Police states don't just fade away. Their remnants persist -- through deeply intertwined networks of secret police, paramilitary units and criminal groups that have enriched themselves while serving as pillars of support to tyrants. No one knew this more than Zoran Djindjic, the pro-reform Serbian prime minister who was assassinated on Wednesday. And no one appears to know this less than Bush administration officials who assume that sweeping tyranny from Iraq will be as simple as a few days of precision bombing. The Djindjic assassination suggests that cleaning up after despots -- such as Iraq's Saddam Hussein or Serbia's former dictator Slobodan Milosevic -- is never as easy as Bush would have Americans believe. As Serbs are learning, the process takes years.
When President Bush proposed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last year, one of four key tasks he said the new department would fulfill would be streamlined counterterrorism intelligence analysis. The new department "will review intelligence and law-enforcement information from all agencies of government and produce a single daily picture of threats against our homeland," Bush declared in a speech on June 6, 2002. The idea made sense: One of the main findings of a post-September 11 congressional inquiry was that a failure to share and jointly analyze foreign and domestic terrorism information was disrupting our ability to detect and prevent attacks. Bush's DHS proposal promised to change that.
FBI agents investigating last fall's anthrax attacks searched the Frederick, Maryland, apartment of Steven J. Hatfill, a former U.S. government bio-defense scientist, this past Tuesday. Hatfill is not a suspect in the anthrax case, the FBI says. Rather, law-enforcement officials have told The Associated Press that Hatfill consented to the search in order to clear his name, which The New York Times reports has been much mentioned on Web sites frequented by scientists, journalists, and others who've taken an interest in the anthrax investigation.
When news broke about the infamous FBI "Phoenix" memo, which warned headquarters of possible terrorist activity in U.S. aviation schools last July, members of Congress could be heard fulminating across the land. "How in the world could somebody have read this document and not had lights, firecrackers, rockets go off in their head that this is something that is really important?" asked Senator Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat who heads the Senate Select Intelligence Committee.
When anthrax first turned up in letters to
journalists and members of Congress last October, much of the public, still
shaken from the September 11 attacks, naturally assumed that the perpetrator was
an outside terrorist gr oup like al-Qaeda. But as investigators have honed in on
domestic facilities and possibly even domestic suspects, the FBI faces a
difficult test. Suppose the attacks were an inside job -- by, say, one of the
U.S. Army's own biowarfare scientists. What scientific authorities could the FBI
turn to if it's effectively investigating the very labs that do its testing?