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Ashcroft Outlines Successes in War on Terror - 2003-04-02


U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has outlined the results so far of what he says is the successful global war on terrorism. In a speech at a pro-Israel gathering in Washington, the attorney general also said the war in Iraq is part of the campaign against terror.

Attorney General Ashcroft says more than 3,000 terrorists have been captured worldwide since the anti-terror campaign began after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Mr. Ashcroft says the Justice Department has used every means possible under the law to identify and track hundreds of suspected terrorists in the United States. And he notes that alleged terror cells have been broken up in Buffalo, New York, Portland, Oregon, Detroit, Michigan and Seattle, Washington.

"We have brought 228 criminal charges in our courts in the United States and have obtained convictions or guilty pleas from 113 individuals, including shoe bomber Richard Reed, American Taliban John Walker Lindh and five of the six members of the Buffalo, New York, terrorist cell - two of whom pled guilty just last week," he said.

Mr. Ashcroft was speaking at a meeting of the Stand For Israel campaign, a group of Jews and Christians who support the state of Israel.

He noted that more than 100 countries have helped the United States in the war on terrorism, and he listed the success so far in cutting off funding for terrorist activities. Mr. Ashcroft says $124 million in assets have been frozen in more than 600 accounts around the world. He says there have been 70 investigations into terrorist financing with 23 convictions or guilty pleas.

"All of these actions send a clear message to the terrorists, their money men, their suppliers, their sympathizers," he said. "This is our message: the rules have changed. We will work with our allies to create a hostile climate for your barbarism. We will hurt you by hunting you down, and you will meet swift certain justice."

Attorney General Ashcroft also said the current war in Iraq is another step in the effort to stop the threat by terrorist groups that seek to destroy the freedom enjoyed by the world's democracies. And he likened the Iraqi government to terrorist groups such as al-Qaida, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.