President  |  Vice President  |  First Lady  |  Mrs. Cheney  |  News & Policies 
History & ToursKids  |  Your Government  |  Appointments  |  JobsContactGraphic version

Email Updates  |  Español  |  Accessibility  |  Search  |  Privacy Policy  |  Help

Printer-Friendly Version   Email this page to a friend

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 9, 2007

Briefing by Fran Townsend, Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security Via Conference Call

      In Focus: Homeland Security
      In Focus: National Security

10:36 A.M. EDT

MR. STANZEL: Thank you very much. Thank you all for joining us, appreciate your patience. In a moment here we'll talk -- Fran Townsend, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, will talk about the National Strategy for Homeland Security, which was released this morning. It's available at the White House web page, at -- is there now, and there's also a fact sheet that accompanies it. This is an on-the-record press briefing, not for broadcast, however. So it's a pen and pad briefing. And I appreciate everyone's time.

Fran will have some comments to start off, and then we'll go ahead and take your questions.

And with that, Ms. Townsend.

Q MS. TOWNSEND: Thanks, Scott.

Good morning, everyone. The President has issued an updated strategy today to help, guide, organize and unify our nation's homeland security efforts. It's worth noting this strategy is a national strategy, not simply a federal strategy, and articulates our national approach to secure the homeland over the next several years. It, of course, builds on the first National Strategy for Homeland Security issued in July of 2002, and is meant to complement both the National Security Strategy issued in March of 2006, and the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism issued in September 2006.

It reflects our increased understanding of the threats confronting the United States today, incorporates lessons learned from exercises and real-world catastrophes, and articulates how we should ensure our long-term success by strengthening the homeland security foundation we have built.

Since September the 11th, 2001, our concept of securing the homeland has evolved, adapting to new realities and threats. The strategy issued today incorporates this increased understanding by acknowledging that while we must continue to focus on the persistent and evolving terrorist threat, we must also recognize that certain non-terrorist events that reach catastrophic levels can have significant implications for homeland security; recognizing that effective preparation for catastrophic natural and manmade disasters does increase the security of our homeland.

We've also taken the opportunity to emphasize that as we secure the homeland we do not simply rely on defensive approaches and well-planned response and recovery measures. We recognize that our efforts must also involve offense both at home and abroad.

The purpose of our strategy is to guide, organize and unify our nation's homeland security efforts. The strategy provides a common framework by which our entire nation should focus its efforts on the following four goals: First, to prevent and disrupt terrorist attacks in the United States, we are working to deny terrorists and terrorist-related weapons and materiels entering into our country and across all international borders; disrupt terrorists' ability to operate within our borders; and prevent the emergence of violent Islamic radicalization in order to deny terrorists future recruits and to defeat homegrown extremism.

Second, to protect the American people, our critical infrastructure and key resources. That is to take -- to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people, we must undertake measures to deter the threat of terrorism, mitigate the nation's vulnerability to acts of terror and the full range of manmade and natural catastrophes, and minimize the consequences of an attack or disaster, should it occur.

Third, to respond to and recover from incidents that do occur, which means to save lives, mitigate suffering, and protect property in future catastrophes, we must strengthen the foundation of an effective, coordinated response. This includes clarifying roles and responsibilities across all levels of government and the private and nonprofit sectors. We must also focus on ensuring we have the operational capabilities and flexibility necessary to facilitate both short-term recovery and an effective transition to the long-term rebuilding and revitalization efforts.

Fourth, we must continue to strengthen the foundation to ensure our long-term success. To fulfill these responsibilities over the long-term we will continue to strengthen the principles, systems, structures and institutions that cut across the homeland security enterprise and support our activities to secure the homeland. Ultimately, this will help ensure the success of our strategy to secure the nation.

