Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515-0128
TESTIMONY BY COFER BLACK
COORDINATOR FOR COUNTERTERRORISM
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM,
NONPROLIFERATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS
MARCH 26, 2003
THE INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM THREAT
Chairman Gallegly, and subcommittee members:
I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today on the international terrorism threat. I understand that this is the first hearing by your new subcommittee. This is also my first testimony to a House International Relations Subcommittee. I am honored to be before you this afternoon.
At your request, I will first provide an overview of the "hotspots" in the global war against terrorism. Second, I will describe the groups, threats and trends we consider to be the most significant. Third, I'll provide a brief regional overview and finally, I will outline our policies and programs designed to counter the international terrorism threat.
Mr. Chairman, we always have been concerned about several sources of attacks: not only those by Al-Qaida and related groups but also by terrorists operating at the behest of Iraq or in sympathy to Iraq. These attacks could come against US and Coalition targets from groups or individuals who have no ties with Iraq or al-Qaida and are acting without central direction but feel strongly enough against the U.S., the West in general or the war to strike now. During the 1991 conflict with Iraq, there were about 200 such incidents, most of them minor. With several major exceptions, they were conducted primarily by groups or individuals with no known connections to Iraq.
Currently, the Iraqi regime itself poses a threat. We have strong indications that Iraqi intelligence officials are assuming stronger authority over Iraqi diplomatic missions overseas. This activity is of particular concern, especially in light of additional indications that Baghdad may instruct its representatives overseas to take actions against Western interests. We have been urging other countries to expel Iraqi diplomats in order to minimize this threat.
Meanwhile, in the current situation, we would expect al-Qaida to launch attacks against US interests and assert that they were defending Muslims and the people of Iraq. Small-scale and possibly large-scale attacks in various parts of the world are likely.
There have been reports in recent months of suspicious activities around military facilities, ports, and other facilities such as bridges and power plants that have economic as well as symbolic significance. Al-Qaida also has shown an interest in chemical, biological, chemical and improvised radiological dispersal devices.
Looking briefly at the evolving terrorism situation, historically, the major threats came from secular groups, such as the Abu Nidal Organization and the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) -- groups that enjoyed the backing of such state sponsors of terrorism as Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iran. The groups have largely been supplanted in recent years. And Abu Nidal himself was killed recently in Iraq. If you believe Iraqi authorities, Abu Nidal committed suicide by shooting himself several times.
However, since the early 1990's, the terrorist threat has evolved, and the most dangerous attacks against the United States and our friends have come from radical fundamentalist groups, such as al-Qaida. Most of them are self-supporting, in that the bulk of their funding has been raised through supporters, diversion of legitimate charitable giving, criminal activities, and front companies.
The 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, and the September 11 attacks burned into the world's consciousness the broad reach and vicious mentality of al-Qaida. One of Bin Ladin's original motivations was his hatred of the U.S. military presence on Saudi soil -- a presence that was largely prompted by Iraq's threat to the Saudi Kingdom, Kuwait, and in the other countries of the Gulf. In recent years he has cloaked himself in other "causes" such as the Palestinians' aspiration for a state and Saddam Hussein's conflict with the U.S. and its allies, but we think this is primarily an effort to attract more support for his initial goal of establishing fundamentalist Islamic extremist regimes in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Bin Laden and his al-Qaida group enjoyed sanctuary, first in Sudan and then in Afghanistan. Now that its Taliban protectors have been defeated by the American-led coalition, al-Qaida has been disbursed and its capabilities degraded. It is not the organization that it was previously. It is under stress and its leaders worry more about capture than initiating multiple large scale attacks. Indeed, many members have been caught or killed. The arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in Pakistan earlier this month was another major setback for al-Qaida. We have been making good progress in undermining the group.
But we cannot relax. Al-Qaida is still dangerous and vicious. I believe the terrorists would not hesitate to use chemical, biological or even radioactive weapons if they could, for they seem to glory in killing and maiming as many people as possible. Their victims need not all be Americans other westerners -- citizens of more than 90 countries were murdered in the World Trade Center bombing. Africans were the primary victims of three major attacks in Kenya and Tanzania. Australians and Indonesians were the major victims in the Indonesian bombing.
