- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 6, 2000

The CIA yesterday rejected a congressionally appointed panel's recommendation that it be given wider authority to recruit agents with criminal pasts in its efforts to fight global terrorism.
CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield rejected the proposal to change the recruiting guideline put forward yesterday by the National Commission on Terrorism, one of a number of recommendations offered by the commission after a six-month study.
The 1996 guideline, sharply limiting the use of human rights violators as covert sources, was written after a Guatemalan officer on the CIA's payroll was accused of murdering American citizens.
"No guidelines are impeding our efforts to fight terrorism," the CIA official said in an interview. "The notion that our human rights guidelines are an impediment to fighting terrorism is simply wrong."
In addition to the CIA recommendation, L. Paul Bremer III, chairman of the commission, said the just-completed panel report also indicated the need for:
Monitoring some of the 500,000 foreign students in the United States.
Sanctioning Greece and Pakistan for not fighting terrorism.
Increased funding for the CIA, the FBI and National Security Agency.
Allowing the U.S. military to oversee the response to a large terrorist attack in the United States.
The most important finding is that "the threat of international terrorism is becoming more deadly and terrorist organizations are becoming more diffuse, more difficult to detect, to penetrate and to disrupt," said Mr. Bremer, a former U.S. anti-terrorism official.
But the unanimous report by the bipartisan panel of 10 experts appointed by congressional leaders received a cold shoulder from some intelligence officials, as well as from Greece and Pakistan. Both countries rejected the idea that sanctions should be applied to them.
In Greece, five American Embassy officials have been killed since 1975 and 24 American companies bombed in the past 2 and 1/2 years without anyone being arrested, said State Department spokesman Philip Reeker yesterday.
But a Greek Embassy official said yesterday, "The fact that Greece is singled out in such a hostile manner is totally unacceptable."
The commission report "ignores the degree of cooperation between the two countries, questions the political will and commitment of the Greek government to fight terrorism, and thirdly does not reflect the situation on the ground because Greece is safer than most countries in the world," the official added.
A Pakistani Embassy spokesman added yesterday, "Pakistan is providing extensive cooperation with U.S. counterterrorism efforts, and any new sanctions would jeopardize the delicate relations we have with the United States in eliminating this scourge from our part of the world."
"The report has gratuitously focused on Pakistan, which condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations," said Masood Khan, political counselor at the embassy.
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright said on CNN Sunday that "we are not considering sanctions" on Greece or Pakistan.
Former chief of CIA counterterrorism Vince Cannistraro disputed some of the main findings of the report. Tracking foreign students "is burdensome on law enforcement" and, since it is not clear students are a threat, it's "like proposing a solution to a non-problem," he said.
He also worried, as did others, that allowing the U.S. military to coordinate the response to terrorist attacks in the United States could violate the traditional use of the Army abroad but not at home.

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