Remarks Announcing the Most Wanted Terrorists List
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 Terrorist list. 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 here today.
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 harm Americans.
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 Adviser for Combating 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 punished.
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.
NOTE: The President spoke at 11:02 a.m. in the Bonaparte Auditorium at the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters. In his remarks, he referred to Attorney General John D. Ashcroft. The Office of the Press Secretary also released a Spanish language transcript of these remarks.
George W. Bush, Remarks Announcing the Most Wanted Terrorists List Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/216264