capabilities help the FBI, as well as law enforcement in our States and cities, to prevent acts and to save lives. This Subcommittee has been supportive our efforts to ensure that law enforcement does not lose its capabilities to lawfully intercept communications in the growing digital telecommunications environment. I hope that you will be able to support our request in the 2000 budget for $15,000,000 to support reimbursements to telecommunications carriers for costs incurred in complying with the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA).
Technology Development and Exploitation. Developing and exploiting technology for law enforcement and counterterrorism applications are a key to maintaining our edge in the war against terrorists. This Subcommittee recognized the value of research and development when you set out your instructions and expectations for the 5-Year Interagency Counterterrorism and Technology Crime Plan. In 1998, you provided the FBI with $10,500,000 from the Attorney General's Counterterrorism Fund for directed research and development projects. With that 1998 funding, as well as other funding appropriated for the FBI Laboratory's Advanced Render Safe and Hazardous Materials Response Programs, we took the following actions:
- Entered into an agreement with the Department of Energy to improve access by the forensic community to America's national laboratories by seeking to leverage resources in five areas: research, development, test, and evaluation; technology transfer; specialized training; specialized forensic analytical support; and hazardous materials response.
- Initiated 17 projects under the Department of Energy agreement, as well as awarded contracts for 11 other projects with commercial and academic entities, in the areas of explosives detection, forensic evidence analysis and crime scene technology, information infrastructure technology, and specialized training.
- Began the process to establish separate agreements with the Savannah River Site and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
- Continued our agreements with the United States Army Edgewood Arsenal, Engineering Development and Education Center, Naval Medical Research Center, United States Naval Medical Center, and have begun the process of establishing other agreements with other key components of the Department of Defense.
- Entered into an agreement with the Southwest Surety Institute at New Mexico State University to establish forensic training that complements FBI forensic curriculum requirements and which supports counterterrorism related operational and support services.
- Upgraded and enhanced the Automated Computer Examination System (ACES), an automated forensic search capability for computer evidence, and enhanced technical support of crime scene evidence collection and execution of court-authorized electronic surveillance on computer networks.
Without continued, sustained investments, at both the agency and interagency levels, in the development and application of new technologies for law enforcement, we will fall behind in meeting our goals of preventing terrorism. Unfortunately, law enforcement is not alone in seeking to use new technology to improve its capabilities.
Shortly after the World Trade Center bombing, Ramzi Yousef made his way to Pakistan. Eventually, he and several associates moved on to the Philippines and rented a unit at the Dona Jasefa apartment complex. That apartment served as a safehouse and improvised bomb factory. On December 11, 1994, Yousef placed a small explosive on a Philippines airliner en route to Tokyo via Cebu. A Japanese businessman was killed when the device exploded under his seat. Investigation determined that Yousef and his associates had used the device to test a new bomb design and that Yousef planned to place more powerful devices on United States airliners.
While mixing chemicals at the apartment on January 7, 1995, a fire broke out, forcing Yousef and two co-conspirators to flee into the street. Concerned that he had left his laptop computer in the apartment, Yousef sent one of his associates back into the apartment to retrieve it. Responding Philippine police arrested the associate and were able to recover the computer -- which contained encrypted files -- intact.
We were fortunate in that Yousef was careless in protecting his computer password. Consequently, we were able to decrypt his files. These files contained the details of Yousef's plot to destroy numerous United States airliners using a timing device made from an altered watch. After simultaneously planting the devices on United States airliners, the five participants in the plot were to return to either Pakistan or Qatar.
Had that fire not broken out or had we not been able to access those computer files, Yousef and his co-conspirators might have carried out the simultaneous bombings of 11 United States airliners, with potentially thousands of victims.
Terrorists, both abroad and at home, are using technology to protect their operations from being discovered and thwart the efforts of law enforcement to detect, prevent, and investigate such acts. Convicted spy Aldrich Ames was told by his Russian handlers to encrypt his computer files. International drug traffickers also are using encryption to avoid detection by law enforcement.
