SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10716]
PATTERNS OF GLOBAL TERRORISM AND THREATS TO THE UNITED STATES
SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
MAY 22, 2001
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SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
JIM SAXTON, NEW JERSEY, Chairman
DUNCAN HUNTER, California
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
J.C. WATTS, JR., Oklahoma
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
KEN CALVERT, California
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJIM TURNER, Texas
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
JAMES H. MALONEY, Connecticut
MIKE MCINTYRE, North Carolina
ROBERT E. ANDREWS, New Jersey
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
CYNTHIA A. MCKINNEY, Georgia
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
JAMES R. LANGEVIN, Rhode Island
ROBERT S. RANGEL, Staff Director
DAVID TRACHTENBERG, Professional Staff Member
PETER PRY, Professional Staff Member
JARROD TISDELL, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Tuesday, May 22, 2001, Patterns of Global Terrorism and Threats to the United States
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Tuesday, May 22, 2001
TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2001
PATTERNS OF GLOBAL TERRORISM AND THREATS TO THE UNITED STATES
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Saxton, Hon. Jim, a Representative from New Jersey, Chairman, Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism
Snyder, Hon. Vic, a Representative from Arkansas, Ranking Member, Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism
Brinkley, Samuel, Senior Advisor on Weapons of Mass Destruction, Department of State
Wong, Mark, Director for Regional Affairs, Department of State
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Saxton, Hon. Jim
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Documents submitted for the Record.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
PATTERNS OF GLOBAL TERRORISM AND THREATS TO THE UNITED STATES
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism,
Washington, DC, Tuesday, May 22, 2001.
The panel met, pursuant to call, at 10:05 a.m. in room 2212, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Jim Saxton (chairman of the panel) presiding.
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCOPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JIM SAXTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW JERSEY, CHAIRMAN, SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
Mr. SAXTON. This morning the Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism convenes in open session to hold a hearing on Patterns of Global Terrorism and Threats to the U.S. Homeland.
This hearing marks or nearly marks the first anniversary of the Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism. As I reflect on the many hearings and briefings we have had, I am pleased with how far we have come and how much substantive territory we have covered.
The Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism has examined the leading terrorist groups, their motives and methods of operation and the kinds of threats they can pose to the United States. We have examined the terrorist problem in its geographic context. We have covered in our hearings and briefings many of the regions of the world that are plagued by terrorism where the U.S. and allied interests are at risk and where terrorism of the future may be evolving.
The panel has also treated terrorism in its technical context. We have examined the weapons of mass destruction terrorism, the accessibility of terrorists to nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons of mass destruction. We have examined cyberterrorism and the threat that that could pose to our society that is increasingly dependent upon the electronic information system and the supporting infrastructure. We have examined radio frequency weapons as possible terrorist weapons of mass destruction that could potentially pose a graver threat than cyberterrorism to our electronic infrastructure. We have even witnessed a unique field demonstration of a radio frequency weapon such as terrorists could actually build, the first time such an event has been made open to the Congress and to the public.
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This has been a good start for the Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism, and I thank the members for their participation in the panel's work. I expect the expertise we develop from these events will be valuable as the Congress contemplates legislation and programs to protect our Nation and our allies from the terrorist threat.
Yet the most important lesson I learned from our work is that our task is just beginning. Terrorism is branching into many possible directions. The implications for the U.S. national security are very complex. We have come far in advancing our understanding of the terrorist threat, but we still have far to go.
Today, the panel we will hear from the Department of State on its recently published report Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000. Every year the Department of State, in collaboration with the intelligence community, produces this report. The report describes and analyzes terrorist events over the last year and attempts to identify trends in terrorism. The Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000 is an unclassified and authoritative statement by the U.S. government on the recent history of evolving naturethe nature of terrorist threats to the United States.
Some highlights of Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000 that I am sure our witnesses will be able to expand on include the following: During the year 2000, compared to 1999, international terrorists inflicted an increased number of casualties worldwide and increased the number of attacks against the United States specifically. Globally, the number of attacks by international terrorists rose from 392 in 1999 to 423 in the year 2000. Attacks against the United States increased from 169 in 1999 to 200 in the year 2000.
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During the year 2000 the single deadliest attack against the United States by international terrorists was the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. The terrorist attack on October 12th in the Yemeni Port of Aden killed 17 sailors and wounded dozens of others. The attack also incapacitated a sophisticated U.S. guided missile ship valued at a billion dollars. That is vital to our security of our aircraft carrier groups and our presence in the Persian Gulf.
Who are the nations that sponsor international terrorism? Some states might resort to terrorism as a form of asymmetrical warfare against the United States in a future crisis or conflict, or they might use terrorism as part of a protracted campaign to attempt to force the United States to abandon its global role and its regional interests and the regional interests of its allies.
Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000 identifies seven governments that sponsor terrorism, namely Iran, Iraq, Libya, Korea, North Korea and Sudan. The report also identifies Pakistan and Libya as governments of concern.
Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000 also notes that state-sponsored terrorism is being superseded by nonstate-sponsored terrorists. These nonstate terrorists constitute a web of informally linked individuals and groups that have been involved in most of the major attacks or plots against the United States over the past 15 years. Nonstate terrorists now collaborate in terrorist acts throughout the world. Their destructive influence literally spans the globe, reaching from the Philippines to the Balkans and Central Asia to the Persian Gulf, from Western China to Somalia and from Western Europe to South Asia.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000 finds that, and I quote, at the dawn of the millennium, the possibility of a terrorist attack involving weapons of mass destruction, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive weapons remains real. End quote. The report also predicts that cyberterrorism is likely to be a growing threat.
Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000 is an excellent report. I urge the panel members and the public to read it.
We have with us today to discuss Patterns of Global Terrorism and its implications for the terrorist threats against the United States a panel of experts from the U.S. Department of State. Mr. Mark Wong is Deputy Coordinator and Director for Regional Affairs at the Department of State; and Mr. Samuel Brinkley is Senior Advisor on Weapons of Mass Destruction, also at the Department of State.
Gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us today. But before we begin our testimony, I want to turn to Mr. Snyder for any remarks that he may have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Saxton can be found in the Appendix.]
STATEMENT OF HON. VIC SNYDER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM ARKANSAS, RANKING MEMBER, SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
Mr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate you holding this hearing once again.
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Sometimes these issues of terrorism seem pretty remote for a lot of Americans, but, speaking as an Arkansan, I have one constituent and friend in Little Rock whose 18-year-old boy died in the Lockerbie crash. I have another friend from medical school in Arkansas who was working at a research station in Kenya and was on the phone talking to the embassy when the bomb went off, and he went there and spent the next day or two hoping to find survivors, and instead they found remains of their friends and colleagues in the structure.
These are very real problems and challenges that affect Americans throughout the country, not just those folks living overseas. So thank you all for being here.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Wong, the floor is yours.
