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Homeland Security

14 January 2005

Homeland Security's Ridge Shares Anti-Terror Insights

Calls for cooperation, fortitude, commitment

Washington -- The fight against terrorism is, in essence, a test of will and fortitude, says outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

During a speech January 14 at the London School of Economics, Ridge said, “In the end, the struggle against terror is not a test of military strength” but a test of will and fortitude.  Terrorists are not going to stop attacking so the fight against them will be long and hard, thereby testing the collective strength of nations, alliances, and even citizens, the secretary added.

The key to success is to “engage the world community, work together multilaterally and foster healthy dialogue and strategic cooperation among allies,” Ridge said.  The need for multilateral cooperation became evident, he said, when he first began outlining domestic security priorities, because without it “efforts to secure America would not succeed.”

Ridge also addressed criticism that antiterrorism measures carry too high a cost with respect to individual liberties.  “Let me be clear,” he said, “all of the additional security capabilities that we are building have not, cannot and will not ever come at the expense of … our shared values and … liberties.”

The former Pennsylvania governor discussed several programs as successes in improving mutual security, including: the Cargo Container Security Initiative, the International Maritime Organization’s new code for ships and port facilities, the U.S.-European Union agreement on personal name records for airline passengers, the U.S.-U.K. Joint Contact Group on Homeland Security, and the U.S.-VISIT (Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology.)  Program, which uses biometric information.

When such programs are combined with seizing terrorist assets, disrupting their cells and arresting members, and using military force where necessary, he said, it is possible to make significant progress: “together we are ‘getting it done.’”

Ridge quoted economist John Maynard Keynes on ideas that shape the course of history.  He said, though, that important ideas of one era don’t always survive into another.  Communism, fascism, and Nazism arose and fell in the last century, he said.

The idea, which defeated those three, he said, is the “conquering ideal” of freedom.  He called it an idea that “has weathered the storms, endured through centuries and thrives today.”  He said it brings hope, light, and comfort, as it shapes our history and strengthens our resolve.

The transcript of Ridge’s remarks is available on the Internet at:

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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