General John Ashcroft
President George W. Bush
Secretary of State Colin Powell
FBI Director Robert Mueller
Announce FBI "Most Wanted" Terrorist List
October 10, 2001
11:00 A.M. EDT
ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: In his address to the American people following the September
11th attacks, President George W. Bush spoke to a nation awakened to danger
and called to defend freedom. All of America has risen to the cause that now
tragically defines our times.
Everyday heroes, heroes who sacrificed their lives in the skies above Pennsylvania,
at the Pentagon, and in those towers of New York -- these heroes inspire us.
America's call to defend freedom has been answered resoundingly by men and women
who protect justice every day -- men and women here at the FBI, thousands of
FBI agents, Department of Justice investigators and support personnel. And they've
been joined by tens of thousands of state and local law enforcement officers
to wage war against terrorism within our borders. They work beyond fatigue,
24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their effort is a testimony to the American
spirit, a quiet but determined show of faith in the rightness of our cause,
the endurance of our freedom, and in the certainty of our justice.
Terrorists live in the shadows, under the cover of darkness. We will shine the
light of justice on them. Our global manhunt will track the trail of terror
and leave no place to hide.
It is my honor to introduce the man whose character defines our spirit and whose
resolve sustains our effort today and in the days and the weeks and in the years
to come. Because his leadership has given us new reason to hope, it has given
our enemies new reason to fear.
Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States, George W. Bush.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you very much for that warm welcome.
I'm pleased to be back at the FBI to unveil a new line of attack on our war
against terrorism, the most-wanted-terrorist list. Terrorists try to operate
in the shadows. They try to hide. But we're going to shine the light of justice
on them. We list their names, we publicize their pictures, we rob them of their
secrecy. Terrorism has a face, and today we expose it for the world to see.
Mr. General, thank you very much for your leadership, your strong resolve, the
values you espouse. I want to thank all the Justice Department folks who are
here today. I'm so honored to be up here with the Secretary of State, who's
doing a fabulous job of rallying the world to our cause. And I want to thank
the State Department officials who are here today as well. And of course, Director
Mueller, I want to thank you and the fine men and women of the FBI for your
diligent efforts to disrupt and find anybody who tries to harm Americans.
I also want to introduce Tom Ridge, the director of the Office of Homeland Security
-- thank you for being here, Governor -- as well as General Wayne Downing, the
deputy national security adviser for combatting terrorism. Thank you all for
The men on the wall here have put themselves on the list because of great acts
of evil. They plan, promote and commit murder. They fill the minds of others
with hate and lies. And by their cruelty and violence, they betray whatever
faith they espouse.
These 22 individuals do not account for all the terrorist activity in the world,
but they are among the most dangerous -- the leaders and key supporters, the
planners and strategists. They must be found. They will be stopped, and they
will be punished.
This effort is part of a worldwide assault on terror. All our allies and friends
will now be familiar with these evil-doers and their associates. For those who
join our coalition, we expect results, and a good place to start would be to
help us bring these folks to justice. Eventually, no corner of the world will
be dark enough to hide in.
I want to thank all the State Department employees for helping to build an unprecedented,
I mean unprecedented coalition, to stand with us for freedom.
I want to thank the American people for understanding that we are engaged in
a new war, a war that will require a new way of thinking. Now, there's a fascination
about the conventional aspects of the military operations that are taking place
now, and I can understand that. But the American people must understand that
we're making great progress in other fronts; that we're halting their money,
that we've got allies around the world helping us close the net. And today,
by shining the spotlight on the first 22, it's going to make it more likely
they'll be brought to justice. I say the first 22 because our war is not just
against 22 individuals, our war is against networks and groups, people who coddle
them, people who try to hide them, people who fund them.
This is our calling. This is the calling of the United States of America, the
most free nation in the world, a nation built on fundamental values; that rejects
hate, rejects violence, rejects murderers, rejects evil. And we will not tire.
We will not relent. It is not only important for the homeland security of America
that we succeed, it is equally as important for generations of Americans who
have yet (to) be born.
Now is the time to draw the line in the sand against the evil ones, and this
government is committed to doing just that.
I also want to remind my fellow Americans, as we round up the evildoers, as
we're -- as we look for those who might harm our fellow Americans, we must remember
not to violate the rights of the innocent. Our war is not against a religion.
Our war is against evil. There are thousands of Muslim Americans who love America
just as much as I do, and we will respect their rights. We will not let the
terrorists cause decay of the fundamental rights that make our nation unique.
As a matter of fact, what they'll find out is that our nation has responded
in a way they never envisioned. We're united. People of all faiths, all religions,
all areas of our country are united in the common effort to stamp out evil where
we find it. It is the right thing to do. It is the right course of action for
our nation and the world, and I want to thank you all for helping.
It is now my honor to bring the director of the FBI to the podium. (Applause.)
MR. MUELLER: Thank you, Mr. President. We appreciate your being here today.
I also want to thank the Secretary of State, the attorney general, as well as
the president, for their leadership in launching this program, the newest weapon
on America's -- or, in America's war on terrorism.
I'd also like to thank Governor Ridge for being here with us today. We very
much -- in the FBI, we very much look forward to working with you, Governor.
