Fact Sheet: Progress Report: Fixing the Problems Exposed by the 9/11 Attacks
For Immediate Release
September 7, 2006
Today, President Bush Delivered A Progress Report On What We Have Done To Fix The Problems Exposed By The 9/11 Attacks. The President looked back at four key stages of the 9/11 plot, the gaps in America's defenses that each stage exposed, and the ways we have addressed those gaps to make our country safer and help prevent another attack.
- America Is Safer Five Years After 9/11 Because We Have Taken Action To Protect The Homeland – Yet America Still Faces Determined Enemies, And We Will Not Be Safe Until Those Enemies Are Fully And Finally Defeated. We are now in the midst of a decisive battle, and America must ensure that it ends in victory for the cause of freedom.
Over The Past Five Years, We Have Waged An Unprecedented Campaign Against Terror At Home And Abroad – And That Campaign Has Succeeded In Stopping Another Attack On Our Homeland. Thanks to the efforts of our intelligence, law enforcement and military communities, America has not been struck again since the attacks of 9/11. Yet we have seen our enemies strike in Britain, Spain, India, Turkey, Russia, Indonesia, Jordan, Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries. Just last month, police and intelligence officers from Britain, America, Pakistan, and other allies foiled a suicide plot to blow up passenger planes on their way to the U.S.
In The First Key Stage Of The 9/11 Plot, Al Qaeda Conceived And Planned The Attacks From Abroad
After 9/11, The President Set Forth A New Doctrine: Nations That Harbor Or Support Terrorists Are As Guilty As The Terrorists, And Will Be Held To Account. The first stage of the 9/11 plot exposed serious flaws in the old approach to terrorism – most importantly, that allowing states to give safe haven to terrorist networks is a grave mistake.
Key Advantages Al Qaeda Enjoyed While Plotting The 9/11 Attack In Afghanistan Have Been Taken Away. With Afghan allies, America removed the Taliban from power and closed the al Qaeda training camps. In addition to military efforts, we are using financial tools, diplomatic pressure, and intelligence operations to disrupt the day-to-day functions of al Qaeda. As a result, al Qaeda can no longer move widely without fearing for their lives, transfer money easily through the international banking system, or communicate openly without risking detection.
- Many Of Al Qaeda's Most Important Leaders Have Been Captured Or Killed, Including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Believed To Be The Mastermind Behind The 9/11 Attacks. For the past three years, KSM has been in the custody of the CIA. He has provided valuable intelligence that has helped us kill or capture al Qaeda terrorists and stop attacks on our Nation. Our officials report that he is now of little or no intelligence value. So he has been transferred to Guantanamo Bay – and the sooner Congress authorizes military commissions, the sooner he will receive the justice he deserves.
In The Second Key Stage Of The 9/11 Plot, KSM And Bin Laden Identified, Trained, And Deployed Operatives To The United States
Since 9/11, We Have Addressed The Gaps In America's Defenses That Were Exploited By Al Qaeda To Carry Out The 9/11 Attacks. We have upgraded technology and added new layers of screening and security to the immigration and visa system. Today, visa applicants like those who participated in the 9/11 hijackings would have to appear for face-to-face interviews, be fingerprinted and screened against an extensive database of known or suspected terrorists, and be checked again upon arrival to make sure their fingerprints match the fingerprints on their visas.
Terrorist Watchlists Have Been Improved. We have established common criteria for posting terrorists on a consolidated terrorist watchlist that is widely available across Federal, State, and local government. Information from this list would be accessible at airports, consulates, border crossings, and to State and local law enforcement.
At The President's Direction, The NSA Created The Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP). Before 9/11, U.S. intelligence professionals found it difficult to monitor international communications, such as those between the planners of the 9/11 attack abroad and the al Qaeda operatives secretly in the United States. The TSP helps protect Americans by allowing us to track terrorist communications like these, so we can learn about threats like the 9/11 plot before it is too late.
Once Again, The President Called On Congress To Promptly Pass Legislation Providing Additional Authority For The Terrorist Surveillance Program. A legal challenge to the TSP was recently upheld by a Federal district court judge in Michigan. The Administration strongly disagrees with this ruling, is appealing it, and believes its appeal will be successful. A series of protracted legal challenges would put a heavy burden on this crucial program and could present unacceptable delays.
