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Homeland Security

FBI Chief Impressed With Beijing Olympics Security

By Stephanie Ho
30 January 2008

The head of the FBI says he is impressed with China's security preparations for the Beijing Olympics, which start August 8. He is in Beijing to discuss U.S. cooperation with Chinese police and security officials for the games. VOA's Stephanie Ho reports frm Beijing.

FBI Director Robert Mueller told reporters in Beijing Wednesday his main concern is to ensure that the 2008 Olympics are not a target for terrorist attacks. He says he thinks China's leaders are doing a good job making Olympic venues secure.

"I am very much impressed by the preparations that have been made to accomplish that, and I fully anticipate that the Olympics will be secure and safe," he said.

The FBI has previously advised Olympic host cities on security. During a three-day visit to Beijing, Mueller met with officials from police, paramilitary and counterintelligence agencies. He also visited Olympic venues for a firsthand look at the preparations.

The FBI director sidestepped questions about China's efforts to crack down on groups western governments consider peaceful. These groups include Falun Gong, unemployed workers and activists critical of Chinese policies on Sudan, human rights, religion and the environment.

Mueller also avoided making any comment about China's Muslim Uighur minority. Beijing has blamed the Uighurs for bomb attacks in recent years. The U.S. government also has placed one Uighur group, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, on its official list of terrorists, but Mueller says Washington is more worried about international terrorist threats during the Games.

"We are concerned about foreign threats, which is why it is tremendously important for us to share intelligence with regard to threats that may be originating outside China, as China itself addresses threats from within the country," he said.

The FBI began posting a liaison agent in Beijing in 2002. China later sent its agent to Washington. Mueller says the arrangement allows the fast exchange of information, but he gave no specifics.

The FBI director says the Olympics are an opportunity for his agency to further enhance its relationship with its Chinese counterparts. He says he hopes this cooperation on counter-terrorism will last well past the Games.

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