Al-Qaida and its related groups were loosely knit to begin with, and this trend could continue. This can create a challenge in detecting and deterring future attacks. Since 9/11, al-Qaida affiliated groups have been able to conduct attacks in far flung corners of the world, such as the one against a French tanker off the Yemen coast, and against a synagogue in Tunisia, where a dozen German tourists were killed. And the attack in Indonesia last October that killed over 200 people, primarily Australian tourists but also seven Americans, shows the devastation that can be caused by terrorists using relatively low-tech explosives.
The unsuccessful attempt involving a shoulder-launched missile to shoot down an Israeli passenger plane at Mombassa, Kenya during a simultaneous attack on an Israeli-owned hotel also shows the continued vulnerability of countries in the developing world.
We have programs, especially our antiterrorism training assistance (ATA) to help these countries. The terrorists, however, have the luxury of picking their targets at a time and place of their choice. It is not possible to protect everything everywhere, whether at home or overseas.
Al-Qaida is probably the terrorist group with the broadest international reach but there are regional-based groups that continue to pose a threat to American lives and American friends.
I would like to now provide a brief regional overview.
In Latin America, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), is the most dangerous terrorist group. The 9,000 to 12,000 armed members of the FARC engage in bombings, assassinations, indiscriminate mortar attacks, kidnapping, extortion, hijacking, as well as guerilla and conventional military action against Colombian political, military, and economic targets. Since 1992, the FARC has murdered at least 10 US citizens and currently holds three United States Government civilian contractors hostage.
The FARC has well documented ties to narcotics traffickers and is engaged in every aspect of the narcotics trade from taxation to protection to cultivation and marketing. Colombias three terrorist organizationsthe FARC, the National Liberation Army (ELN), and the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC)were responsible for some 3,500 murders in 2002.
While groups like the FARC in Colombia still are a major threat, we have to also look at the terrorist threat in this hemisphere in the context of the threats emanating primarily from other parts of the world. International terrorist groups have not hesitated to operate in Latin America to advance their causes elsewhere, such as the bombings of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and the Argentine-Jewish Cultural Center (AMIA) in 1994. Just recently, the Government of Argentina moved forward on indictments in the AMIA case against four Iranian officials, and the Israeli government has implicated the Iranian regime in the bombing of its embassy.
At this time, we have no confirmed, credible information of an al-Qaida presence in Latin America. However, terrorist fundraising continues to be a concern throughout the region. Suspected activities of Hizballah and HAMAS financiers in the Triborder area (Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina) led those three countries to take determined and cooperative action during 2002 to investigate and disrupt illicit financial activities. Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina also invited the U.S. to join a new "Three Plus One" counterterrorism cooperation mechanism to analyze and combat any terrorist-related threats in the Triborder region. I led an interagency U.S. delegation to meet with the four countries in Buenos Aires in December, and a follow-up meeting focused on counterterrorism finance capacity-building is planned for this spring.
In the Middle East, Iran has continued to foment terrorism by providing fund and weapons to Palestinian rejectionist groups such as the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hizballah, which is a Lebanese organization. Although Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon, Hizballah continues sporadic antitank guided missile and mortar attacks against Israeli positions in the small Shab'a Farms area of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Hizballah claims the Shab'a Farms is Lebanese and not Syrian territory, and is, therefore, a legitimate scene for military operations. The Iranian supply flights come into Damascus International Airport and are transferred overland through Syrian controlled controlled areas of Lebanon to Hizballah forces. (Hizballah conducted the terrorist attacks against the U.S. Marine barracks and embassy in Lebanon that claimed more U.S. lives than any other group prior to al-Qaida's attacks.)
HAMAS, the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, continued their suicide attacks against Israeli targets, including attacks in which at least ten American citizens were killed in a variety of bombings last year. These groups all strive to perpetuate violence against Israel and thwart an peace agreement between the parties. . Iraq has provided payments to families of suicide bombers in order to encourage their attacks and reassure them that their families will be provided for if they become "martyrs."
