Good morning. This was a productive week in the war against terror, both at
home and abroad. Congress returned to Washington with renewed energy and a commitment
to make progress on key issues. Members of the House and Senate reached a crucial
agreement to create a new department of homeland security. With Congress' vote
on the final legislation, America will have a single agency with the full-time
duty of protecting our people against attack.
This new department will focus and unify responsibilities that are now spread
among dozens of government agencies. The Customs Service, the INS, the Coast
Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Transportation Security
Administration and many others will report to the new secretary of homeland
The department will significantly improve our ability to protect our borders,
our coasts, and our communities. It will pool together the best intelligence
information and coordinate our response. The new department will help develop
the technology America needs to detect and defeat chemical, biological, and
nuclear threats. And under the agreement reached this week, I will have the
authority and flexibility to move people and resources to where they are needed
without bureaucratic rules and lengthy labor negotiations.
This compromise is the result of months of hard work and negotiation, and it
will take additional time to put the agreement into place. The threat of terror
will be with us for years to come, and we remain resolved to see this conflict
through to its end.
In the department of homeland security, we'll have good people, well-organized
and well-equipped, working day and night to oppose the serious dangers of our
time. Now that we have reached broad agreement on a homeland security bill,
I look forward to signing it into law as soon as possible.
We're committed to defending the nation. Yet wars are not won on the defensive.
The best way to keep America safe from terrorism is to go after terrorists where
they plan and hide. And that work goes on around the world.
The United States is working with more than 90 countries to disrupt and defeat
terror networks. So far we have frozen more than $113 million in terrorist assets,
denying them the means to finance their murder. We've cracked down on charities
that were exploiting American compassion to fund terrorists. We have captured
and interrogated thousands of terrorists, while others have met their fate in
caves and mountains in Afghanistan. We've deployed troops to train forces in
the Philippines and Yemen, the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, and other
nations where terrorists have gathered. We're sending a clear message to the
enemies of freedom, no terrorist will escape the patient justice of America.
To win the war on terror, we're also opposing the growing threat of weapons
of mass destruction in the hands of outlaw regimes. This week, the dictator
of Iraq told the U.N. he would give weapons inspectors unrestricted access to
his country. We've heard such pledges before and they have been uniformly betrayed.
America and the world are now watching Saddam Hussein closely. Any act of defiance
or delay will indicate that he is taking the path of deception once again, and
this time the consequences would be severe.
Our goal is not merely the return of inspectors to Iraq; our goal is the disarmament
of Iraq. The dictator of Iraq will give up his weapons of mass destruction,
or the United States will lead a coalition to disarm him.
Our war against terrorists and their supporters is advancing on all fronts.
We're moving aggressively to protect our people and to oppose a great threat
to the peace of the world.