Department of Justice Seal

Attorney General Transcript

News Conference with Italian Interior Minister Claudio Scajola
Ministry of the Interior
Rome, Italy
December 15, 2001

Interior Minister Scajola (in Italian): I wish to thank the Attorney General for his visit to Rome. It highlights that there is a great deal of harmony between the Government of Italy and the Government of the United States, and confirms the very good relationship between our two nations. I informed the Attorney General about what Italy has been doing in recent months, since the September 11 attacks, side-by-side with the United States, in the fight against international terrorism, and in solidarity with the American people in defending the values of freedom and democracy. I informed him about the wide range of regulatory, legislative and operational measures in place, which have enhanced our response to the new threats from international terrorism. The measures that Italy adopted are an integral part of the same strategy that also must be followed at the international level. We have also decided to further intensify our working relationship on security measures, by reactivating the U.S. / Italy Bilateral Committee in order to ensure an even more effective exchange of information between our two countries. It is a very great honor for me, as Interior Minister, and on behalf of Prime Minister Berlusconi, that Mr. Ashcroft=s trip to Europe concludes here in Rome before his return to the United States.

Attorney General: Let me take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to not only Minister Scajola, but to the people of Italy and to the government of Italy for its profoundly helpful cooperation to the United States of America following the attack of September 11, which was launched against civilization in general, and focused on the United States of America particularly, and the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and on aircraft which were destroyed by the terrorists.

Minister Scajola clearly understands and recognizes that terrorism is international, and that the threat to liberty, and to freedom, and to order and government is international. Thousands of people from 86 different countries perished in the September 11th attacks, and Italy has known of terrorism in ways that the United States has never experienced, and we need to learn as much as we can from experiences that each nation has had, that we can use as a basis for cooperation with each other.

In the United States, we are engaged in a campaign of deliberately disrupting terrorists. We are placing tighter security around targets, we are alerting law enforcement and the citizens, we are arresting law-breakers and detaining them and sending alien law-breakers home, because we have a single goal: it is a goal to save innocent lives and to protect the freedom of our citizens. We have 4,000 FBI agents working on this case and their effort has been very substantially assisted as a result of cooperation that came at the decision of the Government of Italy in this setting, and other friendly governments in other settings. The close working relationship of Italy with the United States is very important to us. And I=m very pleased that we have an opportunity to build even better cooperation in the future than we have had in the past, although I should say that our cooperation with Italy is unsurpassed in the community of nations.

(To Minister Scajola:) With a view toward improving our efforts, I want to invite you to come to the United States so that we can work together to build the kind of bilateral working relationships which are in place and ready at any time to operate for the benefits of both of our countries. The Justice Department welcomes the opportunity to intensify our close ties and we look forward to cooperating together. When nations that love freedom work together, we build a more secure world, in which liberty flourishes, and citizens enjoy the security which allows them to prosper individually and with their families . Thank you very much for this meeting.

Minister Scajola: Grazie.