Europe is also a hot spot. In addition to the persistence of domestic terrorist threats in a number of countries, large immigrant populations provide numerous opportunities for terrorists to blend in.
Just last week, French authorities found in a Paris railway station luggage storage area small flasks with traces of ricin, a deadly poison that could be used for terrorist attacks. This past January, British police discovered traces of the same poison during a raid on a London apartment. These discoveries increased our concern that extremists are planning to follow through with long standing threats of conducting poison plots against Western targets.
Italian forces last year disrupted suspected terrorist cells and captured al-Qaida suspects in Milan and elsewhere who were providing support to terrorist operations and planning attacks. An Italian court last year sentenced members of the Tunisian Combatant Group to prison terms, marking the first conviction of al-Qaida associates in Europe since September 11, 2001.
Our recent designation of three Chechen terrorist groups under Executive Order 13224 underscored our condemnation of terrorism in that conflict and reiterated our support for a political settlement between Russian and Chechen groups. All five permanent members of the Security Council, plus Germany and Spain, joined in submitting the names of those three groups for inclusion on the UNs consolidated terrorist list. This is the first time all five members have joined in a submission to this list. Coming in the weeks just before the beginning of this war, this show of unanimity among the P-5 was remarkable.
Spain detained a significant number of terrorist suspects, including two individuals believed to be financiers for the al-Qaida network. Germany also placed several high-profile terrorists on trial, including a member of the Hamburg cell involved in the Sept 11 attacks, and four North Africans accused of plotting to attack the Strasbourg Christmas market in 2000. Turkey arrested a number of individuals with ties to al-Qaida. France, Belgium, the UK, and others were involved in investigations of British "shoe bomber" Richard Reid.
In South Asia, remaining al- Qaida and Taliban cells and sympathetic groups continued to present a danger throughout Afghanistan. Pakistan has become a favored destination for fleeing terrorists, but Pakistan support in going after them has been excellent. This was demonstrated by the arrest of al-Qaida's operational planner, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Ramsi bin al Shibh, a September 11 planner. Extremist violence in Pakistan continues to claim more Pakistani lives than the Westerners on whom it is targeted. Meanwhile, extremist violence in Kashmir, fueled by infiltration from Pakistan across the Line of Control, threatens to become a flash point for a wider India-Pakistan conflict.
Elsewhere in South Asia, we have reason for guarded optimism. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka have entered peace negotiations with the government. The Maoist insurgents in Nepal have also declared a cease fire in their ongoing campaign to overthrow the government there, but we are watching carefully for signs that they might choose a return to violence.
In South East Asia, the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiya (JI), is considered to be responsible for the October bombing of the nightclub in Bali that killed more than 200 persons. This was the biggest terrorist attack since 9/11. Indonesia arrested Abu Bakar Bashir, spiritual leader of JI, on several charges, including attempting to assassinate the President of Indonesia and charges related to a string of bombings around Christmas 2000. There have been arrests in several countries of operatives associated with JI, and the Bali bomb blast investigation has proceeded quickly and professionally. But concerns about future possible attacks remain.
In the Philippines, insurgent groups appear to have launched new offensives. There has been an increase in violence by the Communist People's Party and its armed wing, the New People's Army, and by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) is of particular concern. ASG has kidnapped several hundred Filipinos and foreigners in the last several years. It has been responsible for the deaths of three Americans, including a US soldier. It appears that ASG is no longer interested only in kidnap-for-ransom but also in bombings and other traditional terrorist-type activities. The USG is concerned at the growing evidence of links between the ASG and terrorist groups, including al Qaeda and JI. Similarly, our two governments also are concerned there could be a link between ASG and Iraq.
In Africa, the coordinated attacks against a commercial airliner and a hotel in Mombassa, Kenya in November that killed 12 Kenyans and three Israeli tourists demonstrated that Africa is still vulnerable to terrorism from both indigenous insurgent groups that use terrorist tactics and to international terrorist groups. We believe al-Qaida was responsible for the Mombassa attacks, as well as the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
In Angola, last May there was a grenade attack on a convoy of US oil workers in Cabinda. Although no one claimed responsibility, the attackers were likely Cabindan separatists. The Government has cooperated in increasing security for private oil companies in Cabinda.
