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Homeland Security

Washington File

10 June 2003

State Department Official Says War Against Terrorism Continues

(Diplomatic security head addresses Boston business group) (2120)
In the continuing global war against terrorism, the U.S. campaign
involves not only America's military but also its diplomatic,
economic, law enforcement and intelligence-gathering abilities,
according to Ambassador Francis Taylor.
Taylor, assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, spoke to
members of the International Security Management Association (ISMA) in
Boston June 9, providing an overview and current status report on the
war against international terrorism. He pledged continued U.S. support
for the safety and security of American business interests overseas.
The war against terrorism, Taylor said, "continues to be fought
intensively in every region of the world." He mentioned the U.S.
successes in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the detention of more
than 3,000 al-Qaeda suspects in more than 100 countries. He also said
that freezing terrorists' financial assets has netted $124 million to
date.
"Diplomacy continues to be the backbone of our campaign," Taylor said,
"and our success in this war would not have been possible without it.
He specifically noted the forging of coalitions among governments
willing and able to fight terrorism, as well as America's readiness to
assist governments that need assistance in developing their own
anti-terrorism capabilities.
Taylor said that the concerted international effort to combat
terrorism since autumn of 2001 has had a significant effect, producing
a 44-percent drop in worldwide terrorist attacks in 2002, and a
65-percent drop in attacks against American interests abroad during
2002.
"These numbers are impressive, and clearly show that our strategy to
defeat the terrorist scourge is working," Taylor said. Nevertheless,
"the terrorist threat remains very real," he said.
Taylor said that the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security
has tracked in excess of 1,000 terrorist threats against U.S.
interests abroad, and that it continues to receive -- "with varying
degrees of credibility and specificity" -- threat information,
especially against so-called "soft targets." These include U.S.
businesses and gathering places frequented by Americans and other
Westerners.
"Despite the obvious challenges that lie ahead," Taylor said, "I
assure you that both Secretary Powell and I are firmly committed to
the safety and security of American business interests abroad -- it is
a top priority."
The transcript of Taylor's remarks follow:
(begin transcript)
Ambassador Francis X. Taylor
Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security
Remarks at the 20th Anniversary Conference
of the International Security Management Association
Boston, Massachusetts
June 9, 2003
International Terrorism: The War Continues
Thank you. It's my pleasure to participate in ISMA's [International
Security Management Association] 20th Anniversary conference today. I
am a firm believer that ISMA's emphasis on development of future
leaders clearly establishes it as one of the great corporate leaders
in our country today. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security and ISMA have
worked jointly to tackle some of the challenging security issues that
face American business interests overseas. I look forward to
continuing our rich and productive relationship for many years to
come.
Since the horrific attacks of September 11, the United States has been
fully engaged in one of the greatest challenges in our nation's
history: the eradication of the global threat of terrorism. Under the
leadership of President Bush and Secretary Powell, we have built one
of the most formidable coalitions in history, a coalition that grows
stronger and more determined every day.
The global war on terrorism continues to be fought intensively in
every region of the world. We have destroyed al-Qaeda bases in
Afghanistan, killed or captured many of its operatives, and put the
rest on the run. More than 650 enemy combatants are now under American
control. At the same time, we, with the aid of our allies, helped
liberate the Afghan people from the oppressive rule of the Taliban and
their al-Qaeda operatives.
The past six weeks have brought some awesome capabilities in the war
on terrorism. Through the will and determination of the American
military, and the unwavering support of the American people, another
supporter of terrorism, Saddam Hussein, has fallen from power, freeing
the people of Iraq and other nations in the Middle East from his reign
of tyranny.
The military has clearly played a key role in the war on terrorism,
but it is important to note that it is not the most important element
of our campaign. We will also fight terrorism with every diplomatic,
economic, law enforcement, and intelligence weapon we have in our
arsenal.
We continue to implement all of these weapons in a coordinated,
comprehensive campaign. There will not be a dramatic end to terrorism.
Our victory in this war will come through the cumulative success of
numerous operations.
Diplomacy continues to be the backbone of our campaign, and our
success in this war would not have been possible without it. We will
continue to forge coalitions among other countries that are both
willing and able to join this fight. When governments are weak but
willing, where they need assistance in combating terrorism within
their own borders, we stand ready to help build their own capabilities
to defeat the terrorist scourge. Our assistance runs the gamut from
seminars in how to write, implement, and enforce anti-money laundering
laws to specialized counterterrorism training programs. When we
confront countries that continue to actively support terrorism, we
will take appropriate steps to compel them to end their support.
The United States will also continue working to diminish the
underlying conditions that allow terrorism to take root and flourish.
Poverty and oppression are not causes of terrorism. Nor are ethnic
strife and disputes between countries. But poverty, oppression, ethnic
strife and regional instability all breed the kinds of grievances that
extremists can exploit for their nefarious ends. U.S. diplomatic
efforts and foreign assistance programs are designed to address these
underlying conditions and thereby deny terrorists the fertile ground
they seek to plant their seeds of poison.
We have achieved significant results in the war on terrorism in areas
other than diplomacy. Law enforcement and intelligence sharing among
nations has grown exponentially since September 11th. As a result,
more than 3,000 al-Qaeda suspects have been detained in more than 100
countries. This global dragnet has not only disrupted the al-Qaeda
network, but yielded a plethora of valuable information and actionable
