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Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Delivers Statement at Briefing to Discuss the U.S. Government's Ongoing Counterterrorism Efforts


Washington, DC
United States

As I’ve said previously, we stand in solidarity with the people of France at this difficult time.  We are committed to providing any and all assistance to our allies in Europe and around the world as we all face this global threat.  Now we’ve made that commitment clear, not just with words, but with our actions.  The Department of Justice, the FBI and other agencies are in close contact with French authorities, through our international legal assistance channels, to provide support to the French in their ongoing investigation, to coordinate strategies with them, and to advance our shared efforts as we obtain further information that may be relevant to these attacks.  We are operating on an expedited basis, as well, to ensure that the victim assistance professionals at the Department of Justice and the FBI are available to assist the victims and their families.  We’ve also expanded the FBI’s legal attaché office in Paris to offer assistance on an as-needed basis, and we have personnel working day and night to respond to any additional requests for assistance.  Now earlier today, President Obama spoke by phone with President Hollande to discuss the latest developments in the investigation and to reaffirm our partnership in the fight against terrorism.

Now of course, our highest priority is and will remain the security of our homeland and the safety of all Americans.  At the Department of Justice, we are operating around the clock, as we have since 9/11 and even before, to uncover and disrupt any plot that take aim at our people, our infrastructure and our way of life.  We take all threats seriously, we’re acting aggressively to defuse threats as they emerge, and we are vigorously investigating and prosecuting those who seek to harm the American people. 

In fact, since 2013, we have charged more than 70 individuals for conduct related to foreign-fighter interests and homegrown violent extremism, and we continue to take robust actions to monitor and to thwart potential extremist activity.  The Department of Justice and the FBI are working closely with the Department of Homeland Security, with the broader intelligence community and our partners around the world in all of these efforts, and we are bringing every resource to bear in the service of our mission.

As I think it’s important to note, that as we do this work, we are guided, obviously, by our commitment to the protection of the American people, but also by our commitment to the protection of our American values, which include the timeless principles of inclusivity and freedom that have always made this country great.  We need to say, we will not let our actions be overtaken by fear, and we will not allow merchants of violence to rob us of our most precious ideals.  Our values are not secondary considerations in the fight against terror – they are central to the work that we do, and they are essential to the nation that we protect.  They are also the reason that we are a target, and they are what terrorists want most to see us abandon.  They want us to live in fear, and we refuse.  They want us to change who we are, and what makes us quintessentially American, and that we will never do.

Updated November 20, 2015