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TA-THREATS: FBI Concerned About Terrorism At Soft Targets Before Elections

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posted on Mar, 26 2004 @ 10:41 AM
FBI director Robert Mueller warns that terrorists might target the U.S. presidential nominaton conventions and the Olympics to make an even bolder statement than the Madrid bombings. Mueller goes on to state, that he believes terrorists will be turning towards softer targets since security at major targets have increased. In regards to the Olympics, he expressed that U.S Officials are very concerned but that it is too early to pass judgement until current anti-terrorism exercises have been carried out and reinforced as necessary.

FBI Concerned About Terrorism At Political Conventions
"We understand that between now and the election, there is a window of time in which terrorists may well wish to influence events, whether it's in the United States or overseas," Mueller said in an interview with The Associated Press.

"We, along with our counterparts, have to be alert to that type of combination of local persons as well as others who may have expertise in timing devices and constructing (bombs), coming together with those who are willing to sacrifice themselves," Mueller said.

He said there is no good explanation as to why no suicide bombings have been attempted in the United States -- "knock on wood," he said -- other than the FBI's effort to make state and local law enforcement officials aware that "this is a threat" and "the need to be alert to it."

In the interview, Mueller also said:

--The FBI supports full reauthorization by Congress of the Patriot Act, which provides the FBI with updated surveillance capabilities. Concerns about civil liberties and privacy violations "are overblown."

--Emerging terror hotspots include Indonesia, southeast Asia, the Philippines, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Europe. In America, Mueller said, "we are more knowledgeable of those who are supporters of terrorism" than before the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

--Terrorist groups undoubtedly include computer-savvy operatives who may attack U.S. computer systems, even though there is little evidence such attacks have occurred so far. Mueller added that the biggest concern now is from homegrown hackers who do it largely for the thrill.

--The FBI, CIA and other U.S. and foreign agencies are compiling a database of explosives and tactics used in terrorist bombings worldwide. The database, at the FBI academy in Quantico, Va., compiles knowledge about how to identify signatures of various explosives and where they might have been manufactured.

--The investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks is focused on scientific work in an effort to learn how the anthrax was made and who might have been capable of it.

I am a little surprised about the FBI stating the obvious, most Americans have already come to the conclusion that the time between now and elections in November could be volatile and that attempted terror attacks could be expected. But on the other hand, I am grateful that he did state the obvious, because you can never be sure of what our intelligence services may overlook. Mueller's comments on anthrax were a little out of place however, I feel that the anthrax situation should be considered an embarrassment to the FBI, CIA and parties involved. I find it rather hard to believe that after so long they still investigating and are no where closer to finding the culprit(s) of the crime. I will not comment on Mueller's statement about the Patriot Act, but I do not believe that "Concerns about civil liberties and privacy violations "are overblown." "

[Edited on 3-26-2004 by worldwatcher]

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