UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Homeland Security

14 February 2003

Bush Says Winning War On Terror Requires Perseverance, Coordination

(Terrorist Threat Integration Center will help meet challenges) (2130)
President Bush says both perseverance and determination are essential
in the ongoing global war against terrorism.
"We will persevere," he says, "and it does not matter how long it
takes." Bush made his remarks February 14 during a speech to employees
at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
While speaking about ways to improve counterterrorism intelligence,
the President said not only is everything possible being done in the
United States, "but we're doing everything we can abroad" as part of a
broad-ranging international counterterrorism manhunt.
Bush said overseas coordination has been enhanced. "When you read in
the newspapers that a European country has hauled in parts of a poison
network, it's important to understand that the reason they were able
to do so," he said, "is because we shared intelligence, that we're
cooperating, that this vast network of freedom-loving countries is
intact and real." And, the President said his earlier message that
"either you're with us or with the terrorists" still stands.
Bush made his remarks on the same day as he announced plans to launch
the Terrorist Threat and Integration Center in May. He said the Center
is an important counterterrorism advance because it will integrate and
analyze -- in one spot -- all of the information collected at home and
abroad about terrorist threats.
The war on terrorism, the President said, "requires us to understand
that terror is broader than one international network, that these
terrorist networks have got connections, in some cases, to countries
run by outlaw dictators."
The President went on to talk about al-Qaeda and Iraq, generally, and
then said: "Saddam Hussein has got ties to terrorist networks." He
also expressed concerns about "those who suffer under the hands of a
dictator in Iraq."
Following are excerpts of the President's remarks:
(begin transcript)
Office of the Press Secretary
February 14, 2003
FBI Headquarters Washington, D.C.
1:15 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Across the world we are tracking and confronting and
defeating international terror. Within our own country, we're taking
unprecedented measures to protect the American people against a
serious and continuing danger. There is no such thing as perfect
security against a hidden network of cold-blooded killers. Yet, abroad
and at home, we're not going to wait until the worst dangers are upon
us. We continue to be in a state of war. But we're making progress.
And today I want to talk about the Terrorist Threat Integration
Center, which will help us meet the challenges of war; will help us do
everything we can to say clearly to the American people, we're working
overtime to protect you; we're doing everything in power to make sure
the homeland is secure.
The officials who are present here represent thousands of patriotic
Americans who know that we've been called into action, that this is a
new era. One of the reasons I express such confidence in the country
is because I understand the character of the people who have been
called into action. And there's no doubt in my mind we will prevail.
Before September the 11th -- if you can remember that far back -- we
all thought oceans could protect us from attack.
The nation thought we were secure from any gathering danger that might
be occurring somewhere else. After all, our history pretty well
predicted that we would be safe.
But everything changed on that morning and it's important for our
fellow citizens to understand that everything did change. That we must
do everything in our power to stop an enemy from coming here to hurt
us, is our first task. Last week's decision to raise our national
terrorist threat is a stark reminder of the new era we're in; that
we're at war and the war goes on.
We've got agencies at every level meeting threats. We've got people
standing watch 24 hours a day. Perseverance is power in this war.
Determination is essential in this war. We will persevere. And it
doesn't matter how long it takes. See, that's the nature of the
country that we live in. We owe it to our citizens to protect us
within the Constitution that we're all sworn to uphold, and we will do
We're not only doing everything here at home, but we're doing
everything we can abroad. Let me first tell you this: we're winning
the war on terror. We've hauled in thousands of terrorists. They're
captured. They're off the street. They're not a problem. (A)Like
(similar) number were not as lucky. And they're not a problem, either.
We're dismantling al-Qaeda one person at time. There used to be a kind
of a brain trust of these people. And slowly, but surely, we're
bringing them to justice. We're at war in a different kind of war.
It's a war that requires us to be on an international manhunt. We're
on the hunt. It's a war that causes us to need to get the enemy on the
run. We got them on the run. And it's just a matter of time before we
bring them to justice.
This war requires us to understand that terror is broader than one
international network, that these terrorist networks have got
connections -- in some cases, to countries run by outlaw dictators.
And that's the issue with Iraq. When I speak about the war on terror,
I not only talk about al-Qaeda, I talk about Iraq -- because, after
all, Saddam Hussein has got weapons of mass destruction and he's used
Saddam Hussein is used to deceiving the world and he continues to do
so. Saddam Hussein has got ties to terrorist networks. Saddam Hussein
is a danger, and that's why he will be disarmed -- one way or the
All our successes in the war on terror depend on the ability of our
intelligence and law enforcement agencies to work in common purpose.
In order to better protect our homeland, our intelligence agencies
must coexist like they never have before. In order to hunt the
terrorists down one by one, our intelligence agencies must cooperate
fully with agencies overseas. Under the leadership of Director Tenet
and Mueller, the CIA and the FBI have improved their communications
and cooperation. These agencies are now quicker to share intelligence
