"Most Wanted" Terrorists
Washington, D. C.
October 10, 2001
11:02 A.M. EDT
Well, thank you very much for that warm welcome. I'm pleased to be back at the
FBI to unveil a new line of attack on our war against terrorism: the Most Wanted
Terrorists try to operate in the shadows. They try to hide. But we're going
to shine the light of justice on them. We list their names, we publicize their
pictures, we rob them of their secrecy. Terrorism has a face, and today we expose
it for the world to see.
Mr. General, thank you very much for your leadership, your strong resolve, the
values you espouse. I want to thank all the Justice Department folks who are
I'm so honored to be up here with the Secretary of State. He's doing a fabulous
job of rallying the world to our cause. And I want to thank the State Department
officials who are here today, as well.
And, of course, Director Mueller, I want to thank you and the fine men and women
of the FBI for your diligent efforts to disrupt and find anybody who tries to
I also want to introduce Tom Ridge, the Director of the Office of Homeland Security.
Thank you for being here, Governor; as well as General Wayne Downing, the Deputy
National Security Advisor for Combatting Terrorism. Thank you all for coming.
The men on the wall here have put themselves on the list because of great acts
of evil. They plan, promote and commit murder. They fill the minds of others
with hate and lies. And by their cruelty and violence, they betray whatever
faith they espouse.
These 22 individuals do not account for all the terrorist activity in the world,
but they're among the most dangerous: the leaders and key supporters, the planners
and strategists. They must be found; they will be stopped; and they will be
This effort is part of a worldwide assault on terror. All our allies and friends
will now be familiar with these evildoers and their associates. For those who
join our coalition, we expect results. And a good place to start -- help us
bring these folks to justice.
Eventually, no corner of the world will be dark enough to hide in. I want to
thank all the State Department employees for helping to build an unprecedented
-- I mean unprecedented -- coalition to stand with us for freedom. I want to
thank the American people for understanding that we are engaged in a new war,
a war that will require a new way of thinking.
There is a fascination about the conventional aspects of the military operations
that are taking place now, and I can understand that. But the American people
must understand that we're making great progress in other fronts: that we're
halting their money, that we've got allies around the world helping us close
the net. And today, by shining the spotlight on the first 22, it's going to
make it more likely they will be brought to justice.
I say "the first 22" because our war is not just against 22 individuals.
Our war is against networks and groups, people who coddle them, people who try
to hide them, people who fund them. This is our calling. This is the calling
of the United States of America, the most free nation in the world. A nation
built on fundamental values that rejects hate, rejects violence, rejects murderers,
rejects evil. And we will not tire. We will not relent. It is not only important
for the homeland security of America that we succeed, it is equally as important
for generations of Americans who have yet be born.
Now is the time to draw the line in the sand against the evil ones. And this
government is committed to doing just that.
I also want to remind my fellow Americans as we round up the evildoers, as we
look for those who might harm our fellow Americans, we must remember not to
violate the rights of the innocent.
Our war is not against a religion. Our war is against evil. There are thousands
of Muslim Americans who love America just as much as I do. And we will respect
their rights. We will not let the terrorists cause decay of the fundamental
rights that make our nation unique. As a matter of fact, what they'll find out
is that our nation has responded in a way they never envisioned. We're united.
People of all faiths, all religions, all areas of our country are united in
the common effort to stamp out evil where we find it. It is the right thing
to do. It is the right course of action for our nation and the world, and I
want to thank you all for helping.
It is now my honor to bring the Director of the FBI to the podium. (Applause.)