Impact of Global TerrorismAmbassador Francis X. Taylor, Coordinator for Counterterrorism
Remarks to Executives Club of Chicago Leadership Symposium
March 14, 2002
Distinguished guests: We're here to talk about the impact of global terrorism, and how it has affected the way we will protect our businesses in the future.
On the morning of September 11, the world changed. In the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, the United States launched a global campaign not only against the perpetrators of those attacks but also against terrorism itself, wherever it exists.
There can be no excuse, no justification, and no rationalization for these acts of mass murder of innocent people.
As President Bush told the UN General Assembly: The time for sympathy is passed; time for action has arrived. This war will be a long struggle with many dimensions.
Today I would like to spend some time discussing the impact of terrorism on the business world, in particular, on financing, kidnapping, and oil pipelines, what the U.S. Government is doing about that impact, and how you can help in the fight against terrorism.
The Costs of Terrorism
Terrorism raises the risk and cost of doing business, whether that business is diplomacy, manufacturing, or sales.
These costs are huge and affect every aspect of the business world. We must take up the challenge – together – to defeat global terrorism.
Forging the Tools to Fight Terror
President Bush told Congress: "Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." Most have already chosen, and they have chosen to stand with us against terrorism.
On the global scale, many nations have made pledges and contributions on all fronts. We are receiving diplomatic, political, financial, police, intelligence, and military support. It is this concerted international action that will ultimately bring success to our campaign.
Funding is a critical element in large-scale terrorist operations and in the recruiting of supporters. It is the oxygen of terrorism. We – you and I – need to work together to choke it off.
We – together with our coalition partners - are working diligently to choke off terrorist funds:
The first shot in the war against "terrorism with a global reach" was fired on Sept. 24 when the President signed Executive Order 13224.
This E.O. freezes the assets of known terrorists and their supporters, and blocks U.S. transactions with them. The order covers 189 terrorists, including all 22 of the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists, as well as terrorist organizations, and terrorist financiers associated with them. A previous E.O., in effect since 1995 and renewed each year since, includes al-Qaida as well as such groups as Hizballah and Hamas that represent a terrorist threat to the Middle East peace negotiations. You can find a current list of all named groups on the Department’s web site, WWW.State.Gov.
UNSCR 1373, unanimously adopted in September, extends the campaign to freeze terrorist assets to the international community. The resolution obliges all states to deny financing, support, and safe harbor for terrorists. It is binding on all member states under international law, and provides for a follow-up mechanism to monitor compliance
This effort has already yielded results, but more should be done.
This effort is a continuing process, in which many other nations have joined. For example, just this week the Saudi Government joined the U.S. in blocking assets of two organizations (Bosnia-Herzegovina branches of Al-Haramain) engaged in supporting terrorist activities.
The Taking of U.S. Hostages – What the U.S. will and won’t do.
The business community has every reason to be concerned about their employees in overseas locations. US policy on what to do when an American is abducted was recently reviewed, but the basics are still the same:
What the US won’t do is to pay ransom, encourage the payment of ransom, or make political or other concessions to terrorists that would only encourage more kidnapping.
Another area of major concern to businesses is the safety of oil pipelines.
Protecting the petroleum infrastructure is a big job. We are working with the petroleum industry to help them keep these pipelines safe from attack. For example, we are currently developing a series of pipeline security courses for Colombia that will assist in such areas as the electronic detection of line tampering, and the development of a Rapid Response Force to repair damage after attacks. This program also has important applications to the new pipelines being planned in Central Asia.
We have a number of other tools on our counterterrorism tool kit that may be of special interest to the business community. For example, the Overseas Security Assistance Council was established in 1985 by the U.S. Department of State to foster the exchange of security related information between the U.S. Government and American private sector operating abroad. Administered by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, OSAC has developed into an enormously successful joint venture for effective security cooperation. Through OSAC, the American private sector, including colleges and universities, is provided timely information on which to make informed corporate decisions on how best to protect their investment, facilities, personnel and intellectual property abroad.
The Bureau of Consular Affairs publishes regular advisories on security conditions in countries around the world. These advisories are also available on the Department web site.
There are certain restrictions placed by law on trade with the seven formallly designated state sponsors of terrorism – Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. Licenses are available for trade with these countries through the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC). You should consult the Treasury Department’s web site for more information.
As President Bush told the United Nations last fall, every member state has a responsibility to eliminate terrorism. As the business community, you have a vested interest in joining this fight.
The international coalition, our bilateral programs, and the assistance we receive from you are just some of the measures we are taking to meet this new challenge. Our response to the horrific events of September 11 are broad-based and will not be completed in a short time. We are committed to a long term strategic campaign, in concert with the nations of the world that abhor terrorism, to root out and bring to justice those that use terrorism. As President Bush has told the world: "Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done."
Businesses can help by being alert to your business relationships, by keeping in close contact with the U.S. Embassy in any foreign country in which you operate, so as to reduce to a minimum the risks your employees may face, by contributing to the rewards for justice program, which augments money available to the United States to pay for information that results in the apprehension or conviction in any country of a terrorist. For example, we will pay up to $5 million for such information, or up to $25 million if the information related to Usama Bin Ladin, al-Qaida, or senior Taliban leadership.
But more importantly, businesses can help by staying in business.
We must be more careful about not opening strange envelopes, watching unattended packages, and keeping our employees safe.
While business works, while you accomplish your mission, you deliver a very important message of confidence in our form of government, in our society, and in our economy.
We cannot let the September 11 terrorists hijack our way of life. We are Americans.
We must remain engaged. We must say, in the words of Secretary Powell, to the underdeveloped countries of the world, to the nations who count on our business to bring energy and wealth and jobs to their society: "Watch us. We're not going to draw back behind our oceans and behind our fences. We're America."
Released on March 19, 2002