23 August 1998
22 August 1998
(Details background of terrorist network chieftain) (850) Washington -- The State Department has released a fact sheet detailing the background and activities of Usama bin Ladin, the chief of a terrorist network blamed for the bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Following is the State Department text: (begin text) Fact Sheet: Usama bin Ladin As released by the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, US Department of State, August 21, 1998 On August 20, 1998, the US military struck a number of facilities of the terrorist network associated with Usama bin Ladin. Today bin Ladin's network leads, funds and inspires a wide range of Islamic extremist groups that perpetrate acts of terrorism around the world. The bin Ladin network is multi-national and has established a worldwide presence. Senior figures in the network are also senior leaders in other Islamic terrorist networks, including those designated by the Department of State as foreign terrorist groups, such as the Egyptian al-Gama'At al-Islamiyya and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Bin Ladin and his network seek to provoke a war between Islam and the West and the overthrow of existing Muslim governments, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Our decision to attack facilities belonging to Usama bin Ladin's network is the result of convincing intelligence that his group, working with other terrorist groups, was behind the heinous attacks of August 7 against the US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Elements of bin Ladin's network were also involved last week in a plot to attack other US embassies. Moreover, on August 19, an Islamic front created by the bin Ladin network, and calling itself the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Jews and Crusaders, praised the bombings of our embassies and warned that, "America will face a black fate...strikes will continue from everywhere, and Islamic groups will appear one after the other to fight American interests." These latest atrocities in Africa are not the first occasion in which members of bin Ladin's network have carried out acts of terrorism against America and its friends. The list is a long one: They conspired to kill US servicemen in Yemen who were on their way to participate in the humanitarian mission "Operation Restore Hope" in Somalia in 1992. They plotted the deaths of American and other peacekeepers in Somalia who were there to deliver food to starving Muslim people. Bin Ladin's network assisted Egyptian terrorists who tried to assassinate Egyptian President Mubarak in 1995 and who have killed dozens of tourists in Egypt in recent years. The Egyptian Islamic Jihad, one of the key groups in the network, conducted a car bombing against the Egyptian embassy in Pakistan in 1995 that killed over 20 Egyptians and Pakistanis. Members of bin Ladin's network plotted to blow up US airliners in the Pacific and separately conspired to kill the Pope. His followers bombed a joint US and Saudi military training mission in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1995. Bin Ladin's network has publicly and repeatedly articulated a clear and violent anti-US agenda: In August 1996, bin Ladin issued a "declaration of war" against the United States. In February 1998, bin Ladin stated "If someone can kill an American soldier, it is better than wasting time on other matters." In February of this year, the bin Ladin network's World Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Jews and Crusaders declared its intention to attack Americans and our allies, including civilians, anywhere in the world. In May of this year, bin Ladin stated at a press conference in Afghanistan that we would see the results of his threats "in a few weeks." Bin Ladin's Network Bin Ladin's goal in his own words is to "unite all Muslims and establish a government which follows the rule of the caliphs," which he believes he can accomplish only by overthrowing nearly all Muslim governments, driving Western influence from those countries and eventually to abolishing state boundaries. The bin Ladin network supports terrorists in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Somalia, Yemen, and now Kosovo. It also trains members of terrorist networks from such diverse countries as the Philippines, Algeria and Eritrea. Additional Background Bin Ladin, the youngest son of a wealthy Saudi businessman, developed a worldwide organization in the 1970s to recruit Muslim terrorists for the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. In 1988, he formed a network devoted to terror and subversion. He returned to his home in Saudi Arabia in 1989, but the Government of Saudi Arabia expelled him the following year for his continued support of terrorist groups. Bin Ladin then went to Sudan from which he carried on his support for terrorist operations. At the urging of the United States, and following the attempted assassination of President Mubarak of Egypt, in which bin Ladin was involved and in which the Sudanese Government was complicit, the Government of Sudan expelled bin Ladin in 1996. However, he has maintained considerable business interests and facilities in Sudan. (end text)
