More large-scale terror attacks are likely unless the federal government moves quickly and carefully to strengthen this nation's intelligence tools that can uncover and stop nightmare plots before they can be unleashed.
That prediction, by U.S. Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, should haunt members of the Senate Intelligence Committee he heads when they meet today to consider an anti-terrorism legislative package.
Key features in that package would establish a counter-terrorism czar in the White House and update the rules governing wiretapping to keep up with changes in technology involving the use of cellular phones. . . .
Graham, who has a reputation for trustworthiness and pragmatism, said government intelligence experts told him that last week's hijackings and suicide attacks on New York's World Trade Center and Pentagon were not planned "as a one-day event." Future attacks should be anticipated. . . .
It's unlikely that the people behind the atrocities would try another airliner assault. It's more likely they might try to use other high-profile tactics, such as poisoning the water supply for a major city or blowing up a bridge.
. . . There is one critical concern with these proposed changes: Strong safeguards must be in place to prevent the increased authority . . . from being abused or constitutional rights violated.