I'd like to make the point that this has really been a collaborative effort. We have had extensive conversations with current and former governors of both parties, state homeland security advisors and state emergency managers, as well as state, regional and local first responder and law enforcement associations, policy experts from academia and think tanks, business leaders and homeland security leaders in Congress. This strategy represents our effort to help align existing guidance and integrate national efforts, bringing together all instruments of national power to bear on the homeland security issue, and emphasize the importance of using a risk-based approach.

So if you look at it, we wanted to ensure alignment, integration, the full and synchronized integrated use of all instruments of national power, and make clear that homeland security must ultimately be a risk-based approach.

I'd encourage folks to look at the long-term -- sort of how to ensure long-term success towards the end of the strategy, because we really do make a point of emphasizing the comprehensive approach to risk management, the building of a culture of preparedness, developing comprehensive -- continuing to strengthen and build a comprehensive homeland security management system, which involves issuance of guidance, the planning for activities, the execution of those activities, and then the assessment and evaluation, so that you're coming full circle and constantly reevaluating both the risks and your capabilities, and then how do you build greater capabilities to face an evolving threat.

The building for long-term success includes improving and strengthening incident management, making the best utilization of science and technology, and as I've mentioned, the leveraging of all instruments of national power.

There should be no question that this involves education. The President signed an executive order on May 17, 2007 -- Executive Order 13434, the National Security Professional Development Executive Order -- and there was a resulting national strategy for the developing of security professionals. Homeland security is a foundation and fundamentally a part of our nation and our national security. And so we must build and train for the long-term individuals who look beyond their own -- the authorities of their own agency, and understand the authorities of other agencies and the capabilities of other agencies, so that they're best able to work together and leverage the full range of authorities of the government.

I should also note, one of the things we've found, based on our experience, to be most effective are the tools we provide those who must implement homeland security, and national security more broadly. A lot has changed since the original strategy of 2002. We now have a Department of Homeland Security; we've had the reauthorization of the Patriot Act; we've seen intelligence reform and the establishment of the DNI and the NCTC. And as you know, we are working with our allies in Congress to ensure permanent FISA reform legislation. This is incredibly important when we look at our ability to have the tools we need to do the long-term job of protecting the country.

Okay, Scott, I think I'm going to stop talking, and I'll open it up to questions.

Q How do you see this strategy different than the National Intelligence Estimate in July about al Qaeda?

MS. TOWNSEND: Well, there's no question, Catherine -- thank you for asking -- we -- those who are compiling, working on the review of the strategy were briefed by the people who were crafting the National Intelligence Estimate and understood very well what the terrorism threat was. What we were very much struck by was the evolving nature of the threat and the ability to be flexible and have capabilities that can surge to however the threat evolves.

Q So there's really not much of a difference, then, between this and July?

MS. TOWNSEND: This is a strategic document. This is not a threat document, and so this basically charts the course for how the federal government, working with its state and local partners, need to build capability to address the threat that the NIE lays out.

Q Good morning, Fran. A couple of things, if you will. You talk about respond and recover, and how to deal with the threat, is what you just said. But the population in general, what is the responsibility there? You may have first responders who know what to do, but do you feel more or less confident that the population knows what to do?

And also, can I come back with a second question after you do that one? I'll tell you right now -- it's just the SITE leak this morning that we all reading about in The Washington Post.

MS. TOWNSEND: Sure. Okay, now, let me start with the SITE leak. Look, we are only going to be successful in the war on terror with the help of the American people, whether those are private individuals or commercial entities. There's no question that we need that sort of cooperation, and so anytime an individual or a commercial entity cooperates with us, and asks to be protected and doesn't get the protection that they either sought or deserved, that's a cause for concern.

Frankly, this is going to be an issue for the DNI to look at so that we can understand what, if anything, happened, and how to deal with it to ensure that we fully protect those who cooperate with us.

Now, your first -- having answered your second one first, I've forgotten your first question.

Q Fran, can I just follow up a little bit on that, and I think Dana said this morning the leak did not come from the White House. How do you know that?

