- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 30, 2001

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III yesterday pledged to work more closely with police agencies here and abroad in the hunt for terrorists who attacked the United States on Sept. 11, while acknowledging that the bureau has declined help from some police agencies.
"I learned that in some cases, the FBI was turning away your offers of help. This is unacceptable," Mr. Mueller said during a speech in Toronto to the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Police agencies in the United States and in several foreign countries have complained about the FBI's unwillingness to share information concerning the investigation.
In New York yesterday, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, himself angry over the FBI's lack of cooperation with New York authorities, urged Congress to pass legislation requiring the FBI and other federal authorities to share intelligence with local police and government officials, especially during a crisis.
Mr. Mueller told the chiefs the FBI would make every effort to provide information in a timely manner but noted the FBI does not always have as much information as local authorities expect particularly on the "watch list" of names forwarded to local agencies concerning suspects and possible witnesses.
"We do not have much more than the names and aliases of those we want to interview but do not necessarily have the authority to arrest," said Mr. Mueller, a career Justice Department prosecutor who took over the FBI just a week before the Sept. 11 attacks.
Meanwhile, the arduous task of identifying the specific strain of anthrax used in letters that have killed three persons in Florida and Washington D.C. continued yesterday. The identification of the strain is believed to be the first step in identifying the source, federal law enforcement authorities said.
Authorities said scientists can determine the strain of the anthrax by looking at specific sections of the bacteria's DNA and discovering whether it has been genetically manipulated, but the methods of tracing the type of bacteria are slow and imperfect. There are more than 1,000 known strains of the bacteria.
They also said every sample tested from the recent cases of anthrax infections in Florida, New York and Washington D.C. is believed to have originated with the same strain. It has not yet been matched with any of the known types of anthrax collected from naturally occurring outbreaks in animals.
The FBI has focused on two possible sources: a foreign country with access to anthrax as a biological weapon mainly Iraq and the former Soviet Union and domestic terrorists with the ability to produce the finely-milled powder that has killed three persons.
Some key political leaders have said the strain of anthrax used in the letters to Florida and Washington D.C. resembled a domestic form of the bacteria known as the Ames strain, a particularly virulent form of anthrax that has been exported from the United States to research laboratories around the world. The strain originated at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
The three men who died, including two Postal Service workers in the District and a photo editor at a Florida tabloid newspaper, suffered from inhaled anthrax the most lethal form of the disease.
Authorities said equipment is readily available in this country to process anthrax into the finely-milled powder necessary to cause a pulmonary infection.
Investigators want to know whether the anthrax-laced letters came from one source or several, and if more letters are either already in the postal system or are waiting to be sent to other targets.
A number of factors has complicated the ongoing investigation, including hundreds of anthrax hoaxes. There also is a lack of expertise on the part of the FBI, having never before faced a similar bioterrorism challenge.
Budgetary constraints also have been significant.
Requests by the FBI for additional funding to combat bioterrorism were ignored until 1996, when sarin gas was unleased in a Japanese subway.

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