For more than a half a century, the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives initiative
has put a global spotlight on those attempting to flee from justice.
A total of 467 dangerous criminals have been put under the watchful eye of the
international community since 1950. Four hundred and thirty-eight of those fugitives
have been captured, a success rate of nearly 94 percent. Of that number, nearly
one in three have been apprehended through a tip from a private citizen. And
now, with this new program we are spotlighting those who attack freedom itself:
terrorists who hide in the shadows and whisper their plots in the dark corners
of the world. Through the continuing support of the media, we are going to spread
the names and faces of the most dangerous terrorists across the globe so that
they have nowhere to hide, nowhere to run.
Already the support of the global community and the work of our legal attache
offices overseas have helped to bring to justice four out of the five international
terrorists on our original 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list. One of those was Mir
Aimal Kansi, who brutally murdered two CIA employees in 1993. Thanks to a tip
from a private citizen overseas we were able to locate and arrest Kansi and
return him to the United States to face justice.
A second international terrorist we located through the fugitive list was Ramzi
Yousef, the mastermind of the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.
Yousef was apprehended overseas, tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in
The FBI's Most Wanted program is one of the most successful law enforcement
initiatives ever launched. Now we are once again combining the power and reach
of the media with the eyes and ears of millions of concerned citizens worldwide
in the fight against terrorism. And as the president has made clear, this is
not just America's fight, it is the world's fight. We call upon all of those
who cherish freedom and justice to join us in ridding our earth of the terrible
scourge of terrorism.
And now it is my privilege to introduce the Secretary of State, Colin Powell.
For many years, along with the Department of Defense and many other federal
agencies, the Department of State has been our partner in fighting terrorism
around the world. Since 1987 it has helped us extradite 17 international terrorists.
That partnership we have had in the FBI, the partnership we've had with the
State Department, has never been stronger than under Secretary Powell's leadership.
As all of us here know -- and those across the country know that he has been
a forceful and tireless leader, particularly in the past four weeks, and we
in the FBI particularly appreciate his support in bringing to fruition this
new terrorist list. And I'd ask you to join me in welcoming here today Secretary
of State Colin Powell.
SEC. POWELL: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. (Applause continues.)
Thank you very much. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.
Well, thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. It's a pleasure to be here
President Bush, Attorney General Ashcroft, Director Mueller, and my new colleagues
in government Governor Ridge and my old war buddy Wayne Downing, it's a pleasure
also to have you here this morning and to be in the presence of so many of the
accomplished professionals of the Justice Department and the FBI.
The State Department is proud, Mr. President, to be part of the team that under
your leadership is going after those responsible for the September 11th attacks
on America and on the world, and also working to eliminate the threat posed
by international terrorism to the civilized world.
The events of September 11th brought home to us in tragic fashion the global
reach of terrorists in today's world. The lesson is clear. To defeat terrorists,
we must identify them, we must find them, and we must seize them wherever they
are in the world doing their evil deeds or plotting new evil deeds.
Many of the individuals we are seeking are part of the al Qaeda leadership.
They have blood on their hands from September 11th and from other acts against
America in Kenya, Tanzania, and Yemen.
The effort to capture these and other terrorists requires a coordinated campaign
within the United States government and with government and law enforcement
officials in other countries.
We have put together such a campaign, and our efforts are starting to pay off.
We're all working together more closely. Governments are cooperating around
the world. Known terrorists are being put behind bars. But we are only at the
beginning of a long campaign, as the president said. Much remains to be done.
We must be patient, but we must be persistent, and I know the American people
understand the need for patience and persistence.
One of the most powerful tools we have for tracking down terrorists abroad is
the State Department's Rewards for Justice program. This program offers rewards
of up to $5 million for information that thwarts a terrorist attack on American
or other interests, or brings a terrorist to justice. Rewards for Justice is,
as we say in the military, a force multiplier. It gives us millions of additional
pairs of eyes and ears to be on the lookout. It puts potential informants in
every place a terrorist might try to operate or to hide. And it works. Since
the program's inception in 1984, we have paid over $8 million in 22 separate
cases to people who provided information that put terrorists in prison or prevented
One example was just touched on by Bob, as to how this program works. Ramzi
Yousef, the convicted mastermind of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center,
was also engaged in a scheme to blow up 12 commercial airliners over the Pacific.
But his plot was foiled when an informant in Pakistan, alerted by State Department
flyers describing Yousef and his role in the bombing, turned him in. We want
to see this story repeated everywhere -- everywhere that a terrorist is plotting
against us or our interests, everywhere a terrorist is hiding.
We are getting the word out about out Rewards for Justice program in flyers
and other ways of reaching the public, and we have a web site that will give
you all the information you need about this program: www.dssrewards.com, http://www.dssrewards.net/
Let us know about it -- .net, that is.
Ladies and gentlemen, the campaign against international terrorism requires
us to use every tool we have -- political, diplomatic, intelligence, law enforcement,
financial, and military. Under the president's leadership, we are doing just
that. Here today, diplomacy and law enforcement are standing side by side. United
as a country, united as a people, we will be successful, and as the president
has said, we will prevail. And the State Department will play a role in this
campaign and in this war, and we truly will win.