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Clinton to terrorists: U.S. won't be intimidated

President calls for new legislation

July 28, 1996
Web posted at: 8:30 p.m. EDT

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- President Clinton sent a resounding message to terrorists Sunday: America will not be intimidated by "cowardly" acts of violence.

"As Americans, we can and must join together to defeat terrorism wherever it strikes and whoever practices it," Clinton said in a speech to disabled veterans in New Orleans. (306K AIFF or WAV sound)sound

Though the nation is "outraged" by Saturday morning's bombing at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, the president said the Olympic spirit has not been dampened, evident in the enthusiastic crowds and show of athleticism that filled stadiums Saturday. (213K AIFF or WAV sound)sound

"They showed up and carried on the Olympic saying -- that they would not be intimidated by terrorism and that no terrorist could kill the Olympic spirit," Clinton said at the 75th annual convention of the Disabled American Veterans.


The audience greeted his words with thundering applause.

Anti-terrorism laws brought to forefront

The president said he has invited congressional leaders to meet with the head of the FBI on Monday.

The leaders will discuss bills that would expand wiretaps and allow for chemically "tagging" explosives, which could help track terrorist acts. Such legislation is needed to "increase the protection of the American people," Clinton said.

Both measures were taken out of an anti-terrorism bill Clinton signed into law earlier this year. He also said that a spate of recent acts of political violence showed that law enforcement needed such powers.

"As strong as the bill was, it did not give our law enforcement officials some of the powerful tools I had recommended," Clinton said.

Legislators invited to Monday's meeting with FBI Director Louis Freeh include Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, R-Georgia; Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi; House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Missouri; and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota.

The president also said nations that "sponsor and permit" terrorist acts "must face strong sanctions" -- specifically Iraq, Iran, Libya and Sudan.

"We all have to say, 'We cannot live with this. It is wrong,'" Clinton said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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