22 March 2003
Black Highlights Diplomacy's Role in Defeating Terrorism
(Training programs are critical, says counterterrorism chief) (1930)
The United States is conducting a broad range of diplomatic
initiatives and training activities with other nations in the global
war against terrorism, according to Ambassador J. Cofer Black, the
State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism.
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 18,
2003, Black said that through diplomacy, "We build capacity that
bolsters the capabilities of our allies. Diplomacy helps us take the
war to the terrorists, to cut off the resources they need and depend
upon to survive."
Black noted, for example, the efforts of U.S. embassies and officials
to assist nations in evaluating their national financial systems,
identifying vulnerable areas, and then developing financial-training
programs to cut off funding to terrorist organizations.
Through the information provided by U.S. embassies and consulates,
Black said, the United States can decide whether to designate certain
groups as foreign terrorist organizations, and then impose legal and
administrative sanctions. Under U.S. Executive Order 13324 and
applicable U.N. Security Council Resolutions, according to Black, the
Secretary of State currently has designated 36 such foreign terrorist
organizations as well as 250 other individuals and entities linked to
"Our Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program is providing training to
56 countries through 180 courses," Black said. "We are working with 37
countries through our Terrorist Interdiction Program (TIP) to
evaluate, establish and improve border-monitoring capabilities."
The key to fighting terrorism is sustained effort, Black said at the
conclusion of his remarks.
Following is the transcript of the testimony of Ambassador J. Cofer
Black, U.S. Coordinator for Counterterrorism, before the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee on March 18, 2003:
Diplomacy and the War Against Terrorism
Ambassador J. Cofer Black
Coordinator for Counterterrorism
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
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. Through diplomatic exchanges we
promote counterterrorism cooperation with friendly nations that serves
our mutual interests. We build capacity that bolsters the capabilities
of our allies. Diplomacy helps us take the war to the terrorists, to
cut off the resources they need and depend upon to survive.
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. The Departments of
Justice, Treasury, Homeland Security, Defense, CIA and 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 ambassadors and the staff members
of our embassies and consulates, drawn not just from State but also
from other federal agencies, are serving us well. Over my career in
international affairs and now 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
Our embassies are our direct conduits to the governments of other
nations. They facilitate our efforts to disrupt terrorist networks and
to apprehend terrorist individuals. The ambassador, his or her deputy,
and other members of the country team, including representatives from
other agencies, are all instrumental in developing and maintaining
good working relations with the host country and pursuing our
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 to
evaluate their financial systems, identify vulnerabilities, and
develop counterterrorism finance training programs.
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. Working with the Departments of Treasury and Justice, and
with other countries, the State Department has also designated more
than 250 individuals and entities linked to terrorism under Executive
Order 13324 and under applicable UN Security Council Resolutions,
resulting 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 an
accompanying written statement to this testimony.
To diminish the underlying conditions that terrorists exploit, we are
coordinating our assistance programs to dovetail them with our
counterterrorism interests. My staff recently met with U.S. Agency for
International Development (USAID) officials to discuss ways to deepen
this coordination. Our public affairs programs actively disseminate
information overseas that accurately portrays our policies and
promotes our democratic values. Our embassies play a vital role here
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 programs.
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 for programs that were
originally intended to expend such funding 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. Under a law first enacted in 1996, the designation of
a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) expires after two years unless
renewed, even if there is little or no change in the activities of
these designated groups. This year, 29 groups are up for
redesignation. The task of drafting new administrative records every
two years to support a determination to redesignate FTOs is labor
intensive and unnecessary in most cases. Resources needed for
redesignations could be better used for other important
counterterrorism duties, including monitoring and designating new
groups as appropriate. We are preparing draft legislation to amend the
FTO statute and make it less administratively onerous.
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 networks continue to pose a
grave threat to the United States and our allies. There are no easy
solutions. In addition to our ongoing real-time operations, we must
continue to provide front-line countries the training and assistance
needed to support their counterterrorism efforts. 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 and 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 [of Congress] 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 radioactive materials.
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.
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)