STATEMENT OF MARK WONG, DIRECTOR FOR REGIONAL AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Mr. WONG. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Chairman, Congressman Snyder, Congressman Calvert and Congressman Hayes, I want to say at the outset that we very much appreciate the opportunity to appear before this special panel, before this committee, to continue what we see not only at the State Department but from the broader interagency team that works on counterterrorism issues, a very strong partnership with the Congress on a matter of national importance such as countering terrorism.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think that what we found in the State Department is that some of the most effective diplomatic tools that we utilize are provided to us by Congress and, by that, the state-sponsored legislation that you refer to, Mr. Chairman, also the process that we have to designate foreign terrorist organizations, again from congressional legislation. And there is a lot more there. So the working partnership that we have with Congress is strong, and this is a great opportunity to continue that.
In addition, I find that the work of the special panel clearly has over the past year contributed a great deal to the critical thinking that goes on behind the issues and the trends as they develop. So I am happy to be here today to contribute a little bit to that, although, Mr. Chairman, your opening statement showed you have a very strong grasp of a lot of the details that we laid out in the Patterns of Global Terrorism, so I won't go over to a lot of these statistics. But, if it is acceptable to the Chair, we will go over some brief trends and review those and be open to any questions.
I should say at the outset that Acting Coordinator Edmund Hull deeply regrets not being able to appear before you today, but a long-standing commitment prevented him from being here.
It is quite an honor for me to be here. It is the first time in 23 years in government that I am testifying before a committee of Congress. So it is quite an honor. I thank you for that.
What I would like to say at the outset is I also have good support in our Senior Advisor Sam Brinkley to talk about weapons of mass destruction and other issues that I know are of deep concern to the special panel.
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I will talk about trends. I will talk about the State Department role and tools and responses and a little bit about the interagency process. Then, if it is acceptable to the Chair, I will turn over a portion of the statement for Mr. Brinkley; and then we would be very happy to answer questions from the panel.
The central point I would like to begin with is that, with regards to the key issue here that is before the panel, homeland defense, we consider State Department and the agency, that counterterrorism diplomacy, counterterrorism strategy abroadif I may, since this is before the House Armed Services Committee, borrow a military term, that diplomacy and strategy abroad is really the forward edge of the battle area for our fight against terrorism internationally; and we see it holistically in that way, that the work abroad contributes very much to making a defense at the water's edge.
Let me go straight into the some of the broad threat trends.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the primary threat to U.S. lives and interests came from countriesmany of which you mentioned, Mr. ChairmanLibya, Syria, Iran and Iraq, for example, that were directly involved in terrorism or supported terrorist groups. Using substantial state resources, these countries were able to sponsor terrorism on a large scale and with devastating impact, whether by supporting Palestinian leftist groups in their efforts to terrorize Israel or by directly attacking American and other Western targets.
Terrorists groups became increasingly sophisticated, not only in their ability to conduct attacks but also in their ability to manage complex financial and logistical networks, spreading their influence from the Middle East, Europe, South Asia and beyond.
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To counter this, the United States devoted most of its counterterrorism efforts and resources to countering the state sponsors. The state sponsor threat was also the genesis of much of the counterterrorism legislation including, the ''state sponsor'' legislation and related sanctions laws, that Congress enacted to facilitate our efforts. The successful conviction of al-Megrahi, who participated in the murder of 259 people on Pan Am flight 103 and 11 more on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland, on behalf of the Libyan government, as the court made clear on behalf of Libyan intelligence services, that is both a vivid reminder of the dangers of state sponsorship and a sign of the success we have had in curbing it.
Since the 1980s, the international community, with the U.S. in the lead, has increasingly worked together at all levels to isolate and confront state sponsors with various tools, international sanctions, multilateral pressure and isolation, and concerted diplomatic, intelligence and law enforcement campaigns. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, we began to see the fruit of that cooperation, with many state sponsors moving to limitunfortunately not to endtheir support for terrorism. Nonetheless, even the decreased state sponsorship we see today represents a critical threat. For example, Iran and Syria's continued support for Hizballah and Palestinian rejectionist groups has devastated the lives of too many innocent civilians and hurt the cause of peace in the Middle East.
The success we have had in reining in most state sponsors has been countered by the more recent emergence of loosely organized, international networks of terrorists, often described in the popular lexicon as ''Afghan Alumni'' because of their long involvement with the long-running conflict in Afghanistan. These terrorists networks share a vision of global ''jihad'' or holy war against the West, especially the United States and Middle Eastern regimes they perceive to be ''un-Islamic''.
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As most governments, including our friends and allies in the Middle East, worked to improve their counterterrorism efforts, often with the assistance of the U.S., many of the ''international mujahidin,'' as they are known, and the terrorist groups they either created or joined sought safe haven in areas where they could work with relative impunity.Sadly for the people of Afghanistan, the Taliban rulers believed it was in its interesttheir interest to offer many of these terrorists, including Usama bin Ladin and his al-Qaida network, safe haven in the part of Afghanistan that the Taliban control.
Although the locus for these terrorists is Afghanistan, they have and continue to spread their destruction across the world, including, obviously, in Kenya and Tanzania, where they killed 12 Americans and hundreds of Kenyans and Tanzanians. They have even reached American soil. Afghanistan-based terrorists succeeded in bombing the World Trade Center in 1993.
If it were not for the continuing diligence of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies operating here and abroad, and those of our allies, these terrorists would have inflicted even more devastation, carrying out terrorist attacks against our friends abroad and very possibly in the United States as well. Here I specifically refer to the foiled plot to attack tourist sites in Jordan and the foiled attempt by Ahmed Ressam to bring explosive devices into the U.S. from Canada in December of 1999.
Clearly, the intent of these terrorist operatives, again many trained in Afghanistan, to strike at the U.S. remains a clear and present danger, as we saw so tragically in the October 2000 murder of 17 U.S. sailors aboard the U.S.S. Cole.
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In preventing and defending against international terrorist attacks, whether aimed at Americans overseas or at home, our first line of defense and offense is overseas. As I indicated earlier, the Department of State is the lead agency for countering terrorism overseas, and we head this fight as a matter of international policy. The Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism is the key office for developing, coordinating and implementing the policy that we promote overseas with the interagency team that I have referred to earlier.
We use all the tools we have availableinternational diplomacy, law enforcement, intelligence collection and sharing, sanctions and military force as appropriateto counter current terrorist threats and to hold terrorists accountable for past actions.
Terrorists seek refuge in what former Coordinator for Counterterrorism Michael Sheehan has described as ''swamps.'' He meant by this, areas of countries where government territorial control is weak, such as Lebanon, or where a government such as Tehran is sympathetic to terrorism, supports it actively, or where a powerful faction is sympathetic to terrorism, such as in Afghanistan.
Our overall policy to seek to drain these kind of swamps and starve and paralyze the infrastructure. Through diplomacy, international and domestic legislation, intelligence sharing and law enforcement cooperation, we seek to curb the ability of terrorists to plan, move, raise funds, operate. Our goal is to eliminate terrorist safe havens, dry up their sources of revenue, break up cells, disrupt movements and, above all, where they have committed crimes against Americans in the international community, bring them to justice for their crimes.
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International cooperation. Diplomacy is essential to countering international terrorism. We work closely with other countries to increase international political will to limit all aspects of terrorist efforts. The introduction to the latest issue of our annual report presents an overview of these efforts. I won't repeat any details there.
