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Friday, 7 June, 2002, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Excerpts: Bush's homeland security speech
US President George W Bush
Bush: "Trained killers are plotting to attack us"
Excerpts from US President George W Bush's speech announcing the creation of a Department of Homeland Security to protect America from terror attacks.

Good evening. During the next few minutes, I want to update you on the progress we are making in our war against terror and to propose sweeping changes that will strengthen our homeland against the ongoing threat of terrorist attacks.


Employees of this new agency will come to work every morning knowing their most important job is to protect their fellow citizens

Every day I review a document called the threat assessment. It summarises what our intelligence services and key law enforcement agencies have picked up about terrorist activity.

Sometimes the information is very general - vague talk, bragging about future attacks.

Sometimes the information is more specific, as in a recent case when an al-Qaeda detainee said attacks were planned against financial institutions...

We are now learning that before 11 September, the suspicions and insights of some of our front-line agents did not get enough attention.

We now know that thousands of trained killers are plotting to attack us, and this terrible knowledge requires us to act differently.

We have concluded that our government must be reorganised to deal more effectively with the new threats of the 21st century.

So tonight, I ask the Congress to join me in creating a single, permanent department with an overriding and urgent mission: securing the homeland of America and protecting the American people.

Tasks

Right now, as many as a hundred different government agencies have some responsibilities for homeland security, and no one has final accountability.

I propose a permanent cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security to unite essential agencies that must work more closely together...

World Trade Center rubble soon after the attacks
"Analysts will be responsible for imagining the worst"
Employees of this new agency will come to work every morning knowing their most important job is to protect their fellow citizens.

The Department of Homeland Security will be charged with four primary tasks.

This new agency will control our borders and prevent terrorists and explosives from entering our country.

It will work with state and local authorities to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies.

It will bring together our best scientists to develop technologies that detect biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, and to discover the drugs and treatments to best protect our citizens.

And this new department will review intelligence and law enforcement information from all agencies of government and produce a single daily picture of threats against our homeland.

Analysts will be responsible for imagining the worst and planning to counter it...

Appeal to Congress

The staff of this new department will be largely drawn from the agencies we are combining.

By ending duplication and overlap, we will spend less on overhead and more on protecting America.


We face an urgent need - and we must move quickly

This reorganisation will give the good people of our government their best opportunity to succeed by organising our resources in a way that is thorough and unified.

What I'm proposing tonight is the most extensive reorganisation of the federal government since the 1940s.

Only the United States Congress can create a new department of government.

So tonight, I ask for your help in encouraging your representatives to support my plan.

We face an urgent need. And we must move quickly, this year, before the end of the Congressional session.


Key stories

European probe

Background

IN DEPTH
See also:

06 Jun 02 | Americas
06 Jun 02 | Americas
03 Jun 02 | Americas
03 Jun 02 | Americas
30 May 02 | Americas
17 May 02 | Americas
16 May 02 | Americas
07 Jun 02 | Americas
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