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 You are in: Bureaus/Offices Reporting Directly to the Secretary > Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism > Releases > White House Counterterrorism Reports

9/11 Five Years Later: Successes and Challenges

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  1. Foreword
  2. Introduction
  3. Advancing Effective Democracy
  4. Prevent Attacks by Terrorists
  5. Prevent Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
  6. Deny Sanctuary/Support From Rogue States
  7. Institutionalize the War on Terror
  8. Challenges Ahead


The attacks of September 11, 2001, were unprecedented. Nineteen hijackers seized multiple planes and used them as weapons to destroy the World Trade Center in New York and to attack Washington, DC. The United States retaliated by waging war against al-Qaida, its network of violent extremists, and those who provided them safehaven. We set out to destroy the terrorist enemy, using every instrument of national power – diplomacy, intelligence, law enforcement, and financial and military tools – to disrupt and defeat the global network. We have also waged a war of ideas, confronting the ideology that drives the murderous agenda of the terrorists. As a result we have made significant strides in making America and its allies more secure:

  • Before 9/11, al-Qaida was in Afghanistan training thousands of would-be terrorists and planning attacks unfettered, while the Taliban provided safehaven and imposed a totalitarian religious regime on the Afghans. Today, Afghanistan is no longer a safehaven for al-Qaida, and there are no functioning al-Qaida training camps. Afghanistan is a strong partner in the War on Terror, and the Afghan people are free and are being led by their democratically elected President, with a National Assembly and new Constitution. As a result of a concerted international effort, key al-Qaida leaders and lieutenants have been killed, captured, or put on the run.
  • Before 9/11, Iraq was a designated state sponsor of terrorism, ruled by a tyrant, believed to hold weapons of mass destruction and was in violation of United Nations resolutions and sanctions. Today, Iraq is off the state sponsors list, governed by a duly elected representative government, and working to be fully integrated with the international community and a partner in the United Nations.
  • Before 9/11, Libya was a designated state sponsor of terrorism, seeking the capability to produce WMD. Today, Libya is off the state sponsors list and has renounced WMD.
  • Before 9/11, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were not taking active measures to combat support to terrorists. Today, they stand with the United States as key allies in opposition to terrorism and are making important efforts to deny safehaven and stem support to the global terrorist network.
  • Before 9/11, financiers of terrorism and terrorist financing networks went untouched and largely ignored by the international community. Today, we continue the aggressive worldwide campaign to disrupt terrorism financing, making it harder, costlier, and riskier for al-Qaida and other terrorist groups to raise and move money around the world.
  • Before 9/11, combating terrorism was treated largely as a law enforcement problem. Today, the United States is leading an international Coalition to take the fight to the terrorists and their supporters and acting preventatively, using all instruments of national power.
  • Before 9/11, there were barriers restricting the sharing of information between law enforcement and the intelligence community to counter terrorism. Today, with the passage and reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act and the creation of the National Counterterrorism Center, these walls no longer exist, and the United States continues to create a robust information sharing environment to ensure appropriate information sharing between the law enforcement and intelligence community and among Federal, State, local, and tribal authorities.
  • Before 9/11, homeland security consisted of a patchwork of efforts undertaken by disparate departments and agencies. Today, we have a comprehensive approach, consolidated under the Department of Homeland Security, including key strategies for maritime and aviation security.
  • Before 9/11, terrorism and WMD proliferation were treated largely as separate concerns. Today, we have a comprehensive strategy to combat WMD terrorism with domestic institutions to support its implementation, bolstered by an international framework (UNSCR 1540 and the Convention Against Nuclear Terrorism) and strategic partnerships (Proliferation Security Initiative and the newly unveiled Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism).
  • Before 9/11, the A.Q. Khan nuclear network was working in over three continents to provide North Korea, Iran, and Libya sensitive centrifuge technology and parts for their nuclear weapons programs and was poised to expand its services to other countries. Today, the network has been exposed and shut down. Each of its key members is in prison, under house arrest, or facing prosecution, and governments are acting individually and collectively to make it harder for similar networks to operate in the future.
  • Before 9/11, there were insufficient international standards for identity documents and no comprehensive use of tools to verify identities. Today, there are strong domestic and international standards for passport and travel document issuance, use of biometrics to verify identities of travelers, comprehensive screening of passengers at airports, and a National Strategy to Combat Terrorist Travel.
  • Before 9/11, the United States, did not openly challenge repression and restricted liberties in the Arab world, prioritizing stability, yet stability was not the outcome --the lack of freedom in the region meant anger and resentment grew, radicalism thrived, and terrorists found willing recruits. Today, democracy and freedom are an integral part of the U.S. agenda globally, reflected in such initiatives as the G-8’s collaboration with the Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) in the Partnership for Progress and a Common Future.
  • Before 9/11, throughout most of the broader Middle East and North Africa, democratic institutions and processes were, with the exception of Israel, largely weak or even nonexistent. Today, freely contested multiparty elections are more common and are increasingly accepted as the basis for legitimate government.
  • Before 9/11, the world did not act against the threat from violent Islamic extremism. Today, the world, including our Arab and Muslim partners and Muslim voices around the world, are rejecting the message, agenda, and tactics of the violent extremist movement.
  • Before 9/11, the protection of civil liberties was not systematically and comprehensively balanced in our counterterrorism efforts. Today, the Administration established first the President’s Board on Safeguarding Americans’ Civil Liberties and then, in coordination with Congress, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to ensure that all American citizens’ civil liberties are considered and respected in our counterterrorism efforts.

