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Prevent Attacks by Terrorists

As we help societies build their own democracies in the long term, in the immediate and near term we are focused on preventing attacks by terrorists. With our Coalition partners, we have endeavored to disrupt and defeat terrorists and their organizations, networks, associates, and sources of support. Using all instruments of national power and influence, we have made steady progress to isolate and capture key leaders of al-Qaida and affiliated terrorist groups, financiers, and facilitators and deny safehaven and sponsorship to terrorists. We have a multilayered border security system that begins beyond our borders and ensures broad sharing of information so relevant agencies can work together to exclude known or suspected terrorists. We have also taken bold and imaginative steps, such as the Proliferation Security Initiative, the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, to leverage our collective efforts internationally to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMD. Through these endeavors, we continue to reduce the capability of al-Qaida and like-minded terrorist groups to strike the United States and our allies.

Disrupting Terrorism Internationally

  • In August 2006, British police arrested 24 people in London suspected in a plot to blow up as many as 10 planes bound for the United States, while Pakistani authorities made related arrests.
  • In June 2006, 17 suspects were arrested by Canadian authorities on suspicion of planning attacks on major targets in downtown Toronto using three tons of ammonium nitrate.
  • In June 2006, U.S. and Iraqi forces killed al-Qaida’s operational chief in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and killed or captured several of his top lieutenants, including his Baghdad chief of operations and his top bomb-maker.
  • In March 2006, the Jordanian General Intelligence Department disrupted planning by terrorists belonging to an al-Qaida cell to attack key civilian installations, including Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport.
  • In December 2005, al-Qaida’s chief of external operations, Hamza Rabi’a, was killed, dealing another blow to al-Qaida’s leadership ranks.
  • In November 2005, Jemaah Islamiya bombing mastermind Dr. Azahari was killed during a raid by Indonesian police.
  • In May 2005, Pakistan apprehended the number three al-Qaida leader, Abu Faraj al Libi.
  • In January 2005, Germany arrested two suspected terrorists planning attacks against U.S. and Coalition forces in Iraq.
  • In 2005, Lu’ay al-Saqa, al-Qaida member and one of Zarqawi’s chief lieutenants, was arrested in Turkey planning to attack cruise ships.
  • In 2004, British law enforcement arrested an al-Qaida operative who provided detailed reports on American targets to senior al-Qaida leaders and was suspected of planning attacks against innocent civilians in London.
  • Kuwaiti, Indonesian, Philippine, Algerian, and Chadian security forces, among others, many of which were trained by United States Government assistance programs, have countered terrorist threats within their borders through disruptions, captures, arrests, and prosecutions.
  • The Saudi security services have pursued, captured, or killed terrorists at a dramatic rate. Saudi Arabia has detained more than 600 operatives, fundraisers, and radical clerics in its fight against terrorism, and killed more than 100 terrorists.
  • We are increasing the size of our Special Operations Forces to support foreign internal defense, counterterrorist operations, and unconventional warfare. The overall budget for our Special Operations Forces has increased by 107 percent to support the War on Terror.

Disrupting Terrorism Domestically

  • Since 9/11, significant convictions include Zacarias Moussaoui, for his role in helping al-Qaida carry out the 9/11 attacks, and the “shoe bomber” Richard Reid, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for attempting to destroy American Airlines Flight 63. Other convictions include:
    • Hemant Lakhani, convicted in New Jersey and sentenced to 47 years in prison for attempting to sell an antiaircraft missile to a man he believed represented a terrorist group intent on shooting down a U.S. commercial airliner;
    • Iyman Faris, convicted in Virginia of providing material support to al-Qaida by surveying possible targets to attack in the United States, such as the Brooklyn Bridge, and reporting this information to al-Qaida;
    • Lynne Stewart, Mohammed Yousry, and Ahmed Abdel Sattar, convicted in New York on charges in connection with passing messages to the Islamic Group, a terrorist organization, from Sheik Abdel Rahman, the Group’s imprisoned leader;
    • Sheik Mohammed Ali Hasan al Moayad and Mohammed Moshen Yahya Zayed, convicted in Brooklyn of conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida and HAMAS;
    • Mohammed Junaid Babar, convicted in New York of providing material support to al-Qaida;
    • Five brothers, Ihsan, Hazim, Ghassan, Bayan and Basman Elashi, convicted in Dallas of conspiring to export proscribed computer equipment to state sponsors of terrorism;
    • Ahmad Omar Abu Ali, convicted in Washington, D.C., for providing material support to terrorist organizations in connection with the May 2005 bombings in Saudi Arabia;
    • Uzair Paracha, in New York, convicted of identity document fraud and violating regulations issued under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by acting as a conduit for material support to al-Qaida;
    • Six U.S. citizens in Buffalo pled guilty to providing material support to al-Qaida and admitted to training in al-Qaida-run camps in Afghanistan; and
    • Six defendants in Portland, Oregon, pled guilty to charges relating to their attempt to travel to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban and al-Qaida against U.S. and allied troops.