COUNTERING THE THREAT:
Mr. Chairman, let me now describe how we try to counter the international terrorism threat.
The world is fighting terrorism on five fronts: diplomatic, financial, intelligence, law enforcement, and military.
Terrorists and their organizations cannot be defeated through force of arms alone. Diplomacy constitutes this nations first line of defense and is one of our most potent offensive weapons in the war on terrorism.
Diplomacy is the instrument of power that builds political will and strengthens international cooperation. Through diplomatic exchanges we promote counterterrorism cooperation with friendly nations that serves our mutual interests. We build capacity that bolsters the capabilities of our allies. Diplomacy helps us take the war to the terrorists, to cut off the resources they need and depend upon to survive.
The Departments of Justice, Treasury, Homeland Security, Defense, CIA and many other federal agencies have critical missions in this regard. However, as the lead foreign affairs agency, the Department of State through my office serves as the coordinator and overall clearinghouse for counterterrorism activities conducted overseas by the United States Government.
Since 9/11, we have methodically taken the battle against terrorism to the international front lines. Strong embassies and active diplomacy are an important part of the effort. Our ambassadors and the staff members of our embassies and consulates, drawn not just from State but also from other federal agencies, are serving us well. Over my career in international affairs and now being a part of that diplomatic front line, I have much admiration and respect for the men and women who serve at our missions overseas. In the face of especially grave threats today, they continue to serve with great professionalism and bravery. Indeed, they are the backbone to our overseas counterterrorism efforts. It is this "diplomatic readiness," to use Secretary Powells phrase, that is vital to our ability to fight terrorism.
Our embassies are our direct voices to the governments of other nations. They facilitate our efforts to disrupt terrorist networks and to apprehend terrorist individuals. Ambassadors, their Deputies, and other members of country teams, including representatives from other agencies, are all instrumental in developing and maintaining good working relations with the host country and pursuing our counterterrorism objectives.
It is an important function of my office and staff to support this front line effort. Since assuming the Coordinator's job three months ago, I have traveled to Russia, China, Japan, the U.K., Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Tri-Border region of South America.
I can say unequivocally that our Chiefs of Mission and their country teams are invaluable resources. They are both leading and supporting our efforts to promote and achieve our counterterrorism agenda in their respective host countries and regions.
The Department of State is at the forefront of the financial war on terrorism. The Secretary has designated 36 Foreign Terrorist Organizations, freezing their assets, blocking travel by their members and supporters, and criminalizing material support for them. He has designated 60 entities and individuals under Executive Order 13224, freezing their assets and banning U.S. persons from having any transactions with them. He has designated 48 groups under the USA PATRIOT Act the "Terrorist Exclusion List" excluding their members and supporters from the U.S. And both directly and through our embassies, we are working with governments around the world to attack the mechanisms by which terrorists raise, move, and use money.
The Administration is reviewing the requirement in current law regarding designations of terrorist organizations and individuals every two years. Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, the designation of a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) automatically expires after two years unless renewed. This year, 29 groups are up for redesignation.
The task of drafting new administrative records every two years to support a determination to redesignate FTO's is labor intensive and unnecessary in most cases. The resources could be better used for other important counterterrorism duties, including monitoring and designating new groups as appropriate. We are preparing draft legislation to amend the FTO statute and want to work with the Congress to make this process less administratively onerous.
We also help other countries improve their ability to counter terrorism financing. For example, earlier this month, my staff joined an interagency team in Manila to successfully assist the Government of the Philippines with enacting financial controls vital to denying terrorists access to funding and in so doing brought the Philippines into compliance with international anti-money laundering and terrorist financing standards. My staff and Washington-based interagency teams, joining our embassy country teams, are helping many other front-line states to evaluate their financial systems, identify vulnerabilities, and develop counterterrorism finance training programs. My colleague, Tony Wayne, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, will elaborate on these efforts.
