BUSH: Thank you. Thanks for the warm welcome. Welcome to the White House.
Mr. Vice President, Secretary Rice, Attorney General Gonzales, Ambassador Negroponte, General Hayden, members of the United States Congress, families who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks on our nation, my fellow citizens, thanks for coming.
On the morning of September 11th, 2001, our nation awoke to a nightmare attack. Nineteen men armed with box cutters took control of airplanes and turned them into missiles. They used them to kill nearly 3,000 innocent people.
We watched the twin towers collapse before our eyes, and it became instantly clear that we'd entered a new world and a dangerous new war.
The attacks of September 11th horrified our nation. And amid the grief came new fears and urgent questions. Who had attacked us? What did they want? And what else were they planning?
Americans saw the destruction the terrorists had caused in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania, and they wondered if there were other terrorist cells in our midst poised to strike. They wondered if there was a second wave of attacks still to come.
With the twin towers and the Pentagon still smoldering, our country on edge, and a stream of intelligence coming in about potential new attacks, my administration faced immediate challenges. We had to respond to the attack on our country. We had to wage an unprecedented war against an enemy unlike any we had fought before. We had to find the terrorists hiding in America and across the world before they were able to strike our country again.
So in the early days and weeks after 9/11, I directed our government's senior national security officials to do everything in their power, within our laws, to prevent another attack.
Nearly five years have passed since those initial days of shock and sadness. And we are thankful that the terrorists have not succeeded in launching another attack on our soil.
This is not for the lack of desire or determination on the part of the enemy. As the recently foiled plot in London shows, the terrorists are still active, and they are still trying to strike America and they are still trying to kill our people.
One reason the terrorists have not succeeded is because of the hard work of thousands of dedicated men and women in our government who have toiled day and night, along with our allies, to stop the enemy from carrying out their plans.
And we are grateful for these hardworking citizens of ours.
Another reason the terrorists have not succeeded is because our government has changed its policies and given our military, intelligence and law enforcement personnel the tools they need to fight this enemy and protect our people and preserve our freedoms.
The terrorists who declared war on America represent no nation. They defend no territory. And they wear no uniform. They do not mass armies on borders or flotillas of warships on the high seas.
They operate in the shadows of society. They send small teams of operatives to infiltrate free nations. They live quietly among their victims. They conspire in secret. And then they strike without warning.
And in this new war, the most important source of information on where the terrorists are hiding and what they are planning is the terrorists themselves. Captured terrorists have unique knowledge about how terrorist networks operate. They have knowledge of where their operatives are deployed and knowledge about what plots are under way.
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