REMARKS TO THE ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE'S NATIONAL LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE April 23, 1996 (Note: In presenting this address, the Deputy Attorney General may have departed from the text, but she stands behind the text as printed.) Thank you for that warm introduction. I want to speak to you today about the anti-terrorism bill passed by the Congress last week. Before I do so, however, I want to thank the ADL -- on behalf of the Attorney General and the President -- for its support of this legislation and its hard work in helping craft an effective and fair package of proposals that balances law enforcement needs with protection of civil liberties you have been wonderful participants. As you know, the bill is not all the Administration hoped for, but I believe it will go a long way towards protecting citizens of this nation and the world from some of the unspeakable acts that we have seen perpetrated in the recent past. I welcome the ADL's support for the rule of law in this country. I also want to acknowledge the tireless work of the three distinguished members of Congress who are here with us today. Without the efforts and cooperation of Chairman Hatch, Chairman Hyde, and Congressman Schumer, this legislation would not have been possible. I want to address the anti-terrorism legislation today, but I do not want to focus on it exclusively. Rather, I would like to place the legislation in the broader context of what the Department is already doing to combat terrorism, and in the context of the rise in hateful rhetoric in our society which I think has created the type of climate that allows such acts to occur and makes anti-terrorism legislation an unfortunate necessity. There has been so much attention paid to terrorism recently in the wake of the Oklahoma City and World Trade Center bombings. The attention is understandable, of course: Those tragedies revealed that Americans are not immune from terrorism -- even here at home. It is understandable also because the costs exacted by terrorism are so high -- not just the psychic costs, but the economic ones as well. Last Friday, for example, the first anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, we had to close a number of federal buildings completely and evacuated others for good parts of the day as a result of terrorist threats. These actions alone -- not to mention the cost of investigating these threats -- cost taxpayers untold millions of dollars. Finally, the concern about terrorism is understandable because of the recent legislative activity surrounding the issue. But as understandable as all the attention is, it obscures the fact that fighting terrorism has long been one of the Justice Department's and federal law enforcement's highest priorities. It is important for Americans to know that we are not new-comers to this fight. Department of Justice counter-terrorism activities. The U.S. government fights terrorism in a number of ways: through diplomacy; through economic sanctions; through covert operations; through military intervention; and though law enforcement. The Justice Department's role is primarily law enforcement and intelligence gathering. Our mission is simple: First, to prevent terrorism before it occurs; and second, should an act of terrorism occur, to mount an immediate and overwhelming investigative response to it. As was demonstrated in the Oklahoma City and World Trade Center cases, we take the second aspect of our mission very seriously. The investigations in those cases were models of cooperation and effectiveness. Clearly, however, the most important aspect of our mission is preventing terrorist acts before they occur. We do that in a number of ways: 1. Domestic Intelligence Gathering First, as you know, one of the FBI's most important responsibilities is collecting intelligence on suspected terrorists in the United States. 2. The Visa Process Second, the Departments of Justice and State also take steps to prevent potential terrorists from coming to the United States by denying them travel documents at U.S. diplomatic facilities overseas. 3. Border Control Third, the FBI and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) work together to stop illegal aliens involved in terrorist activities by denying them entry to this country in the first instance, and reentry when they leave and attempt to return. 4. Extradition and Deportation from the U.S. Fourth, we are also cooperating closely with other countries to -- where appropriate -- extradite or deport suspected terrorists. As one recent example, senior HAMAS leader Musa Abu Marzook is currently the subject of an extradition proceeding in New York, based on a request by the Israeli Government. 5. Extradition of Terrorist Suspects to the United States Fifth, the United States has also successfully obtained the return of a number of defendants in recent years who have been prosecuted in the United States for acts of terrorism committed against U.S. interests. In February, 1995, for example, World Trade Center bombing suspect Ramzi Ahmed Yousef was apprehended in Pakistan after an intense international manhunt and returned to the United States for trial on other terrorism charges. In terms of extraditions, 1995 was a record year for the FBI. In addition to Ramzi Yosuef, four other suspected terrorists were returned to the United States. What these cases demonstrate, above all else, is that if you commit terrorist acts against American citizens or American interests, you will have no where to hide. We will pursue you using all the tools we have at our disposal and, sooner or later, we will bring you to justice. While we're on the subject of pursuing international terrorists, let me take a moment to address the purported apology yesterday by Abbu Abbas for the murder of Leon Klinghoffer. Mr. Abbas characterized this brutal killing as a mistake. Let me be clear that the United States continues to condemn the crime and that Mr. Abbas' statement in no way erases the horror of the acts he set in motion. 