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White House admits to terrorizing public for political gain

In this article from Canada's Globe and Mail, the FBI director admits that the threats released over the weekend were released for political gain. In other words, the White House used the threat of violence for intimidation --- is that not a kind of terrorism?
U.S. issues new warnings on terror

White House tries to counter Bush's critics


Tuesday, May 21, 2002 €“ Print Edition, Page A11

As U.S. officials continued to issue warnings yesterday about the possibility of attacks by suicide bombers and terrorists, the White House quietly acknowledged that the threats are not urgent and that they are partly motivated by political objectives.

FBI director Robert Mueller told an audience of lawyers that the United States is likely some day to experience Israel-style suicide bombings, while the Immigration and Naturalization Service warned that it is unable to keep track of potential terrorists holding student visas.

"There will be another terrorist attack. We will not be able to stop it," Mr. Mueller told a gathering of prosecutors in Virginia. "It's something we all live with."

However, White House officials told reporters that the blunt warnings issued yesterday and Sunday do not reflect a dramatic increase in threatening information but rather a desire to fend off criticism from the Democrats.

Last week, Democrats criticized the Republican administration for its failure to warn Americans about al-Qaeda terrorism in the months before the Sept. 11 attacks.

A senior administration official with knowledge of U.S. intelligence said yesterday that the new warnings, issued by Vice-President Dick Cheney on Sunday and by Mr. Mueller yesterday, are designed to give Americans better notice and to protect President George W. Bush against second-guessing in the event of another attack.

A top White House aide said that last week's criticism prompted a two-pronged political response: Mr. Bush accused Democrats of playing politics with the issue while his advisers reminded voters that the United States is still a target.

Although reports of communications among suspected al-Qaeda members have increased in recent weeks, the White House has not elevated its level of alert from "code yellow" and has no plan to do so, several officials said. Yellow means there is a significant risk of attack, a status that has remained unchanged since the colour code was established in mid-March.

"In response to what you heard over the weekend, I would say [the threats are] relatively non-specific and we are watching it extremely closely," said Lieutenant-General Gregory Newbold, senior planning officer on the U.S. military's Joint Staff.

Nevertheless, the United States was rife with warnings yesterday that its buildings, borders and facilities are still vulnerable to terror attacks. Owners of apartment buildings were warned again to look out for suspicious tenants, and officials in Orlando, Fla., and New York City cautioned that their drinking-water systems are highly vulnerable.

According to The New York Times, thousands of foreigners have illegally obtained Social Security numbers, a form of identity fraud that would allow terrorists to live undetected within U.S. borders for long periods.

At the same time, the Immigration and Naturalization Service said in a 180-page report that its system of keeping track of student-visa holders is "riddled with inaccuracies," gathered using procedures that are "untimely and significantly flawed," and that the records of visa holders are "incomplete and unreliable." Several of the Sept. 11 terrorists used student visas to enter the United States. The INS said its new, more secure computer system will not be ready by January, as originally scheduled.

Yesterday, members of the Senate intelligence committee reiterated Mr. Cheney's warnings about terror attacks in the future, while toning down his rhetoric by saying that such attacks could take place months or years from now.

"I believe it's going to come," Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama said. "Now, whether you mean by imminent, is it going to happen today, tomorrow or two years? We're not sure."

Other officials and politicians said al-Qaeda is not the only Islamic terror group capable of launching attacks against the United States.

"Our enemy is not al-Qaeda alone," Democratic Senator Bob Graham of Florida said. "There are several international terrorist groups which have abilities, in some cases greater abilities, than al-Qaeda and a similar desire to attack the United States." He pointed to Hezbollah and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad as two groups with both the capabilities and the desire to attack.

Victoria Clark, a spokeswoman for the Defence Department, reiterated this point, arguing in a press briefing that the end of the war in Afghanistan does not mark a decline in terrorist threats. "We have always said this is about more than one person, one network, and certainly is about more than Afghanistan."



correction (english)
outraged citizen 3:20pm Wed May 22 '02

Whoops, it's not the FBI director but a "senior intelligence official" that describes the disgusting behavior of the White House.