CIA Chief Says Al-Qa'ida Remains Significant Threat to U.S.
Usama bin Ladin has gone deep underground, Tenet
CIA Director George Tenet says that the international terrorist
group al-Qa'ida has been seriously damaged since the suicide terrorist
attacks against the United States September 11, 2001, but the group
remains committed to further attacks on the United States homeland.
"But as we continue the battle against al-Qa'ida, we must overcome
a movement -- a global movement infected by al-Qa'ida's radical
agenda," Tenet said in testimony before the Senate Select Intelligence
Committee in Washington February 24. "In this battle we are moving
forward in our knowledge of the enemy -- his plans, capabilities,
and intentions. And what we've learned continues to validate my
deepest concern: that this enemy remains intent on obtaining, and
using, catastrophic weapons."
The Senate Intelligence Committee was conducting the public phase
of a two-part annual hearing to receive information about potential
world threats to U.S. national security. Also testifying were FBI
Director Robert Mueller and Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, director
of the Defense Intelligence Agency. The committee is also planning
further hearings into the performance of the intelligence agencies'
pre-war estimates that weapons of mass destruction would be found
Tenet said that al-Qa'ida's leadership has been killed or captured
in every significant operational area, and key pillars of its organization
have been eroded. He said al-Qa'ida continues to lose operational
safe havens and Usama bin Ladin "has gone deep underground. We
are hunting him in some of the most unfriendly regions on earth."
The United States, its allies and coalition partners have made
significant strides in the global war on terrorism, Tenet said.
"But do not misunderstand me. I am not suggesting al-Qa'ida is
defeated. It is not. We are still at war," he said.
Essentially, Tenet said, al-Qa'ida today has been transformed
into an organization that is a loose collection of regional networks
that operate autonomously, but they are not without effectiveness
in carrying out terrorist attacks.
He added that "the steady growth of Usama bin Ladin's anti-U.S.
sentiment through the wider Sunni extremist movement and the broad
dissemination of al-Qa'ida's destructive expertise ensure that
a serious threat will remain for the foreseeable future -- with
or without al-Qa'ida in the picture."
He also said that regarding aircraft plots alone, U.S. intelligence
has uncovered new plans to recruit pilots and to evade new security
measures in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
"Even catastrophic attacks on the scale of 11 September remain
within al-Qa'ida's reach," he said. "Make no mistake: these plots
are hatched abroad, but they target U.S. soil or that of our allies."
Tenet also said the intelligence community is monitoring threats
from other regions of the world and from other types of threats:
-- Terrorist groups in Latin America and in Europe have increasingly
shown willingness to attack U.S. citizens and interests.
-- Cyber terrorists along with criminals and foreign governments
continue to attempt to obtain information from U.S. computer networks.
-- While strides have been made against the insurgency and terrorism
in Iraq, former regime elements and foreign jihadists continue
to pose a serious threat to Iraq's new institutions and to coalition
-- The Iraqi Survey Group continues to hunt for weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq.
-- Nations of proliferation concern have begun choosing different
paths as they calculate the risks versus gains of pursuing weapons
of mass destruction. Specifically, Libya is taking steps toward
strategic disarmament; North Korea is trying to leverage its nuclear
program in continuing negotiations; and Iran is exposing some of
its programs while trying to preserve others.
-- China continues an aggressive missile modernization program
that will improve its ability to conduct a wide range of military
options against Taiwan, supported by both cruise and ballistic
Tenet said other transnational issues facing the United States
that will become factors impacting national security include: population
trends, infectious diseases, humanitarian needs, food insecurity,
and the continued threat of the global narcotics industry.
Following is the text of Tenet's remarks, as prepared:
The Worldwide Threat 2004: Challenges in a Changing Global Context
Testimony of Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet
Before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
24 February 2004
(As Prepared for Delivery)
Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice Chairman, Members of the
Mr. Chairman, last year I described a national security environment
that was significantly more complex than at any time during my
tenure as Director of Central Intelligence. The world I will discuss
today is equally, if not more, complicated and fraught with dangers
for United States interests, but one that also holds great opportunity
for positive change.
I'll begin today on terrorism, with a stark bottom line:
The al-Qa'ida leadership structure we charted after September
11 is seriously damaged -- but the group remains as committed as
ever to attacking the U.S. homeland.
But as we continue the battle against al-Qa`ida, we must overcome
a movement -- a global movement infected by al-Qa`ida's radical
agenda. In this battle we are moving forward in our knowledge of
the enemy -- his plans, capabilities, and intentions.
And what we've learned continues to validate my deepest concern:
that this enemy remains intent on obtaining, and using, catastrophic
Now let me tell you about the war we've waged against the al-Qa'ida
organization and its leadership.
Military and intelligence operations by the United States and
its allies overseas have degraded the group. Local al-Qa'ida cells
are forced to make their own decisions because of disarray in the
Al-Qa'ida depends on leaders who not only direct terrorist attacks
but who carry out the day-to-day tasks that support operations.
Over the past 18 months, we have killed or captured key al-Qa'ida
leaders in every significant operational area -- logistics, planning,
finance, training -- and have eroded the key pillars of the organization,
such as the leadership in Pakistani urban areas and operational
cells in the al-Qa'ida heartland of Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
The list of al-Qa'ida leaders and associates who will never again
threaten the American people includes:
-- Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, al-Qa`ida's operations chief and the
mastermind of the September 11 attacks.
-- Nashiri, the senior operational planner for the Arabian Gulf
-- Abu Zubayda, a senior logistics officer and plotter.
-- Hasan Ghul, a senior facilitator who was sent to "case" Iraq
for an expanded al-Qa'ida presence there.
-- Harithi and al-Makki, the most senior plotters in Yemen, who
were involved in the bombing of the USS Cole.
-- Hambali, the senior operational planner in Southeast Asia.
We are creating large and growing gaps in the al-Qa'ida hierarchy.
And, unquestionably, bringing these key operators to ground disrupted
plots that would otherwise have killed Americans.
Meanwhile, al-Qa'ida central continues to lose operational safe
havens, and Bin Ladin has gone deep underground. We are hunting
him in some of the most unfriendly regions on earth. We follow
Al-Qa'ida's finances are also being squeezed. This is due in part
to takedowns of key moneymen in the past year, particularly the
Gulf, Southwest Asia, and even Iraq.
And we are receiving a broad array of help from our coalition
partners, who have been central to our effort against al-Qa'ida.
Since the 12 May bombings, the Saudi government has shown an important
commitment to fighting al-Qa'ida in the Kingdom, and Saudi officers
have paid with their lives.
Elsewhere in the Arab world, we're receiving valuable cooperation
from Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, the UAE [United Arab Emirates],
Oman, and many others.
