Remarks by Secretary of Homeland Security
Press Conference Discussing the Security of the Democratic National Convention
July 14, 2004
(Remarks as Prepared)
Good afternoon. Last week, we provided the American people, state and local officials, members of Congress, and first responders with the latest information on the threat of a terrorist attack this summer and fall.
Credible reporting indicates that al-Qaeda is moving forward with plans to carry out a large-scale attack in the United States aimed to disrupt our democratic process.
One of the hallmarks of that process will take place here in less than two weeks when Boston hosts the Democratic National Convention. And we -- the local, state, and federal government -- want to make sure that we are as prepared as possible to thwart terrorists and protect the convention.
This morning, I received a briefing at the security operations center and toured the Convention's main venue -- the Fleet Center -- to see first hand the immense resources and meticulous preparations that have been put in place to ensure the safety of the citizens of Boston and well-being of all convention participants.
For more than a year, the Department of Homeland Security's Secret Service -- in full coordination and cooperation with our partners at the federal, state, and local level -- has led the design and implementation of all security planning, conducted comprehensive security assessments of all convention venues, and coordinated multiple interagency training exercises to fine tune these security procedures.
Additionally, the Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration, FEMA and other Homeland Security component agencies have been fully engaged in these security efforts.
Of course due to the sensitive nature of security operations, many of the security details must remain classified.
However I can tell you that, we will have patrols in the harbor and surrounding waters providing blanket security coverage that will trap any terrorists attempting to swim to shore or smuggle weaponry over these waterways.
We will have mobile command vehicles positioned at strategic locations to coordinate communications across multiple law enforcement agencies to ensure that any vital tips or pieces of information do not slip through the cracks.
We will have 24/7 surveillance of key convention facilities, as well as portable x-ray equipment to examine packages, as well as commercial vehicles and delivery trucks, entering these areas.
We will deploy trained homeland security personnel to augment the work
of local law enforcement, we will utilize record numbers of canine bomb
teams, we will increase security at hotels to protect both the building
and ventilation systems, and we will monitor and protect key transportation
systems as well.
In addition to all of the technology and additional security professionals, the vigilance of local law enforcement, fire personnel, private businesses, hospital workers, state and local government officials, and Boston citizens is critical.
Convention attendees and residents of this great city have an integral role to play in the security of this important democratic symbol. The tragedy in Madrid reminds us how much your vigilance matters. If you see suspicious items or activities, report them to the authorities immediately.
Our goal is that any attempt on the part of al-Qaeda to attack us will be repelled by multiple layers of security.
Our work is not yet done. But based on what I';ve seen and heard today, I can tell you that the security plans are strong. Federal, state, and local officials are working hard and working together around the clock to ensure that nothing is left to chance.
Our very system of government is rooted in the sovereign principle of democratic authority bestowed by the people. And both convention participants and Bostonians are resolved to go forward with an event that so deeply reflects that ideal.
Democracy is the heart of our national character. And so, we will not give way to the enemies who would strike at the core of who we are.
Instead, we will continue to work together -- determined to uphold and defend the freedoms and blessings of this great nation.