In our June 11 news story ?FBI Prevented Dirty Bombing of D.C.,? we said, ?This FBI announcement comes just in time to save their reputation, after weeks of revelations that the FBI ignored the many warnings they received about September 11. We hope this is a real story and not just a face-saving puff piece and that the FBI is becoming productive and efficient once again.? Now it looks like other news organizations are having the same kinds of reservations.
The June 11 New York Times says, ?Some Democrats and civil liberties advocates have questioned whether the disclosure was timed to help counter criticism that the authorities, especially those at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had mishandled signals that might have uncovered the Sept. 11 plot.?
They quote Laura Murphy, director of the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union, as saying, ?Every time it looks as though the administration is going to face criticism, they emerge with a request for expanded powers or a new announcement, so what they seem to be doing is timing things so they drown out really aggressive inquiries into their performance.?
Government officials have called the implications unfair, but do admit that, once they decided to disclose the arrest of Padilla, they made sure the announcement was made by Attorney General Ashcroft, even though they had to set up a video hookup in Moscow, where Ashcroft is on an official visit.
Europe is skeptical too. British news sources point out that the U.S. has not produced any evidence to show that Padilla (aka Muhajir) produced a bomb or even had access to the material necessary to build one. No details have been released about where or when he was planning to launch it or the other members of his launch team. The most that has been said about him is that he had the ?intention? to detonate a dirty bomb.
President Bush has announced that a "full-scale manhunt" is under way in the U.S. for Padilla?s accomplices. He says, "We will run down every lead, every hint. We're in for a long struggle in this war on terror. And there are people that still want to harm America."
No one doubts that Padilla has terrorist connections. It?s known he converted to radical Islam while in prison. Before his arrest at Chicago's O'Hare airport on May 8, Padilla stopped in Zurich on the way from Pakistan, where he picked up $10,500. Since Padilla is an ex-con unlikely to have a Swiss bank account, it?s assumed he withdrew it from an al-Qaeda account.
British security sources believe he may have been acting as a courier, merely bringing the money to a terrorist network inside the U.S. They suspect that his alleged bomb-making activities may have been announced in order to give the FBI a much-needed boost in public opinion. However, officials in both Europe and Washington have no doubt that some terrorist group, somewhere, is planning a dirty bomb attack on the U.S.
The FBI is in a mess and you need to understand why. From J. Edgar Hoover's abuses to Louis Freeh's devastating mismanagement of the Bureau, and Robert Mueller's efforts to put the pieces back together, ?The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI? by Ronald Kessler, tells the true story that urgently needs to be told and understood by every American. Kessler will be on Dreamland June 15. To learn more,click here.
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