President Musharraf of Pakistan remains a courageous and indispensable
ally who has become the target of assassins for the help he's given
Partners in Southeast Asian have been instrumental in the roundup
of key regional associates of al-Qa'ida.
Our European partners worked closely together to unravel and disrupt
a continent-wide network of terrorists planning chemical, biological
and conventional attacks in Europe.
So we have made notable strides. But do not misunderstand me.
I am not suggesting al-Qa'ida is defeated. It is not. We are still
at war. This is a learning organization that remains committed
to attacking the United States, its friends and allies.
Successive blows to al-Qa'ida's central leadership have transformed
the organization into a loose collection of regional networks that
operate more autonomously. These regional components have demonstrated
their operational prowess in the past year.
The sites of their attacks span the entire reach of al-Qa'ida
-- Morocco, Kenya, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Afghanistan,
And al-Qa'ida seeks to influence the regional networks with operational
training, consultations, and money. Khalid Shaykh Muhammad sent
Hambali $50,000 for operations in Southeast Asia.
You should not take the fact that these attacks occurred abroad
to mean the threat to the U.S. homeland has waned. As al-Qa'ida
and associated groups undertook these attacks overseas, detainees
consistently talk about the importance the group still attaches
to striking the main enemy: the United States. Across the operational
spectrum -- air, maritime, special weapons -- we have time and
again uncovered plots that are chilling.
On aircraft plots alone, we have uncovered new plans to recruit
pilots and to evade new security measures in Southeast Asia, the
Middle East, and Europe.
Even catastrophic attacks on the scale of 11 September remain
within al-Qa'ida's reach. Make no mistake: these plots are hatched
abroad, but they target U.S. soil or that of our allies.
So far, I have been talking only about al-Qa'ida. But al-Qa'ida
is not the limit of terrorist threat worldwide. Al-Qa'ida has infected
others with its ideology, which depicts the United States as Islam's
greatest foe. Mr. Chairman, what I want to say to you now may be
the most important thing I tell you today.
The steady growth of Usama bin Ladin's anti-U.S. sentiment through
the wider Sunni extremist movement and the broad dissemination
of al-Qa'ida's destructive expertise ensure that a serious threat
will remain for the foreseeable future -- with or without al-Qa'ida
in the picture.
A decade ago, bin Ladin had a vision of rousing Islamic terrorists
worldwide to attack the United States. He created al-Qa'ida to
indoctrinate a worldwide movement in global jihad, with America
as the enemy -- an enemy to be attacked with every means at hand.
In the minds of Bin Ladin and his cohorts, September 11 was the
shining moment, their "shot heard 'round the world," and they want
to capitalize on it.
And so, even as al-Qa'ida reels from our blows, other extremist
groups within the movement it influenced have become the next wave
of the terrorist threat. Dozens of such groups exist. Let me offer
a few thoughts on how to understand this challenge.
One of the most immediate threats is from smaller international
Sunni extremist groups who have benefited from al-Qa'ida links.
They include groups as diverse as the al-Zarqawi network, the Ansar
al-Islam in Iraq, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and the Islamic
Movement of Uzbekistan.
A second level of threat comes from small local groups, with limited
domestic agendas, that work with international terrorist groups
in their own countries. These include the Salifiya Jihadia, a Moroccan
network that carried out the May 2003 Casablanca bombings, and
similar groups throughout Africa and Asia.
These far-flung groups increasingly set the agenda, and are redefining
the threat we face. They are not all creatures of bin Ladin, and
so their fate is not tied to his. They have autonomous leadership,
they pick their own targets, they plan their own attacks.
Beyond these groups are the so-called "foreign jihadists" -- individuals
ready to fight anywhere they believe Muslim lands are under attack
by what they see as "infidel invaders." They draw on broad support
networks, have wide appeal, and enjoy a growing sense of support
from Muslims [who] are not necessarily supporters of terrorism.
The foreign jihadists see Iraq as a golden opportunity.
Let me repeat: for the growing number of jihadists interested
in attacking the United States, a spectacular attack on the U.S.
Homeland is the "brass ring" that many strive for -- with or without
encouragement by al-Qa'ida's central leadership.
To detect and ultimately defeat these forces, we will continually
need to watch hotspots, present or potential battlegrounds, places
where these terrorist networks converge. Iraq is of course one
major locus of concern. Southeast Asia is another. But so are the
backyards of our closest allies. Even Western Europe is an area
where terrorists recruit, train, and target.
To get the global job done, foreign governments will need to improve
bilateral and multilateral, and even inter-service cooperation,
and strengthen domestic counterterrorist legislation and security
Mr. Chairman, I have consistently warned this committee of al-Qa'ida's
interest in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.
Acquiring these remains a "religious obligation" in bin Ladin's
eyes, and al-Qa'ida and more than two dozen other terrorist groups
are pursuing CBRN [chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear]
We particularly see a heightened risk of poison attacks. Contemplated
delivery methods to date have been simple but this may change as
non-Al-Qa'ida groups share information on more sophisticated methods
Over the last year, we've also seen an increase in the threat
of more sophisticated CBRN. For this reason we take very seriously
the threat of a CBRN attack.
Extremists have widely disseminated assembly instructions for
an improvised chemical weapon using common materials that could
cause a large numbers of casualties in a crowded, enclosed area.
Although gaps in our understanding remain, we see al-Qa'ida's
program to produce anthrax as one of the most immediate terrorist
CBRN threats we are likely to face.
Al-Qa'ida continues to pursue its strategic goal of obtaining
a nuclear capability. It remains interested in dirty bombs. Terrorist
documents contain accurate views of how such weapons would be used.
I've focused, and rightly so, on al-Qa'ida and related groups.
But other terrorist organizations also threaten U.S. interests.
Palestinian terrorist groups in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza
remain a formidable threat and continue to use terrorism to undermine
prospects for peace.
Last year Palestinian terrorist groups conducted more than 600
attacks, killing about 200 Israelis and foreigners, including Americans.
Lebanese Hizballah cooperates with these groups and appears to
be increasing its support. It is also working with Iran and surrogate
groups in Iraq and would likely react to an attack against it,
Syria, or Iran with attacks againstU.S. and Israeli targets worldwide.
Iran and Syria continue to support terrorist groups, and their
links into Iraq have become problematic to our efforts there.
Although Islamic extremists comprise the most pressing threat
to U.S. interests, we cannot ignore nominally leftist groups in
Latin America and Europe. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia,
or FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia's second
largest leftist insurgent group, have shown a willingness to attack
U.S. targets. So has the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front
-- a Turkish group that has killed two U.S. citizens and targeted
U.S. interests in Turkey.
