20 March 2003
Text: U.S. Official Says Diplomacy Vital to Global War on Terrorism
(Major contributions are made by U.S. embassies worldwide) (1770)
Diplomacy plays a critical role in the global war on terrorism by
taking the war to the terrorists, helping to cut them off from
critical resources, and strengthening political will and international
cooperation, says Ambassador J. Cofer Black, the U.S. State
Department's coordinator for counterterrorism.
"Terrorists and their organizations cannot be defeated through force
of arms alone," Black said during a March 18 Senate Foreign Relations
Committee hearing into the role of diplomacy in U.S. counterterrorism
programs. "As Secretary [of State Colin] Powell has stated, diplomacy
constitutes this nation's first line of defense and also one of our
most potent offensive weapons in the war on terrorism."
Black said U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide are on the
frontline of diplomacy and helping battle terrorism. "They are both
leading and supporting our efforts to promote and achieve our
counterterrorism agenda in their respective host countries and
regions," he said in opening testimony to the committee.
Black described some of the counterterrorism efforts undertaken by
U.S. embassies and missions, which include:
-- assisting foreign governments in implementing financial controls in
order to reduce funding to terrorist organizations;
-- providing critical information on terrorist organizations that
leads to the imposition of legal and administrative sanctions;
-- implementing training assistance programs which aid foreign
governments in border monitoring and interdiction efforts; and
-- conducting public affairs and exchange programs which accurately
portray U.S. policies and values and correct the misperceptions that
terrorist groups exploit to their own ends.
"U.S. embassies and consulates also are working with us to train and
equip frontline states to fight terrorists within and around their
borders," he said. "Our Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program is
providing training to 56 countries through 180 courses during fiscal
year 2003 and hopes to step up its training efforts in FY 2004."
Following is the text of Black's remarks:
Diplomacy and the War Against Terrorism
Ambassador J. Cofer Black, Coordinator for Counterterrorism
Abbreviated (Oral) Testimony
Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
March 18, 2003
Mr. Chairman, Senator Biden, Committee Members:
I appreciate your invitation to testify on the State Department's role
in coordinating the non-military war against terrorism overseas. I
also want to express thanks to you and members of the committee for
recognizing the crucial role our embassies play in combating
With your permission, I have a more detailed written statement that I
will summarize in oral remarks. I would like to submit the full
written statement for the record.
Mr. Chairman, while I will endeavor to avoid covering the same ground
as Under Secretaries Grossman and Green in the previous panel, one
cannot overemphasize the importance of our diplomatic efforts in the
global war on terrorism. Terrorists and their organizations cannot be
defeated through force of arms alone. As Secretary Powell has stated,
diplomacy constitutes this nation's first line of defense and also one
of our most potent offensive weapons in the war on terrorism.
Diplomacy is the instrument of power that builds political will and
strengthens international cooperation. Diplomacy helps us take the war
to the terrorists, to cut off the resources they need and depend upon
I want to make clear at the outset of my remarks that the State
Department and our embassies and consulates abroad certainly are not
alone in carrying out this important mission. Many other federal
agencies have critical missions in this regard. However, as the lead
foreign affairs agency, the Department of State -- through my office
-- serves as the statutorily appointed coordinator and overall
clearinghouse for the wide span of counterterrorism activities
conducted overseas by the United States Government.
As you might imagine, the job of coordinating such a large interagency
-- and international -- effort is a great challenge. It is a challenge
because of the growth of counterterrorism initiatives and programs
since 9/11. It is a challenge because of the evolving terrorist threat
and the shifting international environment that, for example, is being
affected today by Iraq's continued intransigence to disarm and its
support of -- and potential future support for -- international
terrorism. Finally, there is the challenge of undertaking these
expanded responsibilities in the face of limited resources. In all of
these efforts, our embassies and consulates play a critical role. Let
me briefly describe our ongoing efforts in this context.
Since 9/11, we have methodically taken the battle against terrorism to
the international front lines. Our embassies and consulates are
serving us well. Over my career in international affairs and at times
being a part of that diplomatic front line, I have much admiration and
respect for the men and women who serve at our missions overseas. In
the face of especially grave threats today, they continue to serve
with great professionalism and bravery. Indeed, they are the backbone
to our overseas counterterrorist efforts. It is this diplomatic
readiness, to use Secretary Powell s phrase, that is vital to our
ability to fight terrorism.