Most encryption products manufactured today for use by the general public are non-recoverable. This means they do not include features that provide for timely law enforcement access to the plain text of encrypted communications and computer files that are lawfully seized. Law enforcement remains in unanimous agreement that the continued widespread availability and increasing use of strong, non-recoverable encryption products will soon nullify our effective use of court authorized electronic surveillance and the execution of lawful search and seizure warrants. The loss of these capabilities will devastate our capabilities for fighting crime, preventing acts of terrorism, and protecting the national security. Recently, discussions with industry have indicated a willingness to work with law enforcement in meeting our concerns and assisting in developing a law enforcement counterencryption capability. I strongly urge the Congress to adopt a balanced public policy on encryption, one that carefully balances the legitimate needs of law enforcement to protect our Nation's citizens and preserve the national security with the needs of individuals.
The demand for accessing, examining, and analyzing computers and computer storage media for evidentiary purposes is becoming increasingly critical to our ability to investigate terrorism, child pornography, computer-facilitated crimes, and other cases. In the past, the Subcommittee has supported FBI efforts to establish a data forensics capability through our Computer Analysis Response Teams. There is a need to further expand this capability to address a growing workload. Indeed, our limited capability has created a backlog that impacts on both investigations and prosecutions. For 2000, the FBI is requesting 20 positions and $13,835,000 for our cryptanalysis and network data interception programs and 79 positions and $9,861,000 to expand our Computer Analysis Response Team capabilities.
Our Nation's critical infrastructure -- both cyber and physical -- present terrorists, hackers, criminals, and foreign agents with a target for attacks, the consequences of which could be devastating. Over the past several years, the Congress has been very supportive of FBI efforts to develop and improve its capabilities for investigating computer intrusions and other cyber- crimes. These efforts have included the establishment of the National Infrastructure Protection Center and the creation of specially-trained and equipped squads and teams in FBI field offices. For 2000, we are requesting increases of $1,656,000 for operations of the National Infrastructure Protection Center and 108 positions (60 agents) and $11,390,000 for additional field National Infrastructure Protection and Computer Intrusion squads and teams.
Domestic Readiness. The most potentially devastating threat facing the United States as we enter the next century is the terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction (large conventional explosive, chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear devices). For terrorists, symbolic targets, critical infrastructure or major special events make attractive targets. These acts may result in a significant loss of life, may cause psychological trauma and will attract a high level of media exposure.
While the United States holds little credible intelligence at this time
indicating that international or domestic terrorists are planning to attack
United States interests domestically through the use of weapons of mass
destruction, a growing number (while still small) of `lone offender' and
extremist splinter elements of right-wing groups have been identified as
possessing or attempting to develop/use chemical, biological or radiological
materials. Additionally, religious /apocalyptic sects which are unaffiliated
with far right extremists may pose an increasing threat. With the coming of
the next millennium, some religious/apocalyptic groups or individuals may
turn to violence as they seek to achieve dramatic effects to fulfill their
prophecies. The possibility of an indigenous group like Aum Supreme Truth
cannot be excluded.
In all likelihood, State and local law enforcement, emergency management, and public health agencies are going to be the first to respond to and contend with the aftermath of a terrorist's large-scale improvised explosive device or the release of chemical or biological agents. Congress has recognized the critical importance of State and local agencies in the national response to and management of such a crisis by providing assistance through several programs, such as the Department of Defense Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Domestic Preparedness Program and training and equipment grants under the auspices of the Office of Justice Programs. The FBI strongly supports efforts to train and equip State and local first responders whose assistance and expertise will be critical to our investigation of such terrorist incidents. I would like to describe three FBI-led initiatives supporting domestic readiness: the proposed National Domestic Preparedness Office, the Hazardous Devices School, and the equipping of State and local bomb squads.
During the development of the 5-Year Counterterrorism and Technology Crime Strategy, State and local stakeholders recommended that the Attorney General designate a single federal agency to coordinate the multitude of federal domestic preparedness activities. In October 1998, the Attorney General announced her proposal to establish a National Domestic Preparedness Office that would serve as a single point of contact for State and local authorities. The Attorney General delegated responsibility for implementing and managing the Office to the FBI. After several months of working with key federal agencies involved in this area, a blueprint to guide the implementation of the National Domestic Preparedness Office was prepared and is under review. Among the agencies we consulted with in developing the blueprint were: the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense, the National Guard Bureau, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, various components within the Department of Justice, and State and local authorities. Using this blueprint as a guide, the Department recently submitted to the Subcommittee a notification to establish the National Domestic Preparedness Office.