- The President Has Also Called On Congress To Pass Broader Reforms In The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). When FISA was passed in 1978, there was no Internet and almost all calls were made on fixed landlines. Now, people can buy disposable cell phones and open anonymous e-mail accounts. Our laws must be strengthened to take changes like these into account.
In The Third Key Stage Of The 9/11 Plot, The Rest Of The 19 Al Qaeda Operatives Arrived In The United States
In Response To 9/11, The FBI Has Made Protecting America From Terrorist Attack Its Top Priority. The FBI has hired more counterterrorism agents and analysts; created a unified National Security Branch to coordinate terrorism investigations and intelligence operations; and expanded the number of Joint Terrorism Task Forces to help Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers work together.
In Addition, We Worked With Congress To Tear Down The Legal And Bureaucratic Wall That Kept Law Enforcement And Intelligence From Sharing Information. All levels of government are sharing far more information than ever before and connecting the dots to stop terrorists before they strike. With Congress, we have:
- Passed The Patriot Act. This good law has increased the flow of information and helped break up terrorist cells in the United States, and Congress was right to renew it.
- Created The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). At the NCTC, law enforcement and intelligence personnel work side-by-side in the same headquarters.
- Created The Position Of Director Of National Intelligence (DNI). The DNI operates the intelligence community as a single unified enterprise.
- Set Up The Terrorist Screening Center (TSC). The TSC maintains the Government's consolidated list of suspected terrorists and individuals with terrorist links and helps get this information into the hands of State and local law enforcement.
At Every Level, America’s Law Enforcement Officers Now Have A Clear Goal – To Identify, Locate, And Stop Terrorists In Our Country Before They Can Kill. Before 9/11, Mohammed Atta and one of his co-conspirators, the terrorist who would go on to pilot Flight 93, were pulled over by police, but there was no information that the men were dangerous, so officers treated the encounters as routine traffic stops. Today, a police officer who stops a driver for a routine traffic violation can access terrorist watchlists and be automatically directed to the Terrorist Screening Center if there is a match.
The Fourth And Final Stage Of The 9/11 Plot Came On The Morning Of The Attack
We Have Taken Many Steps To Address The Security Gaps That The Hijackers Exploited That Morning. We have created the Transportation Security Administration to ensure that every passenger and every bag is screened; increased the number of Federal air marshals on domestic and international flights; trained and authorized thousands of pilots to carry firearms; and hardened cockpit doors to prevent terrorists from gaining access to the controls.
- In Addition, We Merged 22 Government Agencies Into A Single Department Of Homeland Security, And Tripled Spending For Security At Airlines, Ports, Borders, And Other Critical Areas.
We Are Working To Stay Several Steps Ahead Of The Terrorists, America Has Gone On The Offense Across The World, And Our Country Is Safer
On 9/11, We Saw That The Terrorists Have To Be Right Only Once To Kill Our People – While We Have To Be Right Every Time To Stop Them. To protect the American people, we need to do everything in our power to stop the next attack.
- We Have Captured Or Killed Many Of The Most Significant Al Qaeda Members And Associates. We have captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and killed al Qaeda's most visible and aggressive leader to emerge after 9/11 – the terrorist Zarqawi in Iraq.
- We Have Kept The Terrorists From Achieving Their Key Goal – To Overthrow Governments Across The Broader Middle East And Seize Control. Terrorists are being denied safe haven and instead have seen the governments they targeted – such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – become some of our most valuable allies in the War on Terror.
- Our Allies In The War On Terror Include Two Nations That Used To Harbor Or Sponsor Terror But Now Help Us Fight It – The Democratic Nations Of Afghanistan And Iraq. In Afghanistan, President Karzai's elected government has replaced the Taliban and is fighting our common enemies and inspiring millions across the region. In Iraq, Prime Minister Maliki's unity government is fighting al Qaeda and the enemies of Iraq's democracy, and taking increasing responsibility for the security of their free country.
As We Fight The Enemies Of A Free Iraq, We Must Also Ensure That Al Qaeda And Its Allies Never Get Their Hands On The Tools Of Mass Murder. We launched the Proliferation Security Initiative, a coalition of more than 70 countries that are cooperating to stop shipments related to deadly weapons. We worked with Great Britain to persuade Libya to give up its nuclear weapons program and put the black market nuclear network of A.Q. Khan, who was shipping equipment to Iran and North Korea, out of business.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|