Presidential Radio Address - 7 August 2004
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. My most solemn duty as President is to protect our country, and in the three years since our country was attacked, we have taken important steps to overcome terrorist threats to this nation.
We have 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. We've created a new Department of Homeland Security to win the battle against terror on the home front. We are working to secure our borders, air and sea ports and critical infrastructure. We are 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. We have transformed the FBI to focus on the prevention of terrorist attacks. We've established a Terrorist Threat Integration Center, to merge and analyze foreign and domestic intelligence on global terror in a single place. And we are sharing that intelligence in unprecedented ways with local officials and first responders who need it to protect our communities.
I agree with the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission. Because of these steps at home and abroad, our country is safer than it was on September the 11th, 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. Information from arrests in Pakistan, taken together with information gathered by the U.S. intelligence community, indicated that al Qaeda has cased financial targets in New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., and has recently updated their targeting information. This information was buttressed by other information we already had.
We and our allies are working to protect our people from these threats. As we fight the ongoing terrorist threat we will continue moving forward with additional changes to protect our country. This week, I asked Congress to create the position of a National Intelligence Director. The person in that office will be appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, and will serve at the pleasure of the President. The Director will serve as the President's principal intelligence advisor and will oversee and coordinate the foreign and domestic intelligence community. The CIA will be managed by a separate Director. The National Intelligence Director will assume the broader responsibility of leading the intelligence community across our government, and he or she will have the resources and authority to meet that responsibility.
This week I also announced that we establish a new National Counter-Terrorism Center. 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. This center will also be responsible for preparing the daily terrorism threat report for the President and senior officials, and its director will report to the National Intelligence Director, once that position is created.
We will act on other valuable recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission. In the coming days, I 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. We're a nation in danger. We're doing everything we can in our power to confront the danger. We're making good progress in protecting our people and bringing our enemies to account. But one thing is certain: We'll keep our focus, we'll keep our resolve, and we will do our duty to best secure our country.
Thank you for listening.