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September 12, 2001 Presidential Address from the Oval Office Good evening.

Yesterday, America was the target of the deadliest terrorist attack in our nations history. In a series of coordinated suicide attacks, a group of terrorists hijacked four passenger jetliners with the intent of flying them into buildings and turning them into weapons of mass destruction. Two of those planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. All on board were killed, as were an unknown number of people inside the buildings. Within two hours, both towers collapsed. The search for trapped survivors is ongoing. A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, was crashed into the Pentagon, leading to a partial collapse in its western side. All 58 passengers, in addition to many civilian and military personnel going about their daily business, were killed. The fourth plane, United Flight 93, was targeted at either the White House or the Capitol. But it never reached its target. The passengers attempted to overtake the hijackers and divert the aircraft, crashing it into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing all on board. There is much we still do not know, including the total number of casualties, which is estimated to be in the thousands. As we struggle to regroup as a nation, we have many questions. First and foremost, is who attacked us, and why? No terrorist organization has officially claimed responsibility. However, the coordinated nature of the attack, as well as the identities of the hijackers known thus far, strongly point to al-Qaida, an Islamist militant group based in Afghanistan and led by Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaida is the terrorist network responsible for the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the suicide bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. Osama bin Ladens animosity toward the United States resides in our foreign policy toward the Middle East specifically, our ongoing support of Israel and our occupation of Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaida believes that the West is at war with Islam and the Muslim people, and that it is a religious duty to use violence against the West to protect Islam and Muslims. Why were we unable to prevent yesterdays attack? Todays national security institutions of the US government are still the institutions constructed to win the Cold War. Our challenges today surpass the boundaries of traditional nation-states and call for quick, imaginative, and agile responses commensurate with new methods of attacks by terrorists. To ensure that such an attack is never repeated, we must redefine our counterterrorism strategies so that we utilize all of our available counterterrorism resources within the State Department and the Departments of Justice, Defense, and the Treasury. We must streamline the communication

between our agencies to ensure that we work in cooperation, rather than in competition, with one other. We must unify our strategic intelligence collection and operational planning. At the same time, we must strike a balance between protecting our nations security and respecting the privacy of its citizens at home and abroad, to ensure that our cherished system of democracy does not perish. On a global scale, we must work with our allies around the world to cut off al-Qaidas access to funding. We must increase the collaboration in intelligence with and among our international allies in order to disrupt the al-Qaida network. Our mission is threefold: to defeat the international al-Qaida network; to eliminate the Taliban which supports it; and to bring Osama bin Laden to justice. These are the actions we will take as a government. It is equally important that we grow as a people, that we turn this tragedy into an impetus for global change. In the wake of yesterdays atrocity, we have received a tremendous outpouring of support from around the world. Let us harness the collective goodwill of our friends abroad and work together to increase our global consciousness. Let us educate one another in terms of peace and understanding. Our hearts and our prayers go out to those whose loved ones are lost or still missing.