Though America and its allies are safer as a result of these achievements, we are not yet safe. We have important challenges ahead as we wage a long-term battle not just against terrorists, but against the ideology that supports their agenda. These challenges include:

  • Terrorist networks today are more dispersed and less centralized. They are more reliant on smaller cells inspired by a common ideology and less directed by a central command structure.
  • While the United States Government and its partners have thwarted many attacks, we have not been able to prevent them all. Terrorists have struck in many places throughout the world, from Bali to Beslan to Baghdad.
  • While we have substantially improved our air, land, sea, and border security, our Homeland is not immune from attack.
  • Terrorists have declared their intention to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to inflict even more catastrophic attacks against the United States and our allies, partners, and other interests around the world.
  • Some states, such as Syria and Iran, continue to harbor terrorists at home and sponsor terrorist activity abroad.
  • The ongoing fight for freedom in Iraq has been twisted by terrorist propaganda as a rallying cry.
  • Increasingly sophisticated use of the Internet and media has enabled the terrorist enemies to communicate, recruit, train, rally support, proselytize, and spread their propaganda without risking personal contact.


In the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the President led an historic transformation of the Government, improving our ability to protect and defend the Homeland, our citizens, and our installations, assets, and interests abroad. As a result, we are now better informed of terrorist threats, with improved intelligence collection and analysis painting a more complete picture; and we are better organized to address the threat, with a more robust information sharing capability and a greater capacity for coordinated and integrated action.

The United States, with its partners in the Coalition in the War on Terror, has made significant strides against al-Qaida, its affiliates, and others who threaten us. We have uncovered and eliminated numerous threats to our citizens and those of our friends and allies. We have disrupted terrorist plots, arrested operatives, and captured or killed senior leaders. Collectively, we have made progress in constraining the ability of al-Qaida and like-minded terrorist groups to operate and survive.

Our campaign against the global terrorist network has been consistent and exhaustive. We have designated as terrorists those individuals and groups that align themselves with al-Qaida or otherwise attack innocent civilians to advance a violent extremist ideology, as well as those who provide financial or other material support to terrorist entities. Through the U.N., we have changed the international culture with respect to terrorism, seizing and freezing terrorists finances, promoting the criminalization of terrorism and related acts, and setting forth frameworks for legal and law enforcement efforts to combat terrorism and to promote systems that deny safehaven to terrorists.

Since the September 11 attacks, America and its allies are  safer, but we are not yet safe. We have done much to degrade al-Qaida and its affiliates and to undercut the perceived legitimacy of terrorism. Our Muslim partners are speaking out against those who seek to use their religion to justify violence and a totalitarian vision of the world. We have significantly expanded our counterterrorism Coalition, transforming old adversaries into new and vital partners in the War on Terror. In addition, we have transformed our governmental institutions and framework to wage a long-term struggle.

Our efforts have directly influenced the nature of our enemy and the threat we face. Our enemy is evolving and adapting its tactics.  As stated in the National Strategy to Combat Terrorism, the principal terrorist enemy confronting the United States is a transnational movement of extremist organizations, networks and individuals – and their state and non-state supporters – which have in common that they exploit Islam and use terrorism for ideological ends.

We have serious challenges ahead, including defeating the enemy, denying safehaven, combating the violent extremist ideology, protecting the homeland, securing WMD, and building partnership capacity. We must continue to strengthen and adapt our strategy and capabilities over the long term. We remain committed to identifying, pursuing, and eliminating the global scourge of terrorism and violent extremism and attacking terrorists, their networks, affiliates, and sources of support.

Advancing Effective Democracy

As identified in the National Strategy to Combat Terrorism (NSCT), the long-term approach in the War on Terror is the advancement of freedom and human dignity through democracy. The United States supports democratic reform and political freedom globally to help end terrorism and violent extremism. In Afghanistan and Iraq, 50 million people liberated by United States-led Coalitions from two of the world’s most brutal regimes voted in open and transparent elections despite violence and intimidation. Since 9/11, millions of people in other Muslim countries have also been able to vote in democratic elections, including Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, and the West Bank/Gaza. Color revolutions brought democratic governments to power in Georgia and Ukraine. And in Liberia, Africa’s first elected female leader took power, bringing an end to years of conflict and turmoil.

Elections are a visible sign of a free society, but they alone are not enough to advance democracy. Effective democracies exercise effective sovereignty and maintain order within their own borders, address causes of conflict peacefully, protect independent and impartial systems of justice, punish crime, embrace the rule of law, and resist corruption. Effective democracies also limit the reach of government, protecting the institutions of civil society. Effective democracies are the long-term antidote to the ideology of terrorism.  

Because a lack of governance capacity impedes counterterrorism efforts and creates conditions ripe for the proliferation of terrorist movements, the United States is engaged in encouraging the rule of law, promoting democratic governance, and facilitating economic development. Efforts include:

  • USAID operations in 26 countries and territories in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, and nearly 100 countries worldwide, with innovative programs emphasizing trade, education, health, and democracy.
  • The Millennium Challenge Account, established to reinforce reform globally by providing additional resources to countries that govern justly, invest in their people, and promote economic freedom.
  • The "Partnership for Progress and a Common Future" to support political, economic, and social reform in the Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA), launched by the G-8 in 2004.
    • The United States and the G-8, together with regional partners in the Middle East, developed the Forum for the Future to advance freedom, prosperity, and opportunity. Bringing together leaders in government and civil society, the Forum is an opportunity to anchor reform in the region.
    • Through the BMENA initiative and the Forum, foreign, finance, and educational ministerial meetings are taking place.
    • In addition, the Forum brings together civil society and business in dialogues to energize and focus reform and connect these vital actors with government participants.
    • Among the BMENA initiatives supported by the G-8 are a Democracy Assistance Dialogue, a literacy and education initiative, and entrepreneurship training centers.

