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Nations Must Work Together "Smarter, Quicker" to Foil Terrorists, Rumsfeld Says

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

QUITO, Ecuador, Nov. 15, 2004 – Terrorists and other enemies of civil order are smart enough to identify and take advantage of gaps in established security systems -- so nations need to work cooperatively to "be smarter and quicker" to find new ways to foil them, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said here today.

Rumsfeld, here for the sixth Defense Ministerial of the Americas conference, said he's optimistic the meetings will build on groundwork laid at the last ministerial two years ago to help close gaps within existing security systems and "strengthen the inter-American system."

Terrorists, narcotraffickers, hostage takers, gang members and other enemies of civil society have become smart enough to capitalize on "seams" in security systems, Rumsfeld told reporters traveling with him. "And there are all kinds of seams," he said, many "being used effectively against civil society."

These seams, he said, may exist between different kinds of security forces, between countries and in ungoverned and border areas.

The only way to close these seams, Rumsfeld said, is for all nations to work together cooperatively to overcome them through improved information sharing, better cooperation among law enforcement entities, and improved cooperation to stem the financing of illegal activities.

"When you think about it, no country, including the United States or any other country in the world, can deal with these problems alone, because these problems are not contained within national boundaries," he said.

The secretary said he's optimistic participants in the defense ministerial who represent countries Rumsfeld said "are overwhelmingly democratic" and support the rule of law will pledge their ongoing support to this effort.

"We need to find new ways to cooperate, recognizing that it will take the best of all of us, cooperating to improve the way we do things," Rumsfeld said.

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Biographies:
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld

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