Mon, 17 Sep 2001

Decoding a plot of terror

In a sense, the nearly-atomized wreckage, especially in the case of the collapsed twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, has complicated the task of obtaining some unalloyed forensic evidence at the site itself.

Yet the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been able to make rapid progress in piecing the puzzle together.

The reason can certainly be traced to the mass of intelligence that Washington's secret services had gathered over the years on some resourceful anti-America groups that command considerable financial means too... .

The U.S. authorities are obviously keen to make amends for the conspicuous failure of the country's intelligence establishment to warn about the signs of any impending terrorist strike ahead of this week's miniaturized holocaust.

To say this is not to suggest that the ongoing investigation is being fast-forwarded without caution.

It is also true, no doubt, that the international community is almost as eager as the troubled Americans to know the identity of such masterly practitioners of a doctrine of hate.

Yet, for the sake of international stability, it is essential that the American investigators exercise utmost care in arriving at their final conclusions.

The investigation has entered a critical phase with the recovery of the flight data recorder ("black box") in respect of the hijacked plane that crashed.

Other onboard devices of investigative value are also being scouted for.

What the U.S. President, Mr. George W. Bush, should go by is not merely the mandatory scientific thoroughness of the investigators. Above all, the political-diplomatic decision that Mr. Bush might make on the basis of a multi-faceted investigation must be infused with genuine transparency.

In the end, the geopolitical implications of the American President's act of identifying the "invisible enemy" will be as important to the U.S. itself as indeed for the rest of the world.

Mr. Bush has already made no secret of his intention to try and wipe out the terrorist dens of those who perpetrated the latest "act of war" against America.

-- The Hindu, New Delhi