The FBI is facing one of the most dangerous, difficult challenges in its history as agents and analysts try to solve a string of
The FBI is facing one of the most dangerous, difficult challenges in its history as agents and analysts try to solve a string of deadly bombings in Iraq.
"We don't have the intelligence as of yet to keep events from occurring and, postblast, the intelligence to prove who's behind them," FBI counterterrorism chief John Pistole told The Associated Press in a recent interview. "We are making progress, both forensically and in developing sources. It's just a much greater challenge than any place we've been."
The FBI is involved in about a dozen bombing investigations in Iraq, focusing on those that involve civilian or government targets rather than attacks directly on U.S. or coalition military forces.
About three dozen FBI personnel are stationed in Baghdad, working primarily to identify and trace explosives used in the bombings. The agents are working with American soldiers, the CIA and Iraqi police in trying to track down the perpetrators, Pistole said.
The FBI team also is involved in analyzing and translating documents from deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's government, interviewing detainees and tracking known fugitives.
Agents are fingerprinting 3,400 members of the Mujahedeen Khalq, Iranian fighters who want to overthrow Iran's theocracy. The Mujahedeen Khalq, considered a terrorist organization by the State Department, was backed by Saddam, but its members capitulated to and were disarmed by invading U.S. forces and allowed to stay in Iraq on the promise not to make trouble.
The fingerprints and interviews, Pistole said, "will provide a database for future reference" that could help the FBI solve -- or prevent -- terrorist attacks. The types of weapons used in Iraq, from rocket-propelled grenades to plastic explosives, are being catalogued and traced by the FBI and other U.S. agencies to identify the sources of terrorist arms.
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