FBI SAYS GUAM TERRORISM RISK HIGH

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By Jose Cepeda III

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (April 7, 2001 – Pacific Daily News)---Guam may be at high risk for terrorist activities, an FBI agent said yesterday.

Myron Fuller, special agent-in-charge of the FBI's Hawai‘i division, was part of a panel discussion involving local military officials that focused on "Regional Stability and Economic Growth in Asia."

Fuller said the island has a high risk for terrorism activity, but the threat of that happening is low.

The agent and military officials were involved in the 59th Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce Conference held at the Hilton Guam Resort and Spa in Tumon.

Fuller said there are two types of crimes that are related to transnational organized crime that occur on Guam.

"There's drug trafficking and smuggling of illegal immigrants, but we think the risk for terrorism is high, but the threat is low," Fuller said.

He said Guam's location is a factor because the island is far from FBI response teams, which are based in California.

Fuller said it would take 12 hours for an FBI response team to get to Guam if a terrorist act were to be committed.

"Other than the military or the (local) FBI, the response would be hard to come by if a major terrorism event occurred out here," Fuller said.

Cyber-crime and cyber-terrorism also can be a threat for the island, Fuller said.

Cyber-crimes are computer-related crimes, such as communication of drug trafficking or distribution of child pornography via the Internet, Fuller said.

Cyber-terrorism destroys the computer infrastructure of certain government agencies by introducing viruses into the system, he said.

"It is a potential problem -- a realistic problem," Fuller said.

The bureau currently has about 15 agents stationed on Guam, while Saipan has about six, he said.

Other topics during the panel discussion dealt with security conditions on Guam in relation to Asia.

Maj. Gen. Theodore Lay II, commander of the 13th Air Force based at Andersen Air Force Base, said the United States would benefit from additional forces in the region regarding rising tensions between the United States and China.

A recent mid-air collision between a Chinese fighter jet and a U.S. surveillance plane over international waters forced the U.S. plane to land on the Chinese island of Hainan.

"Clearly there are a lot of things going on out here that we would benefit from additional forces; (they) could be forward-deployed with us," Lay said.

The panel also discussed the island's importance for policing the waters of the Pacific region.

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

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