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3/16/03 - ASHCROFT ON TERROR WAR - 2003-03-18

The United States and its allies are winning the war against global terrorism. In the words of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, "We are gathering and cultivating detailed intelligence on terrorism in the U.S. We are arresting and detaining potential terrorist threats. We are dismantling the terrorist financial network. We are disrupting potential terrorist travel. And we are building our long-term counter-terrorism capacity."

The U.S. is leading the war on terrorism by coordinating worldwide law enforcement and intelligence efforts. Since the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on America, thousands of suspected terrorists have been identified, tracked, and arrested around the world. Terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and elsewhere have been destroyed. Terrorist cells in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia have been broken up. The U.S. has helped train anti-terrorist forces in the Philippines, Yemen, Georgia, and other nations.

U.S. authorities have arrested alleged members of terrorist cells in Buffalo, Detroit, Seattle, and Portland. More than one-thousand-two-hundred people have been arrested at U.S. airports for document fraud and other crimes. Nine major human smuggling networks have been disrupted.

The recent capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed by Pakistani authorities is a severe blow that could destabilize al-Qaida. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is the al-Qaida mastermind of the September 11th attacks and Osama bin Laden's senior terrorist attack planner. Intelligence agencies are moving rapidly to share information discovered during the arrest and coordinate follow-up operations against the terrorist networks.

How are the terrorists reacting to these successes? Jeffrey Battle is alleged to be a member of a terrorist cell in Portland, Oregon. In a conversation with an F-B-I informant recorded last May and recently unsealed in court, Battle explained that his enterprise was not as organized as it should have been "because," he said, "we don't have support. Everybody's scared to give up any money to help us. . . . Everybody's scared." As the world's civilized nations close in on them, that is the way the world's terrorists should feel. Scared.