The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 23, 2007

Fact Sheet: Keeping America Safe From Attack
President Bush Discusses Intelligence Showing The Importance Of Defeating Al Qaeda In Iraq

     Fact sheet President Bush Delivers Commencement Address at United States Coast Guard Academy

Today, President Bush Delivered The Commencement Address At The U.S. Coast Guard Academy In New London, Connecticut.  The President congratulated graduates and their families, praised the Coast Guard’s excellence in times of disaster and in the War on Terror, and discussed the bold action we have taken at home and abroad to keep the American people safe.  He also discussed intelligence regarding the consequences of an al Qaeda victory in Iraq and detailed examples of al Qaeda’s efforts, including Osama bin Laden’s attempt to establish a terrorist cell in Iraq that would conduct attacks against other nations.

Our Security Depends On Helping The Iraqis Succeed And Defeating Al Qaeda In Iraq

Of The Forces In Iraq Trying To Stop Our Strategy From Succeeding, The Most Destructive One Is Al Qaeda. 

The Terrorists View The Battle In Iraq As Part Of The War On Terror.  Our intelligence community believes that al Qaeda sees victory in Iraq as a religious and strategic imperative.  This would allow al Qaeda to follow through on their stated goals of turning Iraq into a base from which to overthrow moderate governments in the region, impose their hateful ideology on millions, and launch new attacks on America and other nations.

Osama Bin Laden Attempted To Send A New Commander To Iraq.  Osama bin Laden sent Iraqi-born terrorist Abd Al-Hadi Al-Iraqi  to Iraq. 

To Protect The American People, We Must Fight The Terrorists Where They Live So We Do Not Have To Fight Them Where We Live

According To Our Intelligence Community, In January 2005, Osama Bin Laden Tasked The Terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi With Forming A Cell To Conduct Terrorist Attacks Outside Iraq.

Al Qaeda Leaders Intend To Strike Our Country Again

The Danger To Our Country Is Real And Continuing.  While it is tempting to believe that the calm here at home since 9/11 means that the danger to our country has passed.

Last August, British Authorities Broke Up A Plot To Blow Up Passenger Airplanes Flying To America.  Our intelligence community believes this plot was just two to three weeks away from execution and could have rivaled 9/11 in the death and destruction caused. 

In December 2001 We Captured An Al Qaeda Operative Named Ali Salih Al-Mari Who Was Planning Attacks In The U.S.  Our intelligence community believes Ali Salih al-Mari had training in poisons at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan and had been sent by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (“KSM”) to the United States before 9/11 to serve as a sleeper agent ready for follow-on attacks.  Our intelligence community believes KSM brought Ali Salih to meet Osama bin Laden, to whom he pledged loyalty.  Our intelligence community also believes he and KSM discussed potential attacks on water reservoirs, the New York Stock Exchange, and U.S. military academies.

We Also Broke Up Other Post-9/11 Aviation Plots. 

We Have Taken Bold Action At Home And Abroad To Keep Our People Safe

Terrorist Plots Against The U.S. Have Thus Far Not Succeeded In Part Because We Have Taken Bold Action At Home And Abroad To Keep Our People Safe.  We are determined to stop the world’s most dangerous people from striking America with the world’s most dangerous weapons.  To help stop new attacks on our country, we have:

The Best Way To Protect Our People Is To Take The Fight To The Enemy.  In Afghanistan, a regime that gave sanctuary and support to al Qaeda as they planned the 9/11 attacks has come to an end.  And in Iraq, we removed a cruel dictator who harbored terrorists, paid the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, invaded his neighbors, defied the UN Security Council, and pursued and used weapons of mass destruction. 


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