- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 4, 2003

Space targets
It is highly unlikely, given the extremely high altitude and speed of the Space Shuttle Columbia when it broke apart over Texas, that terrorism was involved.
But that's not to say that NASA hasn't been targeted by terrorists, as first reported in this column in the days after September 11, 2001. Our source happened to be Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina Democrat, who has since announced his candidacy for president.
Mr. Edwards noted that most Americans caught up in the grave aftermath of September 11 never realized that only a few days later a Pakistani group hacked into two of the U.S. government's Web services, declaring "cyber-jihad" against the United States.
A subsequent series of attacks, dubbed "Moonlight Maze," were directed at the Pentagon, Energy Department, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration, resulting in the theft of vast quantities of technical defense research, the senator said.
"Our enemies are already targeting our networks," said Mr. Edwards, who sits on the subcommittee on international security. "We now live in a world where a terrorist can do as much damage with a keyboard and a modem as with a gun or a bomb."
On top of that, he said, cyber-terrorists realize that with the push of a button, emergency services police, fire and ambulances can be paralyzed, power for cities shut down for extended periods, telephone lines disrupted and water supplies poisoned.
Noose tightens
If Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is counting on the left wing of Capitol Hill to keep President Bush at bay, then he'd better start packing his bags.
Yesterday we quoted Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, as saying that once Saddam feels the noose tighten around his neck, he might decide to step aside.
Tugging at that noose is none other than Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, a liberal Democrat, who states: "I have no doubt Saddam Hussein is lying. He has lied countless times before. He is likely hiding weapons, including chemical and biological weapons. The U.N. inspectors' report leaves little doubt of that."
Although Mr. Leahy cautions against rushing into any war with Iraq, he acknowledges that "the Iraqis have not explained what happened to thousands of tons of chemical-weapons material and other biological munitions they had in their possession five years ago."
He concludes, "These are serious discrepancies by a regime that is among the world's most dangerous, deceptive, and brutal."
Teaching terror
Bill Ayers who with his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, in the late 1960s and early 1970s led the Weather Underground organization, described as "a domestic terrorist group responsible for at least 27 bombings, including those in the U.S. Capitol building and the Pentagon" is once again in the scope of a top former FBI official.
W. Raymond Wannall retired assistant director of the FBI who led its Intelligence Division, which was responsible for counterterrorism has handed Inside the Beltway his book review of Mr. Ayers' "Fugitive Days: A Memoir" (Beacon Press, $24), to appear in the Spring 2003 International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence.
"I wonder what [Mr. Ayers] and Bernardine are teaching their students at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University Law School?" Mr. Wannall asks this column. Mr. Ayers is also director of the Center for Youth and Society.
Of particular concern to Mr. Wannall is the passage in which Mr. Ayers writes: "I can't quite imagine putting a bomb in a building today all of that seems so distinctly a part of then. But I can't imagine entirely dismissing the possibility either."
Makes one wonder, Mr. Wannall says, what Mr. Ayers' reactions "continue to be with respect to the United States' current involvement in Afghanistan and the worldwide struggle against al Qaeda terrorism."
Grave danger
Sounding more each day like the presidential candidate he's become, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, is preaching that more needs to be done here at home to prepare for a bioterrorism attack.
"We are in grave danger," Mr. Lieberman says. "The Defense Science Board estimated in 2000 that we have only one of the 57 diagnostics, vaccines and drugs we need to deal with the top 19 bioterror threats.
"In other words, if you do the math, we were less than 2 percent prepared. No progress has been made since then. The DSB said if we were to launch a major industrial development effort, we might be able to develop 20 of these countermeasures in five years and 30 in 10 years."
President Bush's announcement of $600 million in funding over 10 years toward that goal, Mr. Lieberman says, won't begin to address the "massive and threatening gap."

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