General John Ashcroft
Releases Hijackers' Photos
Comments on Legislation Needed to Fight Terrorism
September 27, 2001
Today we are releasing the photos of nineteen hijackers of the planes that crashed
into the World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania.
This is another step in what in effect is a national neighborhood watch. We
have been receiving tens of thousands of tips from individuals across the country.
In fact, this week the combined total of tips from the public over the internet
and through our 1-800 hotline surpassed 100,000.
It is our hope that the release of these photos will prompt others who may have
seen the hijackers to contact the FBI with any information they may have that
would be helpful to the investigation.
I am also able to announce today that the Administration has sent to Congress
a another critically important piece of legislation to aid in the financial
front that was developed before September 11.
This legislation covers money laundering in a broad sense, but will also help
us address the funds that may be flowing to and from terrorist organizations.
The Money Laundering Act of 2001, like the other legislative changes we have
asked Congress to enact, contains careful, considered provisions that will give
law enforcement the additional tools it needs to identify, track down and neutralize
international terrorist groups.
- For example, the ability for terrorist organizations to finance the atrocities
they commit in this country with money generated by crimes committed in other
countries is critical to their success.
This legislation would make it a crime to launder the proceeds of foreign crimes
in the U. S.
- One of the financing mechanisms used by terrorists is the smuggling of large
amounts of cash into the country and the transportation of this cash throughout
the United States.
We would make it a crime to smuggle more than $10,000 in currency into or out
of the country, or to transport more than $10,000 in interstate commerce with
the intent to use the money to commit a criminal offense.
- We are also asking for Congress to permit federal courts to restrain the assets
of a criminal defendant such as a terrorist pending trial in order to prevent
the transfer of his or her assets to others in the terrorist network.
Current law allows post-conviction forfeiture judgements.
We believe it makes sense to allow the freezing of such assets earlier, before
a terrorist has the opportunity to protect his assets by transferring them to
These and other provisions in the legislation we have sent to Congress will
aid law enforcement on the financial front of the war against terrorism launched
by the President earlier this week.
These same proposals were introduced in the House of Representatives in the
last two congresses, and were passed by the House Subcommittee on Crime with
enormous bipartisan support.
Some of these proposals are also part of a bill already introduced by Senators
Levin and Grassley. Now, this contribution to our ability to choke off the money
supply to terrorist organizations is more needed than ever.
I urge Congress to move quickly to enact these critical changes to the law.