US did not put pressure on Britain to foil terror plot
One of the things that has surfaced in the US is the argument that the London plot was far from being executed.india Updated: Aug 17, 2006 00:48 IST
Sidestepping criticism about acting too soon in foiling the terror plot to blow up trans-atlantic airliners last week, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said the US did not put pressure on Britain to make arrests in the case.
"The British authorities made the decision to arrest these individuals based upon their timing. It wasn't because of pressure placed by the United States. I'm not aware of any pressure placed by the United States which caused the Brits to initiate the arrest when they did," Gonzales said.
One of the things that has surfaced in the US is the argument that the London Plot was far from being executed as the plotters had not even purchased airplane tickets. With this came a perception that perhaps Washington pressured London into busting the network.
"And so, these are difficult decisions to make, depending on the circumstances. By law enforcement officials, career professionals exercising their best judgment as to when is the appropriate time, when do they have sufficient information to make a successful prosecution to go ahead and initiate that arrest and not take the chance that lives are going to be jeopardized."
"And the UK Officials made that decision in this particular case, and obviously we support it," Gonzales added.
The nation's top law enforcement officer argued the United States had some areas of the law that were more advantageous than what the British had but the administration was indeed looking for ways to come to terms with terrorism within the country such as in tracking down radicalisation on university campuses.
"Are we going to see American terrorists? That's certainly a possibility. I think it's certainly something that we are watching for. Because, you know what, it's no longer the case that people have to leave the United States to learn about the goals of Al-Qaeda. They no longer need to leave the United States to be trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It can all be done here in the United States."
"And so the radicalization of people here in this country is something that we are concerned about and it's something that we're focused on," he said.
"I believe the law enforcement community has an obligation to try to identify where threats are to a respective community, wherever those threats may be," Gonzales remarked adding "we know what the rules of the road are, and we are mindful of those rules. But we have an obligation also to get information that could be essential in preventing further acts of violence here," in the United States.
"We've got a number of tools already that exist. We are in discussions now about getting additional legislation passed. Legislation supporting the terrorist surveillance program, for example, is very, very important," the senior administration official said.
"Bringing terrorists to justice is a very important tool in the war on terror. And so, the use of military commissions is an important tool for a commander in chief, and that's why we've been in serious discussions with Congress about legislation for military commissions."