Our bilateral and multilateral efforts to promote fundamental freedoms continue to bear fruit. Citing improvements in both political rights and civil liberties, Freedom House notes that “The Freedom in the World 2006 ratings for the Middle East represent the region’s best performance in the history of the survey” and that this positive trajectory has been on the rise since 9/11.


  • United States and its partners in Operation Enduring Freedom and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force helped initiate democratic reform in Afghanistan, resulting in the successful Presidential elections in October and President Hamid Karzai’s inauguration in December 2004, and the National Assembly Elections in September and the Assembly’s inauguration in December 2005.
  • U.S. assistance to Afghanistan totals more than $12.5 billion since FY 2001.
  • In addition to security, law enforcement, and counternarcotics support, the international community has built or refurbished 542 schools and distributed 49 million textbooks since FY 2002. United States assistance also concentrated on road construction, health clinics, and agricultural development.
  • The United States is promoting educational reform and providing opportunities to girls and boys denied an education under the Taliban.


  • In January 2005, Iraq held its first free and fair elections in more than 50 years. Iraq continued its political reforms by drafting and holding elections to approve a permanent constitution and electing a permanent constitution-based Iraqi Government in December 2005.
  • We are supporting the joint Iraq/UN effort to develop an International Compact to help Iraq transition to economic self-sufficiency through Iraqi commitments to benchmarked economic reforms and donor commitments to sustained assistance over the medium term.
  • The United States is providing over $20 billion in development and reconstruction assistance to lay a strong foundation for Iraq’s economic and democratic success.
  • We have invested significantly in democracy-building activities, including the drafting of an Iraqi constitution, building civil society, strengthening independent media, advancing civic education and public dialogue, promoting rule of law and respect for human rights, and enabling the electoral process.
  • The United States Government also is targeting assistance to particularly vulnerable populations such as women, ethnic and religious minorities, and youth.
  • The United States remains firmly committed to supporting the Iraqi government, and our forces, with our Coalition allies, continue to train, assist, and fight alongside the Iraqi Security Forces.
  • Iraq faces significant challenges in the coming months and years. Foreign terrorists and local radical extremists have waged a bloody campaign of terror in an effort to undermine Iraq’s democratic accomplishments and create a safehaven to train and launch new terrorist attacks. Their actions have made Iraq a central front in the War on Terror and our success there will deliver an important blow to the enemy in the most important battle of the 21st Century.

Prevent Attacks by Terrorists

As we help societies build their own democracies in the long term, in the immediate and near term we are focused on preventing attacks by terrorists. With our Coalition partners, we have endeavored to disrupt and defeat terrorists and their organizations, networks, associates, and sources of support. Using all instruments of national power and influence, we have made steady progress to isolate and capture key leaders of al-Qaida and affiliated terrorist groups, financiers, and facilitators and deny safehaven and sponsorship to terrorists. We have a multilayered border security system that begins beyond our borders and ensures broad sharing of information so relevant agencies can work together to exclude known or suspected terrorists. We have also taken bold and imaginative steps, such as the Proliferation Security Initiative, the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, to leverage our collective efforts internationally to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMD. Through these endeavors, we continue to reduce the capability of al-Qaida and like-minded terrorist groups to strike the United States and our allies.

Disrupting Terrorism Internationally

  • In August 2006, British police arrested 24 people in London suspected in a plot to blow up as many as 10 planes bound for the United States, while Pakistani authorities made related arrests.
  • In June 2006, 17 suspects were arrested by Canadian authorities on suspicion of planning attacks on major targets in downtown Toronto using three tons of ammonium nitrate.
  • In June 2006, U.S. and Iraqi forces killed al-Qaida’s operational chief in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and killed or captured several of his top lieutenants, including his Baghdad chief of operations and his top bomb-maker.
  • In March 2006, the Jordanian General Intelligence Department disrupted planning by terrorists belonging to an al-Qaida cell to attack key civilian installations, including Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport.
  • In December 2005, al-Qaida’s chief of external operations, Hamza Rabi’a, was killed, dealing another blow to al-Qaida’s leadership ranks.
  • In November 2005, Jemaah Islamiya bombing mastermind Dr. Azahari was killed during a raid by Indonesian police.
  • In May 2005, Pakistan apprehended the number three al-Qaida leader, Abu Faraj al Libi.
  • In January 2005, Germany arrested two suspected terrorists planning attacks against U.S. and Coalition forces in Iraq.
  • In 2005, Lu’ay al-Saqa, al-Qaida member and one of Zarqawi’s chief lieutenants, was arrested in Turkey planning to attack cruise ships.
  • In 2004, British law enforcement arrested an al-Qaida operative who provided detailed reports on American targets to senior al-Qaida leaders and was suspected of planning attacks against innocent civilians in London.
  • Kuwaiti, Indonesian, Philippine, Algerian, and Chadian security forces, among others, many of which were trained by United States Government assistance programs, have countered terrorist threats within their borders through disruptions, captures, arrests, and prosecutions.
  • The Saudi security services have pursued, captured, or killed terrorists at a dramatic rate. Saudi Arabia has detained more than 600 operatives, fundraisers, and radical clerics in its fight against terrorism, and killed more than 100 terrorists.
  • We are increasing the size of our Special Operations Forces to support foreign internal defense, counterterrorist operations, and unconventional warfare. The overall budget for our Special Operations Forces has increased by 107 percent to support the War on Terror.