Source: http://www.fedworld.gov/pub/tel/t11edit.txt ----------------------------------------------------------------- WHAT'S NEW - OFAC Information Update on Internet World Wide Web Page - August 21, 1998 The President has signed a new Executive Order effective 12:01 a.m. EDT August 21, 1998 blocking the assets of "USAMA BIN MUHAMMAD BIN AWAD BIN LADIN (A.K.A.: USAMA BIN LADIN)," "ISLAMIC ARMY (A.K.A.: AL-QAIDA; ISLAMIC SALVATION FOUNDATION; THE GROUP FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE HOLY SITES; THE ISLAMIC ARMY FOR THE LIBERATION OF THE HOLY PLACES; THE WORLD ISLAMIC FRONT FOR JIHAD AGAINST JEWS AND CRUSADERS)," "ABU HAFS AL-MASRI," AND "RIFA'I AHMAD TAHA MUSA (A.K.A.: 'ABD-AL-'IZ; HAI AHMAD ABD-AL-WAHAB; ABU YASIR; a.k.a. MUHAMMAD 'ALI 'ABD ALLAH; a.k.a. SALAH 'ALI AL- KAMEL; a.k.a. RIFA'I AHMAD TAHA; a.k.a. THABIT 'IZ)," as terrorists who threaten the Middle East peace process for purposes of Executive Order 12947. A copy of the Executive Order amending Executive Order 12947 follows as APPENDIX A to this "What's New" file. Their names are being incorporated into the various versions of OFAC's list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons as [SDT]s, but updated SDN files will not be available at this Website until Monday, August 24. OFAC's brochure on Terrorism [PDF 73K] will also be updated at that time. [Snip adminstrative information] ---------------------------------------- APPENDIX A: EXECUTIVE ORDER - - - - - - - PROHIBITING TRANSACTIONS WITH TERRORISTS WHO THREATEN TO DISRUPT THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, in order to take additional steps with respect to grave acts of violence committed by foreign terrorists that disrupt the Middle East peace process and the national emergency described and declared in Executive Order 12947 of January 23, 1995, hereby order: Section 1. The title of the Annex to Executive Order 12947 of January 23, 1995, is revised to read "TERRORISTS WHO THREATEN TO DISRUPT THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS." Sec. 2. The Annex to Executive Order 12947 of January 23, 1995, is amended by adding thereto the following persons in appropriate alphabetical order: Usama bin Muhammad bin Awad bin Ladin (a.k.a. Usama bin Ladin) Islamic Army (a.k.a. Al-Qaida, Islamic Salvation Foundation, The Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places, The World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, and The Group for the Preservation of the Holy Sites) Abu Hafs al-Masri Rifa'i Ahmad Taha Musa Sec. 3. Nothing contained in this order shall create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable by any party against the United States, its agencies or instrumentalities, its officers or employees, or any other person. Sec. 4. (a) This order is effective at 12:01 a.m., eastern daylight time on August 21, 1998. (b) This order shall be transmitted to the Congress and published in the Federal Register.
For more on foreign assets control see the US Treasury Department's electronic library: http://www.fedworld.gov/pub/tel/tel.htm22 August 1998 TRANSCRIPT: WHITE HOUSE DAILY BRIEFING, AUGUST 22, 1998 (McCurry cites effort to move against terrorist assets) (3370) Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts -- Press Secretary Mike McCurry says that President Clinton's August 22 executive order to the Treasury Department to block all financial transactions between the bin Ladin terrorist group members and US companies and individuals is part of the "sustained effort that the President has in mind when it comes to dealing with terrorism in this new world that we live in." In a news briefing that day at the President's vacation retreat, McCurry explained the move as part of the effort "to use information about the economic infrastructure of these groups to attack their activity." He denied a reporter's suggestion that this action "is largely symbolic." The financial action against the bin Ladin group, McCurry said, enables the US government to make "an assessment here in the United States of what assets, if any, they might have domestically. But then we can go to foreign governments and request that they do as we have done." According to McCurry, "as we have this information and know more about the transactions, we can go to these governments and ask them to begin to trace out what they know about the financial holdings of these groups or how they do business or where they do transactions or how they move money from place to place. "So this is really the beginning of a process, this is something that will now -- will allow us to go to other governments in the days and weeks ahead and continue to work to break down the financial infrastructure of these groups," McCurry said. He added that the United States will begin working through the Treasury Department and US diplomats "to contact the financial entities overseas that we think might play a role in giving financial support to this network." Following is the White House transcript: THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary (Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts) August 22, 1998 PRESS BRIEFING BY MIKE MCCURRY Edgartown Elementary School Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts 11:12 A.M. EDT MR. MCCURRY: I don't know why I agreed to do this on camera, but I guess it's going to be easier -- easier than doing back-to-back interviews, doing it on camera. Okay, Saturday. The President, as most of you know, is finally on vacation, at last, and is taking the day just to really, truly relax and enjoy himself. He's had a lot on his mind this week on multiple fronts, and so today is a day that he really, I think, is finally doing what he came up here to do, which is to relax and enjoy himself a bit. He's not planning to do anything for the balance of the day. There was some report from out at the farm that he might go out tonight or Mrs. Clinton and Chelsea might go out, or some combination of them might go out. I think everyone knows that Mrs. Clinton and Chelsea have been here a couple of days, Chelsea has been out seeing her friends from Stanford that are here and other kids that she knows that are up here vacationing, and I wouldn't be surprised if Mrs. Clinton got out at some point today. I think the President had a very busy week and a somewhat stressful week, and so I think he's planning on just going down and taking a few