For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 14, 2003
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Last week the national terrorist
threat level was raised to "high." This is primarily a signal to
federal, state and local law enforcement to take additional precautions
and increase security measures against potential terrorist attacks.
Raising the threat level also informs the general public to be more
alert to their surroundings and prepared for possible emergencies in
the event of an attack.
Americans should go about their lives. And for those seeking
specific guidance on how to be more vigilant, I encourage you to visit
the Department of Homeland Security website at DHS.gov.
These recent threats are a stark reminder that our country remains
engaged in a war on terror. Our enemies are still determined to attack
America, and there is no such thing as perfect security against a
hidden network of killers. Yet, I assure you that our government at
every level is responding to this threat, working to track down every
lead and standing watch 24 hours a day against terrorism.
This past week, Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge issued
strategic plans to protect our critical infrastructure. These plans
will guide local officials in securing our nation's dams and power
plants, electrical goods, computer networks and communication systems.
Our effort to safeguard the homeland includes tighter security at
the borders and ports of entry. We have posted more than 50,000 newly
trained federal screeners at airports. We have begun inoculating
troops and first responders against small pox. We are deploying the
nation's first early warning network of sensors to detect biological
attack. And we are moving to better coordinate the efforts of law
This week at FBI Headquarters, I spoke to some of the fine men and
women who are leading our anti-terrorism efforts in law enforcement and
intelligence. The FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, and
Department of Defense are working together as never before to assemble
and analyze the threat information so we can act before our enemies can
We are gathering the best information possible, and using it to
make sure the right people are in the right places to protect our
citizens. Throughout the country, joint terrorism task forces are
bringing together federal, state and local officials to fight
terrorism. The FBI is expanding its terrorist identification system,
so that 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies will be able to
identify known or suspected terrorists almost immediately. Local
police will be able to access federal terrorist information from their
squad cars to determine whether individuals they have pulled over or
detained have terrorist links.
I've also asked Congress to fill a critical need in our defense
against bioterror by committing almost $6 billion to quickly make
available effective vaccines and treatments against agents like small
pox, anthrax, botulinum toxin, Ebola and plague.
Our nation is preparing for a variety of threats we hope never will
arrive. Many of these dangers are unfamiliar and unsettling. Yet the
best way to fight these dangers is to anticipate them, and act against
them with focus and determination. This vigilance is a fundamental
responsibility of your government, and we are fulfilling that duty in
every way we can.
In the fight against terror, the American people are resolute. We
will persevere, and we will prevail.
Thank you for listening.