Our policy to counter international terrorists rests on the following principles: (1) make no concessions to terrorists; (2) bring all pressure to bear on all state sponsors of terrorism; (3) fully exploit all available legal mechanisms to punish international terrorists; and (4) help other governments improve their capabilities to combat terrorism. Following these principles, we seek to uncover and eliminate foreign terrorists and their support networks in our country; eliminate terrorist sanctuaries; and counter state-supported terrorism and subversion of moderate regimes through a comprehensive program of diplomatic, law enforcement, economic, military and intelligence activities. We are working to improve aviation security at airports in the United States and worldwide, to ensure better security for all U.S. transportation systems, and to improve protection for our personnel assigned overseas.
Countering terrorism effectively requires day-to-day coordination within the U.S. Government and close cooperation with other governments and international organizations. Foreign terrorists will not be allowed to enter the United States, and the full force of legal authorities will be used to remove foreign terrorists from the United States and prevent fundraising within the United States to support foreign terrorist activity. We have seen positive results from the increasing integration of intelligence, diplomatic, military and law enforcement activities among the Departments of State, Justice, Defense, Treasury, Energy, Transportation, the CIA and other intelligence agencies. The Administration is working with Congress to increase the ability of these agencies to combat terrorism through augmented funding and manpower.
The United States has made concerted efforts to deter and punish terrorists and remains determined to apprehend and bring to justice those who terrorize American citizens. In January 1998, the United States signed the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings. The Convention fills an important gap in international law by expanding the legal framework for international cooperation in the investigation, prosecution and extradition of persons who engage in such bombings. Whenever possible, we use law enforcement and diplomatic tools to wage the fight against terrorism. But there have been, and will be, times when law enforcement and diplomatic tools are simply not enough, when our very national security is challenged, and when we must take extraordinary steps to protect the safety of our citizens. As long as terrorists continue to target American citizens, we reserve the right to act in self defense by striking at their bases and those who sponsor, assist or actively support them. We exercised that right in 1993 with the attack against Iraqi intelligence headquarters in response to Baghdad’s assassination attempt against former President Bush. We exercised that right again in August 1998.
On August 7, 1998, 12 Americans and nearly 300 Kenyans and Tanzanians lost their lives, and another 5,000 were wounded when our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were bombed. Soon afterward, our intelligence community acquired convincing information from a variety of reliable sources that the network of radical groups affiliated with Osama bin Laden, perhaps the preeminent organizer and financier of international terrorism in the world today, planned, financed and carried out the bombings. The groups associated with bin Laden come from diverse places, but share a hatred for democracy, a fanatical glorification of violence and a horrible distortion of their religion to justify the murder of innocents. They have made the United States their adversary precisely because of what we stand for and what we stand against.
On August 20, 1998, our Armed Forces carried out strikes against terrorist facilities and infrastructure in Afghanistan. Our forces targeted one of the most active terrorist bases in the world. It contained key elements of the bin Laden network’s infrastructure and has served as a training camp for literally thousands of terrorists from around the globe. Our forces also attacked a factory in Sudan associated with the bin Laden network that was involved in the production of materials for chemical weapons. The strikes were a necessary and proportionate response to the imminent threat of further terrorist attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities. Afghanistan and Sudan had been warned for years to stop harboring and supporting these terrorist groups. Countries that persistently host terrorists have no right to be safe havens.
Placing terrorism at the top of the diplomatic agenda has increased international information sharing and law enforcement efforts. At the June 1997 Denver Summit of the Eight, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States reaffirmed their determination to combat terrorism in all forms, their opposition to concessions to terrorist demands and their determination to deny hostage-takers any benefits from their acts. They agreed to intensify diplomatic efforts to ensure that by the year 2000 all States have joined the international counterterrorism conventions specified in the 1996 UN resolution on measures to counter terrorism. The eight leaders also agreed to strengthen the capability of hostage negotiation experts and counterterrorism response units, to exchange information on technologies to detect and deter the use of weapons of mass destruction in terrorist attacks, to develop means to deter terrorist attacks on electronic and computer infrastructure, to strengthen maritime security, to exchange information on security practices for international special events, and to strengthen and expand international cooperation and consultation on terrorism.
International crime is a serious and potent threat to the American people at home and abroad. Drug trafficking, illegal trade in firearms, financial crimes— such as money laundering, counterfeiting, advanced fee and credit card fraud, and income tax evasion— illegal alien smuggling, trafficking in women and children, economic espionage, intellectual property theft, computer hacking and public corruption are all linked to international criminal activity and all have a direct impact on the security and prosperity of the American people.
Efforts to combat international crime can have a much broader impact than simply halting individual criminal acts. The efficiency of the market place depends on transparency and effective law enforcement, which limit distorting factors such as extortion and corruption. A free and efficient market implies not only the absence of state control but also limits on unlawful activities that impede rational business decisions and fair competition. Additionally, the integrity and reliability of the international financial system will be improved by standardizing laws and regulations governing financial institutions and improving international law enforcement cooperation in the financial sector.
To address the increasing threat from these diverse criminal activities, we have formulated an International Crime Control Strategy that provides a framework for integrating the federal government response to international crime. The strategy’s major goals and initiatives are to:
• Extend our crime control efforts beyond U.S. borders by intensifying activities of law enforcement and diplomatic personnel abroad to prevent criminal acts and prosecute select criminal acts committed abroad.