intelligence that has allowed the United States and other nations to
interdict cells, prevent additional terrorist attacks, and most
importantly, save innocent lives.
Our efforts to block the funds that finance acts of terrorism are also
bearing impressive results. So far, over 160 countries have joined us
in freezing $124 million in terrorist assets. More than 250 terrorist
groups and entities have been designated under the President's
executive order that freezes U.S.-based assets.
Countries around the world have submitted reports to the United
Nations on the actions they have taken to block terrorist finances, as
required under UNSCR 1373, which calls on all nations to keep their
financial systems free of terrorist funds.
The 31-nation Financial Action Task Force, the world's leading setter
of standards on anti-money laundering and antiterrorist financing,
adopted strict new standards to deny terrorists access to the world
financial system. More than 80 countries and jurisdictions have
adopted, or [are] in the process of adopting, new legislation,
regulations and procedures to strengthen their ability to prevent
terrorists from using their financial systems.
The G-8 nations have committed themselves to a range of measures aimed
at seizing terrorist assets. The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation
group has adopted an ambitious antiterrorist finance action plan.
As a result, it's much harder for terrorists to raise and move money.
Many who have formerly provided financial support for terrorism seem
to have backed away. Some facilitators have been captured or arrested.
The international banking system is no longer a system that terrorists
can safely use. Terrorists must now look over their shoulders,
wondering if it is safe to move, raise funds, plan and conduct
operations.
As a direct result of our efforts, terrorist attacks are declining.
That's right -- declining. We saw a 44-percent drop in global
terrorist attacks in 2002. Attacks against American interests abroad
fell even further: 65 percent from 2001.
These numbers are impressive, and clearly show that our strategy to
defeat the terrorist scourge is working. However, despite our success,
it s important to note that total victory in the war on terrorism is
not near -- far from it.
In fact, the terrorist threat remains very real. Although we have
severely weakened the al-Qaeda terrorist network, it is still a lethal
enemy, capable of planning and carrying out terrorist attacks
globally. Just a little over a week ago, our friends in Pakistan, a
key ally in this coalition, disrupted a potentially pestilent al-Qaeda
scheme directed at our Consulate in Karachi.
Over the past two years, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security has tracked
well over 1,000 terrorist threats directed against U.S. interests
overseas. Terrorists continue to threaten our embassies, consulates,
and employees. The threats that we face and investigate on a daily
basis range from a drive-by shooting of a residence to the horrific
possibility of a CBRN-type [chemical, biological, radiological or
nuclear] attack.
We continue to receive, with varying degrees of credibility and
specificity, information that highlights the fact that terrorists may
attack what we call soft targets. For example, terrorists continue to
target and threaten U.S. businesses, public areas of congregation that
have been deemed Western -- for example, a restaurant that is
identifiable with America -- and even churches and religious gathering
centers. Indeed, let us not forget the June 2002 church bombing in
Islamabad, Pakistan, and the bombing in Bali, Indonesia. In addition,
individual businessmen could be targeted for assassination or
kidnapping.
In the immediate aftermath of the war with Iraq, anti-American
sentiment in the region, currently at an all-time high, continues to
rise. The possibility that terrorist elements throughout the world may
be further motivated to plan and carry out attacks against American
interests remains high.
Despite the obvious challenges that lie ahead, I assure you that both
Secretary Powell and I are firmly committed to the safety and security
of American business interests abroad -- it is a top priority.
Your people, your facilities, and your company [are] the cornerstones
for continued economic growth and stability in the United States. A
strong and vigorous private sector that is able to conduct business
abroad is essential to our national prosperity and economic interests.
For U.S. companies to be successful abroad, it is imperative that you
have the critical information you need to conduct business safely
overseas.
Through our Overseas Security Advisory Council [OSAC], one of the
pre-eminent public-private partnerships in the United States, the
State Department and the private sector have worked successfully on
overseas security issues. Thanks to our strong working relationship
and open lines of communication with companies such as ISMA, OSAC has
helped create safer environments for employees, families, travelers,
facilities, and proprietary information. During times of crisis, it is
imperative that we continue to work together through our OSAC
relationship to keep our communication lines open. I will personally
see to it that you receive the important information you need to
ensure the security of your people and interests overseas quickly and
efficiently.
Our Overseas Security Advisory Council here in Washington, and our
regional security officers overseas, are valuable resource with a
wealth of information that are available to provide security guidance
and assistance to the entire American business community in their
overseas endeavors.
In addition, in a number of cities around the world, OSAC has created
Country Councils: mini-OSACs designed to enhance the exchange of
security-related information abroad. These councils encourage security
managers of American private-sector enterprises to organize themselves
and cope with their security problems by pooling their resources.
These council members and our post regional security officers work
together to create an exchange of information through which pertinent
security information is exchanged in a timely manner.
American companies must have the best possible information to make
sound business decisions, especially given the current overseas
environment. The economic prosperity of our great nation depends on
it. If a decision is made without using the best information, it is
not a decision -- it is a guess.
Our commitment to the safety and prosperity of the American private
sector overseas is strong and vibrant, and you can count on our
assistance for many years to come. We are here for you. We are eager
to assist you. We will help you eliminate the guesswork.
Thank you.
(end transcript)
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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