I do want to highlight that the showcase effort has been the international community's consensus, expressed through U.N. Security Council Resolution 1333, which added a new dimension to the earlier resolution which is not only does this international community consensus exist to call for the Taliban to expel Usama bin Ladin to justice, it added a new dimension that the Taliban are required to close terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. And this by its own definition makes it a global statement of terrorism policy because those terrorist camps supply operatives and movements that move throughout the world.
Our embassies and missions overseas are critical in obtaining and sustaining international cooperation and providing early warning of potential threats to our interests. Our diplomats deliver a consistent message on terrorism to foreign governments, reinforce that message with practical support to the willing, and mobilize the international community to isolatethrough political and economic pressuresthose who still support or use terrorism.
In multilateral meetings, as well as in our bilateral relations, we work to create an environment intolerant of terrorism, and to isolate those who threaten us, our friends and allies, and innocent people everywhere.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As Secretary Powell has recently emphasized before the Congress, it is our duty to afford the best possible protection to American citizens wherever they may work or travel. But we cannot succeed without the support and cooperation of foreign governments. These governments bear the primary responsibility within their borders for preventing terrorism, protecting our citizens, responding to terrorist attacks, and investigating attacks against Americans. It is also through the cooperation of these foreign government that we have extradited and rendered to American justice 13 wanted terrorists since 1993.
Our Chiefs of Mission are responsible for coordinating the actions of the agencies that work from within our embassies overseas to prevent and respond to terrorism. With the exception of those directly under regional Commander in Chief's (CINC's) authority, our Chiefs of Mission are responsible for all official Americans working on behalf of the American people, whether they are Legal or Defense Attaches, Intelligence Officers, Foreign Service or Civil Service Officers.
In particular, the State Department also leads the Foreign Emergency Support Team, also known as the FEST, which is deployed to serve as an ambassador's consultative and support unit in response to a terrorist attack or sometimes in anticipation of attacka potential attack.
In the past year, this Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) team has been deployed to the Philippines, Yemen and Ecuador. This interagency team is led by experienced State Department professionals and staffed by experts from the Department of Defense (DOD), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other agencies. FEST plays a crucial role in the vital task of coordinating the interagency response overseas, securing American lives and assets, and keeping Washington informed on key developments.
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This FEST team works intermittently with the U.S. team abroad and host government to ensure we are doing all we can to protect U.S. lives and interests and to bring terrorists to justice.
This team will hold interagency exercises at least twice a year to ensure that we are prepared and that we are ready for different types of changing emergency response needs ranging, from airplane hijackings to biological or chemical attacks. The composition of the team depends on the incident but includes specialists such as FBI hostage negotiatorswe recently had a strong team work with the FBI in both Ecuador and the Philippinesforensic experts and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) consequence management planners as appropriate on this team.
We work closely with the Defense Department in the FEST operations. In addition to its contributions of experts and specialists to the FEST team, DOD provides, maintains and operates the FEST aircraft that deploys this team overseas on a 4-hour string, 4-hour warning.
Last year Congress provided DOD funding to replace the 37-year-old aircraft. It was much appreciated. The Domestic Emergency Support Team may also use this same aircraft to respond to incidents in the United States. So if I may put in a plug for the Defense Department, something in the State Department we love to be able to do, DOD is considering a request of $75 million for a FEST aircraft in its fiscal year 2002 budget.
I think I want to end up just on a note saying that the interagency response capability that we exercise and practice works well. We will always think hard and do more to improve it, with close consultation with our partners in Congress as well. We have been and we continue to work with a number of interagency colleagues across the boardDefense, Justice, Treasury, Health and Human Servicesto strengthen our response capabilities.
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With the chairman's permission, I will conclude my part now and turn it over to my colleague, Mr. Brinkley, the Office's WMD Policy Advisor; and, after that, we will be glad to answer questions.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much, sir.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Wong can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Brinkley.
STATEMENT OF SAMUEL BRINKLEY, SENIOR ADVISOR ON WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Mr. BRINKLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the panel. As a follow-on to Mr. Wong, I will focus my statement on our efforts to address the weapons of mass destruction, WMD, terrorism threat and our relationship, which I know is a subject that is very high on most members' lists, with our domestic preparedness program.
Mr. Chairman, a good example of our evolving and improving counterterrorism effort is the work we are doing to the counter a WMD terrorist attack. As weapons of mass destruction know no borders, an attack of this type in the United States, whether conducted by international or domestic terrorists, will have significant international implications. The State Department must continue to be a partner in the domestic counterterrorism effort to play its critical role in addressing the international impact of such an incident.
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For example, during the May 2000 Top Officials, or better known as TOPOFF, exercise, we simulated some of the international responses to domestic biological and chemical attacks. What we learned is that the WMD response and consequence management capabilities of our Nation are finite and that we must better understand the decision-making processes and the coordination required between domestic and international response requirements. This exercise helped us do that, and we look forward to the next such exercise.
More recently, the Department of Justice's Office of Justice programs began a study of the feasibility and structure of a domestic pre-positioned first-responder equipment program. We are actively participating in this study from the Department of State to determine how we can best create and implement such a program to maximize the U.S. Government's ability to meet its international response requirements and those of the Federal, State and local governments at home.
At the Department of State, our WMD International Crisis and Consequence Management Policy Workshop and our First Responder Training Program, which began with supplemental funding from the Congress in fiscal year 1999, prepares the host nation to better protect U.S. citizens, installations and interests abroad. The WMD Workshop, developed and provided by our office and the Coordinator of Counterterrorism, brings together senior host nation interagency officials and their embassy counterparts to discern how best to prepare for and respond to WMD terrorism.
The First Responder Program, conducted by the Diplomatic Security Bureau's Anti-terrorism Assistance Program, has leveraged the U.S. Government's domestic training programs and lessons learned, and introduces host nation first responders to a WMD response.
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I might add that these responders in the host nation are, in fact, our embassy and our installations, they are our first responders out there in the event of an attack. These programs improve the host nation's crisis and consequence management techniques. As part of the engagement activities, host nation officials learn about what assistance the U.S. Government can provide, how it can request that assistance and, finally, how best to work with our FEST and other U.S. Government responders if requested.
Finally, just as the host nation learns from us, we can learn from it. We are actively working with Federal domestic preparedness officials, primarily the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs, to share domestically the lessons we are learning from our overseas equipment, training and exercise programs.
The State Department also conducts specific programs that operate overseas but can help protect Americans at home as well. The Terrorist Interdiction Program, led by the Department of State, is an important effort to increase host nations' capability and capacity to prohibit terrorists from traveling through their countries. When this new computer-based system is put in place, it provides the U.S. and its allies with an additional tool to interdict terrorists at international border points, helping us to stop terrorists before they can attack American facilities overseas or get into the United States.
The Department's Anti-terrorism Assistance Program draws upon the expertise of many agencies in training civilian security and law enforcement officials in foreign nations, who have often the primary responsibility for protecting American interests overseas; and we train them in the most effective anti-terrorism techniques. Anti-terrorism Assistance (ATA) courses include, but are not limited to, airport security, bomb detection, maritime security, VIP protection, hostage rescue and crisis management. The ATA program also has the capability of designing a training course based upon a specific, identified need. The Coordinator for Counterterrorism office provides policy guidance to the program, and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security implements the training, working closely with our Department's Regional Security Officers, or RSOs, at embassies overseas. ATA has trained more than 25,000 representatives from over 117 countries since its beginning.
