OCTOBER 03, 2006
The Federal Bureau of Prisons is failing miserably to prevent terrorists and other high-risk inmates from using mail to continue criminal behavior or compromise national security.
A scathing report released by Department of Justice Inspector General details the failure to effectively monitor the nation’s most lethal federal prisoners as they continue promoting terrorism and other crimes from their cells.
The 122-page report is the result of a Justice Department investigation that was launched last year after authorities discovered that three convicted terrorists serving time at a Colorado maximum-security prison had written about 90 letters to Islamic extremists, including several involved in the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 and wounded nearly 2,000. Some of those letters were later found in the possession of a terrorist who used them to recruit suicide bombers.
Evidently, this wasn’t enough for officials at the Federal Bureau of Prisons to comply with a policy of reading 100% of the correspondence received or sent by the nation’s 20,000 high-risk inmates, which include domestic and international terrorists and gang leaders.
Justice Department investigators examined the mail monitoring systems at 10 federal prisons, including facilities in New York, Texas, Pennsylvania and Florence Colorado which houses 400 of the country’s most dangerous and violent inmates. They include the 1993 World Trade Center bombers and leaders of numerous deadly street gangs.
Even these high-risk terrorists do not have all their mail monitored and, when they do, there are not enough proficient translators to translate inmate mail written in foreign languages. Additionally, the report found that the FBI failed to gather intelligence on incarcerated terrorists even when there was evidence that they remained active through outside associates.
As an example, investigators list the FBI’s negligence in monitoring the three 1993 World Trade Center bombers housed at the Florence Colorado prison. It wasn’t until Spanish authorities informed the FBI that the three men had been regularly corresponding with Islamic extremist in Spain that the FBI showed interest.
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