Wednesday, April 06, 2011

FBI on alert for possible terrorist attack from Libya

“We want to make certain that we are on guard with the possibility of terrorist attacks emanating somewhere out of Libya, whether it be Gadhafi's forces or in eastern Libya the opposition forces who may have amongst them persons who in the past have had associations with terrorist groups,” Mueller

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is on alert for any possible terrorist attack against the United States emanating from Libya, which is undergoing armed clashes between the government forces and rebels.
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“We want to make certain that we are on guard with the possibility of terrorist attacks emanating somewhere out of Libya, whether it be [Col. Muammar] Gaddafi's forces or in eastern Libya the opposition forces who may have amongst them persons who in the past have had associations with terrorist groups,” FBI Director Robert Mueller, told lawmakers at a Congressional hearing.

“We want to make certain that what is happening in Libya, to the extent that we have information in the United States that may bear on what is happening in Libya, the opposition forces, who they are, what they're doing, we have a number of Libyans here in the United States, whether it be students or visitors, and we're seeking that information,” Mueller said in response to a question from Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA).

Mueller acknowledged that the FBI has been questioning a large number of Libyans living in the United States.

“There are individuals who were previously affiliated with the Libyan government who happen to be in the United States -- they may have been here representing Libya and at various international institutions and the like and to the extent that they have renounced or denounced Gadhafi, are willing to be interviewed and to give us information as to what may be happening in Libya, we will proceed with those interviews,” Mueller explained.

“In countries such as Libya, where they have foreign establishments, there may well be intelligence officers who are part of those foreign establishments or there may be intelligence officers that are operating in and with different types of cover in the United States. We want to make certain that we've identified these individuals to assure that no harm comes from them, knowing that they may well have been associated with the Gadhafi regime,” the FBI chief added.

Mueller was responding to a question from Wolf, who referred to a Wall Street Journal article that said the FBI has begun questioning Libyans living in the U.S. as part of an effort to identify spies or terrorists and to collect information that might help allied military operations.

“The move reflects concerns among U.S. officials in the wake of an allied bombing campaign that established a no-fly zone in Libya to prevent the massacre of anti-government rebels that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi might try to orchestrate revenge attacks against the U.S. citizens,” Wolf said.

“There was a news article about that we were talking to a number of Libyans in the United States about, I guess we're concerned about the possible terrorist attack of some sort. Can you tell us anything about that in open session?” asked Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA).

“With regard to students or visitors from Libya here in the United States who may have information on what is happening in Libya, we have an outreach effort to them as well to obtain what information they might have that may alert us to any attempts at retaliation within the United States or elsewhere by pro-Gaddafi individuals,” Mueller answered.

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