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Monday, May 5, 2008

FBI confirms stateside terror cells, credits U.S. Muslim community

FBI Director Robert Mueller said last week that the FBI has uncovered small groups of Al Qaida terrorists in the United States, although he declined to provide details.

In House Judiciary Committee testimony, Mueller was asked about cells of Al Qaida in the country.

“As to your first question as to whether we have found affiliates or, as you would call them, cells of Al Qaida in the United States, yes, we have. Again, I cannot get into it in public session, but I would say yes, we have.”

Mueller defended the FBI’s Muslim outreach program that critics say have put the bureau in a role of providing legitimacy to Muslim groups that support overseas extremists.

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“And every opportunity I have, I reaffirm the fact that 99.9 percent of Muslim-Americans or Sikh-Americans, Arab-Americans are every bit as patriotic as anybody else in this room, and that many of our cases are a result of the cooperation from the Muslim community in the United States,” Mueller said.

The FBI has been stepping up intelligence-gathering activities in the United States aimed at providing intelligence that would stop a terrorist attack in advance, but U.S. officials said the intelligence program is still in its early stages.

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