days off. So he may stay in -- or, depending on how he feels later, he may go out and play some golf tomorrow. So he's really definitely in vacation mode. The President is, either right now or shortly, going to talk to National Security Advisor Sandy Berger and get just an update on what some of our latest information is with respect to the military action that's been taken. Obviously, the President is well aware of the efforts we're making on other fronts, Including the financial front that you heard about earlier today. The President will get a report based on military intelligence that -- there are somewhat better imagery now of the six camps that were attacked and that has increased our confidence in the assessment that you all were given yesterday. I think the President will hear that we have severely damaged the ability of the Osama bin Ladin network to train and operate from these camps that were attacked. We're now more confident that the damage at each of the six camps is moderate to severe. The President will also get an update on international reaction that's been assembled for him down in Washington, and beyond that, I don't think there's a lot of new information. It still, as you heard from Mr. Berger yesterday, going to be a matter of days before we have a complete assessment. So this still is in the nature of a preliminary assessment. But as we get more information and see more, we're able to verify some of the initial judgments that the Pentagon was able to make about the attack. Q: So, Mike, what you seem to be saying is that these reports that maybe we missed a camp or two are not accurate, we hit every target that we wanted to hit. MCCURRY: The information that Mr. Berger will convey to the President is that each of the six camps sustained some level of damage and the assessment at this point is it's likely to be moderate to severe in each case. Q: Do we have any more idea as to whether there actually was this meeting going on that was the trigger for this action? MCCURRY: I don't know if we have any further information on that or on individual human casualties. There's a lot, by the way, a lot that you will see reported and a lot of people making a lot of statements on behalf of a lot of people, but I would take all of that with some measure of skepticism. Q: Mike, you used the word severe. Yesterday the assessment was moderate to heavy; today you're saying moderate to severe. Are you suggesting that the damage is even worse, or are you just confirming yesterday's assessment? MCCURRY: No, I'm not -- this is confirming and giving us more confidence in the assessment that we gave you in the preliminary yesterday. I'm not playing with terms of art there. Q: You just said we should take with some measure of skepticism some of these reports. Are you referring to the phone calls ostensibly being made by spokespeople for bin Ladin? MCCURRY: That's correct. That and other reports that are occurring. A candid statement would be that we don't know a lot about individuals who may or may not have been at that camp. We just don't have solid information on that, and I think you have to be skeptical about information that you're hearing that is coming from other sources. Q: But do you folks take seriously the threats that are apparently being directed against the United States by bin Ladin? MCCURRY: Absolutely. This is a very dangerous group of people. They are very likely going to continue the type of work that they have done and Americans will continue to be at risk. One attack is not the kind of sustained effort that the President has in mind when it comes to dealing with terrorism in this new world that we live in. It is going to require the kinds of tools that the President announced today and the ability to use information about the economic infrastructure of these groups to attack their activity. But they are going to continue to do what they do, and they're going to continue to threaten Americans and they will very likely at some point take more lives. And we are well aware of that and doing everything we can to protect Americans from that threat. Q: Just to follow up, you have no reason to believe that bin Ladin was killed? MCCURRY: We have no change in our assessment yesterday that we just don't have information that we are confident in to know about his whereabouts. Q: -- any countries joined in with the economic boycott? And because they haven't, is this largely symbolic? MCCURRY: No. Remember that you heard some folks earlier today say that this is the first step that we've taken. What we do by putting in place these additions to our specially designated terrorism list, adding these individuals on, we then are able to, first, make an assessment here in the United States of what assets, if any, they might have domestically. But then we can go to foreign governments and request that they do as we have done. Very often we find that when we seize assets or block financial transactions by any groups and go to other governments and ask them to do likewise, the first question they ask is, well, have you done this, have you taken these same steps, have you frozen assets. So, of course, it's important for us to do so. But then as we have this information and know more about the transactions, we can go to these governments and ask them to begin to trace out what they know about the financial holdings of these groups or how they do business or where they do transactions or how they move money from place to place. And as we learn more -- and we will now be in a position to learn more having put these measures in place -- we can go to governments and ask them to do specific things with respect to specific accounts. So this is really the beginning of a process, this is something that will now -- will allow us to go to other governments in the days and