Department of Justice Seal
Statement of Attorney General
John Ashcroft
Honoring Victims of
Khobar Towers Bombing

Read by Larry D. Thompson
Deputy Attorney General
Arlington National Cemetery
June 25, 2001

Good morning. I am honored to participate in this tribute, and to present to you a statement from the Attorney General of the United States.

* * * * *

Five years ago today, 19 United States airmen lost their lives when terrorists deliberately, and without warning, detonated a truck bomb outside the Khobar Towers dormitory complex in Saudi Arabia. Beyond that terrible toll, 372 American citizens were wounded in this treacherous attack.

As all of you know, the Department of Justice has worked strenuously to develop the evidence necessary to identify and bring charges against those responsible for this crime. Last thursday, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging various members of a foreign terrorist organization with murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.

The indictment represents a milestone in our country's quest for justice, and it underscores our commitment to bring terrorists to account for their crimes. It sends a powerful message to the perpetrators that we will not tolerate their actions, and it should also provide assurance to the victims' family members, and to the wounded, that they are not, and will not be, forgotten.

This morning's ceremony reinforces our commitment to justice, and reaffirms our debt to those who suffered in this tragedy. It is an important reminder of the tremendous sacrifices made by those who bravely serve to protect our nation and defend its freedom. Soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen go to distant shores on behalf of America, separated from families and loved ones, and put themselves in harm's way. Sometimes, tragically, they do not come back. We must never forget the service rendered, and the costs borne, by those who protect this country at home and abroad.

For the survivors, and the families, nothing that we do can return what you have lost. Nothing can repair the damage done by this terrible attack. But this I pledge: the Department of Justice will investigate, prosecute, and bring to justice the criminals who committed this heinous act. We owe you that and more.

Thank you and God bless you.