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Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 22:23 GMT 23:23 UK
CIA chief warns of terror threat
Osama Bin Laden
Tenet says the terrorist are on the offensive again

The director of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has said the danger of a terrorist attack on America is as serious now as it was in the summer before the 11 September attacks.


They've reconstituted, they're coming after us, they want to execute attacks

George Tenet
George Tenet was speaking during a congressional hearing on intelligence failings before 11 September.

He acknowledged some failures but defended the intelligence agency's counter terrorism efforts.

Mr Tenet told the House and Senate intelligence committees that the "threat environment", as he called it, was as serious now as before the attacks on Washington and New York.

"They've reconstituted, they're coming after us, they want to execute attacks," he said.

Agencies defended

He also defended the CIA against suggestions that if vital information had been shared between different agencies, the attacks might have been prevented.

He said his agency was aware in the months beforehand that Osama Bin Laden meant to attack and kill large numbers of Americans either at home or abroad.

He said those threats were reported urgently, but that the intelligence was maddeningly short on details.

However, he did acknowledge that the CIA failed for many months to get two of the 11 September hijackers put on watch lists which would have alerted the FBI to their presence in the United States.

Both Mr Tenet and the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Robert Mueller, denied that there had been a failure to share information between their agencies.

Each said post cold war cutbacks had however made intelligence gathering more difficult.


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18 Sep 02 | Americas
07 Jun 02 | Americas
08 Sep 02 | Middle East
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