INTELLIGENCE, LAW ENFORCEMENT
The gathering of intelligence about al-Qaida's infrastructure in Afghanistan helps enable us to dismantle or scatter much of its membership and organization.
Information gained from captured enemy combatants and imprisoned terrorists is being exploited effectively around the world. Last month's arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the third ranking al-Qaida official, represents a major part of our intelligence efforts.
The expansion of intelligence sharing and cooperation among nations since 9/11 is preventing attacks, saving lives, and exposing the hiding places of terrorists.
An impressive global dragnet has tightened around al-Qaida. Since 9/11 more than 3,000 al-Qaida operatives or associates have been detained in over 100 countries, largely as a result of cooperation among law enforcement agencies.
Entire cells have been wrapped up in nations such as Singapore, Italy, and elsewhere. In all these cells, deadly attacks on US interests or our allies were being planned.
We are also delivering training and assistance to foreign law enforcement agencies to assist them in strengthening their capacity to deter terrorism. Assistance in matters such as border security, criminal prosecutions, and anti-corruption efforts helps to create an environment in which it is increasingly difficult for terrorist groups to operate.
The military actions to disarm Saddam Husseins regime in Iraq and liberate his people from his brutal hand is a major attempt to alleviate the threat that weapons of mass destruction will be put to terrorist purposes. We are concerned particularly about the potential use of biological, chemical and radiological dispersion type devices in terrorist operations. In Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom last year liberated the bulk of Afghan territory from Taliban control within a matter of weeks. This deprived Al-Qaida of its major sanctuary for planning, preparing for, and coordinating terrorist attacks.
The ultimate success of this global counterterrorism campaign will hinge in large part on two factors: sustained international political will and effective capacity building.
First, we must sustain and enhance the political will of states to fight terrorism. The secret of maintaining a coalition is demonstrating daily to its members that the fight is not over and that sustained effort is clearly in their long-term interests. My meetings with government officials in every region of the world have convinced me that we have made tremendous progress on that score.
Second, we need to enhance the capacity of all states to fight terrorism. The United States cannot alone investigate every lead, arrest every suspect, gather and analyze all the intelligence, effectively sanction every sponsor of terrorism, prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, or find and fight every terrorist cell.
We have various programs to bolster the capacity of those willing to join us in the fight against international terrorism. I describe them in the annex to this testimony.
Mr. Chairman, to sum up:
|The President's plan to fight terrorism involves the State Department's leadership at many levels.|
|To defeat the threat of terrorism we must make use of every tool in our arsenal- military power, improved homeland defense, law enforcement, intelligence, vigorous efforts to cut off terrorist financing, and diplomacy, the first among equals enabling tool that makes it possible for us to effectively use all the other instruments.|
|The war against terrorists of global reach is a global enterprise of uncertain duration. America will help nations that need our assistance in combating terror. America will hold to account nations that sponsor the use of terror and/or harbor its perpetrators.|
|We will cooperate with other nations to detect, deter and destroy terrorist organizations at every turn. The gravest danger our Nation faces is a result of the combination of radicalism and technology. Our enemies have openly declared that they are seeking weapons of mass murder, and evidence indicates that they are doing so with determination.|
|Simply, America will act against such threats before they are fully formed. We are mindful that no nation can build a safer world alone. Alliances and multilateral institutions can multiply the strength of freedom loving nations. Building the will to strengthen and effectively use international alliances and institutions to overcome the scourge of terrorism is what we do at the Department of State. I welcome the responsibility to lead in this great endeavor.|
Mr. Chairman, again, thank you for the opportunity to testify and I look forward to hearing your questions.
STATE DEPARTMENT COUNTERTERRORISM PROGRAMS
Terrorist Finance Programs. This is a core function of the State Department's efforts to counter international terrorism. We seek to interrupt and deny the flow of funds going to terrorists and their operations and to strengthen the financial and regulatory sectors of vulnerable coalition partners against manipulation and penetration by the financiers of terror.