Disrupting Terrorism Domestically

  • Since 9/11, significant convictions include Zacarias Moussaoui, for his role in helping al-Qaida carry out the 9/11 attacks, and the “shoe bomber” Richard Reid, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for attempting to destroy American Airlines Flight 63. Other convictions include:
    • Hemant Lakhani, convicted in New Jersey and sentenced to 47 years in prison for attempting to sell an antiaircraft missile to a man he believed represented a terrorist group intent on shooting down a U.S. commercial airliner;
    • Iyman Faris, convicted in Virginia of providing material support to al-Qaida by surveying possible targets to attack in the United States, such as the Brooklyn Bridge, and reporting this information to al-Qaida;
    • Lynne Stewart, Mohammed Yousry, and Ahmed Abdel Sattar, convicted in New York on charges in connection with passing messages to the Islamic Group, a terrorist organization, from Sheik Abdel Rahman, the Group’s imprisoned leader;
    • Sheik Mohammed Ali Hasan al Moayad and Mohammed Moshen Yahya Zayed, convicted in Brooklyn of conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida and HAMAS;
    • Mohammed Junaid Babar, convicted in New York of providing material support to al-Qaida;
    • Five brothers, Ihsan, Hazim, Ghassan, Bayan and Basman Elashi, convicted in Dallas of conspiring to export proscribed computer equipment to state sponsors of terrorism;
    • Ahmad Omar Abu Ali, convicted in Washington, D.C., for providing material support to terrorist organizations in connection with the May 2005 bombings in Saudi Arabia;
    • Uzair Paracha, in New York, convicted of identity document fraud and violating regulations issued under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by acting as a conduit for material support to al-Qaida;
    • Six U.S. citizens in Buffalo pled guilty to providing material support to al-Qaida and admitted to training in al-Qaida-run camps in Afghanistan; and
    • Six defendants in Portland, Oregon, pled guilty to charges relating to their attempt to travel to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban and al-Qaida against U.S. and allied troops.

Disrupting Financial Support

  • Several key financiers and facilitators have been isolated and captured.
  • Over 400 individuals and entities have been designated under the President’s Executive Order 13224 by the Secretaries of State and Treasury, effectively blocking their assets and isolating them from the U.S. financial system.
  • The Secretary of State also has designated 42 groups as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, making it illegal to provide them material support, blocking travel of their members to the United States, and freezing their assets in U.S. financial institutions.
  • The United States, through the Office of Hostage Affairs in Embassy Baghdad, is addressing the scourge of kidnapping in Iraq, a key source of terrorist financing. Through interagency and international efforts, hostages have been freed and/or rescued.
  • The United States continues to build partner nation capacity to further disrupt threat finance networks in international monetary systems.

Securing Borders and Transportation

  • Since the President took office, border security funding has increased more than 66 percent. In particular, the U.S. is in the process of equipping the Border Patrol with better technology, building new infrastructure, and has expanded the number of agents from about 9,000 to 12,000. By the end of 2008, the President will have doubled the size of the Border Patrol since he took office to over 18,000 agents.
  • In 2005, the President approved the National Strategy for Maritime Security and eight supporting plans to emphasize the security of the maritime domain as a global issue and build on current efforts and existing strategies, tools, and resources.
  • The Department of Homeland Security established the Container Security Initiative (CSI). Under CSI, DHS has entered into agreements with foreign governments and businesses to allow for the pre-screening of cargo containers bound for the U.S. Today, 78 percent of the containers that enter U.S. seaports are screened under CSI, which is in place in 26 countries, covering 44 major international seaports.
  • The United States has accelerated the use of new technologies and is installing radiation detectors and other state-of-the-art scanning equipment in U.S. ports. By the end of 2006, 80 percent of all containers entering our seaports will be scanned by high-tech radiation detectors, and by the end of next year virtually all (98 percent) seaport containers will be screened.
  • In 2003, the Department of Energy established the Megaports Initiative to provide partner countries the capability to scan cargo containers transiting their ports for evidence of illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radiological materials. The Megaports program is operational in six major international ports, and implementation is under way in an additional fourteen ports.
  • The Department of Energy has greatly expanded the Second Line of Defense program, which deploys radiation detection equipment at border crossings, airports and feeder ports. Implementation of the program is under way in Russia and a number of countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia.
  • In March 2006, the United States released the National Strategy to Combat Terrorist Travel, which identifies key areas for enhancing domestic and international capacity, including securing documents, advance screening efforts, and expanding information sharing.
  • The United States also established the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT), an integrated, automated entry-exit system that records arrival and departure, verifies identities, and authenticates foreigners’ travel documents by comparing biometric identifiers. US-VISIT is currently deployed at 115 airports, 14 seaports, and 154 land ports of entry, and is executing a pilot program to capture departures.
  • All applications for U.S. visas are checked against extensive databases with terrorism-related information and all international air and sea passengers are vetted against our consolidated terrorist watchlist.
  • As of October 2005, all Visa Waiver Program countries are required to have biometric passports.
  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screens 100 percent of commercial air passengers and bags.
  • TSA is directing Registered Traveler program providers to collect ten fingerprint images from each applicant and to store biometric data for identity confirmations using smart card technology that conforms to current Federal Technical Implementation Guidance.
  • The United States Government also is unveiling new comprehensive screening and credentialing initiatives, such as the Real ID Act and Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, improving access to lost and stolen travel document information, and the e-passport to strengthen our ability to identify those crossing our borders.
  • In March 2005, the U.S., Mexico, and Canada launched the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP). Through this initiative, we are making measurable progress on a number of security issues affecting our three countries and have strengthened relationships in the areas of preparedness, law enforcement, and the screening of travelers and cargo.