Finally, cyber vulnerabilities are another of our concerns, with
not only terrorists but foreign governments, hackers, crime groups,
and industrial spies attempting to obtain information from our
Mr. Chairman, we are making significant strides against the insurgency
and terrorism, but former regime elements and foreign jihadists
continue to pose a serious threat to Iraq's new institutions and
to our own forces.
At the same time, sovereignty will be returned to an interim Iraqi
government by 1 July, although the structure and mechanism for
determining this remain unresolved.
The emerging Iraqi leadership will face many pressing issues,
among them organizing national elections, integrating the Sunni
minority into the political mainstream, managing Kurdish autonomy
in a federal structure, and the determining the role of Islam in
the Iraqi state.
Meanwhile, Mr. Chairman, the important work of the Iraqi Survey
Group and the hunt for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction continues.
We must explore every avenue in our quest to understand Iraq's
programs out of concern for the possibility that materials, weapons,
or expertise might fall into the hands of insurgents, foreign states,
or terrorists. As you know, I'll talk about this at length next
Despite progress in Iraq, the overall security picture continues
to concern me. Saddam is in prison, and the Coalition has killed
or apprehended all but 10 of his 54 key cronies. And Iraqis are
taking an increasing role in their own defense, with many now serving
in the various new police, military, and security forces.
But the violence continues. The daily average number of attacks
on U.S. and Coalition military forces has dropped from its November
peak but is similar to that of August.
And many other insurgent and terrorist attacks undermine stability
by striking at, and seeking to intimidate, those Iraqis willing
to work with the Coalition.
The insurgency we face in Iraq comprises multiple groups with
different motivations but with the same goal: driving the U.S.
and our Coalition partners from Iraq. Saddam's capture was a psychological
blow that took some of the less-committed Ba'athists out of the
fight, but a hard core of former regime elements -- Ba'ath Party
officials, military, intelligence, and security officers -- are
still organizing and carrying out attacks.
Intelligence has given us a good understanding of the insurgency
at the local level, and this information is behind the host of
successful raids you've read about in the papers.
U.S. military and Intelligence Community efforts to round up former
regime figures have disrupted some insurgent plans to carry out
additional anti-Coalition attacks. But we know these Ba'athist
cells are intentionally decentralized to avoid easy penetration
and to prevent the roll-up of whole networks. Arms, funding, and
military experience remain readily available.
Mr. Chairman, the situation as I've described it -- both our victories
and our challenges -- indicates we have damaged, but not yet defeated,
The security situation is further complicated by the involvement
of terrorists -- including Ansar al-Islam (AI) and al-Zarqawi --
and foreign jihadists coming to Iraq to wage jihad. Their goal
is clear. They intend to inspire an Islamic extremist insurgency
that would threaten Coalition forces and put a halt to the long-term
process of building democratic institutions and governance in Iraq.
They hope for a Taliban-like enclave in Iraq's Sunni heartland
that could be a jihadist safe haven.
AI -- an Iraqi Kurdish extremist group -- is waging a terrorist
campaign against the coalition presence and cooperative Iraqis
in a bid to inspire jihad and create an Islamic state.
Some extremists go even further. In a recent letter, terrorist
planner Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi outlined his strategy to foster sectarian
civil war in Iraq, aimed at inciting the Shia.
Stopping the foreign extremists from turning Iraq into their most
important jihad yet rests in part on preventing loosely connected
extremists from coalescing into a cohesive terrorist organization.
We are having some success -- the Coalition has arrested key jihadist
leaders and facilitators in Iraq, including top leaders from Ansar
al-Islam, the al-Zarqawi network, and other al-Qa'ida affiliates.
The October detention of AI's deputy leader set back the group's
ambition to establish itself as an umbrella organization for jihadists
And we're also concerned that foreign jihadists and former regime
elements might coalesce. This would link local knowledge and military
training with jihadist fervor and lethal tactics. At this point,
we've seen a few signs of such cooperation at the tactical or local
Ultimately, the Iraqi people themselves must provide the fundamental
solutions. As you well know, the insurgents are incessantly and
violently targeting Iraqi police and security forces precisely
because they fear the prospect of Iraqis securing their own interests.
Success depends on broadening the role of the local security forces.
This goes well beyond greater numbers. It means continuing work
already under way -- fixing equipment shortages, providing training,
ensuring adequate pay -- to build a force of increasing quality
and confidence that will have the support of the Iraqi people.
It is hard to overestimate the importance of greater security
for Iraqis particularly as we turn to the momentous political events
slated for 2004.
The real test will begin soon after the transfer of sovereignty,
when we'll see the extent to which the new Iraqi leaders embody
concepts such as pluralism, compromise, and rule of law.
Iraqi Arabs -- so many Iraqi Kurds -- possess a strong Iraqi identity,
forged over a tumultuous 80-year history and especially during
the nearly decade-long war with Iran. Unfortunately, Saddam's divide-and-rule
policy and his favored treatment of the Sunni minority aggravated
tensions to the point where the key to governance in Iraq today
is managing these competing sectional interests.
Here's a readout on where these groups stand:
The majority SHIA look forward to the end of Sunni control, which
began with the British creation of Iraq. The Shia community nevertheless
has internal tensions, between the moderate majority and a radical
minority that wants a Shia-dominated theocracy.
The KURDS see many opportunities to advance long-held goals: retaining
the autonomy they enjoyed over the past 12 years and expanding
their power and territory.
The minority SUNNI fear Shia and Kurdish ambitions. Such anxieties
help animate Sunni support for the insurgents. The Sunni community
is still at a very early state of establishing political structures
to replace the defeated Ba'ath party.
I should qualify what I've just said: no society, and surely not
Iraq's complex tapestry, is so simple as to be captured in three
or four categories: Kurds; Shia; Sunni. In reality, Iraqi society
is filled with more cleavages, and more connections, than a simple
typology can suggest. We seldom hear about the strong tribal alliances
that have long existed between Sunni and Shia, or the religious
commonalities between the Sunni Kurd and Arab communities, or the
moderate secularism that spans Iraqi groups.
We tend to identify, and stress, the tensions that rend communities
apart, but opportunities also exist for these group to work together
for common ends.
The social and political interplay is further complicated by Iran,
especially in the south, where Tehran pursues its own interests
and hopes to maximize its influence among Iraqi Shia after 1 July.
Organizations supported by Iran -- Supreme Council for the Islamic
Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and its Badr Organization militia --
have gained positions within the Iraqi police and control media
outlets in Basrah that tout a pro-Iran viewpoint.
