Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice
Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge
Dwight Eiserhower Executive Office Building
October 9, 2001
1:36 P.M. EDT
DR. RICE: Good afternoon. September 11th was one of those rare dates that forever
divides history into distinct categories of before and after. Everyone will
remember what he or she was doing on September 11th.
It was a day when the dark and impossible became a horrific reality for our
country and for the world. We commonly hear the refrain that everything changed
on September 11th. In many ways, that is true. And one of the things that has
changed is how we are going to organize the United States government to defend
against, and ultimately defeat, the threat of terrorism, how we are going to
organize to win the war on terrorism about which the President has talked for
the last several days.
Yesterday, as you know, the President signed an executive order establishing
the Office of Homeland Security and the Homeland Security Council. This organization
will coordinate federal, state and local efforts to strengthen protections against
terrorist attacks here in the United States.
But something that did not change on September 11th is the fact that we need
America's very best people to be a part of an effort of this magnitude. And
that is why, as the President said yesterday, he chose a good man for this most
We're all so pleased that Tom Ridge has agreed to head the Office of Homeland
Security. Tom is, of course, a public servant of extraordinary ability and experience,
and America is very fortunate that he has answered the call to duty.
Tom and I will work very closely together to ensure that America's security
is truly seamless. We will make sure that what we are doing abroad to protect
and defend American national security is closely coordinated and matched with
what we are doing to protect the security of Americans at home.
Today, it is an honor for both Tom Ridge and me to announce the creation of
two additional posts, stemming from this reorganization of the government. And,
to tell you that there are two outstanding public servants who have agreed to
fill those posts.
Dick Clarke will be the President's Special Advisor for Cyber security, and
General Wayne Downing will serve as the National Director and Deputy National
Security Advisor for Combatting Terrorism.
Both these individuals will report to both Tom Ridge and to me. And we are pleased
and gratified that both have agreed to serve. The American people and our press
around the world have a difficult task ahead of us. We know that with the perseverance
of America, with the leadership of the President, with the leadership of members
of Congress -- and I want to recognize, I believe, Senator Bennett is here,
who has been a real leader in this area -- we believe that we will be able to
persevere, and we will be able to succeed in this war on terrorism.
I would now like to introduce the President's Homeland Security Advisor, Tom
Ridge, who will tell you a little bit more about the two individuals who have
joined us here on the stage. Thank you very much. Tom?
DIRECTOR RIDGE: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Condi, it's a great pleasure
to join with you and the extraordinary team that the President has assembled
in this effort. And I look forward to working with you to ensure that our defenses
against terrorism are both strong and seamless.
The tragic events of September 11th proved just how critical it is that America
have a coordinated and comprehensive national strategy to protect against terrorist
threats and attacks. Our efforts with the Office of Homeland Security will be
an important part of that strategy.
But I'm here to say only one part of that strategy. Today the President is putting
in place two additional elements that are just as important. First, the administration
is extremely pleased that Dick Clarke has agreed to serve as Special Advisor
to the President for Cyber Security. This position and its mission is vitally
Information technology pervades all aspects of our daily lives, of our national
lives. Its presence is felt almost every moment of every day, by every American.
It pervades everything from a shipment of goods, to communications, to emergency
services, and the delivery of water and electricity to our homes. All of these
aspects of our life depend on a complex network of critical infrastructure information
systems. Protecting this infrastructure is critically important.
Disrupt it, destroy it or shut it down these information networks, and you shut
down America as we know it and as we live it and as we experience it every day.
We need to prevent disruptions; and when they occur, we need to make sure they
are infrequent, short and manageable. This is an enormously difficult challenge.
It is a technical challenge, because we must always remain one step ahead of
It's a legal challenge, because this effort raises cutting-edge questions of
both privacy and civil liberties. It's a political challenge, because the government
must act in partnership with the private sector, since most of the assets that
are involved in this effort are owned by the private sector, which owns and
operates the vast majority of America's critical infrastructure.
Dick Clarke is the right man for the job. He is one of our nation's leading
experts on cyber security, appointed as the first national coordinator for security,
infrastructure protection and counter-terrorism in May of 1998. In his long
career of government service, he has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of
State for Intelligence under President Reagan, and as Assistant Secretary of
State for Political Military Affairs under President George Herbert Walker Bush.
In his new role, he will be the President's principal advisor on all matters
related to cyber security. He will serve as chairman of a government-wide board
that will coordinate the protection of critical infrastructure systems. The
President is expected to sign an executive order, establishing the board shortly.
