RealNews

Officials Defend Terror Attack Warning

FBI and Justice Department officials Thursday defended their decision to warn the public about the potential for a devastating terrorist attack on America this summer, saying it was justified by intelligence and essential to avoid missteps that occurred before the Sept. 11 attacks. Their defense came amid criticism from lawmakers and some Bush administration officials with access to the same intelligence. They said Wednesday’s announcement by Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller was overblown and caused unnecessary public concern. Republican Rep. Christopher Cox of California, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said the Ashcroft-Mueller news conference mistakenly led some to believe the nation’s threat level had been increased. He called it “regrettable” that Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge did not join Ashcroft and Mueller. “Their separate public appearances left the impression that the broad and close interagency consultation we expect — and which the law requires — may not have taken place in this case,” Cox said. Full Story

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