The mission of the National Domestic Preparedness Office will be to assist State and local emergency response agencies (law enforcement, fire, hazardous materials, emergency medical services, emergency management, and public health) by serving as a single coordinating office and clearinghouse for federal efforts to prepare our Nation's communities for the threat posed by the terrorist use of a weapon of mass destruction. The Office will be organized around six program areas that will focus upon specific issues or areas, including: planning, training, exercises, equipment/research and development, information and intelligence sharing, and health and medical.
State and local acceptance of the National Domestic Preparedness Office is critical for its success. Part of the blueprint for the office is the creation of a State and local advisory group patterned after our highly successful Criminal Justice Information Services Advisory Policy Board. The individuals comprising this group will represent their respective areas of expertise and serve as a bridge between federal domestic preparedness program planning and the needs and priorities of states and local communities. We are also recruiting experienced individuals from State and local first responder groups to work in the National Domestic Preparedness Office. We also plan to solicit State and local agencies for detailees to the Office.
In our local communities, the work of the National Domestic Preparedness Office will be facilitated by a network of 56 full-time coordinators, one in each FBI field office. These local coordinators will serve as the primary point of contact for State and local emergency first responders. State and local officials will also be able to contact the National Domestic Preparedness Office through a toll-free assistance number, an Internet website, and the Law Enforcement On-Line intranet.
As we continue building state and local first responder preparedness and readiness, we must keep in mind that this undertaking is a long-term and costly commitment that must be sustained in the future. Equipment provided in 1999 will need to be upgraded or replaced in the future as newer, improved technologies become available. New protective equipment may also be needed to respond to changes in the chemical, biological, and nuclear threat. Basic training must be available for State and local employees who will be hired in the future. Advanced training must be provided to State and local personnel who have completed basic training to maintain competencies.
The proposed National Domestic Preparedness Office is part of our long-term commitment to sustaining state and local first responder readiness. Through this office, we hope to provide better, more coordinated service and assistance to State and local communities and reduce duplication among federal programs.
Another initiative being undertaken by the FBI to improve State and local readiness capabilities is the expansion of training and modernization of facilities at the Hazardous Devices School, located at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. Through the Hazardous Devices School, the FBI trains and certifies federal, state, and local bomb technicians in accordance with standards developed through the National Bomb Squad Commanders Advisory Board. The Hazardous Devices School is the only law enforcement training facility offering certification for public safety bomb technicians. The 5-Year Interagency Counterterrorism and Technology Crime Plan recommends increasing the availability of federal pre-blast and post- blast bomb technician training for first responders.
With the funding provided by the Congress in 1998, we were able to train 963 students, an increase of 48 percent over the previous year. In particular, we provided training to 386 students in a new Weapons of Mass Destruction Bomb Technician Emergency Actions Course. Beginning this year, the weapons of mass destruction course is being integrated into the basic bomb technician course so that all new bomb technicians receive this training. We will also continue to offer the separate course to those bomb technicians already certified.
The expansion of training at the Hazardous Devices School is placing great demands on current facilities. These facilities, consisting of three aging metal buildings and small test ranges located an inefficient distance from other facilities, limit the quantity of personnel trained and the quality of instruction permissible. Additionally, there is an increasing demand for basic and advanced courses, as well as speciality courses that require advanced techniques, that cannot be met with existing facilities.
For 2000, the FBI is requesting $9,000,000 to construct a practical problems training course at Redstone Arsenal as a first step toward improving instructional facilities. The proposed practical problems training course would be comprised of a series of mock buildings that would permit more realistic training scenarios and exercises for students.
State and local bomb technicians may be among the first emergency responders to encounter a terrorist device, including devices that may combine the use of explosives and a chemical, biological, or radiological agent. Recognizing the importance for providing State and local bomb technicians with a capability for detecting the presences of such agents, the FBI developed a multi-year initiative to provide basic equipment and chemical/biological detection technology to the approximately 630 State and local bomb technician squads across the Nation. Congress directed the Attorney General in the 1999 Justice Appropriations Act to provide $25,000,000 from the Department's Working Capital Fund to begin this initiative. For 2000, the Department is requesting $45,000,000 to continue this initiative which is being managed by the FBI. This request directly supports the recommendation contained in the 5-Year Interagency Counterterrorism and Technology Plan to prepare bomb technicians to address incidents involving a combination of explosives and chemical, biological, or radiological agents.
