Americans around the world are being warned to be on alert for the possibility of new terrorist attacks in response to next week's scheduled execution of a Pakistani convicted of murder in Virginia.
Nearly five years to the day after he was convicted, Pakistani Mir Aimal Kasi will be put to death by lethal injection next Thursday for the 1993 shooting deaths of two Americans outside the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency. Both CIA employees were gunned down in their cars, as they waited in traffic to enter the gates of the agency's Virginia headquarters.
Kasi managed to escape on foot through the morning rush hour traffic and quickly fled back to his native Pakistan. But after a four-year, worldwide manhunt, the FBI apprehended him near the Afghan border and whisked him back to the United States to stand trial. He later confessed to the murders, saying he carried them out to protest U.S. policies toward Muslims in the Middle East.
Americans the world over are now being warned his execution may trigger retaliatory attacks. Former CIA chief of counter terrorism Vincent Cannistraro says Kasi was not known to have links to any terrorist groups. "But there are family connections to religiously conservative groups, some of which have taken violent actions in the past so I think it's a time and occasion that one could expect some kind of violent act to take place against accessible targets," he said.
In a new warning, the State Department says it has credible indications that extremist groups are planning more terrorist attacks against Americans in response to the Kasi execution, including possible kidnappings and assassinations.
Paul Bremer serves on President Bush's advisory council on homeland security. "This guy appears to have had connections with some of the Muslim extremist groups, particularly extremist groups in Pakistan and we know that they're still loose in Pakistan," said Paul Bremer. "I think the general assessment is that he has had some contacts with al-Qaida or at least groups associated with al-Qaida."
In a recent interview, Kasi told a reporter he is not proud of what he did and urged fellow Muslims around the world not to seek retaliation against Americans for his execution.