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Remarks on Counterterrorism Initiatives and an Exchange With Reporters

April 26, 1995

The President. I asked the leaders of Congress from both parties to come to the White House today because I know that we have a shared commitment to do everything we possibly can to stamp out the kind of vicious behavior we saw in Oklahoma City. Everyone here is determined to do that, and I want us to work together to get the job done.

On Sunday, I announced the first series of steps we must take to combat terrorism in America. Today I'm announcing further measures, grounded in common sense and steeled with force. These measures will strengthen law enforcement and sharpen their ability to crack down on terrorists wherever they're from, be it at home or abroad. This will arm them with investigative tools, increased enforcement, and tougher penalties.

I say, again: Justice in this case must be swift, certain, and severe. And for anyone who dares to sow terror on American land, justice must be swift, certain, and severe. We must move on with law enforcement measures quickly. We must move so that we can prevent this kind of thing from happening again. We cannot allow our entire country to be subjected to the horror that the people of Oklahoma City endured. We can prevent it and must do everything we can to prevent it. I know that we would do this together without regard to party, and I'm looking forward to this discussion of it.

Q. Civil libertarians are worried there may be some ability by law enforcement agencies to abuse the power that you may be given.

The President. I think we can strike the right balance. We've got to do more to protect the American people.

NOTE: The President spoke at 5:09 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House, prior to a meeting with congressional leaders. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

William J. Clinton, Remarks on Counterterrorism Initiatives and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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