The President's Radio Address
Good morning. This week, America received a stark reminder that terrorists are still plotting attacks to kill our people. Beginning on Wednesday night, authorities in Great Britain arrested more than 20 individuals who we believe were plotting to detonate liquid explosives aboard flights from the United Kingdom to the United States. If these terrorists had succeeded, they could have caused death on a massive scale. The plot appears to have been carefully planned and well-advanced. They planned to bring the components of their explosives on board in their carry-on luggage, disguised as bottled drinks and electronic devices.
We believe that this week's arrests have significantly disrupted the threat. Yet we cannot be sure that the threat has been eliminated. So as a precaution, on Thursday, the Federal Government took several steps to increase security at our airports and aboard our planes.
First, the Department of Homeland Security has raised our Nation's threat warning to Code Red—the highest level—for flights from Great Britain to America, in coordination with British authorities. Second, we've raised the threat warning for all domestic and international flights landing in the United States to Code Orange, the second highest level. We also have sent additional Federal air marshals to Great Britain to provide extra protection aboard flights from the United Kingdom to the United States.
This plot is further evidence that the terrorists we face are sophisticated and constantly changing their tactics. On September the 11th, 2001, they used box cutters to hijack airplanes and kill thousands of innocent people. This time, we believe they planned to use liquid explosives to blow up planes in mid-air. In response, we've adjusted our security precautions by temporarily banning most liquids as carry-on items on planes. I know many of you will be traveling during this busy summer vacation season, and I ask for your patience, cooperation, and vigilance in the coming days. The inconveniences you will face are for your protection, and they will give us time to adjust our screening procedures to meet the current threat.
I'm grateful for the outstanding work of intelligence and law enforcement officers in the United Kingdom and in our country. This week's arrests were the culmination of hard work, cooperation, and information sharing across different agencies and different governments. We're dealing with a new enemy that uses new means of attack and new methods to communicate. This week's events demonstrate the vital importance of ensuring that our intelligence and law enforcement personnel have all the tools they need to track down the terrorists and prevent attacks on our country.
Because of the measures we've taken to protect the American people, our Nation is safer than it was prior to September the 11th. Still, we must never make the mistake of thinking the danger of terrorism has passed. This week's experience reminds us of a hard fact: The terrorists have to succeed only once to achieve their goal of mass murder, while we have to succeed every time to stop them. Unfortunately, some have suggested recently that the terrorist threat is being used for partisan political advantage. We can have legitimate disagreements about the best way to fight the terrorists, yet there should be no disagreement about the dangers we face.
America is fighting a tough war against an enemy whose ruthlessness is clear for all to see. The terrorists attempt to bring down airplanes full of innocent men, women, and children. They kill civilians and American servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they deliberately hide behind civilians in Lebanon. They are seeking to spread their totalitarian ideology. They're seeking to take over countries like Afghanistan and Iraq so they can establish safe havens from which to attack free nations. These killers need to know that America, Great Britain, and our allies are determined to defend ourselves and advance the cause of liberty. With patience, courage, and untiring resolve, we will defend our freedom, and we will win the war on terror.
Thank you for listening.
NOTE: The address was recorded at 8:05 a.m. on August 11 at the Bush Ranch in Crawford, TX, for broadcast at 10:06 a.m. on August 12. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on August 11 but was embargoed for release until the broadcast. The Office of the Press Secretary also released a Spanish language transcript of this address.
George W. Bush, The President's Radio Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/267969