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The Technical Security Working Group, or TSWG as it is often called, is chaired by the Department of State in partnership with DOD. It is an outstanding example of interagency coordination. The Technical Security Working Group (TSWG) strives to improve the technical capabilities available to combat and mitigate terrorism. We share the results of this counterterrorism research and development with domestic first responders.
For example, the explosives disrupter developed within this program is now a standard part of the equipment package of many American bomb squads. At State's initiative, the TSWG also works with three allied countries on joint research and development (R&D) projects of mutual interest. Those countries are the United Kingdom, Canada and Israel. They contribute their expertise and funding for the common good.
In trying to curb terrorist fund-raising, we work closely with the intelligence community and the Justice and Treasury Departments to designate foreign terrorist organizations and to take other measures to discourage the flow of money to terrorists, whether through illicit charities, front companies or criminal endeavors. The ATA program has also developed a new training course specifically designed to help allies impact terrorist fund-raising.
Mr. Chairman, our terrorism threat is evolving. We are adapting by sharpening proven policies and tools and by developing new ones to prevent terrorist attacks and respond more effectively to those we cannot prevent. As we adapt we will, as Secretary Powell has said, work to build a stronger bridge between the international and domestic response efforts. As the lead Federal agency in dealing with terrorism overseas, we stand ready to strengthen the ties between the domestic response infrastructure and our existing framework.
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We hope this overview is helpful, and Mr. Wong and I would be glad to respond to the panel's questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Brinkley can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. SAXTON. I would like to thank both of you for very thoughtful words, testimony this morning. We are particularly glad to have you here. As we have proceeded over the last almost 12 months, we have heard from folks in the various agencies within our government, normally, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the FBI, the Department of Defense and others, but we are very pleased to know thatto have you here to emphasize the role that the Department of State also plays in this very important subject.
If I may just ask each of you to tell us about your history of work. Mr. Wong, you indicated that have you been in government work for over 20 years. I think you said 23 years perhaps.
Mr. WONG. Just about.
Mr. SAXTON. Almost 23 years. Has all that time been with the Department of State?
Mr. WONG. That is correct, except for 1 year earlier in college with a CIA internship, with the Department of State.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. And can you just describehow long have you been doing work related to international or domestic terrorism?
Mr. WONG. I had part of that portfolio when I spent 2 years as a Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary, but that is one portfolio among many. For the last 2 years I have been with the Office of Counterterrorism with the State Department. So I am really a Foreign Service Officer bringing a policy dimension to what is very much a specialized business and function.
Mr. SAXTON. And during your tenure at State and during the time that you have spent specifically addressing issues having to do with terrorism, can you talk abouta little bit about the trends that you have seen and what you have experienced in terms of where this subject was when you first became knowledgeable about it and what you seewhat you have seen happening in the meantime and perhaps where we are today? And perhaps even, if you have got a crystal ball with you, you can tell us where you think things may be evolving to.
Mr. WONG. Yes, sir. I think I can offer a broad impression of trends. I do know that you will be able to tap the minds of real experts in a closed session later for more detail on specifics and trends.
But the one window that we have operationally in the day-to-day work of the Office of Counterterrorism is when we look at trends, specifically at threats, that we will meet two or three times a week formally as the interaction under the Counterterrorism Security Group chaired by National Security Council (NSC), and that gathering is specifically to look at selected threats to U.S. interests, terrorist threats to U.S. interests, embassies, facilities abroad or anywhere. We will gather and look at those issue by issue, try to determine credibility, take a read on what our best policy response is or operational response; and we will do that two or three times a week formally.
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We will also do that constantly over telephone calls with our partners in the other agencies to make sure we are looking at, as much as we can, what the most salient or pressing threat indicators look like and what should we do based on that kind of day-to-day, week-to-week experience.
Over the last couple of years, I think what I have seen has just validated our central thesis about the threat trends, as we have noted in patterns over time is that the locus of terrorism has shifted from the Middle East and it is now in Afghanistan, with the training camps that are there. And because those training camps supply, train and provide an infrastructure network of support for different operatives from different groups with different interests around the world, what I think we saw was that we would come in and we would evaluate and have to generate a real-time response to a threat in Latin America or in the Philippines or Indonesia or in Uzbekistan.
So the generalized trend of what we call the loosely organized, atomized threat posed by international mujahidin is sometimes associated with cells, but it is hard to determine exactly sometimes what the affiliation is, but they are spread out. So the generalized trend would be, as we have noted over time, that it is global in dimension.
One set of articles I found quite illuminatingI commend them to the panel's attention if you have not already gotten them in your readingis a series of articles from earlier this year by correspondent Judith Miller of the New York Times, who wrote some pieces on the holy warriors. She based a lot of these articles on interviews in Afghanistan with captured non-Taliban international mujahidin who were involved in the civil conflict there between the Taliban and other Afghan factions, and the comments they have are quite striking. It gives you a look at the psychology and the motivation of threat that is there.
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They do talk about global jihad. They do talk about when they finish their work in Afghanistan they would gladly go and take this back to the Philippines, to Indonesia. They would take it back to Uzbekistan or Chechnya. The motivation is very high, and the outlook is global.
That would sum up the general trend. You can certainly get into more detail region by region later.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but what I think I heard you saying is that the subject of terrorism can be described perhaps yesterdaymeaning some time agoas being centered primarily in the Middle East, and it is now a global issue. And, of course, as you have pointed out in the publication Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000, the number of incidents has also increased on an annual basis over time.
Mr. WONG. That is correct. In the last issue we do note that the jump in the number of incidents, a lot of that was concentrated in an anomaly which was a number of attacks on American pipelines in Columbia. And so that pumped the number up quite a bit over the last year.
Mr. SAXTON. I would expect that, given the level of activity in the Middle East this year, that it seems to me like an unprecedented number of attacks in a 6-month period of time. Do you suspect that we will see a bump upward again next year?
Mr. WONG. Sir, I would hate to speculate in that direction, but I think you are looking at a trend that we are all looking at, which is when you see the spike of tensions and violence that we have seen recently in the Middle East and the associated terrorist actions again focused on the Middle Eastern terrorist groups, that is a distinct possibility that we will see a jump in numbers, but we will hope for the best.
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Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much.
Mr. Brinkley, would you tell us a little bit about your background and also speak to the same general question that we just discussed.
Mr. BRINKLEY. Well, I am 20 years former Marine, and I joined the Department of Counterterrorism in the Office of Counterterrorism about 20 months ago. In the interim between my retirement in 1991 and joining the Department, I had spent some time as the Civil Aviation Security working the Federal Air Marshall Program at Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and then I worked with the Department of Energy in the Special Response Team capability at the nuclear materials storage site.
So that is my background coming into the Department and dealing withand, obviously, the Department of Energy background led me into the WMD issues associated with both protection and the dealing with consequence management of a WMD-type attack. From my perspective of the terrorism threat and strictly from a WMD, I think the paragraph in the back of Patterns indicate that we still have a number of organizations that would attempt to obtain a capability of WMD. I would like to make it clear that not every group is going to try to get the full range of biological, chemical and nuclear, radiological, and that thestill the primary weapon of terrorism appears to be the vehicle bomb or normal explosive or a rifle.