with each other.
And we've enhanced in overseas coordination, as well. When you read in
the newspapers that a European country has hauled in parts of a poison
network, it's important to understand that the reason they were able
to do so is because we shared intelligence, that we're cooperating,
that this vast network of freedom-loving countries is intact and real
and the message is either you're with us or the terrorists -- and it
still stands.
The increased cooperation of the CIA and FBI counterterrorism
operations has proven to be one of the greatest advantages in this war
on terror. Under the leadership of Bob Mueller, the FBI has been
transforming itself since September the 11th. It has no greater
priority than preventing terrorist attacks against America.
The Bureau has assigned more than 1,800 agents to counterterrorism.
That's a 40 percent increase than prior to September the 11th. In
other words, this agency now understands that we're at war and the
first responsibility of an incredibly important agency, the FBI, is to
prevent the enemy from hitting us and hurting us. The agents that are
out working in the field are gathering evaluating information all the
time, which helps us deal with any terrorist threat.
We're also strengthening the counterterrorism efforts by forming
partnerships across all levels of the government. It's important for
our fellow citizens to know that there is great cooperation between
the federal government and the state government and the local
governments. We form what's called joint terrorism task forces
throughout our country, which bring together dedicated officials at
all levels of government.
Not only is the cooperation better between the CIA and the FBI, not
only is the cooperation better between intelligence-gathering services
all around the world, but our cooperation at the federal, state and
local level is unprecedented. And it needs to be -- because we fight a
ruthless enemy. The FBI is expanding the terrorist identification
system so that 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies will be
better able to identify known or suspected terrorists in near
real-time. Local police officers will be able to access federal
terrorism information from their squad cars.
In other words, a guy in Crawford (Texas) pulls somebody over, he's
able to call up whether or not the person is on a terrorist list,
whether or not the person is a suspect. All across our country we'll
be able to tie our terrorist information to local information banks so
that the front line of defeating terror becomes activated and real,
and those are the local law enforcement officials. We expect them to
be a part of our effort, we must give them the tools necessary so they
can do their job.
We will continue to work with Congress to make sure that the budgets
reflect the new reality of the 21st century. That's why I requested
$500 million for additional money for training preparedness equipment,
technical assistance for state and local law enforcement. The
Terrorist Threat Integration Center marks another crucial advance in
meeting the threats of this time. This joint effort across many
departments of our government will integrate and analyze all terrorist
threat information, collected domestically and abroad in a single
location. And that's an important advance.
The goal is to develop a comprehensive picture of terrorist activity.
When the center is fully operational, it will fully house a database
of known and suspected terrorists that officials across the country
will be able to access and act upon. I'm pleased that Bob -- George
Tenet and Bob Mueller will take the next important steps in assembling
their counterterrorism resources, both operational and analytical, and
locate them in a single facility with the Terrorist Threat Integration
Center. The new Department of Homeland Security will be a full partner
in this center. The department will act to identify and reduce our
vulnerabilities to terrorism, and coordinate with the FBI to ensure
the threat information is quickly disseminated. All of these efforts
will formalize a new spirit of cooperation that began 15 months ago.
The American people need to know that we're collecting a lot of
information and we're going to share it in a way that enables us to do
our jobs that you expect us to do; that we're going to use the best
information technologies available to not only make sure information
flows freely at the federal level, but flows from this data bank of
information to local law enforcement officials. It will enable us to
make sure that we do everything we can to win the war on terror at
Just like we're going to do everything we can by unleashing the
greatest military ever assembled abroad. We've got fabulous men and
women in uniform who are on the hunt. The finest, bravest soldiers
ever known to mankind are helping us track them down one by one. And
if we have to send them into Iraq to make sure that that regime is
disarmed, we'll use every ounce of our ingenuity and technology to
protect innocent life of the Iraqi people; at the same, achieve an
objective of achieving world peace.
One of the things this country stands for is freedom. That's what we
believe. For years the freedom of our people were really never in
doubt because no one every thought that the terrorists, or anybody,
could come and hurt America. But that changed. As a matter of fact,
the more threatened we are here at home, the more we love freedom. The
more there's a chance that somebody might think they can take it away
from us, the more stubborn we are in our demand for freedom
As I said in my State of the Union, liberty is not America's gift to
the world, it is God's gift to each and every human being. So as we
pursue peace, we also pursue liberty. We care about those who suffer
under the hands of a dictator in Iraq. We care deeply about those who
dissent and then are tortured, about those who express an opinion
other than what the dictator thinks and are raped and mutilated. The
condition of the Iraqi citizen is on our mind and in our hearts. As we
work to secure the peace, we'll always hold those values of freedom
dear to our heart. ...
(end transcript)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list