UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Homeland Security

SLUG: 2-299512 Congress / Terror (L)









INTRO: The directors of the C-I-A and F-B-I say the al-Qaida terrorist organization remains a serious threat to the United States. V-O-A's Dan Robinson reports from Capitol Hill, where C-I-A Director George Tenet, and F-B-I Director Robert Mueller, appeared before a congressional panel.

TEXT: In testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Mr. Tenet said information points to the possibility of terrorist attacks in the United States and abroad:

/// TENET ACT ///

The information we have points to plots, aimed at targets on two fronts, in the United States and on the Arabian peninsula. It points to plots timed to occur as early as the end of the Hajj, which occurs late this week, and it points to plots that could include the use of a radiological dispersion device, as well as poisons and chemicals.

/// END ACT ///

The latest intelligence, Mr. Tenet says, "is not idle chatter." He says the United States and its allies have thwarted a number of al-Qaida plots, but al-Qaida may try to strike "softer" (more vulnerable) targets.

Mr. Tenet also said there are disturbing signs that al-Qaida continues to have a presence in Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq.

F-B-I Director Robert Mueller said the al-Qaida network will remain, for the foreseeable future, the most immediate and serious threat facing the United States. He is most concerned about Islamic extremists within the United States, potentially numbering several hundred, who have so far gone undetected:


Our greatest threat is from al-Qaida cells in the United States that we have not yet been able to identify. Finding and rooting out al-Qaida members once they have entered the United States and have had time to establish themselves is our most serious intelligence and law enforcement challenge.

/// END ACT ///

Mr. Mueller and Mr. Tenet say information sharing between the F-B-I and C-I-A has improved since the September 2001 terrorist attacks. However, some lawmakers are not convinced.

Senator John Edwards, a Democrat who is running for President in 2004, announced he is introducing legislation that would withdraw domestic intelligence gathering and analysis from the F-B-I, and create a new government agency for that purpose.

/// OPT /// Mr. Mueller took exception to Mr. Edwards' proposal:


Senator, you have overlooked a great deal of the good work that the F-B-I has done in the last 17 months in connecting the dots (eds: analyzing information and putting it to use).

/// END ACT /// /// END OPT ///

Referring to criticism of the intelligence community, the committee Chairman, Pat Roberts, said he will be watching the F-B-I and C-I-A closely:

/// ROBERTS ACT /// 144

As chairman of this committee, I intend to conduct vigorous oversight of the intelligence community to ensure that it provides our leaders with the quality of intelligence they need to ensure the security of the American people, whether at home or abroad.

/// END ACT ///

The testimony on Capitol Hill coincided with a recent upgrading of the national terrorist threat level from "elevated" to "high." (signed)


Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list