So I think that trend we can cover in more detail in specifics in the closed session. But I think that is where we see it going.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much. You would add weapons proliferation to the list of trends that we have seen here.
Mr. BRINKLEY. I would characterize that as the capability of a group to obtain a WMD weapon is broad ranging. If we think about it much, we can see that on a day-to-day basis major toxic industrial chemicals, in fact, which are readily available, may be at first most readily available capability. So we have to be aware of what terrorists do and what kind of weapons they try to use and how they might use them in describing this.
So I am pretty cautious about trying to sweep this with a broad brush. But I think you have to look at it group by group and where they are and what their capabilities and what is really available and where they are trying to go.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much.
Mr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. Wong and Mr. Brinkley, for being here.
If I might, I probably would learn more by going through some specifics that I wanted to ask about. I think it centers in the area of prevention. I think a lot of what you have been talking about has been a response once we know there is a group or an incident has occurred. But, for example, we had a briefing the other day, and it has come up before, about the problem we have within the State Department of finding people with adequate language skills.
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I guess, Mr. Wong, you know, you are talking about Afghanistan. It seems to me that that is a problem that we all share, Congress shares in. Our Nation clearly has people with language skills. If we don't pay people to stick with you, maybe they are not going to stay long. Is that an issue in terms of us understanding what is going on in places like Afghanistan and the Middle East, that we don't have people with adequate language skills in the State Department?
Mr. WONG. That is a very good question. That is a very fundamental question. I think the quick answer is, yes, clearly the ability of diplomatsall of our officials overseas to speak a language, gain different levels of access and understanding of another place is part of our capability to understand and therefore to prevent, see a trend early, get on top of it, whether it is public diplomacy or the individual diplomacy of an embassy regional security officer with a host government police officer, communicate clearly what we need, build relationships that quicken response time by a host government to protect us and our interests.
Mr. SNYDER. Or understanding intelligence information.
Mr. WONG. That is correct.
With that said, I am in no position to comment onI know we have a very robust foreign language training capability at the State Department. I think we have gotten good support from Congress. If you ask me, do you always find a way to use more money effectively? Sure, we will work hard at that, too. But that is a good question about communication.
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Mr. SNYDER. I think it is a problem. I think it is a bigger problem than we may realize.
I want to comment about staffing. Your report talks about Sierra Leone and Guinea specifically in Africa. There was an American killed there a year ago, a helicopter shot down in Sierra Leone; and we had some other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) when the war slopped across the border. I was in Guinea and Sierra Leone during the April recess. Sierra Leone has had this incredibly ugly civil war going on. But I think when I was there that the embassy in Sierra Leone had I think six staff people and two or three of them had to baby-sit me while I was there.
In terms of if we really consider this an area of problems, I am not sure how the State Department assigns staffing in terms of troubled areas around the world is conducive to problem solving. I think there are some underlying issues in terms of how you all get assigned to duty stations. I think perhaps there is a little bit too much choice involved and not enough of this is a problem area. We need you there on this date. We need people there in adequate amounts to do the work.
Do you have any comments about that? Maybe that is an unfair question to ask you. I don't see how six or eight people in a country with as much confusion as Sierra Leone can possibly do anything but open the mail and answer the phone. They actually do a very good job, but it is not an adequate amount of people.
Mr. WONG. Sir, I appreciate those comments. My experience over the years is that in the end we will always surge to a crisis. There are always ways to bring the resources to bear.
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If you ask sort of overall planning questions of how we staff this place and that place, it is a constant process of planning, looking at changing priorities and trying to use limited resources to do the best job you can. But I appreciate.
Mr. SNYDER. Did you say ''surge'' during a crisis?
Mr. WONG. We would try to surge to the crisis.
Mr. SNYDER. I think we may have a tendencyI don't know this for a fact, but whatever the opposite of ''surge'' is during a crisis, that our concerns about force protection may be so great that question may not be assigning people or people may be shying away from the difficult areas at a time when actually there may be a need for what is, in your language, ''surge.'' .
Another specific issue, we spend a lot of time as a Nation, as we should, talking about the relationship between us and China, us and Taiwan, and the relationship between Taiwan and China. As it turns out, one of the closest things that Charles Taylor in Liberia can call an ally is Taiwan. Taiwan's government at the highest levels have made very effusive statements of praise within the last few months for Charles Taylor being a staunch defender of democracy in West Africa.
I mentioned this to somebody from the State Department a couple of weeks ago, and they were not aware that Taiwan had made those statements. Of course, what is happening is that Taiwan is trying to cultivate a relationship for votes in the United Nations, and Charles Taylor just in the last few months has visited Taiwan.
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When we talk about coordinating with the international community, Charles Taylor is a pariah as the head of Liberia. He has been funding the rebels in Sierra Leone. This war is now slopping over into Guinea, and I would hope we would be as aggressive about sending a message to Taiwan that they can't deal with people like Charles Taylor in the way that they are or it contributes to international instability.
I think my time is up. Mr. Chairman, maybe we will have another round.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much.
I would like to announce at this point we are going to observe the 5-minutes rule primarily because of the members and the interest in this today. So we will move on to Mr. Calvert for his 5 minutes.
Mr. CALVERT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to ask one question, and then I will allow the rest of the panel to move on.
South America, the number of incidents and primarily in Columbia, is there anything you can share with the panel, that you see any outbreak of terrorism in other areas of South America, or is this primarily because of this issue regarding oil and the pipeline construction in that area?
Mr. WONG. Sir, I would say that there is always the possibility of individual incidents in other parts of Latin America. But our current focus on Columbia is well-founded and the priority there to the number ofwe have two of the designated foreign terrorist organizations active and working every day to do bad things in Columbia: the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) and the Natonal Liberation Army of Colombia (ELN). There is also an active review of the Colombian paramilitaries. When you look at the totality of the action there, that is where we see most of the work to be done, to have the greatest impact.
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With that said, I can't tell you that something will not happen in other parts of Latin America. Clearly, we had issues in Ecuador with the taking of American hostages, associated with U.S. oil companies. These things, kidnapping, isolated terrorist incidents, are always possible elsewhere.
Mr. CALVERT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Bartlett.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much. I have two questions relative to one of the visuals that you have in the report that is here. I notice that in Asia, there were 98 attacks and 281 killed. In Latin America, there were about twice as many attacks and only 19 killed and I was just curious why this apparently big discrepancy. That is on about page 8 or 10. I am sorry, from the front of it, but it is on page 2 when you start numbering pages. You notice that there are far more deaths per attack in Asia than there are in Latin America; 193 attacks, twice as many attacks in Latin America as there was in Asia, but only 19 deaths as compared to 281 in Asia, and I was wondering why.
Mr. WONG. Sir, that is a good question. As I look at this, I can tell you that I think that in certain instances, if I have to give you an educated guess about that statistic, and I am telling you that we do this report, it is an all-source interagency effort to bring statistical accuracy, but sometimes the measures aren't apparent. I speculate that on many attacks where you have a hostage-taking or kidnap situation, in many of the cases there is a ransom paid and the individuals are released and there is no casualty or death involved. And I suspect that may be the case in Latin America. In fact, that has been.
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Mr. BARTLETT. The hostages are taken, it is listed as an attack?