6. Economic Sanctions: The International Emergency Economic Powers Act ("IEEPA") Another important mechanism that we have employed to combat international terrorism is the application of economic sanctions against terrorist groups. In January of last year, the President invoked the International Emergency Economic Powers Act -- "IEEPA" for short -- against 12 groups that had committed acts of terrorism in opposition to the Mideast peace process, including Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The effect of the sanctions was to block financial interests and property of the groups within the United States. 7. International Technical Support and Training Seventh, because cooperation is central to the fight against international terrorism, we have expanded the technical support and training in law enforcement methods and techniques that we provide to foreign police and security personnel. For example, following the recent series of deadly bombing in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, FBI personnel accompanied other U.S. Government officials on a priority trip to Israel to assess the bombings and provide immediate technical and other assistance. And, just yesterday, our Attorney General opened the International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest which will bring together police officers from all over Eastern and Central Europe for training in fighting international crime, with specific emphasis on terrorism and narco-trafficking. 8. Criminal Prosecutions Finally, we combat terrorism by aggressively exerting our jurisdiction over terrorist activities under existing criminal counter-terrorism laws. Where once the U.S. had almost no extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction, we are now able to assert jurisdiction over a wide variety of overseas terrorist acts which affect our U.S. interests. We can, for example, now reach overseas acts of aircraft hijacking and sabotage, hostage taking, and serious terrorist assaults or murders of American nationals. Additionally, in recent years the Department has focused particular attention on developing jurisdiction relating to the terrorist use of biological weapons, nuclear materials, and other weapons of mass destruction. Using these jurisdictions, it is our policy to undertake criminal investigations of all extraterritorial acts which impact on U.S. interests. Whenever possible, we will obtain an indictment in federal court against the perpetrators. And thereafter, U.S. agencies work with their counterparts throughout the world in an effort to apprehend the indicted defendants. Efforts to apprehend indicted defendants are often painstaking and slow, but we are persistent and our memory is long. The passage of time does not dim our ardor for the pursuit of these international outlaws. In one case, a defendant was successfully prosecuted in the Eastern District of New York for terrorist crimes that he committed 19 years before. In June, the trial of Omar Ali Rezaq is scheduled to begin in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia for an air piracy, resulting in deaths, which he is alleged to have committed in the Middle East in 1985. Three other defendants, who were apprehended overseas, are set for trial this spring in the Southern District of New York for their alleged conspiracy to blow up U.S. commercial airliners in Asia. The Current Anti-terrorism Legislation It was against this backdrop of all this activity that we, in late 1993, undertook a review of its overall statutory authority to address terrorism. We found that our statutory authority for addressing acts of terrorism which occur overseas was well-developed and in need only of fine-tuning. In contrast, we concluded that there was need to improve our ability to address other aspects of terrorism including: acts of international terrorism carried out within the United States; support from within the United States for international terrorism; and acts of domestic terrorism. During the early months of 1995, the Administration proposed two major items of terrorism legislation: the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995, submitted to Congress in February, which addressed the remaining areas of concern relating to our international jurisdiction; and the Antiterrorism Amendments Act of 1995, submitted to Congress in May, which addressed primarily domestic terrorism concerns. Although we had hoped that Congress would act more swiftly on these critically important measures, we are gratified that the legislation which includes many of our proposals has now passed Congress. Some of the key features which the Administration proposed and which are included in the legislative package are: comprehensive federal jurisdiction over acts of international terrorism which occur in the United States; a new alien deportation procedures; provision for the banning of all material support, except medications and religious materials, to foreign groups in the U.S.A.; implementation of the international convention on the marking of plastic explosives; upgraded procedures to address the use of nuclear