Tehran also runs humanitarian and outreach programs that have
probably enhanced its reputation among Iraqi Shia, but many remain
The most immediate political challenge for the Iraqis is to choose
the transitional government that will rule their country while
they write their permanent constitution. The Shia cleric Grand
Ayatollah Muhammad Ali al-Sistani has made this selection process
the centerpiece of his effort to ensure that Iraqis will decide
their own future and choose the first sovereign post-Saddam government.
Sistani favors direct elections as the way to produce a legitimate,
Sistani's religious pronouncements show that, above all, he wants
Iraq to be independent of foreign powers. Moreover, his praise
of free elections and his theology reflect, in our reading, a clear-cut
opposition to theocracy, Iran-style.
Once the issues involving the selection of an transitional government
are settled, Iraq's permanent constitution will begin to take shape.
Here the Iraqi government and the framers of the constitution will
have to address three urgent concerns: integrating the Sunni minority
into the political mainstream, managing Kurdish autonomy in a federal
structure, and determining the role of Islam in the Iraqi state.
The Sunni: Sunnis are at least a fifth of the population, inhabit
the country's strategic heartland, and comprise a sizable share
of Iraq's professional and middle classes. The Sunni are disaffected
as a deposed ruling minority, but some are beginning to recognize
that boycotting the emerging political process will weaken their
community. Their political isolation may be breaking down in parts
of the Sunni triangle, where some Sunni Arabs have begun to engage
the Coalition and assume local leadership roles. And in the past
three months we have also seen the founding of national-level Sunni
umbrella organizations to deal with the Coalition and the Governing
Council on questions like Sunni participation in choosing the transitional
Federalism: The Transitional Administrative Law is just now being
completed, and the way it deals with the relationship between the
political center and Iraq's diverse ethnic and religious communities
will frame the future constitutional debate. To make a federal
arrangement stick, Kurdish and Arab Iraq leaders will need to explain
convincingly that a federal structure benefits all Iraqis and not
just the Kurds. And even so, a host of difficult issues -- control
over oil and security being perhaps the most significant -- may
provoke tension between Kurdish and central Iraqi authorities.
Islam: The current draft of the Transitional Administrative Law
makes Islam Iraq's official creed but protects religious freedom.
It also creates an Iraqi legal system that is a mix of traditions,
including Islamic law -- but as only one legal element among many.
This compromise is already under fire by Sunni Islamists who want
Islam to be the sole source of law.
I don't want to allow the important security and political stories
to crowd out others we should also be telling, including the often
neglected one about Iraq's sizable economic potential. It's true
that rebuilding will go on for years -- the Saddam regime left
in its wake a devastated, antiquated, underfunded infrastructure.
But reconstruction progress and Iraq's own considerable assets
-- its natural resources and its educated populace -- should enable
the Iraqis to see important improvement in 2004 in their infrastructure
and their quality of life.
Over the next few years, they'll open more hospitals and build
more roads than anyone born under Saddam has witnessed.
The recovery of Iraqi oil production will help. Production is
on track to approach 3.0 million barrels per day by the end of
this year. Iraq hasn't produced this much oil since before the
1991 Gulf war. By next year, revenues from oil exports should cover
the cost of basic government operations and contribute several
billion dollars toward reconstruction. It is essential, however,
that the Iraq-Turkey pipeline be reopened and oil facilities be
well protected from insurgent sabotage.
Much more needs to be done. Key public services such as water,
sewage, and transportation will have difficulty reaching pre-war
levels by July and won't meet the higher target of total Iraqi
Electric power capacity approaches pre-war levels but still falls
short of peak demand. Looting and sabotage may make supplies unreliable.
Finally, unemployment and underemployment, which afflicts about
a half of the workforce, will remain a key problem and a potential
breeding ground for popular discontent.
Mr. Chairman, I'll turn now to worldwide trends in proliferation.
This picture is changing before our eyes -- changing at a rate
I have not seen since the end of the Cold War. Some of it is good
news -- I'll talk about the Libya and A.Q. Khan breakthroughs,
for example -- and some of it is disturbing. Some of it shows our
years of work paying off, and some of it shows the work ahead is
We are watching countries of proliferation concern choose different
paths as they calculate the risks versus gains of pursuing WMD.
Libya is taking steps toward strategic disarmament.
North Korea is trying to leverage its nuclear program into at
least a bargaining chip and also international legitimacy and influence.
And Iran is exposing some programs while trying to preserve others.
I'll start with LIBYA, which appears to be moving toward strategic
disarmament. For years Qadhafi had been chafing under international
pariah status. In March 2003, he made a strategic decision and
reached out through British intelligence with an offer to abandon
his pursuit of WMD.
That launched nine months of delicate negotiations where we moved
the Libyans from a stated willingness to renounce WMD to an explicit
and public commitment to expose and dismantle their WMD programs.
The leverage was intelligence. Our picture of Libya's WMD programs
allowed CIA officers and their British colleagues to press the
Libyans on the right questions, to expose inconsistencies, and
to convince them that holding back was counterproductive. We repeatedly
surprised them with the depth of our knowledge.
For example, U.S. and British intelligence officers secretly traveled
to Libya and asked to inspect Libya's ballistic missile programs.
Libyan officials at first failed to declare key facilities, but
our intelligence convinced them to disclose several dozen facilities,
including their deployed Scud B sites and their secret North Korean-assisted
Scud C production line.
When we were tipped to the imminent shipment of centrifuge parts
to Libya in October, we arranged to have the cargo seized, showing
the Libyans that we had penetrated their most sensitive procurement
By the end of the December visit, the Libyans:
-- Admitted having a nuclear weapons program and having bought
uranium hexafluoride feed material for gas centrifuge enrichment.
-- Admitted having nuclear weapon design documents.
-- Acknowledged having made about 25 tons of sulfur mustard CW
[chemical warfare] agent, aerial bombs for the mustard, and small
amounts of nerve agent.
-- Provided access to their deployed Scud B forces and revealed
details of indigenous missile design work and of cooperation with
North Korea on the 800-km range Scuds Cs.
From the very outset of negotiations, Qadhafi requested the participation
of international organizations to help certify Libyan compliance.
Tripoli has agreed to inspections by the IAEA [International Atomic
Energy Agency] and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical
Weapons (OPCW) and to abide by the range limitations of the Missile
Technology Control Regime (MTCR). We have briefed information on
Tripoli's programs to various international monitoring organizations.
IAEA and OPCW officials have already followed up with visits to
Libya. Some discrepancies remain, but we will continue to collect
additional information and closely monitor Libya's adherence to
the commitments it has made.
In contrast to Libya, NORTH KOREA is trying to leverage its nuclear
programs into international legitimacy and bargaining power, announcing
its withdrawal from the Nonproliferation Treaty and openly proclaiming
that it has a nuclear deterrent.
Since December 2002, Pyongyang has announced its withdrawal from
the Nonproliferation Treaty [NPT] and expelled IAEA inspectors.
