REUTERS [ WEDNESDAY, JULY 17, 2002 12:55:13 PM ]
WASHINGTON: US President George W Bush said he is mobilising Federal, State and local governments for a total war against terrorism and will help foreign nations in their fight against the menace.
"Our counter terrorism efforts also include the investigation and prosecution of foreign and domestic terrorists unrelated to the September 11 attacks, as well as the pursuit of individuals who provide logistical support to terrorists," Bush said presenting the National Strategy for Homeland Defence to Congress on Tuesday.
"Law enforcement agencies are pursuing a more aggressive peventive strategy by investigating and dismantling criminal rings throughout the country that sell false driver's licencs, certifications for the transportation of hazardous materials, passports and visas."
Describing the war on terrorism as a global effort, Bush said: "Our country must continue to work cooperatively with nations around the world. To that end the Departments of State and Justice should work with Congress to amend current extradition laws in two respects."
"First, new legislation should be adopted that would authorise extradition for additional crimes where the US already has an extradition treaty, but where the treaty applies only to a limited set of crimes."
"Second, Congress should grant authority to extradite individuals from the US for serious crimes in the absence of an extradition treaty, on a case-by-case basis with the approval of the Atorney General and the Secretary of State."
The US, Bush said, would continue to work with the UN, G-8 and other regional and global organisations to wipe out terrorism from the world.
The US would increase international cooperation on scientific and technological research designed to help prevent, protect and respond to terrorist threats and attacks, he said.
The US Government, the report notes, provides other countries with specialised training and assistance including military to help build their capacities to combat terrorism.
Citing serious differences in the minimum standards of issuing driving licences across US, Bush said: "Terrorist organisations, including al-Qaeda operatives involved in the Sept 11 attacks, have exploited these differences. Therefore, there should be suggested minimum standards for driver's licences in all states, recognising that many States should and will exceed these standards."
On bilateral basis, the report said, the US will negotiate Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) based on US law enforcement priorities to enable American agencies to obtain information from abroad in connection with the investigation, prosecution and prevention of terrorism.
"Terrorism," says the report, "depends on surprise. With it, a terrorist attack has the potential to do massive damage to an unwitting and unprepared target. The US will take every necessary action to avoid being surprised by another terrorist attack."
Stating that US has learned a terrible lesson from the September 11 attacks, the report said, "The US must have an intelligence and warning system that can detect terrorist activity before it manifests itself in an attack so that the proper pre-emptive, prventive and protection action can be taken.
"Yet the threat to America is not limited to al-Qaeda or to suicide hijackings of commercial aircraft. The threat is much broader, as the US learned on October 4, 2001, when it discovered that a life-threatening biologicalagent --anthrax -- was being distributed through US mail."
"Today the terrorists can strike at any place, at any time, and with virtually any weapon. Securing the American homeland is a monumental challenge. But the US government has no more important mission."
"We remain a Nation at war," says the report grimly. "Even as we experience success in the war on terrorism, the antipathy of our enemies may well be increasing, and new enemies may emerge. The United States will confront the threat of terrorism for the foreseable future."
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