It is an important function of my office and staff to support this
front line effort. Since assuming the Coordinator's job three months
ago, I have traveled to Russia, China, Japan, Israel, Jordan, Saudi
Arabia, and the Tri-Border region of South America. In doing so, I can
say unequivocally that our Chiefs of Mission and their country teams
are invaluable resources. They are both leading and supporting our
efforts to promote and achieve our counterterrorism agenda in their
respective host countries and regions.
Our embassies also help to facilitate efforts to cut off support to
terrorists through supporting our CT programs. Just a few days ago, my
staff joined an interagency team that went to Manila to successfully
assist the Government of the Philippines in adopting financial
controls vital to denying terrorists access to funding and in so doing
brought the Philippines into compliance with international standards.
My staff and similar Washington-based interagency teams, joining our
country teams overseas, are helping many other front-line states in
this and other ways.
Our embassies and consulates also provide critical information on
terrorist organizations. Such information serves as the basis for our
imposing legal and administrative sanctions against such
organizations. The Secretary of State currently has designated 36
foreign terrorist organizations. Among other consequences of such
designations, U.S. persons are prohibited from knowingly providing any
designated organization with financial and other forms of material
support. We have also designated more than 250 terrorist individuals
and entities under Executive Order 13324 on terrorist financing and
under applicable UN Security Council Resolutions. This has resulted in
the worldwide seizure of more than $120 million.
U.S. embassies and consulates also are working with us to train and
equip frontline states to fight terrorists within and around their
borders. Our Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program is providing
training to 56 countries through 180 courses during FY 2003 and hopes
to step up its training efforts in FY 2004. We are working with 37
countries through our Terrorist Interdiction Program (TIP) to
evaluate, establish and improve border-monitoring capabilities.
These and other programs are described in further detail in the
written statement accompanying this testimony.
To diminish the underlying conditions that terrorists exploit, we are
coordinating our assistance programs to dovetail them with our
counterterrorism interests. Our public affairs programs actively
disseminate information overseas that accurately portrays our policies
and promotes our democratic values. Our embassies play a vital role in
this respect as well, advising us on our international assistance
programs and actively fostering greater understanding of the United
States through a wide spectrum of public affairs and exchange
While these are successes, you have also asked me to comment on the
obstacles we face and ways in which they have been or can be overcome.
Quite frankly, one of the biggest challenges is connecting the
resources to our operational and program needs in a timely and
effective manner. While we are deeply grateful for the support that
the Congress has provided to our counterterrorism programs, delays in
the enactment of appropriations have repercussions on our operations.
I would defer to the Department's budget specialists on proposing a
solution. However, clearly, there are difficulties that arise from
having only a half-year to utilize funds that were originally intended
to be expended over a full year period.
The Administration is also reviewing the requirement in current law
regarding designations of terrorist organizations and individuals
every two years. The designation of a Foreign Terrorist Organization
(FTO) expires after 2 years unless renewed. This year, 29 groups are
up for redesignation, taking valuable staff resources away from other
pressing counterterrorism work. We therefore are preparing draft
legislation to amend the FTO statute and make it less administratively
Overseas, we face a number of obstacles. We have scored some notable
recent successes, including the March 1 arrest by Pakistani
authorities of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a ranking al-Qaida leader,
through close cooperation and coordination with Pakistani authorities.
However, al-Qaida and other terrorist groups continue to pose a grave
threat to the United States and our allies. Your continued support for
our capacity-building programs will help. While the dividends of such
investment may not be immediately apparent, we must think of our
global war on terrorism as a long-term fight that may take years or,
indeed, decades as was the case with the Cold War.
Research & Development
We must also continue our counterterrorism R&D efforts. On this, I'd
like to especially mention the work of the interagency Technical
Support Working Group (TSWG), led by my office, that is developing new
technologies to protect us against terrorist attacks. I am holding up
two TSWG products of direct relevance to this Congress. The Quick
2000" mask is the one distributed to Members and staff. The TSWG
guided its development. Another product of this R&D group is a
specially designed card that will alert the wearer to the presence of
Mr. Chairman, let me conclude by saying that the key to fighting
terrorism is sustained effort. That can be achieved only through
sustained resources. It is not just al-Qaida that threatens our
citizens and interests but other terrorist organizations and their
supporters, including state sponsors of terrorism. To defeat this
threat requires our full attention both here in Washington and abroad.
To win, your continued support to our embassies and the interagency
community involved in fighting terrorism is vital.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify and I would be glad to answer
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