Last year Pyongyang claimed to have finished reprocessing the 8,000
fuel rods that had been sealed by U.S. and North Korean technicians
and stored under IAEA monitoring since 1994.
The Intelligence Community judged in the mid-1990s that North
Korea had produced one, possibly two, nuclear weapons. The 8,000
rods the North claims to have processed into plutonium metal would
provide enough plutonium for several more.
We also believe Pyongyang is pursuing a production-scale uranium
enrichment program based on technology provided by A.Q. Khan, which
would give North Korea an alternative route to nuclear weapons.
Of course, we are concerned about more than just North Korea's
nuclear program. North Korea has longstanding CW and BW [biological
warfare] capabilities and is enhancing its BW potential as it builds
its legitimate biotechnology infrastructure. Pyongyang is sending
individuals abroad and is seeking dual-use expertise and technology.
North Korea also continues to advance its missile programs. North
Korea is nearly self-sufficient in ballistic missiles, and has
continued procurement of raw materials and components for its extensive
ballistic missile programs from various foreign sources. The North
also has demonstrated a willingness to sell complete systems and
components that have enabled other states to acquire longer-range
capabilities and a basis for domestic development efforts earlier
than would otherwise have been possible.
North Korea has maintained a unilateral long-range missile launch
moratorium since 1999, but could end that with little or no warning.
The multiple-stage Taepo Dong-2 -- capable of reaching the United
States with a nuclear weapon-sized payload -- may be ready for
IRAN is taking yet a different path, acknowledging work on a covert
nuclear fuel cycle while trying to preserve its WMD options. I'll
start with the good news: Tehran acknowledged more than a decade
of covert nuclear activity and agreed to open itself to an enhanced
inspection regime. Iran for the first time acknowledged many of
its nuclear fuel cycle development activities -- including a large-scale
gas centrifuge uranium enrichment effort. Iran claims its centrifuge
program is designed to produce low-enriched uranium, to support
Iran's civil nuclear power program. This is permitted under the
Nonproliferation Treaty, but -- and here's the downside -- the
same technology can be used to build a military program as well.
The difference between producing low-enriched uranium and weapons-capable
high-enriched uranium is only a matter of time and intent, not
technology. It would be a significant challenge for intelligence
to confidently assess whether that red line had been crossed.
Finally, Iran's missile program is both a regional threat and
a proliferation concern. Iran's ballistic missile inventory is
among the largest in the Middle East and includes the 1300-km range
Shahab-3 MRBM [medium-range ballistic missile]as well as a few
hundred SRBMs [short-range ballistic missiles]. Iran has announced
production of the Shahab-3 and publicly acknowledged development
of follow-on versions.
During 2003, Iran continued R&D [research and development] on
its longer-range ballistic missile programs, and publicly reiterated
its intention to develop space launch vehicles (SLVs) -- and SLVs
contain most of the key building blocks for an ICBM [intercontinental
ballistic missile]. Iran could begin flight-testing these systems
in the mid- to latter-part of the decade.
Iran also appears willing to supply missile-related technology
to countries of concern and publicly advertises its artillery rockets
and related technologies, including guidance instruments and missile
Let me turn now to a different aspect of the evolving WMD threat.
I want to focus on how countries and groups are increasingly trying
to get the materials they need for WMD. I'll focus on two important
-- The roll-up of A.Q. Khan and his network, one of the most significant
counter-proliferation successes in years, and one in which intelligence
led the way.
-- The difficulty of uncovering both proliferators masquerading
as legitimate businessmen and possible BW or CW plants appearing
to be legitimate "dual-use" facilities.
As I pointed out last year, Mr. Chairman, WMD technologies are
no longer the sole province of nation-states. They might also come
about as a result of business decisions made by private entrepreneurs
As you now know, those comments were my way of referring to A.Q.
Khan without mentioning his name in open session. Until recently,
Khan, popularly known as the "father of the Pakistani bomb," was
the most dangerous WMD entrepreneur. For 25 years Khan directed
Pakistan's uranium enrichment program. He built an international
network of suppliers to support uranium enrichment efforts in Pakistan
that also supported similar efforts in other countries.
Khan and his network had been unique in being able to offer one-stop
shopping for enrichment technology and weapons design information.
With such assistance, a potentially wide range of countries could
leapfrog the slow, incremental stages of other nuclear weapons
The actions taken against Khan's network -- like the example of
Libya I laid out earlier -- were largely the result of intelligence.
Intelligence discovered, pieced together, tracked, and penetrated
Khan's worldwide hidden network.
But every public success we enjoy can be used by people like Khan
to adjust, adapt, and evade. Proliferators hiding among legitimate
businesses, and countries hiding their WMD programs inside legitimate
dual-use industries, combine to make private entrepreneurs dealing
in lethal goods one of our most difficult intelligence challenges.
In support of these WMD programs, new procurement strategies continue
to hamper our ability to assess and warn on covert WMD programs.
Acquisitions for such programs aren't the work of secret criminal
networks that skirt international law. They're done by businessmen,
in the open, in what seems to be legal trade in high technology.
The dual-use challenge is especially applicable to countries hiding
biological and chemical warfare programs. With dual-use technology
and civilian industrial infrastructure, countries can develop BW
and CW capabilities. Biotechnology is especially dual-edged: Medical
programs and technology could easily support a weapons program,
because nearly every technology required for biological weapons
also has a legitimate application.
Now I'll turn to a brief run-down of some significant missile
programs, apart from those I've already discussed.
China continues an aggressive missile modernization program that
will improve its ability to conduct a wide range of military options
against Taiwan supported by both cruise and ballistic missiles.
Expected technical improvements will give Beijing a more accurate
and lethal missile force. China is also moving on with its first
generation of mobile strategic missiles.
Although Beijing has taken steps to improve ballistic missile-related
export controls, Chinese firms continue to be a leading source
of relevant technology and continue to work with other countries
on ballistic missile-related projects.
South Asian ballistic missile development continues apace. Both
India and Pakistan are pressing ahead with development and testing
of longer-range ballistic missiles and are inducting additional
SRBMs into missile units. Both countries are testing missiles that
will enable them to deliver nuclear warheads to greater distances.
Last year Syria continued to seek help from abroad to establish
a solid-propellant rocket motor development and production capability.
Syria's liquid-propellant ballistic missile program continued to
depend on essential foreign equipment and assistance, primarily
from North Korean entities. Syria is developing longer-range missile
programs, such as a Scud D and possibly other variants, with assistance
from North Korea and Iran.
Many countries remain interested in developing or acquiring land-attack
cruise missiles, which are almost always significantly more accurate
than ballistic missiles and complicate missile defense systems.