Mr. WONG. Yes.
Mr. BARTLETT. Okay.
Mr. WONG. And what I encompassed there earlier, comments about an attack on a pipeline, is a terrorist attack to damage property, economic interest, but wouldn't involve necessarily casualty.
Now, for the Asia dimension of that, a lot of that is what we have seen broadly in the last year in places like Indonesia, its widespread ethnic sectarian violence where terrorists acts are part of a broader violent situation, and we count those as well, and a lot of those have been quite lethal.
Mr. BARTLETT. I noticed another thing on that same visual. In North America, there are zero attacks and zero deaths. Are we just lucky, or is there another reason for that?
Mr. WONG. I would like to say that I think that there is a part of it that is luck, but also we have very good people in our law enforcement and Customs and border and INS working all the time to do the best they can. I like to think that what I said earlier about the preventative nature of aggressive diplomacy overseas to build the will and capabilities of foreign government to stop terrorist actions at their source contributes to part of that record.
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I know that things like what Mr. Brinkley referred to, the terrorism interdiction program, are specifically geared to give us the capabilities and deliver to otherother governments the capability to prevent people from ever reaching our shores.
We have been at that for some time in various ways, and I hope we could take a little credit collectively for that, but some of it will just be luck.
Mr. BARTLETT. Since we have a history of no attacks and no deaths through the period that this covered, does that mean that we don't need to spend a whole lot of effort in looking at problems of terrorism because we are probably immune to it?
Mr. WONG. I wouldn't here make thatI wouldn't draw that conclusion. I think that the nature of terrorism is such that with all the resources that we bring to bear on it, sir, often we will not be able to prevent or to know, and I think that being prepared to the best of our abilities is the right course to take. But how that would be done specifically is an ongoing conversation between this agency and the legislative branch, and we appreciate that dialogue.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much. I appreciate your testimony, both of you. Because of this history in our country of not having terrorist attacks, I think we are pretty relaxed, and we aren't really focused the way we need to be to make sure that this history continues. I appreciate the coverage that this is getting today and appreciate your testimony. Thank you.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. I thank the gentleman. I would just like to emphasize something that Mr. Bartlett said, because I think it is so important. Mr. Wong made reference to it earlier as well. And that is that we as Americans, as Westerners oftentimes don't understand the meaning of certain things to other people. And understanding other cultures and understanding what motivates people and understanding the desires that people have in other cultures, which are oftentimes so different than those that exist here in the United States directly bears on this subject, and it is so important.
I must say that having grown up in the United States myself, obviously, and having traveled overseas to a number of places, it never fails to remind me when I travel, that many peoplemany groups of people around the world view things so differently than we do in the West, in the United States. And so these are things that we have to work at understanding, and I appreciate the gentleman's comments.
Mr. BARTLETT. Mr. Chair, I wonder if it would be appropriate to ask if we might have a response for the record to the question as to why the big difference between number of attacks and deaths in Asia, the ratio between attacks and deaths in Asia and attacks and deaths in Latin America. That is really quite a phenomenal difference, and it would be of interest to explore that, I think.
Mr. WONG. We would be happy to supply that.
[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
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Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much. Mr. Reyes.
Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. If I can, just for sake of clarification, you have indicated that an attack on the oil pipeline is a terroristic act, but kidnapping is not. Is that.
Mr. WONG. Kidnapping could very well be as well; not in all instances.
Mr. REYES. So it would depend on the circumstances?
Mr. WONG. Yes, very much so.
Mr. REYES. Have you read the report from the Commission on the 21st Century, ''Defense of the Homeland''? It is a bipartisan commission that.
Mr. WONG. I have not read it completely. I do know of that report, sir.
Mr. REYES. Are you familiar in that commission report, they come to the conclusion that it is not a matter of if there is going to be a terroristic act committed against the United States, but when. Do you concur with that observation or with that conclusion?
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Mr. WONG. I personally would say that I think all of us, having lived through the World Trade Center bombing, that we have crossed the threshold in our minds to the degree which we can believe we are vulnerable in this sort of thing. On that basis alone, I would say we need to be prepared. All things in this world are possible, and given tensions in the world and the role of the United States, active in diplomacy and many matters around the world, the United States, like it or not, does become a target for many different groups. So much of it is grounded on perceptions of who we are and what we stand for. Oftentimes we can't control that. As the chairman has noted, the idea of getting into the perception of threat and what we stand for is part of the puzzle.
Mr. REYES. So you would agree with that conclusion that it is not a matter of if but when?
Mr. WONG. If I were a betting person, I would say that eventually there will beAhmed Ressam trying to cross our border in December 1999 tells me that sooner or later something will occur.
Mr. REYES. And do you agree with that, Mr. Brinkley?
Mr. BRINKLEY. I would have to concur that the probability, given our preparation which can be a significant deterrent, is a good thing. I think we can do preparation which reduces the probability of having an event.
The other side of that is I concur with Mr. Wong's comments that I am notI don't think this is risk-free, and I don't think that zero is the number.
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Mr. REYES. So, given the fact that you both concur with that, give me one recommendation that you would make to us to either mitigate that possibility or to somehow reduce that probability. Is there one thing you could recommend?
Mr. WONG. I think, sir, that the one thing I would recommend is that as we know from the Secretary's testimony before the Congress on May 8, there is a task force looking at all these issues of national preparedness from the White House. They are reviewing and looking at all these things very hard. And my recommendation would be that we look to see what comes out of that review. It is a hard look at the issues, and defers to a lot of experts who are working on that now. So I would defer response to that question, sir.
Mr. REYES. Well, even though you are involved in thisthis is your role in the State Department. Suppose that commission comes to you or that group comes to you and says, give me one recommendation. That is what I am asking for.
Mr. WONG. Sir, the recommendation that I would have is that the part the State Department is responsible for by policy and by mandate is the international response piece of that. That coordinated mechanism works pretty well. We are working to improve it all the time, and we stand ready.
My recommendation would be thatand maybe Mr. Brinkley can refer to thisthat the issue would be that the international response, the resources available to it are not finite. And the recommendations I would have would be that to the extent that we bring these two processes and they are working seamlessly as possible, the domestic preparedness response and the international response, that we don't rob Peter to pay Paul.
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Mr. REYES. In what area specifically?
Mr. WONG. I am not prepared at this time toI just can't pretend to have that kind of expertise, sir, and don't want to mislead you.
Mr. REYES. There is one thing that has always concerned both of us from the Hispanic Caucus about, and that is the State Department, which should ideally be out there aggressively recruiting minority people in order to appreciate the culture, the customs, the languages and all of that, and from the latest information we have got, the State Department employs less than 2 percent Latinos. In your opinion, is there an aggressive enough outreach program, and specifically as it pertains to Latinos, to bring more Latinos into the State Department? You know, the kind of challenge you have here, and also in this book, to have less than 2 percent of the workforce of Latino is kind of, in my mind, at odds with what we are trying to accomplish.
