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Terrorism: December 21, 1999
   
Puerto Rican activist and lobbyist Luis Nieves Falcon was the one who successfully lobbied President Clinton to release 14 jailed Puerto Rican terrorists last August. A new congressional report cites evidence that Falcon was in fact a known leader of the terrorist organization FALN, and that when a Justice Department official met with Falcon to discuss the release, that official was in fact negotiating with a man he knew to be a terrorist. Government spokesmen denied that Falcon had been directly involved in the negotiations, despite evidence that he had masterminded the talks from the Puerto Rican side and had participated in talks more than once. The White House, however, refused to deny that Falcon was a known terrorist. It is known that Falcon was scheduled to meet with President Clinton in Dec 96 on the issue, but it cannot be confirmed it the meeting actually took place. --Stephen V Cole

December 21; In an effort to avoid offending people, the Secret Service now refers to swindlers and con men from Nigeria as "West Africans". The FBI now refers to Russian gangsters as "Eurasian gangsters" since "Russian" gangsters include Russians, Ukrainians, Chechens, and Georgians. --Stephen V Cole

December 21; Sometime next year, between April and July, the Justice Department will stage a huge surprise emergency drill reflecting a major terrorist incident in a US city. This incident will involve thousands of federal, state, and local officials. It may simulate an attack with chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons (or more than one of these). One goal is to show that reaction teams are ready for a mass incident. Another goal is to show that the Justice Department should be in charge. --Stephen V Cole

December 21; Khaled Meshaal, head of the Hamas political bureau, said that the US is not a target of terrorist attacks despite its support for Israel. Meshaal insisted that attacks on Zionist (i.e., Israeli) targets were a legitimate part of the war for liberation of Palestine, but that his organization would not waste its efforts on "marginal battles". --Stephen V Cole