Unmanned aerial vehicles are also of growing concern.
To conclude my comments on proliferation, I'll briefly run through
some WMD programs I have not yet discussed, beginning with Syria.
Syria is an NPT signatory with full-scope IAEA safeguards and
has a nuclear research center at Dayr Al Hajar. Russia and Syria
have continued their long-standing agreements on cooperation regarding
nuclear energy, although specific assistance has not yet materialized.
Broader access to foreign expertise provides opportunities to expand
its indigenous capabilities and we are closely monitoring Syrian
nuclear intentions. Meanwhile, Damascus has an active CW development
and testing program that relies on foreign suppliers for key controlled
chemicals suitable for producing CW.
Finally, we remain alert to the vulnerability of Russian WMD materials
and technology to theft or diversion. We are also concerned by
the continued eagerness of Russia's cash-strapped defense, biotechnology,
chemical, aerospace, and nuclear industries to raise funds via
exports and transfers -- which makes Russian expertise an attractive
target for countries and groups seeking WMD and missile-related
I'm going to comment now on three countries we obviously pay a
great deal of attention to: North Korea, China, and Russia.
The North Korean regime continues to threaten a range of U.S.,
regional, and global security interests. As I've noted earlier,
Pyongyang is pursuing its nuclear weapons program and nuclear-capable
delivery systems. It continues to build its missile forces, which
can now reach all of South Korea and Japan, and to develop longer-range
missiles that could threaten the United States.
The North also exports complete ballistic missiles and production
capabilities, along with related components and expertise. It continues
to export narcotics and other contraband across the globe.
Moreover, the forward-deployed posture of North Korea's armed
forces remains a near-term threat to South Korea and to the 37,000
U.S. troops stationed there. Recall that early last year as tensions
over the nuclear program were building, Pyongyang intercepted a
U.S. reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace.
Kim Chong-il continues to exert a tight grip on North Korea as
supreme leader. The regime's militarized, Soviet-style command
economy is failing to meet the population's food and economic needs.
Indeed, the economy has faltered to the point that Kim has permitted
some new economic initiatives, including more latitude for farmers'
markets, but these changes are a far cry from the systemic economic
reform needed to revitalize the economy. The accumulated effect
of years of deprivation and repression places significant stresses
on North Korean society.
The Kim regime rules largely through fear, intimidation, and indoctrination,
using the country's large and pervasive security apparatus, its
system of camps for political prisoners, and its unrelenting propaganda
to maintain control.
Mr. Chairman, CHINA continues to emerge as a great power and expand
its profile in regional and international politics -- but Beijing
has cooperated with Washington on some key strategic issues.
The Chinese have cooperated in the war on terrorism and have been
willing to host and facilitate multilateral dialogue on the North
Korean nuclear problem -- in contrast to Beijing's more detached
approach to that problem a decade ago.
Beijing is making progress in asserting its influence in East
Asia. Its activist diplomacy in the neighborhood is paying off,
fueled in large part by China's robust economy. China's growth
continues to outpace all others in the region, and its imports
of goods from other East Asian countries are soaring. As a result,
Beijing is better positioned to sell its neighbors on the idea
that what is good for the Chinese economy is good for Asia.
That said, China's neighbors still harbor suspicions about Beijing's
long-term intentions. They generally favor a sustained U.S. military
presence in the region as insurance against potential Chinese aggression.
Our greatest concern remains China's military buildup, which continues
to accelerate. Last year, Beijing reached new benchmarks in its
production or acquisition from Russia of missiles, submarines,
other naval combatants, and advanced fighter aircraft. China also
is downsizing and restructuring its military forces with an eye
toward enhancing its capabilities for the modern battlefield. All
of these steps will over time make China a formidable challenger
if Beijing perceived that its interests were being thwarted in
We are closely monitoring the situation across the Taiwan Strait
in the period surrounding Taiwan's presidential election next month.
Chinese leadership politics -- especially the incomplete leadership
transition -- will influence how Beijing deals with the Taiwan
issue this year and beyond. President and Communist Party leader
Hu Jintao still shares power with his predecessor in those positions,
Jiang Zemin, who retains the powerful chairmanship of the Party's
Central Military Commission.
In RUSSIA, the trend I highlighted last year -- President Putin's
re-centralization of power in the Kremlin -- has become more pronounced,
especially over the past several months. We see this in the recent
Duma elections and the lopsided United Russia party victory engineered
by the Kremlin, and in the Kremlin's domination of the Russian
Putin has nevertheless recorded some notable achievements. His
economic record -- even discounting the continuing strength of
high world oil prices -- is impressive, both in terms of GDP [gross
domestic product] growth and progress on market reforms. He has
brought a sense of stability to the Russian political scene after
years of chaos, and he restored Russians' pride in their country's
place in the world.
That said, Putin now dominates the Duma, and the strong showing
of nationalist parties plus the shutout of liberal parties may
bolster trends toward limits on civil society, state interference
in big business, and greater assertiveness in the former Soviet
Union. And the Kremlin's recent efforts to strengthen the state's
role in the oil sector could discourage investors and hamper energy
cooperation with the West. He shows no signs of softening his tough
stance on Russia's war in Chechnya. Russian counterinsurgency operations
have had some success. Putin's prime innovation is the process
of turning more authority over to the Chechen under the new government
of Akhmad Kadyrov, and empowering his security forces to lead the
Although this strategy may succeed in lowering Russia's profile
in Chechnya, it is unlikely to lead to resolution.
Moscow has already become more assertive in its approach to the
neighboring states of the former Soviet Union, such as Georgia,
Ukraine, and Moldova. Russian companies -- primarily for commercial
motives, but in line with the Kremlin's agenda -- are increasing
their stakes in neighboring countries, particularly in the energy
The Kremlin's increasing assertiveness is partly grounded in a
growing confidence in its military capabilities. Although still
a fraction of their former capabilities, Russian military forces
are beginning to rebound from the 1990s nadir. Training rates are
up -- including some high-profile exercises -- along with defense
Even so, we see Moscow's aims as limited. Russia is using primarily
economic incentives and levers of "soft" power, like shared history
and culture, to rebuild lost power and influence. And Putin has
a stake in relative stability on Russia's borders -- not least
to maintain positive relations with the U.S. and Europeans.
Russian relations with the U.S. continue to contain elements of
both cooperation and competition. On balance, they remain more
cooperative than not, but the coming year will present serious
challenges. For example, Russia remains supportive of U.S. deployments
in Central Asia for Afghanistan -- but is also wary of U.S. presence
in what Russia considers to be its own back yard.
Let me turn now to AFGHANISTAN, where the Afghan people are on
their way to having their first legitimate, democratically elected
government in more than a generation.
