FILE ID:95121501.TDH




(Also increased international cooperation) (660)

By David Pitts

USIA Staff Writer

Washington -- The United States is seeking "universal adherence" by

the nations of the world to "eleven anti-terrorism conventions," says

Mark Kennon, director of the regional affairs office in the State

Department's Office of the Coordinator for Counter-terrorism.

Speaking at a conference on terrorism at George Washington University

December 15, Kennon said the G-7 nations at their recent Ottawa

Ministerial "discussed steps to increase cooperation" against

international terrorism. He said the ministers agreed on steps "to

enhance evidence and intelligence exchanges, as well as law

enforcement cooperation."

"The trend is positive," as indicated by the fact that governments are

much more inclined to extradite those accused of terrorism than was

previously the case, Kennon remarked. "There is increasing agreement

internationally," he said, but the "bad news" is that "some nations

are still holding out in the fight against terrorism." He cited Cuba,

Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Libya and Syria.

"International cooperation is essential" to defeat terrorism, Kennon

continued. The United States is assisting other countries in

developing the kind of inter-agency cooperation that is occurring at

the federal level and between the federal and local levels in this

country, he noted.

According to a recently updated publication of the Congressional

Research Service titled, "Terrorism, the Future and U.S. Foreign

Policy," the State Department's anti-terrorism assistance program

provides training and equipment to 83 countries. Training is provided

in such skills as crisis management, VIP protection, airport security,

and bomb deactivation and detection.

"One significant change over the last decade is that terrorism" is

increasingly seen as a law enforcement problem, Kennon said. "We have

depoliticized the argument" by successfully combating the view of some

that terrorists are freedom fighters if their cause finds favor, he


Asked about so-called narco-terrorism, Kennon said the United States

"does not see that as a trend. The scale of drug smuggling from

terrorist groups is relatively minor," although the drug problem

caused by drug cartels as distinct from terrorist groups persists.

Kevin Giblin, chief of the terrorism and research and analytical

center at the FBI, said that although the number of terrorist attacks

overall "is down, they are becoming more deadly," and there is an

increasing danger of non-conventional weapons being used. As far as

the United States is concerned, "from 1982 to 1992 there were no

incidents of international terrorism. Now that has changed," he added.

He cited a list of incidents in 1995, most notably the Oklahoma

bombing, which allegedly was orchestrated by domestic terrorists.

"It is very important to concentrate on prevention, and not just

reaction capability," Giblin remarked. He indicated a number of steps

the FBI is taking to increase preparation:

-- improving the ability to warn potential targets through acquiring

better intelligence more quickly. "Minimum response time is being

increased since intelligence is perishable."

-- providing greater protection for "key assets" such as electrical

and power systems, bridges and other infrastructure, and


-- hiring 50 analysts for the Domestic Counter Terrorism Center

"mandated by President Clinton." FBI agents also are being assigned to

the center.

Giblin pointed out that the FBI also is assisting in the investigation

of terrorist incidents outside the United States, even when American

citizens are not among the victims. For example, he said, at the

request of the government of Pakistan the FBI assisted with the

investigation of a terrorist incident in Islamabad which involved the

targeting of Egyptian citizens.

William Rosenau, an aide to Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania),

said that a congressional subcommittee on terrorism is studying the

capability of different levels of government to deal with a terrorist

attack that might involve "weapons of mass destruction." State and

local governments all have disaster plans, but it is necessary to

examine whether those plans take account of the new threats to

security, he added.