Saturday August 24 2014
– The Arab Spring uprisings have created a new segment of violent extremists that will threaten the US and its citizens abroad for years to come, FBI director Robert Mueller said.
Mr Mueller, who will complete his 12 years as head of the law enforcement agency on September 4th, said Tunisia, Libya, Mali, Algeria, Syria and most recently, Egypt, have become the focus of US counter-terrorism efforts.
“Every one of these countries now has cadres of individuals who you would put in the category of violent extremists that will present threats down the road,” Mr Mueller said. “Not only threats to us in the US, but also threats to Americans overseas.”
Mr Mueller’s comments came two weeks after the US closed embassies and diplomatic compounds in almost two dozen countries because of terrorist threats and as the government continues to grapple with the diplomatic responses to unrest across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.
The US State Department on August 3rd issued a worldwide travel alert warning of potential terror attacks by al-Qaeda or its affiliates. For Mr Mueller, a shifted landscape abroad has been the catalyst for the transformation at the FBI since he became director just days before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington.
James Comey, the former No. 2 official at the Justice Depanunder president George W. Bush, was confirmed 93-1 by the US Senate last month to succeed Mr Mueller. Mr Comey will begin work at the FBI next week to ensure a smooth transition – Phil Mattingly