The ratification of a new constitution at the Constitutional Loya
Jirga in January is a significant milepost. It provides the legal
framework and legitimacy for several initiatives, including elections,
scheduled for later this year.
Within the next 12 months, the country could have, for the first
time, a freely elected president and National Assembly that are
broadly representative, multi-ethnic, and able to begin providing
security and services at some level.
Even if the date of elections slips -- the Bonn Agreement requires
a June date -- the central government is extending its writ and
legitimate political processes are developing nationwide through
other means. Regional "warlords" are disruptive but disunited --
and appear to realize the Bonn process and elections are the only
way to avoid relapsing into civil war.
Defense Minister Fahim Khan is cooperating with President Karzai
and seems able to keep his large body of Panjshiri supporters in
line in favor of Bonn and stability.
Meanwhile, the infusion of $2 billion in international aid has
propelled Afghan economic performance. The IMF [International Monetary
Fund] estimates GDP grew -- from an admittedly low base -- by 29
percent last year. The completion of the Kabul-to-Kandahar road
in December was a success, but the international community will
need to ensure that funds are channeled toward projects that make
the most impact and are balanced among the regions and ethnic groups.
Building a national army is another long-term international challenge.
So far, almost 6,000 Afghan soldiers have been trained by U.S.,
British, and French trainers. It will take years to reach the goal
of a 70,000-strong ethnically-balanced force, but with continued
Coalition and international community support and assistance over
the next two years, Afghanistan need not become either a "security
welfare state," or, again, a breeding ground for terrorists and
Last year's most worrisome events were the continued attacks by
the Afghan Transitional Authority's enemies -- particularly the
Taliban, along with al-Qa'ida and followers of Afghan extremist
Hikmatyar -- who want to disrupt routine life and the reconstruction
effort in the south and east. This is still a problem, because
none of these groups has abandoned the ultimate goal of derailing
the process by which legitimate democratic government and the rule
of law will be established in Afghanistan.
I don't want to overstate the Taliban's strength. It is far from
having sufficient political and military might to challenge the
Karzai Government. It is, however, still able to interfere with
the political, economic, and social reconstruction of the country
by fomenting insecurity and thereby undermining public confidence
Like other extremists bent on restoring the terrorist-sponsored
state that existed before the liberation of Afghanistan, Taliban
remnants remain intent on using any available means to undermine
President Karzai and his government, to drive international aid
organizations and their workers from the areas that most need them,
and to attack U.S. and Coalition forces.
For this reason the security situation in the south and east is
still tenuous, and Kabul will need considerable assistance over
at least the next year or two to stabilize the security environment
In IRAN, Mr. Chairman, I'll begin with a sobering bottom line:
With the victory of hardliners in elections last weekend, governmental-led
reform received a serious blow. Greater repression is a likely
With the waning of top-down reform efforts, reformers will probably
turn to the grass roots -- working with NGOs and labor groups --
to rebuild popular support and keep the flame alive.
The strengthening of authoritarian rule will make breaking out
of old foreign policy patterns more difficult at a time when Tehran
faces a new geopolitical landscape in the Middle East.
The concerns I voiced last year are unabated. The recent defeats
will have further alienated a youthful population anxious for change.
Abroad, Tehran faces an altered regional landscape in the destruction
of radical anti-Western regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq and growing
international concern about nuclear proliferation.
And, as has so often happened in Iran's history, Iran's leaders
appear likely to respond to these challenges in rigid and unimaginative
ways. The current setback is the latest in a series of contests
in which authoritarian rule has prevailed over reformist challengers.
The reformists -- President Khatami in particular -- are in no
small part to blame. Their refusal to back bold promises with equally
bold actions exhausted their initially enthusiastic popular support.
When the new Majles convenes in June, the Iranian government will
be even more firmly controlled by the forces of authoritarianism.
In the recent election, clerical authorities disqualified more
than 2500 candidates, mostly reformists, and returned control of
the legislature to hardliners. The new Majles will focus on economic
reform, with little or no attention to political liberalization.
And with the Majles securely behind the hardliners, we expect
to see many of the outlets for political dissent shut down by the
The prospect of internal violence remains. Hardliners may now
resort to new heavy-handedness that produces public outrage and
protest. At least eight people were killed and 30 injured in elected-related
violence last weekend.
Although greater repression is likely to be the most immediate
consequence, this will only further deepen the discontent with
clerical rule, which is now discredited and publicly criticized
as never before. In the past year several unprecedented open letters,
including one signed by nearly half the parliament, were published
calling for an end to the clergy's absolute rule.
Iran's recent history is studded with incidents of serious civil
unrest that erupted in response to the arrogance of local officials
-- events like the 1999 student riots that broke out when security
forces attacked a dormitory.
Even so, the Iranian public does not appear eager to take a challenge
to the streets -- in Tehran, apathy is the prevailing mood, and
regime intimidation has cowed the populace. This mix keeps the
regime secure for now.
The uncertainty surrounding Iran's internal politics comes as
Tehran adjusts to the regional changes of a post-Saddam Iraq. Because
Khamenei and his allies have kept close rein on foreign policy,
we do not expect the defeat of the reformists to lead to a sudden
change in Iranian policy.
Tehran will continue to use multiple avenues -- including media
influence, humanitarian and reconstruction aid, diplomatic maneuvering,
and clandestine activity -- to advance its interests and counter
U.S. influence in Iraq.
We judge that Iran wants an Iraqi government that does not threaten
Tehran, is not a U.S. puppet, can maintain the country's territorial
integrity, and has a strong Shia representation.
These interests have led Tehran to recognize the Iraqi Governing
Council and work with other nascent Iraqi political, economic,
and security institutions.
In INDONESIA, the world's most populous Muslim country, authorities
have arrested more than 100 Jemaah Islamiya (JI) suspects linked
to the terrorist attacks in Bali in October 2002 and the Jakarta
Marriott Hotel last year. However, coming presidential and legislative
elections appear to have blunted the government's efforts to root
Megawati remains the presidential frontrunner, but continuing
criticism of her leadership and the growing prospect that her party
will lose seats in the legislative election increase the likelihood
of a wide-open race. The secular-nationalist Golkar -- the former
ruling party of Soeharto, now riding a wave of public nostalgia
for his bygone era -- could overtake Megawati's party to win the
plurality of legislature seats. Most local polls suggest that the
Islamic parties are unlikely to improve their percentage of the
Vocal religious extremists, however, are challenging Indonesia's
dominant moderate Muslim groups. A growing number of Indonesian
Muslims now advocate the adoption of Islamic law, and dozens of
provincial and district governments around the archipelago are
taking advantage of the devolution of authority since 1998 to begin
enforcing elements of Islamic civil law and customs.
