Overseas Security: State Department Has Not Fully Implemented Key Measures to Protect U.S. Officials from Terrorist Attacks Outside of Embassies Page: 3 of 14
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Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:
I am pleased to be here to discuss the report we are releasing today on
State Department efforts to protect U.S. officials and their families from
terrorist attacks outside of embassies.'
U.S. government officials and their families living and working overseas
are at risk from terrorist threats. Since 1968, 32 embassy officials have
been attacked-23 fatally-by terrorists outside the embassy. As the State
Department continues to improve security at U.S. embassies, concerns are
growing that terrorist groups are likely to focus on "soft" targets-such as
homes, schools, and places of worship. Recent terrorist attacks against
housing complexes in Saudi Arabia, a school in Russia, and places of
worship in Turkey illustrate this growing threat. State-initiated security
assessments have further documented this growing concern and
recommended that State develop better measures to protect U.S. officials
and their families in soft target areas.2
Our report addresses four issues: (1) whether State has a strategy for soft
target protection, (2) an assessment of State's efforts to protect U.S.
officials and their families against terrorist attacks while traveling to and
from work, (3) State's efforts to improve security at schools overseas
attended by the children of U.S. officials, and (4) issues related to
protection of U.S. officials and their families at residences. I will also
discuss our recommendations to State and State's response.
For our work on this subject, we reviewed State documents and
interviewed State officials in Washington, D.C., and at five posts in four
countries. We also attended security trainings and briefings available to
State officials. Our work was conducted in accordance with generally
accepted government auditing standards.
1GAO, Overseas Security: State Department Has Not Fully Implemented Key Measures to
Protect U.S. Officials from Terrorist Attacks Outside of Embassies, GAO-05-642
(Washington, D.C.: May 9, 2005).
2These reviews include (1) the 1985 Report of the Secretary of State's Advisory Panel on
Overseas Security (The Inman Report); (2) Accountability Review Board reports that
followed assassinations of U.S. officials in 1988, 1989, 1995, 2002, and 2003; and (3) the
1999 Report by the Overseas Presence Advisory Panel (The Crowe Commission).
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Overseas Security: State Department Has Not Fully Implemented Key Measures to Protect U.S. Officials from Terrorist Attacks Outside of Embassies, text, May 10, 2005; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc294600/m1/3/: accessed September 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.