MS. TOWNSEND: Well, we do know that the -- we understand that within -- God knows, we'll learn more as time goes on, but I understand that the link to the SITE was provided to the intelligence community, and the concern was that that link is the piece that -- was the thing that was made public. So, as I say, I mean, obviously, I'm not -- we here at the White House are unable to conduct an investigation, and I leave this to the Director of National Intelligence to ascertain what's the appropriate way of dealing with this and understanding what happened, so we can ensure it doesn't happen again.

On the individual citizens, this really goes to the heart of the citizen and community preparedness, because we know that that's really the most effective way of minimizing suffering and damage. We encourage people, as you know, in the hurricane context and natural disaster context, to listen to their state and local officials to get direction for what to do, to take preparedness. It's family communication plans. It's working with schools and communities to ensure they have emergency plans.

Regardless of what the cause of the catastrophe is, natural or manmade, to the extent that those who are capable of preparing and taking care of themselves do that, it takes a burden off first responders. And so, citizen and community preparedness is fundamentally important to the success of response and recovery.

Q And, Fran, again, just kind of follow up on that? I mean, I guess, speaking for someone in Washington, D.C., I wouldn't have a clue what to do in an emergency. And what an -- and just back to the question, there was so much emphasis on it after 9/11 and whatever -- duct tape, which seems absurd -- but those kinds of things, and reminders from a community to put food away, or water away. I mean, do you feel that we, as a country, have gotten too complacent in that? Or is there not enough emphasis on that anymore, and should there be any concerns in that area?

MS. TOWNSEND: Sure. Martha, I would say, both -- DHS has the website Non-profits like the American Red Cross have similar preparedness websites to provide information. I will tell you that at -- having just sort of gone through the memory of that tragic day on the sixth anniversary, I do worry about complacency. I do worry about the American people thinking that we're past this now. We're not past it. We see the intelligence every day. We know we have a very determined enemy. And I do think each of us within our own families and communities have a responsibility to be asking our schools, our community and our elected officials, what are their emergency plans, and satisfy ourselves that we're taking steps to protect our families and our children.

Q Can you -- can I ask two questions? First part, can you take a minute to describe who outside and inside the administration might have led calls in the development of this new strategy? And the second question is, can you talk about how this new strategy will affect areas where the homeland security structure has drawn some criticism? For instance, you talk about the need to focus more on all hazards or natural disasters. Well, you changed the 15 preparedness scenarios that people have said only one or two deal with natural disasters. Will you -- will this affect the natural response framework, which talks about -- which has drawn criticism from states and locals for not including them as part of the effort -- human capital, transition planning, where the deputy secretary is vacant at the end of this month; and then grants, where people have complained that those weren't risk-based enough?

MR. TOWNSEND: Okay, Spencer, I'm going to do my best here. You'll come back to me, because I think you've asked more than two questions. Let me try to pull this together. The strategy should -- will be used by each federal department and agency as well as state, local and tribal governments, as a tool to help inform budgets and plans and interaction among the various levels of responders, because what we know for sure is, unless there is seamless synchronization among all levels, then the response is not -- isn't adequate, and it certainly is not as strong as it could be. And so it will inform all levels, including the federal government and federal departments, of our plans and our -- sort of the operating and implementation plans across the federal government.

I will tell you that I think -- we have spent time talking to, as I said, former governors; we've talked to state homeland security advisors; we've talked to sort of the senior military leadership both at NORTHCOM and in DOD; we've talked to experts on both sides of the aisle. We talked to -- staff talked to Bruce Hoffman and Frank Cilluffo, we've talked to Steve Flynn, and we did a think-tank roundtable. We really reached out. Does that mean everybody agreed with us? No. But the idea was to reach beyond sort of our traditional stakeholders and make sure we cast a wide net and incorporated what we believed to be the best ideas.

I personally talked to a number of governors on both sides of the aisle. We reached out to the National Governors Association and mayors. The idea was to solicit input from a broad group of stakeholders with a very varied and wide array of interests and views, and to try and incorporate that. We also worked with members of Congress.

