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LA Times May 20


Mueller Expects Suicide Bombers in U.S.

From Associated Press

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Walk-in suicide bombers like those who have attacked public places in Israel will hit the United States eventually, FBI Director Robert Mueller said today.

"I think we will see that in the future, I think it's inevitable," Mueller said in response to a question during a speech to the National Association of District Attorneys meeting in suburban Alexandria, Va.

In his opening remarks to the group, Mueller flatly predicted that "there will be another terrorist attack. We will not be able to stop it. It's something we all live with."

Mueller said the degree of fanaticism an informant must exhibit to get into the inner circle of a terrorist group makes it difficult for law enforcement agencies to penetrate such organizations and prevent such attacks.

"I wish I could be more optimistic," he said.

Mueller's prediction follows Vice President Dick Cheney's warning Sunday that because no specific information is available, the United States is finding it difficult to respond to the latest intelligence hints that al-Qaida may be planning another attack.

Mueller said law enforcement has been somewhat successful in combating acts of terrorism in Northern Ireland by developing sources who could provide information about terrorist plans and by using electronic surveillance.

But he said the difficulty of getting informants inside terrorist groups targeting the United States makes it much harder to obtain advance information.

Cheney said Sunday he sees "a real possibility" that walk-in suicide bombers may hit the United States if those who have attacked Israel succeed in changing the situation in the Middle East.

"Terrorism is an evil, pernicious thing, and it is one of the biggest challenges we've ever faced as a nation," Cheney said.

At the prosecutors meeting, Mueller said the FBI now believes that "an al-Qaida bomb maker" constructed the shoe bomb that Richard Reid had when he was apprehended aboard a flight from Paris to the United States in December.

Mueller made the comment in describing how the FBI is increasing its recruitment of scientific experts to help in terrorism investigations and is "centralizing analytical capability" to coordinate evidence gathering.

Mueller also said the arrest of Abu Zubaydah, a top al-Qaida operative, during raids in Pakistan in March was the result of a joint FBI-CIA operation. He cited the raids as an example of how the traditional wall between the FBI and the CIA is coming down as the two agencies battle terrorism.

-- (, May 20, 2002


Do not be deterred by swarthy persons in trench coats. Own your own bomb sniffing dog.

-- (, May 20, 2002.

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