Critical Infrastructure Protection

  • DHS has released the National Infrastructure Protection Plan, which provides a comprehensive risk management framework that clearly defines critical infrastructure protection roles and responsibilities for all levels of government, private industry, nongovernmental agencies, and tribal partners.
  • DHS has implemented the Buffer Zone Protection Program, which provides grant funding to protect and secure areas surrounding critical infrastructure and key resource sites such as chemical facilities, dams, and nuclear plants across the country. DHS worked in conjunction with local law enforcement authorities throughout the Nation to submit more than 1400 plans on grant allocations for enhanced security around critical infrastructure.
  • DHS has established the Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Assessment Center (HITRAC), where intelligence analysts and infrastructure specialists work to identify the threat to critical infrastructures, vulnerabilities and interdependencies, and the overall risk inherent in any potential attack against critical infrastructure. The HITRAC works closely with critical infrastructure owners and operators to ensure that the most complete, actionable, accurate information regarding private sector assets is disseminated expeditiously to key stakeholders. The HITRAC also provides recommended protective measures.
  • The United States also has established the National Cyber Response Coordination Group (NCRCG) as the Federal Government’s principal interagency mechanism to coordinate efforts to respond to and recover from cyber incidents of national significance.

Prevent Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists are among the greatest threats to national security. The United States has worked with its bilateral partners and through international fora to secure WMD and prevent proliferation. The Administration has expanded international efforts to deny terrorists access to advanced conventional weaponry and to weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related materials. We will continue to promote implementation of international obligations, aggressively target proliferators (including through financial sanctions), and enhance the capacity of the international community to deny terrorists access to WMD.

Domestic Initiatives

  • The National Guard is fielding 55 WMD Civil Support Teams spread across each state, territory, and the District of Columbia to provide critical communications links and consequence management support to local, state and federal agencies.
  • In December 2005, the National Counterproliferation Center (NCPC) was established to manage and coordinate the analysis and collection of information on nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons across the Intelligence Community.
  • The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), established in the Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for developing a global nuclear detection architecture, acquiring the systems to implement the domestic components of the strategy, and supporting the deployment of the domestic nuclear detection system.
  • In 2004, Project Shield was established to work with U.S. private sector companies that manufacture, sell, or export strategic technology and munitions to prevent terrorists, criminals, and foreign adversaries from obtaining these items.

International Initiatives

  • In July 2006, President Bush and Russian President Putin launched the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism to bring together like-minded nations to work to prevent, protect against, and respond to the threat of nuclear terrorism. Through the Global Initiative, partner nations, including the G-8, will forge political commitments to strengthen our collective capabilities in the fight against terrorism.
  • In July 2005, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) was amended to expand its scope to cover not only physical protection during the international transport of nuclear materials for peaceful use but also the physical protection of such materials while in use at facilities and during storage. The amendments also strengthen the CPPNM to address post-9/11 nuclear terrorism by criminalizing acts of sabotage against civilian nuclear facilities.
  • In June 2005, the President signed Executive Order 13382, authorizing the Government to designate and block the property of WMD proliferators and persons providing support or services to such proliferators. The Annex to the Executive Order identifies eight organizations in North Korea, Iran, and Syria responsible for WMD and missile programs.
  • In February 2005, the United States and Russia established the Bratislava Nuclear Security Cooperation Initiative to accelerate and complete nuclear security upgrades in Russia by the end of 2008, complete all eligible Russia-origin HEU fresh fuel repatriation to Russia from third countries by the end of 2006, and complete by the end of 2010 all Russia-origin HEU spent fuel shipments back to Russia.
  • In 2005, the United States facilitated the establishment the IAEA Committee on Safeguards and Verification to explore ways to strengthen the ability of the IAEA to monitor and enforce compliance with the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.
  • In 2004, at the Sea Island Summit, the G-8 agreed to implement specific radioactive source export controls. Subsequently, the IAEA Board of Governors and General Conference endorsed these export controls, an important step in denying access to materials that might be used to create a radiological “dirty bomb.” The United States Government continues to work with partner nations to establish a robust export control system within each nation to prevent unintended technology/material transfer.
  • In May 2004, the United States launched the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) to further accelerate efforts to identify, secure, remove, and facilitate the disposition of vulnerable high-risk nuclear and other radiological materials around the world. Since its inception, GTRI has removed more than 9 nuclear bombs worth of material and secured more than 400 radiological sites around the world containing over 6 million curies, enough for about 6,000 dirty bombs.
  • In April 2004, U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540 was adopted. It requires states to enact and enforce national legal and regulatory measures to prevent proliferation, particularly to non-state actors, of WMD, their delivery systems, and related materials, including controls on activities that would contribute to proliferation, such as financing.
  • In 2003, the Department of Defense, under its Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, launched the WMD Proliferation Prevention Initiative to assist selected states of the former Soviet Union to build capabilities to prevent illegal shipments of WMD and related materials across their borders.
  • In May 2003, the Administration launched the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) to promote international cooperation to interdict WMD-related shipments at sea, in the air, or on land that are flowing to or from state or non-state actors of proliferation concern. More than 70 countries participate in PSI activities. PSI partners are also working to expand their activities, including enhanced military, intelligence, and law enforcement actions to shut down proliferation networks.
  • At the 2002 Summit in Kananaskis, the G-8 launched the Global Partnership Against the Spread of WMD to increase resources for cooperative nonproliferation, disarmament, counterproliferation, and nuclear safety projects in Russia and other former Soviet countries. The G-7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom) and other Partnership donors have pledged $17 billion toward the $20 billion target, and significant progress is being made on implementing projects in Russia.