Q But any specific changes, you think, in some of the areas, the programs that DHS has been criticized in that this strategy will contribute to?

MS. TOWNSEND: Well, I think that, again, it is a strategy, not a plan. It will be for the department to look at. But of course, it very closely aligns to what the Secretary's priorities are going forward: protecting people, protecting the things that cross our borders, greater boarder security. And in many respects, I think the Secretary's priorities align very much with the National Strategy.

Q Fran, just wanted to follow up a little bit on what Martha was asking about. You said the White House didn't ever access -- on the SITE issue here -- didn't access the information. According to the Post, both Fred Fielding and Joel -- is it Bagnal -- expressed interest in getting it, and Katz told the Post that she sent them both an email with the link to the SITE page that contained the video and the English transcript, and Fielding replied that he'd received it and thanked her.

MS. TOWNSEND: I, obviously, have not looked at internal White House emails. I guess, Kathleen, my point was that we have not conducted an investigation here. I do know that my deputy didn't get the link, and in fact, emailed her asking her to please send it to the deputy at NCPC, which she then confirmed that she had done. So I can't tell you -- I haven't looked at the internal White House emails, so what I can tell you is the DNI and the Intelligence Committee will need to look at who had access to it -- I mean, it's sort of the typical kind of leak investigation that will have to be considered and acted on as appropriately determined by the DNI.

Q Okay. And then, in brief, just looking at the report, for the layman who might flip through this, they might go, okay, where's the beef? Is there any way that you can sort of boil it down to -- you said this is taking into account changing threats -- what are the -- how have the threats changed, what are the greatest threats, and what will we, in a concrete fashion, right away be doing differently to address them?

MS. TOWNSEND: Well, if you go back and look at the 2002 strategy, it talks about preventing terrorist attacks, reducing vulnerability, and then minimizing damage. It then goes on to cite six critical mission areas. It is a much more, if you will, operational level document, talking about what kinds of capabilities that the U.S. government needs to build.

What this document does is it steps back from that and says having built many of those capabilities, what additional actions over the long-term -- this is not over the next year, but over the next several years -- do we need to build to ensure the strength and continuing vitality of the homeland security effort in this country? That's why I say, you know, we're looking -- this document steps back, builds on the foundation of the 2002 document and says, now where do we go; having built the foundation, now where do we go? And it looks at long-term education efforts at all levels of government, training; it looks at investments in science and technology, to be sure that we're working with the private sector; it looks at our efforts in terms of securing critical infrastructure, at long-term efforts to build greater partnerships with the private and nonprofit sectors.

And so this is really a much -- I think a more strategic level document that sets the President's vision over the next several years.

Q You mentioned a couple of things, lessons learned had been incorporated in this, also the government's response to non-terrorist acts. I wonder if you could describe a little bit what lessons you have learned and also whether one of those comes out of the criticism over the federal response to the Katrina disaster -- and is that what you mean by non-terrorist act of a catastrophic level, or however you put it?

MS. TOWNSEND: Yes, I think that is an example -- Katrina and our response to hurricanes. I think if you laid the reports side by side, the lessons learned report and this strategy, what you'll find are a reaffirmation of our need to build a culture of preparedness, how that reduces the burden on first-responders and ensures a more successful response.

There -- let me think now. There are long-term investments in science and technology and then, third of all, the need for long-term educational efforts. I think in the -- if I remember correctly, in Katrina lessons learned, we referred to it as a Goldwater-Nickels for the civilian bureaucracy. And what you'll find is our commitment in the -- we think that's a long-term commitment that the government needs to undertake. We need to have planning capability inside federal agencies. We need to have this education and training effort that's not only a federal effort, but incorporates working, even during education and training sessions, with state and local officials.

And I would just mention to you that the President's letter, which is in the very front of the new strategy, makes specific reference in the third paragraph to the lessons that we did learn from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.

