15 February 2003
Bush Highlights U.S. Defenses Against Terrorism in Radio Address
(Increased security through vigilance, planning, information sharing)
President Bush said that, in response to the nation's heightened
terrorist alert, "our government at every level is responding to this
threat, working to track down every lead and standing watch 24 hours a
day against terrorism."
In his weekly radio address to the nation on February 15, 2003, Bush
said that the Department of Homeland Security has issued new strategic
plans to protect critical infrastructure such as dams, power plants,
computer networks, and communication systems.
President Bush also described efforts to share information more
quickly and extensively with authorities throughout the country. "The
FBI is expanding its terrorist identification system," Bush said, "so
that 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies will be able to
identify known or suspected terrorists almost immediately."
He noted that the nation has tightened security at borders and ports
of entry, posted 50,000 newly trained screeners at airports,
inoculated troops and emergency medical personnel against smallpox,
requested increased funding for vaccines, and begun deploying sensors
to detect biological attack.
"The best way to fight these dangers is to anticipate them," Bush
said, "and act against them with focus and determination. This
vigilance is a fundamental responsibility of your government, and we
are fulfilling that duty in every way we can."
Following is the transcript of President Bush's Radio Address to the
Nation for February 15, 2003:
Office of the Press Secretary
The White House
February 15, 2003
President's Weekly Radio Address
Good morning. Last week the national terrorist threat level was raised
to "high." This is primarily a signal to federal, state, and local law
enforcement to take additional precautions and increase security
measures against potential terrorist attacks. Raising the threat level
also informs the general public to be more alert to their surroundings
and prepared for possible emergencies in the event of an attack.
Americans should go about their lives. And for those seeking specific
guidance on how to be more vigilant, I encourage you to visit the
Department of Homeland Security website at DHS.gov.
These recent threats are a stark reminder that our country remains
engaged in a war on terror. Our enemies are still determined to attack
America, and there is no such thing as perfect security against a
hidden network of killers. Yet, I assure you that our government at
every level is responding to this threat, working to track down every
lead and standing watch 24 hours a day against terrorism.
This past week, Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge issued
strategic plans to protect our critical infrastructure. These plans
will guide local officials in securing our nation's dams and power
plants, electrical goods, computer networks and communication systems.
Our effort to safeguard the homeland includes tighter security at the
borders and ports of entry. We have posted more than 50,000 newly
trained federal screeners at airports. We have begun inoculating
troops and first responders against smallpox. We are deploying the
nation's first early warning network of sensors to detect biological
attack. And we are moving to better coordinate the efforts of law
This week at FBI Headquarters, I spoke to some of the fine men and
women who are leading our anti-terrorism efforts in law enforcement
and intelligence. The FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, and
Department of Defense are working together as never before to assemble
and analyze the threat information so we can act before our enemies
can strike us.
We are gathering the best information possible, and using it to make
sure the right people are in the right places to protect our citizens.
Throughout the country, joint terrorism task forces are bringing
together federal, state and local officials to fight terrorism. The
FBI is expanding its terrorist identification system, so that 18,000
state and local law enforcement agencies will be able to identify
known or suspected terrorists almost immediately. Local police will be
able to access federal terrorist information from their squad cars to
determine whether individuals they have pulled over or detained have
I've also asked Congress to fill a critical need in our defense
against bioterror by committing almost $6 billion to quickly make
available effective vaccines and treatments against agents like
smallpox, anthrax, botulinum toxin, Ebola and plague.
Our nation is preparing for a variety of threats we hope never will
arrive. Many of these dangers are unfamiliar and unsettling. Yet the
best way to fight these dangers is to anticipate them, and act against
them with focus and determination. This vigilance is a fundamental
responsibility of your government, and we are fulfilling that duty in
every way we can.
In the fight against terror, the American people are resolute. We will
persevere, and we will prevail.
Thank you for listening.
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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