News24

FBI: Plot shows need for surveillance

2012-05-09 22:19

Washington - FBI Director Robert Mueller has urged Congress to renew wide-ranging surveillance authority to thwart terrorism plots like the latest one in which an al-Qaeda-engineered explosive device was to have been detonated on a US-bound airline flight.

Mueller tells a House panel the FBI is examining the device and says the scheme hatched in Yemen demonstrates that it is essential for Congress to reauthorise counter-terrorism tools enacted in 2008. These programmes expire at year-end.

The provisions allow the government to target electronic surveillance on foreign persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States.

The FBI director's comments follow revelations that al-Qaeda completed a sophisticated new, non-metallic underwear bomb last month and that the would-be suicide bomber actually was a double agent working with the CIA and Saudi intelligence agencies.