Q Hi, Ms. Townsend. I'm wondering to what extent has the war in Iraq created and then exacerbated what your report describes as an al Qaeda in Iraq that is, "the most serious and dangerous manifestation of the threat from allied terror groups and cells"?

MS. TOWNSEND: As you've likely heard me say before, the terrorist-extremists problem is not new to the war in Iraq. Obviously we were attacked on 9/11 and in the USS Cole, in East Africa, and from extremists -- al Qaeda long before we were ever inside Iraq. There is no question now that you see, and we know by their own words, by bin Laden's and Zawahiri's own statements, they view the battle in Iraq as a fundamental battle for them. So we face them there. That is core to al Qaeda's strategic efforts and operational efforts right now, and so -- but we can't presume that that's the only place we confront them. We know that they continue to plot and plan against us here in the United States.

And so this document talks about being both on the offensive and defensive -- not just outside the United States, but inside the United States using efforts and capability that we've built inside the FBI to prevent terrorist attacks, inside DHS, inside the Justice Department. And it really brings us back to why we need permanent FISA reform.

Q Was there an al Qaeda in Iraq before the war in Iraq?

MS. TOWNSEND: You know, we've been through this. There is no question that there were extremists inside Iraq and throughout the region prior to the war in Iraq.

Q But was it al Qaeda?

MS. TOWNSEND: You know, I -- we've been through this. Every time I walk into the press briefing room we go through this, and what I will say to you is there should be no question that there were like-minded Islamic extremists inside Iraq and throughout the region. And certainly that there is extremism inside Iraq and throughout the region is not a result of the war in Iraq, it is a fundamental front in the continuing war on terror.

Q Thanks.

Q I would like to ask whether you've changed your assessment of the risk of severe hurricanes and, if you have, whether that's due to a changed calculation of the dangers posed by global warming.

MS. TOWNSEND: John, I'm not a scientist, nor a subject matter expert on the prediction of hurricanes. I will tell you that we are coming now to the end of the hurricane season -- or the most active period of the hurricane season will end about the middle of this month. It has not thus far been as active a season as it had been predicted. I don't know to what the scientists attribute that to. We look at things like water temperatures and wind shears coming in across the Atlantic, and off the coast of Africa. All of these things play into the strength and activity in the hurricane season.

Q Okay, but you can't say whether you've increased -- whether the temperatures that you're projecting have increased since the last time you went through this exercise?

MS. TOWNSEND: John, I will tell you, it's a question better asked of the scientists. Of course what I focus on is both the preparedness in the event of a hurricane and the response, should there be a catastrophic hurricane.

Q Just back on al Qaeda, the report says that al Qaeda is likely to intensify its efforts to place operatives inside the United States. And I was wondering what leads to that conclusion, and how serious that threat is, and what's being done to mitigate against it?

MS. TOWNSEND: Well, as you know, the National Intelligence Estimate that was issued said that was the capability -- that was one of four capabilities, and it was the one that al Qaeda was still seeking to acquire -- that there was not evidence that they had been able to get people across the border.

Obviously there are two -- actually, three major things that we do to deal with that: We look for intelligence around the world, but particularly overseas; we have increased border security efforts and screening on the part of the Department of Homeland Security; and third, inside the United States, it is the single highest priority of the FBI and the Justice Department to work to identify any potential al Qaeda affiliated operatives inside the United States. And so if you look at it, it's a multi-layered approach, it starts overseas with our intelligence efforts and working with our allies around the world. There is then the border security effort and then there's the internal effort here inside the United States.

Q Is there any sense of a time frame of when al Qaeda will be making these efforts? Or are these efforts already underway?

MS. TOWNSEND: Oh, there's no question they're not only underway, they're ongoing and have been.