The groundwork for our counterterrorism finance offensive was actually laid many years before 9/11, with provisions that the State Department proposed and the Congress enacted as part of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. The Act authorizes the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of Treasury, to designate Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). Among other provisions, the Act prohibits U.S. persons and persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States from knowingly providing material support or resources to an FTO, or attempt or conspire to do so. Among other consequences of a designation, any financial institution that becomes aware that it has possession of or control over funds of a designated FTO must retain possession of or control over the funds and report the funds to the Treasury Departments Office of the Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Currently 36 groups are designated.
Following September 11, the President signed Executive Order 13224, which requires U.S. persons to freeze the assets of individuals and entities designated under this E.O. for their support of terrorism. There are currently over 250 individuals and entities designated under E.O. 13224. The White House also established an interagency mechanism to coordinate terrorist financing policy among USG agencies.
Each embassy has identified a Terrorism Finance Coordination Officer to lead the effort to work with the host governments to detect, disrupt and deter terrorist financing. Internationally, the UN has also stepped up its own efforts in the area of fighting terrorist financing in a major way following September 11, requiring countries to freeze the assets of those included in its consolidated list of entities and individuals with ties to al-Qaida and the Taliban. This list continues to expand as countries join us in submitting new names of individuals and entities linked to al-Qaida to the UN. So far, USG and coalition freezing actions have netted over $120 million in assets of persons or entities with ties to terrorist networks, and in many cases to al-Qaida.
We are working with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) a 31-member organization that sets international standards to combat money laundering and more recently to combat terrorist financing. Last month the FATF elaborated on two of its earlier recommendations on terrorist financing to make the use of cross-border wire transfers and alternative remittance systems (such as hawalas) more transparent, and less subject to exploitation by terrorist groups. On the bilateral front, interagency teams led by the State Department are traveling to states critical to our counterterrorism efforts to evaluate their financial systems, identify vulnerabilities, and develop and implement comprehensive counterterrorism financing training and technical assistance programs.
CT Finance Capacity Building programs are coordinated by S/CT and administered through State/INL (The Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs) and counterpart entities at the Departments of Justice, Treasury, and Homeland Security and the Agency for International development. These programs are aimed at providing front-line states with technical assistance in drafting anti-terrorist financing legislation, and training for bank regulators, investigators, and prosecutors to identify and combat financial crime, particularly terrorist financing.
(For FY 2004, the budget request includes $3.5 million.)
Antiterrorism Training Assistance (ATA). This program was among the first specific counterterrorism programs funded at State, first authorized in late 1983. It continues to serve as the primary provider of U.S. Government antiterrorism training and equipment to the law enforcement agencies of friendly countries needing assistance in the war against terrorism. S/CT provides policy guidance and funding to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security Office of Antiterrorism Assistance, which implements the program.
The program provides a wide range of courses to strengthen the capacities of recipient countries. The training includes traditional courses such as hostage negotiations, bomb detection and airport security. In recent years, ATA has developed new courses for countering terrorism financing and defeating cyber-terrorism. It also has provided a series of seven seminars to help other countries strengthen their counterterrorism legislation. The Department works of course with the US embassy officers, especially the Regional Security Officers, in developing the training package to meet the recipient countrys needs. In FY 2003, we are scheduling 180 courses for 56 countries.
(For FY 2004, the Department is requesting $106.4 million to meet the programs growing requirements in the NADR account of the Foreign Appropriations Bill. Of this amount, $19.4 million is specifically requested for programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia.)
CT R&D. The State Department, through S/CT, co-chairs the inter-agency Technical Support Work Group (TSWG) that rapidly develops and prototypes counterterrorism technologies to provide protections against terrorist attacks. For example, the "Quick 2000" masks that have been distributed to members of Congress and staff were evaluated, modified and improved based on a testing protocol developed by the TSWG.
This has been a very successful and important program. S/CT provides policy oversight, managerial direction and helps provide core funding. The Defense Department executes the program, and provides technical oversight for the program and contributes the larger share of the funding. Recently, the State Department reached agreement with the new Department of Homeland Security to facilitate DHS participation in the TSWG and to contribute funding.
