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Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515-0128


Statement of Chairman Elton Gallegly
Overview of International Terrorist Organizations
March 26, 2003

Today, the newly-created Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Human Rights is holding its first hearing. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all the members of the subcommittee as we begin our work on three distinct but very critical foreign policy issues for our nation.

Let me now turn to the today’s hearing, which will be an overview of international terrorist organizations.

On September 11, 2001, the United States suffered the worst terrorist attack in recorded history. More than 3,000 people from over 80 countries were killed in those attacks on our country. Immediately, President Bush galvanized the United States and the international community in a global coalition against terrorism.

This war has been fought and continues to be fought on many fronts, with diplomatic, law enforcement, intelligence, financial and military components.

As a result of these efforts, tremendous progress has been made in the war against terrorism. The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has been overthrown. The terrorist infrastructure that operated in that country has been decimated. Al Qaeda and its affiliate groups are being pursued in every corner or the world by aggressive intelligence and law enforcement actions. More than 3,000 Al Qaeda members have been apprehended or killed. And the military action taking place in Iraq will prevent any international terrorist group from obtaining material support, sanctuary or weapons of mass destruction from Saddam Hussein and his regime.

Despite these successes, the battle against international terrorism is far from over. The United States continues to be threatened by Al Qaeda, as well as numerous other terrorist organizations operating throughout the world.

Today’s hearing will focus on the groups that pose the greatest danger to both to the U.S. homeland and our interests in foreign countries. The hearing will discuss which organizations have the capability to strike at America and which nations continue to provide support to terrorist groups. We will also examine the international effort being led by the United States to cut off the funding sources of terrorist groups.

And we will explore the likelihood of terrorist groups obtaining weapons of mass destruction, either from a state or by developing these weapons on their own.

We are fortunate that we have before us today two State Department witnesses that are critical in the battle against international terrorism. Ambassador Cofer Black is the Coordinator of the Office of Counterterrorism at the Department of State. His office has primary responsibility for developing, coordinating and implementing U.S. counterterrorism policy.

Tony Wayne is the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, which formulates and carries out U.S. foreign economic policy. It is also the office within the State Department with expertise on the sources of financing for international terrorist organizations and leads the effort to develop greater international cooperation in attacking terrorist financing sources.

I look forward to hearing from our witnesses and I will now turn to Mr. Sherman, the Ranking Member on this subcommittee, for any remarks he may wish to make.