IN THE NEWS #432 - Terrorism Report

By Linda Burchill

This is Steve Ember with the VOA Special English program IN THE NEWS.

A new report urges the United States government to increase its efforts to fight terrorism. The National Commission on Terrorism released the report Monday. Congress formed the group in response to the bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania two years ago.

The former State Department official heading the commission said the threat of terrorism is changing and becoming more deadly. The report by the group of experts and former government officials suggests ways to change American policy.

The National Commission on Terrorism urges the government to ease some restrictions on the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It also recommends that the military lead the response to any major terrorist attack in the United States. Civilian agencies currently have that responsibility. And, the report urges leaders to establish greater controls on the efforts of suspected terrorist groups to collect money in America.

The commission suggests that the government also collect more information about foreign students in the country. It says the government should learn, for example, if a student changes from studying English literature to studying nuclear physics.

The commission notes that most of the half-million foreign students in the United States are not threatening. But it says at least one terrorist is known to have entered the country as a student. He went on to take part in the World Trade Center bombing in New York.

Critics say there is no evidence of a security threat by foreign students in the United States. Arab-American groups and others are concerned that the civil rights of foreign students would be violated.

Also in its report, the commission calls for adding Greece and Pakistan to the list of nations considered by the United States as not fully cooperating against terrorism. Nations on that list are barred from United States military sales. The commission said American interests in Greece have been attacked more than one-hundred-forty times in the last twenty-five years. It said only one of those cases has been solved. The commission also accused Pakistan of supporting several terrorist groups.

Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou condemned the report as unfair to his country. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said that, no matter what the report called for, the United States is not considering restrictions against Greece and Pakistan. However, she said she hoped both countries would increase their efforts against terrorism.

Greece announced such plans Friday, a day after Greek terrorists murdered the top British military representative to Athens.

This VOA Special English program IN THE NEWS, was written by Linda Burchill. This is Steve Ember.

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