S/CT has been able to leverage the relatively small State Department contribution to develop matching contributions and joint research with international partners in Britain, Canada and Israel. (FY 2004 request: $1.8 million.)
Terrorist Interdiction Program (TIP). TIP aims at bolstering the border security of countries at a high risk of terrorist transit. Through this program, priority countries are provided a sophisticated database system and related support that identifies and tracks suspected terrorists as they enter and exit these countries. The program uses a sophisticated data base system with high-speed connections to airports or border crossing points. The program provides computer hardware, database software and training and is currently being deployed in five countries and is scheduled for deployment in twelve more countries this calendar year. Arrests and detentions have occurred in all five countries where the system has been deployed.
(FY 2004 request: $11 million for installations in up to 12 new countries and continued work and maintenance on previous installations.)
CT Senior Policy Workshops. These workshops aim at improving the capability of participating countries to effectively respond to Weapons of Mass Destruction and other forms of terrorist attack. The objective is to increase senior host nation officials awareness of the complexities of preventing and effectively mitigating a major terrorist attack. Ten workshops are planned for FY 04, with three in Greece to help preparations for the 2004 Olympics.
While the focus of these workshops is to effectively respond to WMD terrorist incidents overseas, some are customized to address host government needs based on their perceived threat. For example, workshops were used in the Caspian Sea as the first phase of the Training and Assistance offered to Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey to further facilitate the success of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Gas and Oil Pipeline in responding to energy threats. In partnership with the Department of Energy, we are currently conducting Workshops in Central Asia (Kazakhstan) in response to their energy security threats and to effectively respond to nuclear materials discovered following the break-up of the Soviet Union.
(FY 2004 request: $2.5 million in NADR funds to conduct 10 Workshops.)
Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST). As the lead Federal agency to respond to an international terrorist-related crisis, the Department of State heads the FEST. The FEST provides a specially trained and equipped interagency team to assist the U.S. ambassador and a host government in dealing with a terrorist incident. The team can provide advice, assistance and assessments for the embassy on a variety of terrorism-related issues. The composition of the FEST varies, depending on the nature of the incident (such as a hostage situation, an embassy bombing, or a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) incident). The team is led by a senior State Department officer and includes additional State Department personnel, such as operations officers, communications experts, and diplomatic security agents.
A dedicated aircraft, which is specially configured and carries up to 55 persons, is operated by the Department of Defense and is on a four-hour standby. Smaller teams can be deployed by other means as required.
(No program increases are requested in the FY 04 request.)
Exercises, TOPOFF. The Department of State plans and coordinates the international dimension of the domestic (U.S.) Top Officials exercise (TOPOFF). This series of exercises was designed to test and improve the nations domestic readiness for responding to terrorist incidents involving Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) agents or devices. The current TOPOFF exercise, TOPOFF 2, is co-sponsored by the Department of States and the Department of Homeland Security. It is a series of events that started in the spring of 2002 and culminates with the full-scale exercise in May 2003. TOPOFF 2 involves active participation by the Government of Canada in all aspects of the exercise.
S/CT also takes part in two or three Theater Commanders Counterterrorism exercises each year. These full-scale exercises require a year of preparation and normally include representatives from the various agencies that participate in the FEST. The exercises ensure continued inter-operability and provide an opportunity to improve capabilities. S/CT leads the interagency effort and participates in all the planning activities. Most of the scenarios are complex and include such serious threats as chemical, biological, nuclear and cyber terrorism.
(No program increases are requested in the FY 04 request.)
Rewards for Justice Program. The State Departments Rewards for Justice program is an important tool for helping deter terrorist attacks and apprehend suspects. In general, this program offers rewards of up to $5 million for information leading to an arrest or conviction of any individual for conspiring, aiding, abetting or committing an act of international terrorism against U.S. persons or property or the prevention, frustration or favorable resolution thereof. With respect to Usama bin Laden and other key al-Qaida leaders, however, the Secretary has authorized a reward of up to $25 million.
(The FY 04 budget does not include program increases but there is an $11 million carryover from a previous Supplemental that can be used for the rewards program for terrorism, war criminal and war criminal cases.)
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