Mr. WONG. Sir, I think we can always do more; always do more across the board in that area. My only general comment would be that State Department, many agencies, there is a huge war for talent out there, and we are part of it. And I personally involve myself in as many outreach and recruiting efforts as I can to make the Foreign Service seem to be aat first a respectable and honorable career, which it certainly is, but also one that compensates well and provides a rewarding career of public service. I think a lot of us individually and as an institution work hard in that area, and we can always do better. We should always do more. But Ithat is a good observation. I take your point, sir.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. If I may just take this opportunity as members come and go from this hearing to remind everyone that there is a closed briefing on the threat to the homeland immediately at the conclusion of this in 2337.
Mr. SIMMONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just a brief comment on Mr. Bartlett's observation that the United States is not athe domestic United States, Continental United States, is not apparently a target of terrorist attacks. I think if we take as an idea that the purpose of terrorism is to propagandize to change attitudes and behavior, then you would direct those attacks at overseas Americans, military personnel, diplomatic personnel, business personnel, because those are the people that terrorists would want to force back to the homeland. And I would suspect that if they began to direct their attacks on the Continental United States and targets therein, that the response of the United States would perhaps not be as accommodating to these activities as it has been, in my opinion.
The State Department's lead on terrorismand I was intrigued by the chart, Appendix D, which shows that Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Luxemburg, Spain, Sweden, and Japan have neither signed nor ratified the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing; and I am reminded that this country eventually got rid of Al Capone through his tax evasion, not through any other prosecution that took place. And it occurs to me that the financing of terrorism is a legitimate target to reduce the activity.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am a little shocked and surprised that countries such as Japan, Belgium, Spain, and so on and so forth have not been brought to the table with this international convention. And in particular, Spain, which has been the target of domestic terrorism, even into this year; and Belgium, which I read, ironically, has harbored known terrorists against extradition in the case of one recent individual, not only harbored that individual against extradition, but then eventually had to prosecute that individual for activities within Belgium.
I guess my feeling is that this is one area where the United States should be able to use its diplomatic and political and economic clout to bring these countries to the table. Why have we failed in that regard?
Mr. WONG. Sir, that is a good question, one that I am quite close to, because we have engaged these countries quite directly, and we ourselves have signed the package and it is up for ratification. We can always do more work in this regard. It is very important to us. We completely agree, and the Terrorism Financing Convention has been something we have taken up in the multilateral sessions with the G8. I have taken it up in meetings with the European Union terrorism experts. This is one that we bang away at them on this. Please be assured that this is a tough issue, and we consider it to be an utmost priority as well and we have been working it hard.
Mr. SIMMONS. Well, while the light is still green, Mr. Chairman, if I could just continue on that line of questioning. I see I am joined by my Rhode Island colleague, so I am not all alone on this island out here in the center. Good to see you, Jim. As somebody with a background in the CIA, it makes me nervous not to have my back against the wallbut anyway.
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Again, the State Department is the lead agency when it comes to the response to terrorism, and there has been discussion within this group of how do you penetrate terrorist groups, how do you use language and other skills to insert yourself, how do you use technical means of collection to identify these activities. And all of this is extremely hard, and we all know that. And the payoff, for the amount of time and energy invested, is pretty low, really, when you think about it.
But as the number one military power in the world today, as the number one economy in the history of the world, as the number one democracy on the face of the Earth, it would seem to me that we have available to us huge resources of persuasion. And I don't understand why countries such as Belgium and Sweden and Spain and Japan have not been persuaded that signing the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing is not a good thing. It seems to me on the surface it is a no-brainer. What can they offer as a possible excuse for not signing onto this, so that instead of drying up the swamp of terrorist training, let's say, we dry up the swamp of terrorist financing and funding? What can they possible offer as a reason not to cooperate with the world community on that issue, and why is this a problem for us?
Mr. WONG. You asked a very good question, sir. And first of all, we completely agree with what you are saying about the importance of this issue, and one of the means by which you would attack terrorist infrastructures is to get at financing. The work with the Department of Treasury is very active. And I think with good support from Congress, they are getting a terrorist assets tracking center up and running and will try to do a lot more.
We have tried to make that expertise available to our friends and colleagues around the world. The question you ask is very much one of basic strategy of counterterrorism diplomacy, is to build the political will of other governments, to devote resources and organization to a target issue. And so we are constantly engaged with other Nations, some of the ones you have mentioned, quite directly to bring their political will to this issue so they will do the very hard things that are necessary. To give you a flavor of the sorts of things that we hear about why it is difficultwe are working on it, it is too hard, we are engaging with youis their domestic legislation, the ways in which internal financial laws are structured, not being consistent with their money laundering laws. It is a million legalistic and technical and often organizational answers. We try to push through all that to get at the central point that I believe you are raising.
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If another government has the political will to attack an issue, they do what we do. They bring resources, and they organize for that mission. And we have been engaged very much in the trenches on this issue, lawyer to lawyer, looking at the various technical issues of this, and it is tough slogging. There is always the issue of how much can you bring to the table to make it compelling for them to make difficult internalJapan, all the issues there with economic reform are much broader than something like this. This is very important, but it is a very complex issue, and it is hard to move it quickly, but we are working on it.
Mr. SIMMONS. Thank you very much.
Mr. SAXTON. Let me just also say that the timers are not working properly. The lights are not coordinated with the time. So I will remind each of us when the 5 minutes has expired.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have just one question, and this question would be for Mr. Wong. Back to this financial issue, Mr. Wong. You say in your written testimony that terrorist groups have become increasingly sophisticated in their ability to manage complex financial and logistical networks. Can you elaborate a little bit on what in particular, ''the financial,'' that means? Is it because of the advent of computers, is it because of Internet? What is it in particular that we are seeing that is enabling these people to finance these functions country to country versus what we used to have before on our hands?
Mr. WONG. My quick answer would be that you have got it right. It is a function of the new technologies that we are all seeing. They are adept. They stay up with the trends, and they utilize them very effectively. I hope that in your closed briefing, you can delve into that subject in more detail, but it does have to do with use of front companies, wire transfers, things like that, to make it hard to track, hard to know that you are dealing with a terrorist organization sometimes.
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Ms. SANCHEZ. Are there particular countries that are paying the financial transactions of this? Are there difficult countries in particular that are being used for this?
Mr. WONG. That has not beenthat has not been the way we have approached the issue. And for that reason, I don't have a ready answer for you on if there is a particular place. You know, the International Convention Against Terrorism Financing, that is up at the United Nations, creates a broad set of obligations for all signatories to do a lot of very far-reaching things internally, and a lot of law enforcement obligations of that state to bring to bear on the question of identifying and seizing and freezing terrorist assets. I have not in my time come up with a set of countries that we consider to be a priority problem.
What we have done is looked at specific issues or groups and tried to look at the details of that, but I really think that you will be able to go into that more in a closed session.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Back toand one other thingback to an issue that is very important to me in particular, being from California and representing a large high-tech community. We have had before this committee now, 2 or 3 years in a row, the issue of encryption standards, and this committee has always voted down allowing our domestic industry to export better encryption, in part because of this whole issue of terrorism and the ability to in fact crack open some of this information that is going back and forth between these groups.
At the same time, it is my feeling that at some point this encryption will be done by groups outside of the United States, and we will have lost the standard, and therefore really the keys to be able to open up any of this message being transmitted. Can you give me your opinion on this encryption issue and how it is affecting the ability for us to take a look at financial and logistical issues with respect to terrorism?