weeks ahead and continue to work to break down the financial infrastructure of these groups. Q: Did Mr. Clinton bring that up when he talked to world leaders? You said he was back in Washington making a number of calls. MCCURRY: This did come up in one of the calls, it didn't come up in every call. But other governments will be made aware of the action that the President has announced today, and we will begin working through our Treasury and diplomatic people to contact the financial entities overseas that we think might play a role in giving financial support to this network. Q: Can you tell us who he called and how they responded? MCCURRY: No, I'm not going to get in specifically to that. Q: Does the act have provisions that are likely to drive a wedge between the U.S. and other countries by threatening foreign companies that do business with Osama bin Ladin, a la Helms Burton? MCCURRY: I think in this case it works somewhat differently because these are not raw sanctions that affect all types of companies. They could conceivably affect particular financial institutions; but remember, they also affect particular accounts that some of these individuals may have and may maintain. So it's not the kind of broad economic sanctions that are designed to change the behavior of a government. This is to break down the sources of financial support for specific people and specific networks, which is a different kind of question. Q: Mike, with all the security measures being taken in the aftermath of the strikes, is the President concerned that America will be moving toward a fortress situation? MCCURRY: No, and the President specifically said today we are not going to lose those precious things that mean so much to us as Americans: the freedom to express ourselves, the freedom to travel, the freedom to move about. But we live in a world that is more dangerous now and we have to be conscious of that and we have to take those steps that are necessary to increase our safety. There are things the government can, will and is doing to protect Americans, but there are things that individual Americans will have to do themselves -- just to be more conscious of what the risks are. Q: Mike, to what extent is the President involved in or aware of some of the things that are going on in Washington today? We understand they're putting up these concrete barriers around the Washington Monument, other places are being fortified. MCCURRY: Well, the President knew that there would be steps taken that would increase security. I don't know that he's been briefed in detail on each and every thing. And we are acting to protect American installations around the world, and have also very carefully advised Americans that are in parts of -- well, all around the world, everywhere, in fact, and in specific places where we think there's an increased threat, to be especially conscious of their own situation and their own security. Q: -- gravity to the precautions that are being taken in Washington today? MCCURRY: I'm not aware of any specific threat in Washington. But there are good reasons to take precautions generally, just to protect some of those facilities. [Snip unrelated] Q: Do you know anything about these reports of journalists being taken into custody? MCCURRY: I'm aware that there apparently is a report, or at least a question about that. I've checked in our government; we don't have information on that. Remember that we do not have the capacity to assist individuals who are in that region -- either in Pakistan, because of a lack of a consular facility there, or in Afghanistan, because of lack of an embassy there. So we have strongly and repeatedly advised American citizens not to travel in that area. And we're not aware of any American citizens who are in that area. [Snip] Q: Mike, has there been any more security added -- our Washington desk wants to know -- to members of the President's Cabinet or any other members of the White House staff? MCCURRY: I think I'm not going to comment on specific steps that are taken on security. It's always best, I have been told, to just refrain from talking about the things that we do or don't do because that makes whatever we do more effective. Q: Mike, there are a couple of reports out this morning that the President is considering a second national address on the Lewinsky matter. Is that true, is he considering it? MCCURRY: I think the President has many advisors and many of them are rendering their advice sometimes in the newspapers. When the President elects to take any of that advice and do something, I'll let you know. Q: Mike, on the financial assets, do we know how much bin Ladin has? MCCURRY: We don't. In fact, one of the purposes of the action today is to allow us to go pulse financial entities and actually determine whether there is any amount that can be attributed to US sources. As you've heard, we don't anticipate that that's going to be much. But this allows you to do the kind of check. And, of course, we will now go to other governments and encourage them to do the same kind of check, and that's when you might get a better sense of what the structure, nature and monetary value is of his holdings. Q: Do we have any idea how much he inherited? MCCURRY: There may be -- we may have somewhere in our government an assessment of that, but it might not be in a way that I can share it publicly. I don't think that we have any publicly available dollar amount that I can give you. Q: Do you know where he is right now? Bin Ladin? MCCURRY: No, we don't know his whereabouts or his condition. [Snip] Q: Mike, when you say you don't know his whereabouts or his condition, that sounds like maybe he was in the camp and escaped injured or something. Are you suggesting that? MCCURRY: There are lots of maybes in that statement, correct. [Snip] (end transcript)