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Public Statements

Hearing of the International Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Human Rights Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


HEARING OF THE INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM, NONPROLIFERATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE

SUBJECT: AL QAEDA THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES AND ITS ALLIES

CHAIRED BY: REPRESENTATIVE ELTON GALLEGY (R-CA)

WITNESS: COFER BLACK, STATE DEPARTMENT COORDINATOR FOR COUNTERTERRORISM

April 1, 2004 Thursday

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REP. PETER KING (R-NY): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Ambassador Black, I want to commend you for the terrific job you've done for our country over the years. And I realize there's limitations on the specificity of answers you can give us, so I'll be satisfied with a conceptual answer to the question I'm going to try to pose to you.

If we're talking about 9/11, my understanding of Director Tenet's testimony was that in the summer of 2001, almost all the evidence was indicating if there was going to be a spectacular attack, it would be overseas. Also, our domestic agencies were at the highest possible alert throughout the summer of 2001. Richard Clarke said even if we had done everything he wanted, it still would not have averted the September 11th attacks. I know Michael Sheehan, who I believe held a position similar to yours in a previous administration, and is presently doing an outstanding job in the New York Police Department, has said that no one could have anticipated the extent of the attacks of September 11th.

My concern with all of this is those attacks did happen. What are we doing now to think outside the box, to perhaps think diabolically to anticipate-I don't know, maybe the question answers itself-but to anticipate something that otherwise we wouldn't anticipate, either an attack here in the United States or against American interests overseas? Because it looks as if whatever thinking we had, both in the previous administration and this administration prior to September 11th, did not anticipate the extent, the enormity and the horrific nature of the attacks of September 11th.

Do you worry about there being something else out there that no one is thinking of now? And what are we doing to try to anticipate that?

MR. BLACK: Yes, you're absolutely right. Do we worry about things, do we worry about things we haven't thought of? Yes, all the time. You know, I think a good sense of paranoia comes with this type of job.

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