For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 22, 2004
Progress in the War on Terror
Today's Presidential Action
Background: Significant Progress in the War on Terror
Protecting Our Homeland
- The President today announced a 9.7% increase in government-wide
homeland security funding in his FY 2005 budget, nearly tripling the FY
2001 levels (excluding the Department of Defense and Project BioShield).
- The President's budget will propose increasing counterterrorism
funding through the Department of Justice to $2.6 billion, a 19% increase
over FY 2004 levels. The additional Department of Justice resources will
put more FBI agents to work on counterterrorism activities, bringing
overall FBI funding to $5.1 billion - a $1.9 billion (60%) increase over
FY 2001 levels. The additional resources will also strengthen the FBI's
intelligence capabilities and support the interagency Terrorist Threat
Integration Center (TTIC), announced by President Bush in last year's
State of the Union Address.
- Since 2001, the Federal government has provided more than $13
billion to help state and local governments prepare for terrorism.
- Over two years have passed since the last attack on American soil,
but the danger is still clear. As President Bush reminded the Nation in
his State of the Union Address, "[I]t is tempting to believe that the
danger is behind us. That hope is understandable, comforting -- and
false." President Bush, joined by a bipartisan majority in Congress,
made the decision that we would not stand by and wait for another attack.
Instead, America has taken the fight to the terrorists.
- America's steadfast resolve is paying dividends. Terrorists are
being rounded up, regimes that harbor and sponsor them have been
defeated, and states pursuing weapons of mass destruction are getting the
message. At the same time, America will redouble its efforts to spread
democracy and freedom as alternatives to terror and violence.
Dismantling the Al-Qaida Network
- Under President Bush's leadership, America has made an
unprecedented commitment to homeland security, including leading the most
extensive reorganization of the Federal government in 50 years by
creating the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS is working to
protect our skies, borders, ports, and critical infrastructure as well as
supporting the new intelligence mission and providing research to develop
the next generation of terrorism countermeasures.
- Before DHS was created, there were inspectors from three different
agencies of the Federal Government and Border Patrol officers protecting
our borders. Through DHS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) now
consolidates all border activities into a single agency to create "one
face at the border." This not only better secures the borders of the
United States, but it also eliminates many of the inefficiencies that
occurred under the old system. With over 18,000 CBP inspectors and
11,000 Border Patrol agents, CBP has 29,000 uniformed officers on our
- Since September 11, 2001, the Coast Guard has conducted more than
124,000 port security patrols, 13,000 air patrols, boarded more than
92,000 vessels, interdicted over 14,000 individuals attempting to enter
the United States illegally, and created and maintained more than 90
Maritime Security Zones.
- In less than a year, over 45,000 Federal security screeners were
hired, trained, and deployed at America's airports. All people and their
baggage are now being professionally inspected prior to flying.
- Information regarding nearly 100% of all containerized cargo is
carefully screened by DHS before it arrives in the United States. Higher
risk shipments are physically inspected for terrorist weapons and
contraband prior to being released from the port of entry.
- Advanced technologies are being deployed to identify warning signs
of chemical, biological, or radiological attacks. Since September 11,
2001, hundreds of thousands of first responders across America have been
trained to recognize and respond to the effects of a WMD attack.
- In the past year, DHS has visited several hundred chemical
facilities in high-threat urban areas and has identified measures to
improve their security. As a result, millions of Americans are safer
- The Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) has been
established, integrating and analyzing terrorism threat-related
information collected domestically and abroad, ensuring that intelligence
and law enforcement entities are working in common purpose.
- The Terrorist Screening Center was established to consolidate
terrorist watchlists and provide 24/7 operational support for thousands
of Federal screeners across the country and around the world. The Center
will ensure that government investigators, screeners, and agents are
working off the same unified, comprehensive set of anti-terrorist
information - and that they have access to information and expertise that
will allow them to act quickly when a suspected terrorist is screened or
stopped. The Center began operations on December 1, 2003, and remains on
schedule to achieve full operational capability in 2004.
- The USA PATRIOT ACT provides authorities that strengthen law
enforcement's abilities to prevent, investigate, and prosecute acts of
terror, facilitating Federal government efforts to thwart potential
terrorist activity throughout the United States. President Bush, in his
State of the Union Address, called on Congress to take action to ensure
that these vital law enforcement tools do not expire.
Freeing the Afghan People and Denying Refuge to Terrorists
- Leader by leader and member by member, Al-Qaida is being hunted
down in dozens of countries around the world. Of the senior al-Qaida
leaders, operational managers, and key facilitators the U.S. Government
has been tracking, nearly two-thirds have been taken into custody or
killed. The detentions or deaths of senior al-Qaida leaders, including
Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, the mastermind of 9/11, and Muhammad Atef, Usama
Bin Ladin's second-in-command until his death in late 2001, have been
important in the War on Terror.
- Despite these successes, we cannot rest until al-Qaida has been
fully dismantled. Al-Qaida has claimed responsibility for recent
terrorist attacks in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaida supporters have
been arrested in the United States - including in Buffalo, New York, and
Portland, Oregon - a clear sign that the terrorists are still plotting to
strike America again.