Promoting Biosecurity and Biodefense

  • The United States has invested over $8.5 billion in the public health and medical system since 2001 to ensure early warning and rapid response to a biological attack or any event that threatens the health and safety of Americans.
  • The United States is implementing the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza, supported by a budget request of over $7 billion. The Pandemic Implementation Plan lays out over 300 actions for Federal Departments and Agencies, many of which are directly related to our preparedness and response capacity for an influenza pandemic.
  • The United States has deployed BioWatch, an urban air monitoring system that continually collects air samples in over 30 major metropolitan areas and provides warning of the aerosol release of a biological agent before the development of illness in a population.
  • Project BioShield provides $5.6 billion to support development and procurement of "next-generation" medical countermeasures, expedite National Institute of Health (NIH) research and development on medical countermeasures based, and to give the FDA the ability to make promising treatments quickly available in emergency situations.
  • The United States has procured and stockpiled enough smallpox vaccine for the entire American population, and enough antibiotics to protect to over 40 million persons after exposure to anthrax.
  • The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity has been established to advise the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the head of any agency that conducts, funds or supports life science research on the most appropriate manner to perform and communicate the findings of “dual use” research that could be used to develop bioterror agents.
  • The National Biosurveillance Initiative is an interagency effort designed to combine traditional and non-traditional health data surveillance with threat indicators and warnings to enable the early detection, situational awareness, and appropriate response to biological outbreaks affecting humans, animals, and plants. As part of this program, the “BioSense” system at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is supporting the development of “real-time” biosurveillance systems across the Nation.
  • The National Biosurveillance Integration System (NBIS), established under the National Biosurveillance Initiative, combines biological monitoring data, surveillance information, and threat indications and warnings to enable early detection and situation awareness of biological outbreaks and abnormal events.

Deny Sanctuary/Support From Rogue States

Our expanding international Coalition is seeking to build a global environment inhospitable to terrorism. In countries spanning the Middle East, Europe, and Southeast Asia, terrorists are being captured and their networks dismantled. At the United Nations, the G-8, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Organization of American States (OAS), and other international fora, we have promoted the adoption and implementation of resolutions condemning terrorism, advanced efforts to prevent and suppress terrorism and terror financing, and increased training and other assistance to build partner states’ capacity to combat terrorism and deny terrorists safehaven. There is a growing call around the world to reject the violent extremism that seeks to justify the use of terrorism as an ideological or political tool.

In addition to attacking al-Qaida and its affiliates, the United States has advanced efforts in the international community to deny safehaven and material support to terrorists. The United States will continue to insist that all state sponsors end support and sanctuary to terrorists. We will continue to implement sanctions against, and promote international isolation of, state sponsors until changes are made. At the same time, we will continue to work with allies in the War on Terror to strengthen their ability to destroy safehavens in remote and undergoverned territories.

Efforts Internationally

  • In Afghanistan and Iraq, we are working to build the governments’ capacities to take control of captured terrorists and insurgents.
  • In Afghanistan, National Army has improved its capability, with 26,600 trained and equipped personnel in its ranks, and the Ministry of Interior Police force now possesses 57,800 trained personnel.
  • The United States has helped create the Yemeni Coast Guard, bolstered Yemen’s counterterrorism forces, executed development programs in remote and underdeveloped areas of the country, worked to reduce the illicit flow of small arms and light weapons, and strengthened Yemeni border security and export control measures.
  • Intensive diplomatic efforts resulted in substantial policy changes in Libya and improved counterterrorism cooperation. Libya was removed from the Not Fully Cooperating and State Sponsors of Terrorism lists. The U.S. Interest Section in Tripoli was upgraded to an Embassy. Libya is party to all 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. Libya also is working with the United States and the international community to eliminate its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction and Missile Technology Control Regime-class missiles.
  • Sudan is taking renewed steps to deter terrorists from operating within its borders and has increased information sharing internationally and strengthened its legal instruments for fighting terrorism. Because of its progress in combating terrorist activity, Sudan was removed from this year’s list of states not fully cooperating with U.S. anti-terrorism efforts.
  • With U.S. assistance, the Afghan In the Horn of Africa and in the absence of a functioning central government in Somalia, we are cooperating closely with regional partners to interdict arms flows and monitor terrorist activities through the East Africa Counterterrorism Initiative (EACTI). EACTI provides assistance, including border security and police training, to Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Uganda.
  • Through the Trans-Sahel Counterterrorism Initiative, the United States provides military support and other assistance to Chad, Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia. TSCTI enhances cooperation among the region’s security forces and promotes democratic governance and economic growth.
  • Bilaterally with Europe, we aid the Turkish struggle to shut down financing and other material support provided to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
  • In Indonesia, the United States provides capacity-building training to the national police and law enforcement counterterrorism personnel to reinforce efforts to detect, disrupt, and dismantle terrorist networks. We also are working with the Indonesian Government to build its counterterrorism finance detection and enforcement capabilities.
  • In the Philippines, we helped create Light Reaction Companies to fight terrorists in Mindanao, continually train the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies, and have an ongoing interagency effort to fight terrorists on the island of Jolo.
  • In Afghanistan and Colombia, the United States has expanded cooperation with its law enforcement and military counterparts on narcoterrorism, especially attacking the funding that the drug trade generates for insurgencies.
  • In the Three Plus One Group on Tri-border Area Security, the United States participates with Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay to strengthen their capacity to fight cross-border crime and thwart money laundering and terrorist fundraising activities.
  • In FY 2005, the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) Program provided training and technical assistance to participants from 78 countries. Seventy-five countries are scheduled to receive ATA training through the end of FY 2006.
  • In 2005, through the Department of Defense’s Regional Defense Counterterrorism Fellowship Program, security personnel from 93 countries participated in events to build counterterrorism capacity, strengthen the global counterterrorism network, and counter ideological support for terrorism.
  • We are working on a regional basis to address existing and emerging terror safehavens. For example, our Embassies are partnered with Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines as they deal with terrorist transit across the Celebes (Sulawesi) Sea; and we are supporting efforts among Mauritania, Algeria, Morocco, Niger, Chad, and Mali to counter a GSPC enemy recruiting and hiding in the desert which sits astride their national borders.
  • To facilitate regional counterterrorism efforts, the State Department is implementing the Regional Strategic Initiative (RSI), a program designed to develop flexible regional networks in key terrorist theaters of operation to assess the threat and devise collaborative strategies, actionable initiatives, and policy recommendations.