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Mr. WONG. My quick answer to that is that is usually complex. I know a little about it, but I wouldn't dare elaborate in a way that would mislead you. I am familiar with past issues of key escrow encryption technologies and international agreements, standardized approaches to this. I know that in the previous administration, there were huge task forces looking at that question, as you know. Maybe my colleague might comment on it as well, but.
Mr. SAXTON. If I may just interject, at the closed session National Security Agency (NSA) will be available, and they are the perfect source of information on that.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Great.
Mr. SAXTON [continuing]. On that question.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Mr. Brinkley, do you have any comments on that at all?
Mr. BRINKLEY. Well, I was just going to comment that the other agencies that deal with this much better in the technical issues in a closed session will more likely be able to address the problem.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. No more questions.
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Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. Mr. McIntyre.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have two or three questions. First of all, Mr. Wong, your testimony, page 6, you talk about a 37-year-old aircraft that you would like to have replaced for FEST. Can you tell us what that aircraft is?
Mr. WONG. Sir, I will defer to my colleague, Mr. Brinkley, who can provide you details on that.
Mr. BRINKLEY. It is a military version of a 707.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Okay. And you are putting in a plug, Mr. Wong, and I will let either one of you respond to this, asking a request for $75 million for this aircraft. Is the replacement similar aircraft or a different one?
Mr. BRINKLEY. Two points. One replacement aircraft has already been procured and is currently in modification, and that was with the previously supplied funds from Congress. And the secondary craft that is in the 2002 budget request iswe are hoping to move that forward. Those two aircraft would be 757s.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Further down that same page, Mr. Wong, you talk about, on a day-to-day basis, trying to coordinate with interagency colleagues in Defense, Justice, Treasury, Health and Human Services, and other agencies. With recent comments from the administration about coordinating through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) a response in case of an act of terrorism or domestic chemical-biological threat, is this now slightly revised? Do you all coordinate all these efforts through FEMA? Or who is in charge, I guess, is the simple question.
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Mr. WONG. Sure. To clarify, our mandate and mission in the State Department to work with our counterterrorism group colleagues is to prepare and coordinate the international response
Mr. MCINTYRE. Okay.
Mr. WONG [continuing]. To acts of international terrorism. So the domestic side of the question is still being reviewed, formulated, and thought about. We will do our best to plug into that effectively the international mechanism and process that is already in place and working well. So those issues haven't come on our screen yet, but we will.
Mr. MCINTYRE. So basically there is still a dichotomy there of FEMA is in charge of a domestic response, but you all consider yourselves in charge of an international response, since you say the first line of defense is abroad?
Mr. WONG. That is correct. Without knowing quite exactly how the domestic side will sort itself out; it is still being worked on.
Mr. MCINTYRE. All right. And when you talk about a day-to-day coordination, just tell me practically how that works. Do you all call each other every day and say there are trouble spots, or do you send e-mails, or what is the practical side of that?
Mr. WONG. All those things. The secret of life is very simple. We need to talk to each other and we help ourselves along byin our own office, we have a CIA person detailed to us, we have an FBI person detailed to us. We have had great team work and cooperation on these kinds ofthis kind of exchange helps us have real-time understanding of what another agency's equities are, so that we are all moving forward in the same direction, in the smartest way possible, and it is getting better and better and we are quite pleased with it.
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Mr. MCINTYRE. Without going into any protective details, which we might can talk about in the next hearing, is there like a checklist that certain people do go through each day, or do you only just talk day to day if there is a hot spot, so to speak?
Mr. WONG. As I mentioned earlier, we do have sort of two to three formal meetings a week, the interagency getting together.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Each week.
Mr. WONG. And then we fill in the gaps with phone calls to each other to constantly discuss issues that come up and need immediate attention and response. So it is both things. It is a formal process, and an informal networking. That should go on when you have a good team.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank you, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Langevin.
Mr. LANGEVIN. No questions at this time, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Okay. Mr. Snyder.
Mr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Wong, one quick question. There were several questions and comments made about financing and financial resources and the courts of international cooperation. Am I correct that Secretary O'Neil recently changed our policy with regard to cooperating about places like the Cayman Islands and some of those places where it is easier to hide funds, whether it is the narcoterrorists in Columbia or some of the international terrorists? Have we not had a shift in our policy recently with regard to accountability on funds from drug dealers or terrorists such as in Columbia or elsewhere? Are you familiar with that?
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Mr. WONG. I am not. I can't address that question, but we can go back and look into that.
[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. SNYDER. Thank you. In your statement, you stated that there has been a shift of focus from the Middle East to Afghanistan in terms of activity. Is it fair to say, though, that the root causethe root motivation in terms of those groups still lies in the Middle East?
Mr. WONG. Actually, I think that is what has changed, and part ofit does partly lie there. But I think the added dimension would be what we are seeing and calling, in the popular lexicon, the Afghan Alumni. Their motivations are more diverse than simply the Middle East, although I think they refer to that as part of a global movement. They are against what they consider to be a legitimate Muslim international movement.
One of the examples I give is in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, the issues there are very local. But the question of that population now beingbecause of the unrest and the civil conflict therebeing more vulnerable to inroads by groups from the outside, espousing global jihad as opposed to issues specifically related to the Middle East, is very much a part of what we are seeing. So you see both things.
Mr. SNYDER. You have mentioned earlier in your comments about the perception of the United States, the world perceptionor the perception of some of the folks who are committing these acts or are organizing. One of the discussions I heard in some of my visits around the world were after our participation in the Kosovo air campaign, in which it was the United States and the world communities stepping forward to protect the Muslim minority. Some thought that that might generate a different attitude towards the United States with some of these groups that weyou know, there is criticism where we are not balanced in the Middle East. But in fact, during that particular effort, we did step forward clearly to protect a Muslim minority. Why did that not change the perception of the United States or at leastor did it in some way or did it not?
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Mr. WONG. That is a very interesting question. I think that what we try to doit is a key and huge part of our diplomatic approachis to utilize public diplomacy effectively. I think that the specific question you raise brings us to the question of we don't want parts of our policy to be linked to whether a population is Muslim or not. We have great respect for world religion. Presidents have said that. We are not against world Islam, and that is very clear as a matter of our policy. So I think there is some trepidation about trying to actually utilize something in that way in another place.
Mr. SNYDER. Yeah. I wasn't suggesting that it be utilized, but I have talked to some of our Ambassadors who said they kind of enjoyed that brief period of time, talking to some of the people who have been very critical of us in terms of saying lack of balance in the Middle East, and we were pretty closed-mouth when clearly American lives were being put on the line. But I agree. I am talking about the perception there. I am curious why it didn't get more play.
Mr. WONG. You are absolutely correct. One last note on that is, at the time I recall that the Acehnese in Indonesia, there was press reporting and commentary that they believed the United States was going to show up and support their cause, and that sometimes creates a challenge in the other area of lowering false expectations of our role in the world.
Mr. SNYDER. Thank you for your indulgence.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. Let me just query the other members. Are there any other members who wish a second round? Well, we will adjourn this open session at this point, and let me again remind the members that we are moving over to 2337 for the closed portion of our day. Thank you very much.
[Whereupon, at 11:31 a.m., the panel proceeded in Closed Session.]