Q Okay. One other things is the report also says that al Qaeda has protected its top leadership, replenished its operational lieutenants and regenerated a safe haven in Pakistan's tribal areas. So I'm wondering how has that -- how has al Qaeda been able to do that if, as the White House contends, Pakistan is being so cooperative, and Musharraf, in particular?

MS. TOWNSEND: Again, that really echos what was in the National Intelligence Estimate. That statement is not a new statement; that we relied on the intelligence community's assessment in framing the threat for this strategy.

We have enjoyed some of our biggest successes with our allies in Pakistan. You know, you've heard the litany of captures that we've had -- whether it's Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi Binalshibh, Zubaydah -- all of these have been the result of cooperation with our Pakistani allies. We also know that Pakistan has cooperated not only with us, but with our British counterparts in a number of disruptions of al Qaeda plots.

So there's no taking away from them; they've also suffered the loss of life in confronting al Qaeda and the Taliban in the tribal region. I have said repeatedly that the peace agreement with the tribals in Pakistan failed Pakistan and failed us. And obviously that's one of the fundamental things that al Qaeda took advantage of to reestablish a safe haven in the tribal areas. We work with -- we're continuing to work with the Musharraf government, with the Pakistani military and intelligence services to address that ongoing threat.

Q You said this is a multi-year plan, but how can you ensure that this plan is going to continue or be followed after the President's term?

MS. TOWNSEND: I'm glad you asked. I obviously can't ensure that it will, but homeland security both as a policy matter and as a concept didn't exist prior to 9/11 and prior to this President's -- President Bush assuming office. And so we believe that we had an obligation, regardless of who the next President is, Republican or Democrat, to leave them the benefit of our thinking. They may obviously choose to adjust it, depending on their own policy priorities, but we believe that both the American people and whoever the next administration are, we owed them -- we had a responsibility, an obligation to provide them with what our thinking was, based on our experience.

Q Hi, Fran, thanks. Two questions. One, you mentioned the emerging threat of homegrown radicalism. How does this document attempt to address that? And two, you said that this focuses on risk-based planning and priorities. There has been an ongoing battle in Congress about formulage for homeland security grants. It was changed very slightly this year. But most of the money is still being distributed around the country based on things other than risk. Do you see this as becoming a blueprint for further change on that?

MS. TOWNSEND: Okay. Again, let me work backwards. I absolutely do think this is a call to have funding be entirely risk-based, and believe that further adjustments in that direction are necessary. I should also point out one of the things that hasn't been mentioned yet that is also in the report. As you know, one of the 9/11 recommendations that has never been implemented is reform in Congress. And we think that that is fundamental to long-term homeland security -- is reform of the oversight structure in Congress.

On the issue of homegrown radicalism, we've seen some good work on this -- on this issue with -- by our partners in the New York City Police Department. This is a combination of -- let me step back for a moment. No question that there are many patriotic, law-abiding American Muslims who cooperate and who do not believe that extremism represents the Islamic tradition, who work with sort of their local authorities, who work in their own communities to keep America safe. But to the extent that there are those who are advocating violence inside the United States or trying to misrepresent the religion of Islam, we have to reach out to those communities, we have to work with them, and we have to try and understand the radicalization process so that we can disrupt it and intervene and prevent additional individuals from being attracted to this sort of hateful and very violent ideology.

Q And how does this document lay out a strategy or a plan to do that?

MS. TOWNSEND: What it talks about is the priority of this issue. It talks about the need for us to bring together -- there are -- as we've seen publicly, there are a number of efforts throughout the federal government. And what we talk about in the document is pulling together -- having a more integrated and synchronized effort, and to engage on this particular issue. But that's why I say to you, I think there's been a lot of good work in this area. And some of this will be at the community level like the New York City Police Department.

Q Okay, thank you.


Q Ms. Townsend, thank you very much. You mentioned earlier about the assistance of the Pakistani government in terrorist interdiction. And I'm just wondering, have they reached out to you, to the United States, for specific military assistance vis-a-vis joint ops?

