For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 23, 2002
President Recaps Historic Week in Domestic and Foreign Affairs
Radio Address of the President to the Nation
NATO Summit Trip
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. I'm speaking to you from Europe where, this week, I am meeting with NATO allies and friends to discuss terrorism and other threats to our shared security. It has also been an important week at home on Capitol Hill.
After two years of achievements, which included tax relief and education reform, the last days of this session of Congress brought additional historic progress. Soon after I return from Europe, I will sign several important new laws to help secure the homeland and create jobs.
Republicans and Democrats approved a department of homeland security that will unite dozens of federal agencies and nearly 170,000 federal workers behind a single, overriding mission, keeping Americans safe. This new department will coordinate our response to any future emergency. It will help us know who's coming into our country and who's going out. This new department will bring together the best intelligence information about our vulnerabilities to terrorist attack so that we can act quickly to protect America. I appreciate the Congress listening to my concerns and retaining the authority of the President to put the right people in the right place at the right time in defense of our country.
Congress also acted to protect the nation's ports and coasts by passing port security legislation. With this law, we will add port security agents, restrict access to sensitive areas and require ships to provide more information about the cargo, crew and passengers they carry. These measures will help keep terrorists and their weapons out of America.
In addition, Congress passed terrorism insurance legislation to help protect our economy from any future terrorist attack. This new important law will lower insurance premiums and get many real estate and construction projects that had been put on hold moving again, creating thousands of hard-hat jobs.
On my trip this week here in Europe, I'm consulting with our friends and NATO allies about the new threats to freedom that we face together. Today, the United States is joined by more than 90 nations in a global coalition against terrorism, sharing intelligence, cutting off terrorist finance and pursuing the terrorists where they plot and train. The world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq, whose dictator has already used weapons of mass destruction to kill thousands. We must not and will not permit either terrorists or tyrants to blackmail freedom-loving nations.
Our NATO allies are making important contributions. Sixteen NATO countries have sent military forces to the fight against terror in Afghanistan and, at this week's summit, NATO committed to build a new military response force with strong, ready forces that are prepared to deploy on short notice wherever they are needed.
NATO members also voted to invite seven of Europe's newest democracies to join our alliance. The addition of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia will increase NATO's military strength. These nations will also bring greater clarity to NATO's purposes because they know, from the hard experience of the 20th century, that threats to freedom must be opposed, not ignored or appeased.
This week, we saw the historic expansion of NATO and historic progress by Congress. Both will make America more secure. Thank you for listening.