Making Real Progress in Iraq - the Front Lines of the War on Terror
- In Afghanistan, the Taliban regime, which turned the country into
a training camp for al-Qaida, has been removed from power. America and
more than 20 other allied countries are continuing operations against
Al-Qaida and Taliban elements in the region while helping the Afghan
people rebuild their nation.
- More than 15 million Afghan citizens have been freed from the
brutal zealotry of the Taliban. Millions of Afghan women are
experiencing freedom for the first time, and thousands of Afghan girls
are going to school an act that was illegal under the Taliban regime.
- The United States led the world in providing humanitarian
assistance and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. The U.S. Congress
passed the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act, which authorizes $3.47
billion for Afghanistan over fiscal years 2003-2006. More than 400,000
metric tons of food have been delivered since operations in Afghanistan
began. The United States is assisting in the repair of more than 7,000
kilometers of roads, reconstruction of more than 70 bridges, and the
rehabilitation of over 11,000 water wells, canals, dams, and water
- Security and stability are improving as the new Afghan National
Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police grow in size. The central
government is gradually but surely extending its authority throughout the
country. And the U.S. military is helping the Afghan people help
themselves through provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs), which carry
out both civil-military operations and security functions. Twelve ANA
battalions consisting of 6,000 troops have been trained and are on
full-time duty, with a goal of 10,000 by June 2004 and 70,000 eventually.
The ANA is a disciplined fighting force capable of conducting both
combat and civil-military-affairs, and is currently helping coalition
forces hunt down remnants of the Taliban regime.
Setting the Conditions for Long-Term Peace
- In Iraq, the United States and its allies liberated 25 million
people from the Saddam Hussein regime. Since then, working with our
allies and the Iraqi people themselves, we have discovered:
- Clear evidence that Saddam Hussein was in material breach of UN
Security Council Resolution 1441, a last chance that promised "serious
consequences" if Saddam refused full and immediate cooperation with
international weapons inspections.
- Previously unknown human rights atrocities, including at least
50 mass graves where an estimated 300,000 victims of Saddam's vicious
regime are buried; torture chambers and rape rooms run by the Iraqi
secret police; and systematic oppression of Iraqi civilians.
- More evidence of Iraq's links to international terrorism,
including first-hand accounts of high-level meetings between Iraqi
Intelligence Service officials and al-Qaida.
- Working with the Iraqi people and a broad international coalition,
America is helping to bring peace, stability, and democracy to Iraq.
- Forty-five of the 55 most wanted regime members have been
captured or killed, including the dictator himself - Saddam Hussein. The
capture of Saddam Hussein sent a powerful message to the Iraqi people
that the tyranny of the past will never return.
- America's Armed Forces are taking the offensive against remnants
of the Saddam Hussein regime and foreign terrorists, leading over 1,600
patrols a day and conducting an average of 180 raids a week. More than
200,000 Iraqis are serving in Iraqi security forces, including police,
border patrol, and the New Iraqi Army.
- A broad coalition of nations is providing support for efforts to
stabilize and rebuild Iraq. More than 30 countries, including 11 of the
19 NATO countries, have provided over 24,000 troops to help provide
security in Iraq. The international community has pledged at least $32
billion to improve schools, health care, roads, water and electricity
supplies, agriculture, and other essential services. The World Bank,
International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and 38 countries have
pledged to extend loans and grants to Iraq. Other nations are
contributing humanitarian assistance, extending export credits, and
reducing Iraqi debt. This international support is crucial to improving
the lives of the Iraqi people and reversing the years of neglect under
Saddam Hussein's regime.
- The Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) is leading the transition to
full Iraqi sovereignty and democracy. The IGC will draft a "Fundamental
Law" by February 28, 2004, through which regional caucuses will select an
interim legislative body before June 2004. This interim body will then
elect a transitional Iraqi Administration to which full sovereign powers
will be conveyed by the end of June 2004. The Fundamental Law will also
contain a timetable for: formulating a permanent constitution through a
body elected by the Iraqi people; holding a popular referendum to ratify
the constitution; and conducting elections for a new permanent Iraqi
government before the end of 2005.
- America's steadfast resolve is paying dividends, sending a clear
signal to other nations about the consequences of developing illegal
weapons programs and supporting terror. Just last month, after months of
diplomatic negotiations, Libya voluntarily pledged to disclose and
dismantle all of its weapons of mass destruction programs, including a
uranium enrichment project for nuclear weapons.
- In the long term, America's goal is not only to stabilize Iraq and
Afghanistan, but to bring freedom and democracy to those countries and
throughout the Middle East. President Bush announced that the United
States would pursue a "forward strategy of freedom" to promote democracy
throughout the Middle East. Promoting democracy and freedom in the
Middle East is a challenging undertaking, but it is worthy of America's
effort and sacrifice. As long as freedom and democracy do not flourish
in the Middle East, that region will remain stagnant, resentful, and
violent - and serve as an exporter of violence and terror to free
- President Bush believes that democracy and Islam can co-exist.
America has accomplished the task of spreading democracy where it has not
existed before, and the President believes that the advance of freedom
will increase chances for peace and security for Americans as well as for
the people of the Middle East. To support this effort, the President
proposed a doubling of funding for the National Endowment for Democracy.