MS. TOWNSEND: For obvious reasons, I'm not going to -- I can't detail for you the specific discussions between the Pakistani government and the U.S. government. We share intelligence with them. We share -- we offer them both military intelligence and law enforcement assistance. And what that looks like is a source of constant discussion and adjustment, depending on the threat, and what they're confronting. But I can't detail for you what the specific cooperation and the discussions are.

Q And a follow-up. In your document, you mentioned a "culture of preparedness." But as I continued reading through it, it talked a lot about self-reliance; a lot about making sure that the private sector and individuals are prepared not only for mutual assistance but also to essentially get it done themselves. Is it your feeling that you are where you want to be in fostering this culture of preparedness? And should people read into this: Look, don't count on us, you're going to have to fend for yourself?

MS. TOWNSEND: Okay. Starting with the "Am I satisfied?" As your colleagues will tell you who have asked me a question that way before, I am never satisfied; I hope we never are; that there's always more that we can do. And so make no mistake, we have more we can do. And Martha Raddatz asked a question about what do I do; I'm here in Washington, D.C. It says to me, for someone who is as engaged as that on this issue to not know, it suggests we've got a lot of work we still need to do on this issue, in terms of building -- truly building that culture of preparedness.

This is not a -- however, this is not us saying, we're not preparing, we're not going to be there for you. But the reality is for the federal government, even working with our state and local partners, it will take us some amount of time. I often use the analogy, if my house was on fire, would I stay inside it and wait for somebody to come and put it out? No, I would begin to get my family together, get them out, and get them to safety while I knew people were coming to help.

It's the same sort of approach. What we're saying to you is, there are things you can do, steps you can take to minimize the damage and suffering to your own family and your own community, and we want to work with you so you can understand what those steps are that you can take while your local and state and federal responders get there to help.

Q Thank you.

Q Hi, Fran, how are you?


Q You had mentioned in this report that you're trying to do more to anticipate other countries not cooperating as much in the war on terrorism. I'm trying to remember the exact wording. Can you go into any detail about what countries are cooperating and what countries are not, if you can do that at all? And why that concern seems to be a repeated phrase. I'm wondering if you can go into any more elaboration on that.

MS. TOWNSEND: The threat each country faces is -- while there are common threads to it, are unique. And so each country, obviously, is focused on what their unique priority is. And naturally there will be periods of time where that means that they are less focused on how we can cooperate with one another and help one another than they are on dealing with their own domestic threat. We look to work with our allies, whether it's strengthening counterterrorism laws, strengthening criminal regimes, strengthening border security.

The way I describe this is, homeland security, I think, in some ways around the world has become -- it's heard as a uniquely American concept. And I tell my allies around the world, it's not. The homeland security, the ability of a foreign government to have homeland security for their homeland makes us safer, to the extent they're able to secure their borders and stop the financial flows to bad guys. All that helps not only the foreign country be secure, but helps us be secure. And frankly, it's also a matter of helping them to build their own organic capability in foreign countries, so that we don't have to -- we have less of a threat from transnational actors. That's a long-term goal, and so I think it's a matter of building long-term international capability.

Q Right. Are you satisfied -- you mentioned the financial angle, are you satisfied that countries, Pakistan for instance, are trying to stop the flow of money to terrorists, and that the U.N. is properly doing its role in terms of having a sort of a global front in designating and enforcing those?

MS. TOWNSEND: Well, there have been many designations. We've seen countries throughout the Middle East, for example, institute cash courier laws and restrictions. We know from looking at intelligence that all of those activities do inhibit the flow of money across borders, but again this is another area -- am I totally satisfied? No. Is there more that needs to be done? Absolutely.

Q Thanks.


END 11:15 A.M. EDT

Printer-Friendly Version   Email this page to a friend

In Focus
September 2007   |   July 2007   |   July 2007   |   June 2007   |   May 2007   |   April 2007   |   March 2007   |   February 2007

News by Date


Federal Facts

West Wing