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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

16. Countering Terrorism


The Department of State's goals are and will be to strengthen international determination, cooperation, and tools to prevent terrorist attacks and to catch and punish terrorists.  Further, our resolve is to prevent terrorists from attacking American citizens and prevent a repetition of major attacks.

This goal was partially achieved.  Particularly after September 11, through a series of consultations by the Secretary, the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, and the passage of a UN Security Council resolution which determined, for the first time, that terrorism was a threat to international peace and security, we forged, a coalition of concerned states which have taken concrete and effective action to roll up terrorist cells, cut off terrorist financing, and limit terrorists' freedom of movement.

Our strategies to achieve this goal have been effective.  EO 13224, UNSCR 1373, and the USA Patriot's Act have all served not only to stigmatize terrorists but also to freeze their assets and keep them from traveling to the United States.  An increasing number of states have or are in the process of strengthening their laws to criminalize terrorist acts; and 132 have signed the international convention for the suppression of terrorist financing. more have ratified UN counterterrorism conventions.  Expanded law enforcement and intelligence cooperation has yielded important results with the disruption of plots and arrests of Al Qaida-linked terrorists in countries as diverse as Italy and Singapore.    Our continuing work with the NGO community has sensitized them to the dangers of terrorist infiltration and illicit fundraising.

External factors played a major role in shaping our program in 2001.  The attacks on September 11 galvanized both the government and international community to take new and dramatic steps against "terrorism with a global reach," but also brought vastly increased demands for counterterrorism activities to the Department.  These demands helped to validate our strategy, but also made clear the need to apply increased resources to it. This requirement was addressed in the plans for 2002 and 2003.

We call this goal "partially achieved," because the United States and other Governments were unable to prevent the September 11 attacks.  However, given the number of variables that are beyond the Department's control, we now recognize that this indicator of our goal, though easily quantifiable, is an unrealistic indicator by which we should measure our performance.  Other indicators are being identified for the FY '03 Performance Plan.

 National Interest

Law Enforcement

Performance Goal #


Strategic Goal

Reduce international terrorist attacks, especially on the United States and its citizens.

Outcome Desired

         Reduce the number and lethality of terrorist actions against U.S. interests.

         Charge, find, arrest, and render to justice terrorists.

         Reduce/eliminate state sponsorship of terrorism.

         Delegitimize use of terror by groups as a political instrument.

         Enhance international response to incidents to rapidly mitigate effects of terrorist event.

         Strengthen international cooperation, political will, and operational capability of countries willing to counter terrorism.

Performance Goal

Strengthen international determination, cooperation, and tools to prevent terrorist attacks and to catch and punish terrorists.  Prevent terrorists from attacking American citizens and prevent a repetition of major attacks.

Performance Indicator

FY '00 Baseline

FY '01 Target

FY '01 Actual

The number of terrorist attacks against American citizens and interests, the rate of casualties, and the trend in international terrorism worldwide

5 U.S. deaths, 184 U.S. casualties, 169 attacks against U.S. targets in 1999

Reduction in number and lethality of attacks.

Unsuccessful, considering the events of September 11 that caused more than 3,000 deaths in well-planned attacks that evaded detection by United States and foreign security services. 

Identification of terrorist threats and prevention of terrorist attacks.      


Reduction in number, lethality of attacks, lethality.

Unsuccessful. September 11 attacks overshadowed potential attacks that were deterred in midyear and potential additional September 11 related incidents.

Performance Indicator

FY '00 Baseline

FY '01 Target

FY '01 Actual

Level of coordination and cooperation among friendly governments in sharing information, techniques, and training

Current level is fair.

Improved coordination, especially with regard to protection and safety of participants at the Athens 2004 Olympics.

Successful. Cooperation greatly increased and counter-terrorism coalition developed post September 11, with greater efforts, especially in Europe, to help disrupt terrorist cells.

Adherence to and use of international treaties on terrorist crimes, including prosecution, extradition, and mutual legal assistance obligations, including the new, U.S.-proposed treaty on suppression of terrorist bombings

19 current signatories to United Nations anti-fundraising convention.

Increased effective recourse to treaties for extraditions and renditions; substantial number of priority countries sign treaty.

Successful. Suppression of Terrorist bombing convention has been signed by 58 nations; terrorism financing by 132.

Successful collection of evidence and obtaining cooperation of witnesses in terrorism cases that can be prosecuted under U.S. laws

Current level is fair.

Increased use of foreign-collected evidence, and witnesses in U.S. prosecutions.

Successful. Cooperation with many countries was enhanced. Specifically, evidence obtained with foreign nations help convict East Africa embassy bombers. Other information assisted in efforts to curb terrorist fundraising.

Level of professionalism, training, and quality of equipment in key friendly countries

Current level is good.

Increased professionalism in ATA-trained countries.

Successful. Prior to September 11, the level of professionalism was acceptable.   However, after that date the standard improved dramatically. While cross-board levels are difficult to measure, evaluations indicate increased effectiveness of training.

Performance Indicator

FY '00 Baseline

FY '01 Target

FY '01 Actual

Level of fundraising activity on behalf of terrorist groups.  


Increased sensitivity by fund-raising organizations to danger of terrorist penetration.

Successful. Consensus reached on new regulations governing grants to NGOs and PVOs. The consultation process sensitized participating NGOs to U.S. Government concerns about diversion of resources. Administrative training will be provided to improve their procedures.




Department of State - S/CT


Department of Justice, Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, Treasury, Federal Aviation Agency, Department of Energy


Data Source:  FBIS, and Mission reporting

Data Storage:  Department of State/INR

Frequency:  Quarterly review and as required by National Security Council

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