materials, including byproduct materials, to carry out acts of terrorism; and more comprehensive protection for federal employees who find themselves as potential targets of terrorist activity. Again, the bill does not contain everything the Administration wanted, including emergency authority to undertake electronic surveillance of terrorist suspects and a provision involving taggants for the type of powder typically used in pipe bombs. In addition, it does not provide the FBI additional authority to wiretap multiple telephones that are used by a single individual suspected of engaging terrorist activities. The reason this provision is important is that phones follow people, not vice versa. Hate Speech Before I end today, I would like to shift gears from the responses to terrorism to a social and political phenomenon that I view as a major contributor to the upswing in terrorism, particularly domestic terrorism. That phenomenon is hate speech. Wherever we turn, it seems, we are accosted by angry, vile, violent rhetoric. From the political fringes and the mainstream as well, increasingly few, I think, feel restrained in what they say. This is a phenomenon of both left and right. To be sure, strong rhetoric has always been a staple of American political discourse. Yet the quality of discourse in this country seems to me to have deteriorated in very significant and potentially dangerous ways. For one, so much of today's political rhetoric seems designed to demonize and dehumanize its subjects rather than to illuminate issues. Policy disagreements have given way to ad hominem attacks against political opponents. There also seems to be much more rhetoric floating around these days that not only dehumanizes its subjects, but also condones, if not encourages, violence. The examples are many, but I was particularly struck by a bumper sticker sold at gun shows recently epitomizes the sentiments being expressed. It reads: "FIRST LINCOLN; THEN KENNEDY; NOW CLINTON?". We desperately need to take steps to return civility to our national life because the consequences of this kind of angry speech are all too great. For one thing, such speech is incredibly polarizing, not just socially -- because it so pits one group against another -- but also politically. Look at the number of moderate legislators, from both sides of the aisle, who have decided to give up public office this year. Virtually all of them have cited as one of the reasons the angry tone of public debate. And there is another, more dangerous consequence of angry speech -- one which we saw so tragically last fall in Israel. There can be no doubt that the assassination of Yikzak Rabin was made thinkable by the demonization of him in Israel's national debate about the peace process. Radical elements opposed to peace called him a traitor and burned him in effigy. Bumper stickers called him an enemy of the people. He was called a Nazi. Responsible voices in the opposition party did little to discourage the hatred. And what would have been unthinkable in that society happened. The analogy to the bombing in Oklahoma City and to the attacks on abortion clinics and to racially-motivated crimes is clear and unmistakable. Speech that demeans; speech that demonizes; speech that portrays fellow citizens as unworthy of treatment as human beings; speech that suggests that violence is an appropriate way to express opposition -- particularly when it is legitimized by political and opinion leaders -- creates a climate in which politically-motivated violence can flower. In that climate, tragedies like that in Oklahoma City should not be viewed as isolated events. Every day, reports cross my desk of attacks or threats against federal workers, motivated, one might presume, by animus toward the government. I see the reports of racially-motivated violence. I read of the plans of international terrorist groups motivated by religious zealotry. I see the violence everyday. Let me be clear. None of this is to say that people do not, or should not, have the right to speak freely -- even in harsh and angry terms. Open and robust debate benefits us all. But with that right comes responsibility. Responsibility on the part of the speaker and, more importantly, responsibility on the part of those of us in the mainstream who hear such speech. The government -- which can respond only to the consequences of speech, not the speech itself -- has a limited role to play. It really falls on us as individuals and communities -- even if we may agree with what is motivating the speaker's concern -- to make clear that speech that demonizes, speech that calls for violence, speech that denies the humanity of one's opponents has absolutely no place in our society. Although the number of terrorist attacks against Americans and United States interests abroad is not great, the potential consequences are immeasurable. That is why the protection of our nation and its people against the threat of terrorism, both at home and abroad, is one of the most important missions of the Department of Justice and why anti-terrorism legislation that we are celebrating here today has been such a priority. When it comes to international terrorism, I am confident that we are up to the challenge. We will continue to aggressively investigate, pursue, and prosecute suspects. Domestic terrorism, however, is more threatening. It is more threatening because it is we who are carrying it out. The threat is closer. And it is more threatening because of what it says about the conditions in our society that have given rise to these unspeakable acts. Thank you very much.