Let me turn briefly to SOUTH ASIA. When I commented on the situation
there last year, I warned that, despite a lessening of tensions
between India and Pakistan, we remained concerned a dramatic provocation
might spark another crisis.
This year I'm pleased to note that the normalization of relations
between India and Pakistan has made steady progress. Building on
Prime Minister Vajpayee's April 2003 "hand of friendship" initiative,
the leaders in New Delhi and Islamabad have begun to lay a promising
foundation for resolving their differences through peaceful dialogue.
Both countries have since made further progress in restoring diplomatic,
economic, transportation, and communications links and -- most
importantly -- both sides have agreed to proceed with a "composite" dialogue
on a range of bilateral issues that include Kashmir.
Further progress will hinge largely on the extent to which each
side judges that the other is sincere about improving India-Pakistan
For example, India is watching carefully to see whether the level
of militant infiltration across the Line of Control (LOC) increases
this spring after the snows melt in the mountain passes.
In this hemisphere, President Uribe of COLOMBIA is making great
strides militarily and economically. Colombia's military is making
steady progress against the illegal armed groups, particularly
around Bogotá; last year the Army decimated several FARC military
units. In the last two months, Colombian officials have apprehended
the two most senior FARC leaders ever captured.
Foreign and domestic investors are taking note: last year, 
the growth rate of 3.5 percent was the highest in 5 years.
But some of Uribe's hardest work awaits him. The military has
successfully cleared much of the insurgent-held territory, but
the next stage of Uribe's "clear-and-hold" strategy is securing
the gains thus far.
That entails building the state presence -- schools, police stations,
medical clinics, roads, bridges, and social infrastructure -- where
it has scarcely existed before.
Finally, we should bear in mind that Uribe's opponents will adjust
their strategies, as well. The FARC may increasingly seek to target
U.S. persons and interests in Colombia, particularly if key leaders
are killed, captured, or extradited to the United States.
Drug gangs are also adapting, relocating coca cultivation and
production areas and attacking aerial eradication missions. All
of this translates into more money and more resources for traffickers,
insurgents, and paramilitary forces.
And in HAITI, the situation is, of course, extremely fluid at
What continues to concern us is the possibility that the increasing
violence will lead to a humanitarian disaster or mass migration.
Forces opposed to the government control key cities in northern
Haiti and they have identified Port-au-Prince as their next target.
Those forces include armed gangs, former Haitian Army officers,
and members of irregular forces who allegedly killed Aristide supporters
during his exile.
Future battles could be bloody, as the armed opposition is arrayed
against pro-government irregular forces equally disposed to violence.
Moreover, food, fuel, and medical supplies already have been disrupted
in parts of Haiti because of the fighting, making living conditions
even worse for Haiti's many poor.
The government is looking for international help to restore order.
Improving security will require the difficult tasks of disarming
both pro- and anti-government irregulars and augmenting and retraining
a national security force.
In SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA, progress in continuing peace processes
requires further careful Western cultivation and African regional
In Liberia, U.N. peacekeepers and the transitional government
face a daunting challenge to rein in armed factions, including
remnants of Charles Taylor's militias.
Sudan's chances for lasting peace are its best in decades, with
more advances possible in the short term, given outside guarantees
A fragile peace process in Burundi and struggling transitional
government in Congo (Kinshasa) have the potential to end conflicts
that so far have claimed a combined total of over 3 million lives.
Tension between Ethiopia and Eritrea over their disputed border
is jeopardizing the peace accord brokered by U.S. officials in
THE OTHER TRANSNATIONAL ISSUES
Let me conclude my comments this morning by briefly considering
some important transnational concerns that touch on the war against
We're used to thinking of that fight as a sustained worldwide
effort to get the perpetrators and would-be perpetrator off the
street. This is an important preoccupation, and we will never lose
sight of it.
But places that combine desperate social and economic circumstances
with a failure of government to police its own territory can often
provide nurturing environments for terrorist groups, and for insurgents
and criminals. The failure of governments to control their own
territory creates potential power vacuums that open opportunities
for those who hate.
We count approximately 50 countries that have such "stateless
In half of these, terrorist groups are thriving. Al-Qa'ida and
extremists like the Taliban, operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan
border area, are well-known examples.
As the war on terrorism progresses, terrorists will be driven
from their safe havens to seek new hideouts where they can undertake
training, planning, and staging without interference from government
authorities. The prime candidates for new "no man's lands" are
remote, rugged regions where central governments have no consistent
reach and where socioeconomic problems are rife.
Many factors play into the struggle to eradicate stateless zones
and dry up the wellsprings of disaffection.
Population trends: More than half of the Middle East's population
is under the age of 22. "Youth bulges," or excessive numbers of
unemployed young people, are historical markers for increased risk
of political violence and recruitment into radical causes. The
disproportionate rise of young-age cohorts will be particularly
pronounced in Iraq, followed by Syria, Kuwait, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Infectious disease: The HIV/AIDS pandemic remains a global humanitarian
crisis that also endangers social and political stability. Although
Africa currently has the greatest number of HIV/AIDS cases -- more
than 29 million infected -- the disease is spreading rapidly. Last
year, I warned about rising infection rates in Russia, China, India,
and the Caribbean.
But the virus is also gaining a foothold in the Middle East and
North Africa, where governments may be lulled into overconfidence
by the protective effects of social and cultural conservatism.
Humanitarian need: Need will again outpace international pledges
for assistance. Sub-Saharan Africa and such conflict-ravaged places
like Chechnya, Tajikistan, and the Palestinian Occupied Territories
will compete for aid against assistance to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Only 40 percent of U.N. funding requirements for 2003 had been
met for the five most needy countries in Africa.
Food insecurity: More than 840 million people are undernourished
worldwide, a number that had fallen in the first half of the 1990s
but in now on the increase. USDA estimates the food aid needed
to meet annual recommended minimum nutrition levels at almost 18
million metric tons, far above the recent average of 11 million
tons donated per annum.
And I'll take this opportunity to remind you, Mr. Chairman, of
the continued threat the global narcotics industry poses to the
As evident by the doubling of the Afghan opium crop in 2003, the
narcotics industry is capable of moving quickly to take advantage
of opportunities presented by the absence of effective government
Although the linkages between the drug trade and terrorism are
generally limited on a global basis, trafficking organizations
in Afghanistan and Colombia pose significant threats to stability
in these countries and constitute an important source of funding
for terrorist activity by local groups.
This combination of flexibility and ability to undermine effective
governmental institutions means that dealing with the narcotics
challenge requires a truly global response.
And that, Mr. Chairman, concludes my formal remarks. I welcome
any questions or comments you and the members may have for me.