International Partnerships and Cooperation. If, as recent events seem to indicate, terrorists are going to strike against the United States through its presence and citizens in foreign countries, then it is in our national interest to develop and expand "cop-to-cop" relationships with friendly foreign law enforcement, provide basic counterterrorism crime scene and related training, and share with them our forensic and related technologies.
As I indicated earlier, FBI Legal Attaches from Cairo and Pretoria were the first non-resident United States law enforcement officials to arrive on the scene of the terrorist bombings in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. Both of these individuals were instrumental in establishing productive relationships with the host governments and local law enforcement authorities so that our main body of agents, technicians, and others could do their jobs once they arrived. Our Legal Attaches provided critical advice to local authorities on protecting the crime scenes so that key evidence was not destroyed. And, as I also noted earlier, our Legal Attache on scene in Nairobi was instrumental in persuading Kenyan authorities to turn over to the United States tw>
This Subcommittee has strongly supported my efforts to increase the number of FBI Legal Attache Offices. I am hopeful that we can continue to depend upon your support as we complete the four year expansion strategy that was started in 1996.
Both Tanzanian and Kenyan authorities expressed interest in receiving training and technical assistance so that they will not only be better prepared in the event of future acts of terrorism, but also out of a desire to provide more effective basic law enforcement services -- modeled after those of American law enforcement -- to their citizens. Investments in these types of cooperative programs, such as the Antiterrorism Training Assistance program of the Department of State and the International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest, will help provide foreign law enforcement with basic knowledge, such as taking the steps needed to protect terrorism crime scenes until the arrival of FBI rapid deployment teams and prevent the contamination or destruction of evidence that could eventually be used in a United States Court to prosecute an international terrorist.
In support of the Attorney General's leadership efforts within the G-8 to strengthen international cooperation to combat terrorism, the FBI is developing the WorldFACTS system, which will provide G-8 countries with access to four FBI forensic systems: EXPRESS, which correlates information from bombing crime scenes and undetonated explosives devices, and provides a reference base for explosives; comparing and matching firearms evidence from shooting incidents and seized firearms; searching and matching latent fingerprints from crime scenes and evidence; and storing and sharing of terrorist-case related DNA information. Funding for this effort was provided by the Subcommittee in 1997. In 1998, we successfully completed a test of the telecommunications line between Italy and the United States. We have shipped WorldFACTS equipment to Italy in anticipation of the finalization of operational guidelines between the FBI and Italian authorities.
The FBI also assists the Department of Defense in its counterproliferation program. The goals of this program are to train and equip foreign law enforcement personnel to detect, prevent, investigate, and prosecute incidents involving the illegal trafficking in weapons of mass destruction and to deter the possible proliferation and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction in Eastern Europe, the Baltic States, and the countries of the former Soviet Union. Under this interagency program, which also involves the United States Customs Service, the Department of Energy, the Department of State, the Department of Commerce, and other agencies, the FBI has provided counter-proliferation training for government officials from the republics of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, and Moldova. Reducing the opportunity for terrorists to obtain radiological and similar materials at the source is the first step toward preventing their use against the United States.
To adequately understand the terrorist threat currently facing the United States, we must appreciate the unique position America occupies in the world today. As the sole superpower, the politics of the United States are viewed with intense interest by nations around the world . To some individuals and groups who feel powerless to affect their own destinies through legal means, the breadth of influence and power wielded by the United States represents a stunning contrast -- and an attractive target for their frustrations. Despite our successes against various terrorist groups and individuals, new groups and new individuals step onto the scene to take up the cause against America.
The FBI has developed a broad-based response to many external threats that confront the United States today. Due to the strong support of this Subcommittee, we are much better prepared to address the terrorist threat at home and abroad than we were six years ago. With the continued support of Congress and the Executive Branch, and in cooperation with our partners in the intelligence and law enforcement communities, we will continue to enhance our ability to protect the American people from the threat of international terrorism.
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