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Statement before the Subcommittee on Commerce, State, the Judiciary and Related Agencies of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Washington, DC, February 4, 1999.
Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. I welcome this opportunity to testify concerning U.S. efforts to counter the forces of international terror. As you know, the President has designated the Department of State as the lead agency for coordination of our counterterrorism policy and operations abroad, while the FBI is the lead agency for countering terrorism in the United States.
So I am delighted to be here with my colleagues, Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis Freeh. Their presence reflects the fact that the battle against terror requires effective coordination within our own government and between our government and law-abiding nations around the globe.
It also requires a partnership between the executive and legislative branches of the United States. And here I want to commend the Chairman and members of this subcommittee--for no one has been more aware of the dangers to our diplomatic personnel, more supportive of our efforts to improve security, or more helpful in providing resources to respond to the terrorist threat, than this panel.
I look forward to the opportunity today to build on our partnership and to explore with you the many dimensions to our strategy. In my statement, I will provide an overview of the international threat and discuss our diplomatic actions, policies, plans, and resource needs. The Attorney General and the Director will then bring you up to date on the wide range of law enforcement, technology, crisis management, and other initiatives that are underway.
We will each discuss the Five-Year Interagency Counter-terrorism and Technology Crime Plan. This plan serves as a base-line strategy for coordinating our response to terrorism in the United States and against American targets overseas. The subcommittee has received copies of the plan, which was crafted under the leadership of the Attorney General. You also have the written statements we prepared for this morning. We have agreed to keep our oral presentations brief in order to honor your time for questions.
I will begin by discussing the threat posed to the United States and the world by the forces of international terror. If you look at the statistics, you will see that the number of terrorist incidents worldwide is declining. This reflects the diplomatic and law enforcement progress we have made in discrediting terrorist groups and making it harder for them to operate. It reflects, as well, the improved political climate that has diminished terrorist activity in places such as Northern Ireland and Central America.
But you would not be conducting this hearing, Mr. Chairman, if the dangers posed by international terrorism had declined. Tragically, they have not.
Last August, I had the sad honor of bringing back to U.S. soil the bodies of Americans who perished in the embassy bombing in Kenya. Like the members of our armed forces who died in foreign conflicts, these Americans went in harm's way for our country. But there is a difference--for they were not combatants in a war as we have long understood that term. They were casualties, instead, of a new kind of confrontation that looms as a new century is about to begin.
In this struggle, our adversaries are likely to avoid traditional battlefield situations, because, there, American dominance is well established. They may resort, instead, to weapons of mass destruction and the cowardly instruments of sabotage and hidden bombs. …