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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

CIA, FBI WARN PANEL OF TOP THREATS TO U.S.

"CIA, FBI Warn Panel of Top Threats to U.S."
By Katherine Shrader - Wednesday, February 16, 2005 2:05 PM EST Print this page
*****Five Stars and a must read

"WASHINGTON - Al-Qaida and associated groups top the list of threats to the United States, leading government intelligence officials told Congress on Wednesday in a grim assessment that also highlighted Iran's emergence as a major threat to American interests in the Middle East. Despite gains made against al-Qaida and other affiliates, CIA Director Porter Goss, in an unusually blunt statement before the mostly secretive Senate Intelligence Committee, said the terror group is intent on finding ways to circumvent U.S. security enhancements to attack the homeland." It may be only a matter of time before al-Qaida or other groups attempt to use chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons. We must focus on that," Goss said.

FBI Director Robert Mueller cautioned of the risk posed by radicalized Muslim converts inside the United States and said he worries about a sleeper operative who may have been in place for years, awaiting orders launch an attack. "I remain very concerned about what we are not seeing," he said in his prepared remarks....

Also at the hearing, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby, painted Iran as a leading threat to U.S. interests in the Middle East. In his prepared testimony, Jacoby said he believes that Iran will continue its support for terrorism and aid for insurgents in Iraq. He said the country's long-term goal is to expel the United States from the region, and noted that political reform movements there have lost momentum.

Goss said that Islamic extremists are exploiting the conflict in Iraq and fighters there represent a "potential pool of contacts" to build transnational terror groups. He said the most-wanted terrorist in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, hopes to establish Iraq as a safe-haven to bring about a final victory over the West....

In related developments: Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld also sent out a warning, telling the House Armed Services Committee he believes terrorists are regrouping for another strike." But he also said the United States is preparing to deal with any threat.... dcexaminer

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