FBI Director Robert Mueller has urged Congress to renew wide-ranging surveillance authority to thwart terrorism plots like the latest one in which an al-Qaida-engineered explosive device was to have been detonated on a U.S.-bound airline flight.
Mueller tells a House panel the FBI is examining the device and says the scheme hatched in Yemen demonstrates that it's essential for Congress to reauthorize counter-terrorism tools enacted in 2008. These programs expire at year-end.
The provisions allow the government to target electronic surveillance on foreign persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States.
The FBI director's comments follow revelations that al-Qaida completed a sophisticated new, non-metallic underwear bomb last month and that the would-be suicide bomber actually was a double agent working with the CIA and Saudi intelligence agencies.
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