Experts say U.S. anti-terrorism campaign should be tougher

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The Independent US

A U.S. congressional advisory commission is recommending more drastic measures to stop terrorism against Americans, including monitoring foreign students and blacklisting more countries.

A U.S. congressional advisory commission is recommending more drastic measures to stop terrorism against Americans, including monitoring foreign students and blacklisting more countries.

"The threat is changing and it's becoming more deadly," the panel's chairman, L. Paul Bremmer III, told The Washington Post.

The National Commission on Terrorism, a panel of private experts and former government officials, was created by Congress two years ago after the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa. It is due to report to lawmakers on Monday.

Suggestions the commission will make include that the United States should designate Pakistan and Greece as nations "not cooperating fully" with anti-terrorism efforts, the Post reported in its Sunday edition. Such nations are not allowed to purchase U.S. military equipment.

Also, Greek and Pakistani citizens should not enjoy privileges that allow visitors from friendly countries to travel to the United States without visas. Greece, the report says, has been "disturbingly passive" in response to terrorism, and Pakistan was cited for providing safe haven for "several groups engaging in terrorism."

Afghanistan, meanwhile, should be moved from the noncooperative list and instead designated a "state sponsor" of terrorism - countries that face even stricter sanctions - the commission's report says. Countries designated terrorism sponsors currently include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, North Korea and Cuba.

In the United States, a regional pilot program for tracking foreign students should be expanded, the panel says. The program keeps tabs on such things as changes in students' study plans - a switch from an English literature major to nuclear physics might arouse suspicion, for example.

The commission also is recommending that the military lead the response to any major terrorist attack on U.S. soil, as opposed to the FBI or the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In addition, it said the CIA and the FBI should be less restricted in opening investigations of terrorist suspects or using informants who may have unsavory backgrounds.

Some of the terrorism commission's recommendations are expected to spark controversy.

"In the process of guaranteeing security, we cannot run roughshod over the basic rights of the Constitution, which is the centerpiece of what the country is about," James J. Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, told the Post.

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