U.N. Efforts

  • With UNSCR 1267, and its successor resolutions including UNSCR 1617, the U.N. has required Member States to impose travel restrictions and arms embargo against Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, al-Qaida, and those associated with them and to freeze their financial assets.
  • The United States drafted and cosponsored U.N. Security Council Resolution 1373, which requires all States to deny safehaven and prevent the movement of terrorists across borders. The Resolution also mandates all States to prevent and suppress terrorist financing by requiring states to criminalize terrorist financing, planning, preparing, or perpetrating terrorist acts.
  • U.N. Member States, not including the United States, have frozen over $106 million in terrorist-related assets.

U.S. Efforts

  • We systematically develop and disseminate information products for foreign markets discrediting extremist propaganda; raising awareness of the costs of terrorism for individuals, families, and communities; and garnering broader understanding and support for U.S. policies and initiatives.
  • The Secretary of State has designated 59 groups on the Terrorist Exclusion List, which provides the legal authority to exclude individuals associated with such groups from entering the United States or to seek the deportation of those already present.
  • Over the long term, we will continue to work with allies and partners to advance effective democracy in order to prevent terrorist exploitation of ungoverned and weakly governed areas.

Institutionalize the War on Terror

To enhance America’s security, we transformed the way the Government does business. Beginning with the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003, the Administration has strengthened the Government’s ability to protect and defend the Homeland and the American people. We continue to defend our borders and protect our citizens by strengthening transportation security, enhancing border security, expanding port and maritime security, protecting critical infrastructures, improving intergovernmental communications, and ensuring preparedness to respond to a crisis.

Domestic Institutional Reform

  • The DNI was created to serve as the President’s chief intelligence advisor and, as head of the Intelligence Community, to ensure close coordination and integration of the Government’s 16 intelligence components.
  • The NCTC was formally launched in December 2004 to serve as a multi-agency center analyzing and integrating all intelligence pertaining to terrorism, including threats to U.S. interests at home and abroad.
    • The NCTC is also a shared knowledge bank for the counterterrorism community, making information available to the intelligence, law enforcement, homeland security, diplomatic, and military communities across the United States Government.
  • NCTC’s Directorate of Strategic Operational Planning (DSOP) is responsible for developing, implementing, and assessing the effectiveness of national plans that coordinate and apply all instruments of national power – diplomatic, intelligence, military, economic, financial, law enforcement and homeland security – toward the counterterrorism goals and objectives described in this report.
    • NCTC/DSOP ensures that the activities and capabilities of United States Government departments and agencies are integrated and synchronized in an orchestrated government-wide counterterrorism campaign.
  • In 2003, the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) was established to consolidate terrorist watchlists and provide around-the-clock operational support for Federal and other government law enforcement personnel across the country and around the world.
  • The growth and maturation of the 101 Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) resident in major cities throughout the United States has substantially contributed to improved information sharing and operational collaboration. These JTTFs, which numbered only 35 on September 11, 2001, serve as centers of excellence in addressing both the collection of intelligence as well as the conduct of terrorism investigations.
  • In coordination with the DNI, the Attorney General and the Director of the FBI have created the National Security Branch within the FBI, merging its Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence Divisions with its recently established Directorate of Intelligence (DI) and newly formed Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate (WMDD).
  • The FBI is responding to the Nation’s call to transform itself into a preeminent domestic intelligence agency, creating the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) in 2003 and establishing a Field Intelligence Group (FIG) in every FBI field office. The DI works to ensure that intelligence is identified, collected, analyzed, and reported in order to identify or prevent a threat to the United States.
  • The Attorney General will also consolidate DOJ’s three primary national security elements – the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review and the Counterterrorism and Counterespionage Sections of the Criminal Division – under a new Assistant Attorney General for National Security.
  • The President also established the U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) to plan, organize, and execute all military homeland defense and civil support missions in the continental United States, Alaska, and the offshore waters within its area of responsibility, including territorial waters.
  • DHS has expanded the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN), its computer-based counterterrorism communications network, to all 50 states, five territories, the District of Columbia, and 50 other major urban areas to strengthen its two-way flow of threat information. HSIN delivers real-time interactive connectivity between Federal, State, and local partners with the DHS National Operations Center (NOC) up to the SECRET level.

International/Multilateral Efforts

  • The United States continues to work through the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to promote international standards and is helping develop FATF-style regional bodies to support implementation of these standards, including most recently the Middle East/North Africa Financial Action Task Force and the Eurasian Group to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.
  • The United States joined its allies in the Organization of American States and became party to the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism.
  • The United States, in partnership with the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization, has developed and promoted standards for international transport security, including travel document security and biometric identification.
  • In June 2004, the G-8 adopted, and has since successfully implemented, the Secure and Facilitated International Travel Initiative (SAFTI), which focused its 28 action items on developing best practices and mechanisms to increase impediments to terrorists’ travel.
  • The United States works with the U.N. Terrorist Prevention Branch (TPB), European Union (EU), and OSCE to encourage enactment of strong counterterrorism laws and to develop common standards and procedures to reduce terrorist exploitation of international travel.
  • Through centers like the Southeast Asia Regional Center for Counterterrorism in Malaysia and the U.S.-sponsored International Law Enforcement Academies in Thailand, Botswana, Hungary, El Salvador, and the United States, we are providing counterterrorism training to law enforcement officers.
  • Since FY 2005, the Department of Defense has exercised new authority to build the capacity of our foreign partners to conduct internal security counterterrorist operations.
  • The United States renewed successful, decade-long bilateral agreements for research and development (R&D) of technologies for combating terrorism with the U.K., Canada, and Israel. Additionally, in 2006 we enacted similar cooperative R&D agreements with Australia and Singapore.
  • The United States has launched an African Maritime Governance Initiative (AMGI) to work in partnership with African countries to improve governance of their maritime space through programs that promote coastal and maritime security awareness and capability.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation directs a Safe Skies for Africa (SSFA) initiative that advances sustainable improvements in aviation safety, security, and air navigation in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Through the provision of training, equipment, and other assistance, we are building the capacity of foreign partners to attack and defeat terrorists, by strengthening their ability to conduct law enforcement, financial, regulatory, intelligence, and military activities.

