Inside the Ring

Bush targeted

The Colombian terrorist group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, threatened to attack President Bush during his stop in Colombia this week.

U.S. intelligence officials said reports from the region indicated that the Marxist group, which has conducted numerous bombings and terrorist attacks in the country, had planned to conduct some type of bombing or shooting attack during Mr. Bush’s visit.

The president traveled to Cartagena, Colombia, on Monday in a show of support for Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. The stop came after the Pacific Rim summit in Chile.

Mr. Bush said at a press conference that since July 2003, “dozens of leaders and financiers of the FARC narcoterrorist organization have been killed or captured.”

Colombian government security and military forces were out in force for the four-hour visit, including 15,000 military security forces and overflights by military helicopters.

U.S. military advisers have been working as trainers with the Colombian military, which has been battling the Marxist FARC fighters for years.

The FARC is made up of an estimated 9,000 to 12,000 armed combatants and several thousand additional supporters who operate mostly in rural areas.

The group engages in bombings, killings, mortar attacks, narcotrafficking, kidnappings, extortion and hijackings.

U.S. security officials breathed a sigh of relief that the visit to Colombia took place without any attack or other incident.

Offensive counterintelligence

The United States is set to revamp its counterintelligence operations by taking a more aggressive posture against foreign spies.

Michelle Van Cleave, who holds the position of national counterintelligence executive, an interagency director, said in a speech last week that counterintelligence (CI) is more than neutralizing spies.

“CI embraces all activities, human and technical, whether at home or abroad, that are undertaken to identify, assess, neutralize and exploit foreign intelligence threats,” she said. Counterintelligence in the United States has been fragmented in the past as a result of “having no one in charge of the enterprise,” she said.

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