Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

More Countries Help Capture Terrorists

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

More Countries Help Capture Terrorists

Article excerpt

The arm of the law is getting longer in reaching out for international terrorists.

Distant lands where the United States has no official right to operate aren't the havens they used to be. The passing of the Cold War and a decade of nurturing international cooperation have seen to that.

Not so long ago, terrorists did not need to flee to shadowed hinterlands or to avowed enemies of the West. Paris would do. Most countries saw terrorism as a political issue to be condemned but not systematically fought on behalf of another country, recalls William H. Webster, director of the FBI and then the CIA through the 1980s. "We're well beyond that kind of circumstance today," he said. Many countries are "looking for ways to help and not ways to get the tar baby somewhere else." Now officials are celebrating two successes: * U.S. lawmen snatched the accused killer of two CIA employees from a hideout the Americans say was near the Pakistani-Afghan border. * Canada extradited to the United States a Saudi terror suspect who promised in a plea bargain to tell what he knows about a 1996 truck bombing that killed 19 U.S. airmen. Mir Aimal Kansi, back in Virginia to face trial in the 1993 spray of gunfire outside CIA headquarters, was pursued like a terrorist although his motives are unknown and he has not been linked to any organization. President Bill Clinton said Kansi's arrest shows the United States "will not relent in the pursuit of terrorists . . ., no matter how long it takes, no matter where they hide." It can take an awfully long time. Webster points to the seemingly endless saga of the 1985 Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking as an example of an incident that would be handled differently today. U.S. fighters intercepted an Egyptian aircraft flying the hijackers to Tunisia and escorted the plane to a NATO air base on Sicily. The Americans lost custody to Italian police in a near shootout. The mastermind of the hijacking, Mohammed Abbas, got away and remains at large. …

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