You know Dr. Rice and I are anxious to be working with him in our capacities
The second action the administration is announcing today is the appointment
of General Wayne Downing to be our National Director for Combatting Terrorism.
And here again, Dr. Rice and I look forward to this day-to-day working relationship.
The President has made it clear from the outset that our campaign against terrorism
will be fought across a very broad front. There is a diplomatic component, a
law enforcement component, an intelligence component, a financial component
and a military component as well. All of these facets, all of them, have to
operate together in a very tightly coordinated fashion. It will require close
coordination among many, many government agencies.
And ensuring this coordination is challenging, it's important, and it certainly
is a full-time job. And again, I'm confident we have the right person for that
job. Wayne Downing spent 34 years wearing the uniform of the United States Army.
When he retired as General in 1996, he had served in everything from the infantry
to armored units, spent nine years serving in Europe in Asia. Perhaps most importantly,
his last assignment was the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Special
Following his career in the Army, he was appointed by the Secretary of Defense
to assess the 1996 terrorist attack on the U.S. base at the Khobar Towers in
Saudi Arabia, and to make recommendations on how to protect Americans in U.S.
facilities world wide from terrorist attacks. Most recently, he served on the
national commission on terrorism which was mandated by Congress.
In short, General Wayne Downing is a leader who understands terrorism, he understands
how terrorist organizations operate, and he understands what it takes to defeat
them. He will be the President's principal advisor on combatting global terrorism.
The President is glad, we're very glad and America is truly glad that General
Downing has once again answered the call of duty to his country.
Now I would like to invite both Dick and Wayne to make a few remarks. Dick?
MR. CLARKE: Thank you, Governor. Governor Ridge, Dr. Rice, Senator Bennett and
friends, thank you all for coming. What's happening here today is an important
step in making America secure for the future. Even as our heroic men and women
fight today, on the other side of the world, and as our law enforcement personnel
and the personnel of so many government agencies are working all across the
country to make this country secure from terrorism.
We also have to look ahead, and that is why I'm so delighted that the President
has asked me to worry about the war next time, the future security of the United
States through cyberspace. Our economy, our national defense, increasingly our
very way of life, depends upon the operation, secure and safe operation of critical
infrastructures, that in turn depend on cyberspace.
America has built cyberspace, and America must now defend its cyberspace. But
it can only do that in partnership with industry. As the Governor said, private
sector companies own and operate most of our critical infrastructure cyberspace
systems. So we have been working closely with industry. I'm glad to see representatives
of industry here today. We'll be working even more with them in the future,
to secure our cyberspace from a range of possible threats, from hackers to criminals
to terrorist groups, to foreign nations, which might use cyber war against us
in the future.
I look forward to working with the Congress, as we have been. I look forward
to working particularly with Senator Bennett, and so many of the leaders of
the government here on the cyberspace security issue. I want to thank you all,
from so many departments, for coming.
And now, it gives me pleasure to turn the podium over to a true American hero,
who I've had the pleasure of knowing for 28 years, Wayne Downing.
GENERAL DOWNING: Senator Bennett, Governor Ridge, Dr. Rice, Dick Clarke, ladies
and gentlemen, friends, it's an honor for me to be asked back into this fray.
I live in Colorado now. I was happily retired, out there trying to improve my
trout fishing, and really resisted all efforts to get me to come back in the
government. And last summer, when I was asked to come in and look at a certain
position, I said, I'll never come back to the government unless there is a national
emergency. And that got played back to me about two-and-a-half, three weeks
Because it is a national emergency, and I'm honored to be joining in this fight,
in this war -- this war that our President has said is his number one priority
-- against combatting global terrorism and the threat that it represents not
only to this nation, but to our friends and our allies around the world.
I look forward to joining with my colleagues in the United States government
and our friends and our allies overseas as we wage campaigns to fight global
terrorism. And let's not make any bones about it: this is going to be an extremely
difficult job. It's a tough foe, it's a determined foe. And as events have shown
us, it's a very, very smart foe and a crafty foe.
So it's going to be a long fight and it's going to be a tough fight. And the
challenge that we have is to bring the great elements of power of this great
country of ours to bear on this. I certainly look forward to helping doing exactly
We intend to exert unrelenting pressure on global terrorism and on the nations
and the groups that support global terrorism wherever we can find them, 24 hours
a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year; we intend to give these people and
those who support them no place to hide -- no place to hide. It's going to be
a tough fight, but we will prevail.