FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2001
TDD (202) 514-1888
ATTORNEY GENERAL ASHCROFT DIRECTS LAW ENFORCEMENT
OFFICIALS TO IMPLEMENT NEW ANTI-TERRORISM ACT
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General John Ashcroft today directed all 94 U.S. Attorneys' offices and 56 FBI field offices to implement the new anti-terrorism legislation overwhelmingly passed by Congress and today signed by President Bush. The new offensive against terrorism will require law enforcement to make use of new powers in intelligence gathering, criminal procedure and immigration violations. With these enhanced provisions, the fight against terrorism will have the full force of the law while protecting Constitutional civil liberties.
"Law enforcement is now empowered with new tools and resources necessary to disrupt, weaken, and eliminate the infrastructure of terrorist organizations, to prevent or thwart terrorist attacks, and to punish the perpetrators of terrorist acts," said Ashcroft. "The American people can be assured law enforcement will use these new tools to protect our nation while upholding the sacred liberties expressed in the Constitution."
The new provisions have two over-arching principles: airtight surveillance of terrorists and speed in tracking down and intercepting terrorists. Law enforcement has had many of these provisions to fight drug trafficking and organized crime, but previously they did not apply for terrorism. The Department's objective of preventing terrorist acts before they happen is strengthened dramatically and, therefore, the war on terrorism is escalated to a degree commensurate with the threat posed by terrorism. The legislation enacted today provides these new weapons in the war on terrorism:
These new tools for law enforcement are the products of hundreds of hours of consultation and careful consideration by the Administration, members of Congress, and state and local officials. They are careful, balanced, and long overdue improvements in law enforcement's capacity to prevent terrorism.