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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal

Security Improvements Since the East Africa Bombings

Fact Sheet released by the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Spokesman, August 4, 1999.

Blue Bar

The current terrorist threat to U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel overseas, as described in recent Congressional testimony, is global, lethal, multi-dimensional, and growing. The threat is generated by indigenous and transnational anti-American terrorist groups and by state sponsors of terrorism. The last significant public manifestation of this threat was the August 7, 1998 suicide attacks by terrorists against the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.

Since the East Africa bombings, the Department has intensified measures to counter these terrorist threats. Extensive security improvements have been made with the FY 1999 security supplemental appropriation of $1.489 billion. In the last year, the Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security has conducted a comprehensive security review of every U.S. diplomatic facility and security has been improved at all of our missions abroad. While the USG does not divulge security measures taken at specific locations, the State Department has:

  • Sent Emergency Security Assessment Teams to 37 of our most vulnerable posts to assess security needs and recommend immediate security upgrades/actions;

  • Deployed more than 200 Diplomatic Security special agents overseas on temporary assignment to augment security at our diplomatic missions;

  • Dispatched Security Assistance Teams to threatened posts to reinforce embassy perimeters and work closely with the mission's guard force and host government officials until the threat has been resolved;

  • Hired 4,000 new local guards to protect U.S. missions abroad;

  • Worked closely with host governments to close streets or change traffic patterns in front of US missions in a number of cities;

  • Worked closely with host governments to increase their security presence at our facilities worldwide;

  • Acquired surrounding properties to increase the setbacks at more than 30 posts;

  • Enhanced physical security at U.S. missions with additional barriers, blast walls, bomb detection units, walk-through metal detectors, x-ray equipment, closed circuit television systems, video event recording equipment, and full and light armored vehicles;

  • Established mandatory security inspections of all vehicles entering U.S. diplomatic facilities;

  • Strengthened the working relationship with the intelligence community regarding assessment, investigation, and dissemination of threat information directed at our posts abroad. Assigned additional State Department personnel to various intelligence community agencies, including the CIA Counter Terrorism Task Force as well as various FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces;

  • Hired and trained 337 new Diplomatic Security special agents, security engineers, security technicians, diplomatic couriers, and civil servants;

  • Established 140 new Diplomatic Security special agent positions overseas;

  • Increased crisis management training programs overseas. One hundred crisis management exercises for U.S. diplomatic missions abroad are being conducted in 1999, and 100 more will be held in 2000. This overseas training schedule, coupled with crisis management training provided domestically, will help ensure that our personnel are fully prepared to respond in future crisis situations.

Congressional Action To Date

We are working vigorously with the Congress to have appropriations for the necessary resources for a multi-year security construction program. On June 8, 1999, the President submitted an FY 2000 budget amendment that will bring new embassy and post construction to $300 million (adding $264 million to the $36 million already set aside for overseas facility construction). This will allow us to construct four new diplomatic facilities and will allow for the design and purchase of up to eight additional posts.

To this FY 2000 amount, the Administration is planning a 10-year embassy security program, which through FY 2010, would spend nearly $11.4 billion on embassy security--$8.4 billion on construction and other elements of post security. At the program's peak, the Administration will be seeking nearly $1.2 billion every year in new money to protect Americans working abroad.

  • Both House and Senate authorization bills provide sufficient funding to meet both our operating and capital investment security requirements for FY 2000; in fact, both bodies authorized far more than the request for the capital construction.

  • The House Commerce-Justice-State (CJS) Subcommittee fully funds the President's FY 2000 request (initial request plus the amendment) but not the $3.6 billion advance appropriation (FYs 2001-2005).

  • The Senate CJS Subcommittee results are less favorable on the capital construction side because the budget amendment was received after initial mark-up.

  • We intend to work aggressively through our legislative staff, OMB, and the White House to ensure that our security resource requirements are met, and that they are not funded at the expense of other international affairs operations and programs.

[end of document]


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