Remarks by the PresidentMarch 1, 2002
on the "Shadow Government"
Q: Mr. President, is there a shadow government in place since September 11th? And --
THE PRESIDENT: A shadowy government or a shadow government? (Laughter.)
Q: A shadow government. And as part of the anti-terror effort, are you considering granting some form of aid to Yemen?
THE PRESIDENT: Let's see, there are two questions there. The first one is, we have -- we take the continuity of government issue very seriously, because our nation was under attack. And I still take the threats that we receive from al Qaeda killers and terrorists very seriously.
I have an obligation as the President, and my President has an obligation to the American people to provide -- to put measures in place that should somebody be successful in attacking Washington, D.C., there's an ongoing government. That's one reason why the Vice President was going to undisclosed locations. This is serious business and we take it seriously.
Q: Sir, back to the issue of the shadow government. The reports out today said that one reason why the shadow government was authorized was that there was a threat of nuclear attack by al Qaeda. Is that something that is still a significant threat?
THE PRESIDENT: We take every threat seriously. And until this country has routed out terrorists wherever they try to hide, we're not safe.
Now, we're doing everything we can to protect the American people, and the American people understand that. They know that our federal law enforcement, state law enforcement, local law enforcement are working day and night to protect the American people. I'm proud of the efforts. I believe -- I know we've made America a tougher place to attack than before. It is much harder for somebody to get on an airplane to attack again. We are taking -- you know, we've got better intelligence gathering. We're doing everything in our power to protect the American people.
And I will tell you, there are people still in this world who want to harm America. And we're going to chase 'em down. And it's going to take a while. But I am a determined person. And as I told the American people, I'm not going to relent. I believe we've been called a history to lead the world. I believe this great, strong, compassionate country has been given a unique moment. And I'm not going to miss the moment, by leading the world to a more freedom-loving world. And the American people understand that and they're solid behind this administration's efforts to defend freedom.