Challenges Ahead

We are engaged in a war against a violent extremist movement driven by an ideology that threatens the basic aspirations of all people everywhere. Though our international partners and we have made great strides in this War on Terror, the challenges before us are formidable. Although its leaders and their safehavens and resources are increasingly isolated and besieged, al-Qaida and its affiliates and groups adhering to its ideology continue to plan attacks and continue to seek weapons of mass destruction. Unlike conventional enemies, terrorists do not fight on a defined battlefield. They are found throughout the world, even in countries that are friendly to us. We must therefore help other states to strengthen their will and ability to bring the fight to the enemy. We must continue to use all instruments of national power and influence in the War on Terror: diplomatic, information, military, economic, financial, intelligence, and law enforcement.

Challenges to Defeating the Terrorist Enemy

  • Terrorists’ increased dispersion, use of nonphysical ("virtual") safehavens, and informal operational and logistical coordination complicate efforts to find and defeat them.
  • In Iraq, al-Qaida and associated foreign terrorists have made clear that their goal is to build a Taliban-like state and then expand their battle to neighboring states. In the near future, some of these terrorists could return to their home countries, exacerbating domestic conflicts or fomenting radical ideologies.
  • Terrorists and insurgents are increasingly using media and the Internet to spread propaganda, rally support, and share experiences, as well as a means to communicate with each other.

Challenges to Denying Support and Safehaven

  • Some state sponsors of terrorism continue to provide funding and weapons to terrorists and offer safehavens from which terrorists plan and conduct operations. Most worrisome is that some of these countries also have developed or have the capability to manufacture weapons of mass destruction and other destabilizing technologies that could fall into the hands of terrorists. In addition, ungoverned and undergoverned spaces, often on frontiers between nations and overlaying failed states, provide safehavens that terrorists exploit.
  • Iran is the world’s leading state provider of political, material, and financial support to Hizballah and Palestinian rejectionist groups and remains unwilling to hand over senior al-Qaida members for prosecution.
  • Syria allows various groups to operate from its soil. It provides both material and political support to Lebanese Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist groups. North Korea’s cooperation with Syria in the missile and other WMD areas may enhance Syria’s expertise and ability to provide similar assistance, deliberately or inadvertently, to terrorist organizations.
  • Cuba continues the actions that led to its designation as a state sponsor.

Challenges to Combating the Violent Extremist Ideology

  • Al-Qaida propagandists continue to exploit local grievances to create the sense that the Muslim world is aggrieved and disrespected. A key challenge remains understanding the motivations of those who join or support terrorist networks, as well as the incentives and recruitment techniques employed by terrorists. Only then can we develop effective tools to combat the attractiveness of their message.
  • Success in this ideological struggle demands that we explain more effectively our values, ideals, policies, and actions internationally and support moderate voices willing to confront extremists and discredit radicals.
  • We must employ all elements of U.S. national power, including public diplomacy, development, and democracy-building programs, to address the conditions which terrorists exploit and to counter extremist propaganda and recruiting.

Challenges to Protecting the Homeland

  • We must do more to understand the tools and methodologies employed by extremists and how radicalization occurs, and offer alternative messages. Mobilizing Americans to spread good will in their communities will help reduce receptivity to radical and violent behavior.
  • Terrorists continue to target vulnerabilities in our transportation sectors. We must improve air, land, sea, and border security to counter those who wish to enter the United States illegally.
  • We must increase the resilience and security of our critical infrastructure, especially our transportation systems, to reduce national vulnerabilities and deny terrorists targets.
  • We will continue to improve law enforcement capability, including greater and more effective collection and reporting of intelligence, without encroaching on the privacy and civil liberties of Americans, to interdict terrorists before they strike the Homeland.

Challenges Securing Weapons of Mass Destruction

  • Terrorists have openly declared both their desire to develop and intent to employ weapons of mass destruction against the United States, our partners, and our interests around the world. We must remain vigilant in our efforts to deny terrorist access to WMD.
  • We will face the challenge of marshaling all elements of national power and influence, employing the best efforts of local, State, and Federal governments in full partnership with both the private sector and our partners abroad.
  • We will continue to advance domestic and international efforts to deny terrorists access to the materials and expertise required to fabricate a WMD device, deter terrorists from employing WMD, and actively disrupt their ability either to acquire WMD or introduce WMD into the Homeland.  

Challenges to Building Partnership Capacity

  • A key challenge is partners’ political will. We will use diplomatic engagement, international and regional fora, and incentives and sanctions to encourage partners to strengthen their will and ability to combat the terrorist threat.
  • We must continue to work with international partners, including the United Nations and the G-8’s Counterterrorism Action Group (CTAG), to coordinate assistance efforts that maximize resources and enhance capacity to those who need it most.

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