William Cohen, fully William Sebastian Cohen

William
Cohen, fully William Sebastian Cohen
1940

American Author, Lawyer and Politician, U.S. Senator and House of Representative representing Maine, Secretary of Defense

Author Quotes

The mere fear that there is a mole within an agency can set off a chain reaction and a hunt for that particular mole which can paralyze the agency for weeks and months and years even, in a search. The same thing is true about just the false scare of a threat of using some kind of a chemical weapon or a biological one. There are some reports, for example, that some countries have been trying to construct something like an Ebola Virus, and that would be a very dangerous phenomenon, to say the least. Alvin Toffler has written about this in terms of some scientists in their laboratories trying to devise certain types of pathogens that would be ethnic specific so that they could just eliminate certain ethnic groups and races; and others are designing some sort of engineering, some sort of insects that can destroy specific crops. Others are engaging even in an eco- type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.
So there are plenty of ingenious minds out there that are at work finding ways in which they can wreak terror upon other nations. It's real, and that's the reason why we have to intensify our efforts, and that's why this is so important.

The threat of terrorism taking place on American soil is real, with chemical, biological, indeed, as you've indicated, even potentially nuclear weapons. We have, in fact, increased our security in this country. There is no foolproof security that we can provide. But to say that we can't protect against everything doesn't mean that we shouldn't protect against those that can cause us catastrophic harm.

A plague more monstrous than anything we have experienced could spread with all the irrevocability of ink on tissue paper. Ancient scourges would quickly become modern nightmares.

The tone, tenor and substance of what you had to say is very different from what we heard before.

For while the threat of nuclear holocaust has been significantly reduced, the world remains a very unsettled and dangerous place.

The U.S. intelligence community obtained physical evidence from outside the al-Shifa facility in Sudan that supported long-standing concerns regarding its potential role in Sudanese chemical weapon efforts that could be exploited by al Qaeda. The al-Shifa facility had been under surveillance for some time because of a variety of intelligence reports, including HUMINT reports identifying it as a WMD-related facility, indirect links between the facility and Bin Laden and the Iraqi chemical weapons program, and extraordinary security – including surface-to-air missiles – used to protect it during its construction. The direct physical evidence from the scene obtained at that time convinced the U.S. intelligence community that their suspicions were correct about the facility’s chemical weapons role and that there was a risk of chemical agents getting into the hands of al Qaeda, whose interest in obtaining such weapons was clear.

I am prepared to place 30 years of public service on the line to say the only factor that was important in this decision is what was in the American people's best interest. There were no other factors.

There are some reports, for example, that some countries have been trying to construct something like an Ebola Virus, and that would be a very dangerous phenomenon, to say the least... Others are engaging even in an eco- type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.

I believe that we have been complacent as a society. We have failed to fully comprehend the gathering storm. Even now after September 11, it is far from clear that our society truly appreciates the gravity of the threat we face or is yet willing to do what is necessary to counter it. Even after September 11, and after anthrax and ricin attacks in the U.S., I remain concerned that the controversy over not finding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction will lead to the erroneous assumption that all the talk about the dangers of WMD is just another exercise in the cynical exploitation of fear. After all, it is commonly noted, there have been no attacks since 9/11. This is a dangerous delusion. The enemy is not only coming, he has been here. He is already amongst us. He will continue to try to examine our weaknesses, exploit the crevices in our security, and destroy our way of living as well as our lives.

These plans make it very clear . . . that there is no room for harassment or threats in the military.

If, as it appears, it was an act of terrorists, then we will do everything in our power to track them down and hold them accountable.

This memorial is more than a remembrance, it's also a reminder that women in the military's service to America is not new and should never again be allowed to go unrecognized. We don't allow women in service as a social favor; we do not train women in the name of a noble social experiment. Today, women in uniform are part of the national security of the United States, and this isn't a modern nicety, it's a military necessity… Our military wouldn't be what it is today without women.

I'm very confident that the department will be able to carry out its missions as we cross over into the new millennium.

To the extent that this bombing interrupted the training activities of a terrorist network, they may be more safe.

Others [terrorists] are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves... So there are plenty of ingenious minds out there that are at work finding ways in which they can wreak terror upon other nations...It's real, and that's the reason why we have to intensify our [counterterrorism] efforts.

We are trying to take it step by step because it's very, very difficult technology we are trying.

Politically, economically and technologically, the world is changing at an unprecedented and sometimes alarming pace.

We can never descend to the level of those who killed us. We will (respond) with precision. We will rip them up and bring them to justice . . . The real question for us is, Do we have the will -- the will to stay the course?

Technology is miniaturizing the globe, binding our destiny ever more closely to that of our allies and economic partners around the world.

We felt it was in our best interests to move out. We'll play this out in court.

Terrorism is escalating to the point that Americans soon may have to choose between civil liberties and more intrusive means of protection.

We intend to take down that terror network.

That hole in the side of the Cole was actually a hole in the chest and the heart of the American people.

We will not win the war on terror through military action. The sharing of information and intelligence will be vital to protecting our country.

The lack of actionable intelligence was the missing element in our comprehensive effort to capture or kill Bin Laden and al Qaeda leadership. The war against Iraq has highlighted the challenge of obtaining reliable intelligence against a so-called “hard target.” While some charge that the Bush Administration exaggerated or manipulated the available intelligence, the fact is that all responsible officials from the Clinton and Bush administrations and, I believe, most Members of Congress genuinely believed that Saddam Hussein had active WMD programs. While it is too early to declare that belief to be entirely wrong, I think we all have been surprised by the inability to find meaningful evidence of such active WMD programs.

Author Picture
First Name
William
Last Name
Cohen, fully William Sebastian Cohen
Birth Date
1940
Bio

American Author, Lawyer and Politician, U.S. Senator and House of Representative representing Maine, Secretary of Defense