Bush Says Government Working to Protect Nation in Danger
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 7, 2004 The nation is in danger, President Bush told the nation this morning during his weekly Saturday radio address, and he vowed that the government is doing everything in its power to confront the danger.
"We're making good progress in protecting our people and bringing our enemies to account," he said.
Bush recounted actions taken since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States. "We've taken important steps to overcome terrorist threats to this nation," he said. "We've pursued terrorists across the world, destroying their leadership and denying them sanctuaries. We are working with other governments to break up terror cells and stop planned attacks on virtually every continent."
Bush pointed out that the Department of Homeland Security was created to win the battle against terror on the home front. "We're working to secure our borders, air and sea ports and critical infrastructure," he noted. "We're bringing the best technologies to bear against the threat of chemical and biological warfare. We're using the tools of the Patriot Act to track terrorists within our borders, and stop them before they kill our people."
The Patriot Act enhances tools that already were available to investigate organized crime and drug trafficking, expanding their scope to the fight against terrorism. It also facilitates information sharing and cooperation among government agencies, updates the law to reflect new technologies and new threats and increases penalties for those who commit terrorist crimes.
Noting that the FBI has enhanced its efforts in focusing on the prevention of terrorist attacks, Bush said the government has established a Terrorist Threat Integration Center to merge and analyze foreign and domestic intelligence on global terror in a single place.
"And we're sharing that intelligence in unprecedented ways with local officials and first responders who need it to protect our communities," the president said.
Bush noted that he agrees with the conclusions of the 9/11 Commission. "Because of these steps at home and abroad," he said, "our country is safer than it was on Sept. 11, 2001. Yet, we're still not safe. The elevation of the threat level in New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., is a grim reminder of the dangers we continue to face."
He said information gathered from arrests in Pakistan, coupled with data garnered by the U.S. intelligence community, indicated that al Qaeda has cased financial targets in New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. Noting that terrorists recently updated their targeting information, Bush said the information was buttressed by other information already in U.S. hands.
"We and our allies are working to protect our people from these threats," the president assured the nation. "As we fight the ongoing terrorist threat we will continue moving forward with additional changes to protect our country."
This week, Bush asked Congress to create the position of a national intelligence director, who would be appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. "The director will serve as the president's principal intelligence adviser and will oversee and coordinate the foreign and domestic intelligence community," Bush said. A separate director will manage the CIA, while the national intelligence director would assume the broader responsibility of leading the intelligence community across the government, he explained. "He or she will have the resources and authority to meet that responsibility," the president vowed.
A new national counterterrorism center also is on the drawing board, Bush said. "This new center will build on the excellent work of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, and will become our government's knowledge bank for information about known and suspected terrorists," he explained. Bush said the center also would prepare the daily terrorism threat report for the president and senior officials. The center's director will report to the national intelligence director.
Vowing to act on other valuable recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission, Bush said he will issue a series of directives to various departments on essential steps for the government on the war on terror. "As we take these steps, our nation is grateful to the dedicated, hardworking men and women of our intelligence community who are working day and night to keep our country safe," the president said.