Secretary of State Hillary Clinton returned to New York Friday to unveil counterterrorism plans at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and push for the public to remain vigilant given the possibility of a new threat against the city. NY1’s Josh Robin filed the following report.
As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke Friday on how the United States is fighting global terrorism at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice on Manhattan's West Side, she said that New Yorkers should remain vigilant but not let the latest terror threat affect their day-to-day lives.
“This should not surprise any of us,” said Clinton. "It is a continuing reminder of the stakes in our struggle against violent extremism, no matter who propagates it, no matter where it comes from, no matter who its targets might be."
Clinton's speech was well-timed given the upcoming September 11th anniversary and the new threats of terrorism that were first addressed Thursday night.
"Ten years later, we have made important strides. Our government is better organized, our defenses are safer than on 9/11, but we still face real threats as we see today, and there is more work to be done, " said Clinton.
Facing the challenges of terrorism, Clinton said the U.S. State Department takes an integrated approach and does not view "counterterrorism in a vacuum."
Rather, state officials are combining diplomacy, development and necessary military actions to achieve short-term and long-term goals.
Clinton said U.S. officials are battling the financial support and undermining recruitment efforts of al-Qaida and other terror networks. While al-Qaida's leadership has been devastated, she said the terrorist threat in big cities remains and has become more geographically diverse.
“We are waging a broad, sustained and relentless campaign that harnesses every element of American power against terrorism, and even as we remain tightly focused on the terrorist network that attacked us 10 years ago, we’re also thinking about the next 10 years and beyond,” said Clinton.
Therefore, the secretary is creating an entire bureau in the State Department to help other countries' counterterrorism efforts and announced that the United States and Turkey will serve as co-chairs of a new global forum to help countries battle violent extremism worldwide.
"This is not about winning a popularity contest," Clinton said, explaining it is "common sense" that U.S. counterterrorism efforts will be more successful with "more friends and fewer enemies."
She said the killing of Osama bin Laden "put al-Qaida on the path to defeat," and the raid on his compound was a "great tribute to the thousands of Americans and other people throughout the world who worked with us."
Clinton said the media is a major focus for counterterrorism, saying websites are frequently used to recruit terrorists. She promoted global media appearances by U.S. officials who speak Arabic, Dari (Persian), Urdu and many other languages to help explain U.S. views and counter terrorist propaganda to a wider audience.
Americans need to be "not preoccupied by the threats we face," according to Clinton, but rather promote the values of "tolerance, equality and opportunity."
For example, she said that while closing the country's borders would keep out some who mean to harm the country, it could also potentially close off opportunities to future intellectuals and entrepreneurs.
Clinton also said to prevent allies from becoming breeding grounds for terrorists, the United States will help develop "strong and stable democracies" worldwide, since she feels democracies are better-equipped to battle terrorism than autocracies.
"The United States has thrived as an open society, a principled nation and a global leader, and we cannot and will not live in fear, sacrifice our values or pull back from the world," said Clinton.
John Jay College President Jeremy Travis said it is an honor to have Clinton address the school, as it lost more 68 of its alumni on September 11th, more than any other educational institution.
"To come 10 years later to our campus to outline our country's approach to terrorism is a tribute to them and their memory, and a tribute to us," Travis said.
According to the Associated Press, at least 35,000 people worldwide have been convicted as terrorists and 120,000 people have been arrested since the September 11th attacks.