Disrupting Financial Support

  • Several key financiers and facilitators have been isolated and captured.
  • Over 400 individuals and entities have been designated under the President’s Executive Order 13224 by the Secretaries of State and Treasury, effectively blocking their assets and isolating them from the U.S. financial system.
  • The Secretary of State also has designated 42 groups as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, making it illegal to provide them material support, blocking travel of their members to the United States, and freezing their assets in U.S. financial institutions.
  • The United States, through the Office of Hostage Affairs in Embassy Baghdad, is addressing the scourge of kidnapping in Iraq, a key source of terrorist financing. Through interagency and international efforts, hostages have been freed and/or rescued.
  • The United States continues to build partner nation capacity to further disrupt threat finance networks in international monetary systems.

Securing Borders and Transportation

  • Since the President took office, border security funding has increased more than 66 percent. In particular, the U.S. is in the process of equipping the Border Patrol with better technology, building new infrastructure, and has expanded the number of agents from about 9,000 to 12,000. By the end of 2008, the President will have doubled the size of the Border Patrol since he took office to over 18,000 agents.
  • In 2005, the President approved the National Strategy for Maritime Security and eight supporting plans to emphasize the security of the maritime domain as a global issue and build on current efforts and existing strategies, tools, and resources.
  • The Department of Homeland Security established the Container Security Initiative (CSI). Under CSI, DHS has entered into agreements with foreign governments and businesses to allow for the pre-screening of cargo containers bound for the U.S. Today, 78 percent of the containers that enter U.S. seaports are screened under CSI, which is in place in 26 countries, covering 44 major international seaports.
  • The United States has accelerated the use of new technologies and is installing radiation detectors and other state-of-the-art scanning equipment in U.S. ports. By the end of 2006, 80 percent of all containers entering our seaports will be scanned by high-tech radiation detectors, and by the end of next year virtually all (98 percent) seaport containers will be screened.
  • In 2003, the Department of Energy established the Megaports Initiative to provide partner countries the capability to scan cargo containers transiting their ports for evidence of illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radiological materials. The Megaports program is operational in six major international ports, and implementation is under way in an additional fourteen ports.
  • The Department of Energy has greatly expanded the Second Line of Defense program, which deploys radiation detection equipment at border crossings, airports and feeder ports. Implementation of the program is under way in Russia and a number of countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia.
  • In March 2006, the United States released the National Strategy to Combat Terrorist Travel, which identifies key areas for enhancing domestic and international capacity, including securing documents, advance screening efforts, and expanding information sharing.
  • The United States also established the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT), an integrated, automated entry-exit system that records arrival and departure, verifies identities, and authenticates foreigners’ travel documents by comparing biometric identifiers. US-VISIT is currently deployed at 115 airports, 14 seaports, and 154 land ports of entry, and is executing a pilot program to capture departures.
  • All applications for U.S. visas are checked against extensive databases with terrorism-related information and all international air and sea passengers are vetted against our consolidated terrorist watchlist.
  • As of October 2005, all Visa Waiver Program countries are required to have biometric passports.
  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screens 100 percent of commercial air passengers and bags.
  • TSA is directing Registered Traveler program providers to collect ten fingerprint images from each applicant and to store biometric data for identity confirmations using smart card technology that conforms to current Federal Technical Implementation Guidance.
  • The United States Government also is unveiling new comprehensive screening and credentialing initiatives, such as the Real ID Act and Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, improving access to lost and stolen travel document information, and the e-passport to strengthen our ability to identify those crossing our borders.
  • In March 2005, the U.S., Mexico, and Canada launched the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP). Through this initiative, we are making measurable progress on a number of security issues affecting our three countries and have strengthened relationships in the areas of preparedness, law enforcement, and the screening of travelers and cargo.

Critical Infrastructure Protection

  • DHS has released the National Infrastructure Protection Plan, which provides a comprehensive risk management framework that clearly defines critical infrastructure protection roles and responsibilities for all levels of government, private industry, nongovernmental agencies, and tribal partners.
  • DHS has implemented the Buffer Zone Protection Program, which provides grant funding to protect and secure areas surrounding critical infrastructure and key resource sites such as chemical facilities, dams, and nuclear plants across the country. DHS worked in conjunction with local law enforcement authorities throughout the Nation to submit more than 1400 plans on grant allocations for enhanced security around critical infrastructure.
  • DHS has established the Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Assessment Center (HITRAC), where intelligence analysts and infrastructure specialists work to identify the threat to critical infrastructures, vulnerabilities and interdependencies, and the overall risk inherent in any potential attack against critical infrastructure. The HITRAC works closely with critical infrastructure owners and operators to ensure that the most complete, actionable, accurate information regarding private sector assets is disseminated expeditiously to key stakeholders. The HITRAC also provides recommended protective measures.
  • The United States also has established the National Cyber Response Coordination Group (NCRCG) as the Federal Government’s principal interagency mechanism to coordinate efforts to respond to and recover from cyber incidents of national significance.