- WASHINGTON -- America is
"massively vulnerable" to another big terrorist attack because
of President George Bush's insistence on diverting resources from internal
security to the war in Iraq, Richard Clarke, the former White House counter-terrorism
chief has said.
- He told The Independent the war in Iraq had taken focus
and financing not only from the hunt for Osama bin Laden and his al-Qa'ida
supporters but from homeland security programmes in the US. "America
is massively vulnerable," Mr Clarke said. "Its chemical plants
are vulnerable; its train systems are all vulnerable. We are a target-rich
environment. There are lots of targets that could be made harder to attack
but we are not doing that."
- The invasion of Iraq, which Mr Clarke believes presented
no threat to the US, had created three serious security problems, he said.
Insufficient aid was being given to countries such as Yemen and Pakistan,
where there were known to be terrorists, to help them strengthen security
measures. Second, troops and resources such as satellite imaging, special
forces and unmanned Predator drones, had been moved from the hunt for bin
Laden in Afghanistan to help the troops in Iraq. Third, the billions of
dollars that had been spent in Iraq had used money that could have been
spent on security within the US.
- "The department has a long list of things they want
to do - to secure trains for example, to prevent another Madrid [bombing]
happening ... to secure chemical plants, to train first-responders. They
are massively under-funded."
- Mr Clarke served presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush
snr and Bill Clinton, then was kept on as counter-terrorism chief by President
- The administration denies the invasion of Iraq diverted
resources and attention from the hunt for al-Qa'ida.
- © 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=531338