08/31/2005

FBI to conduct threat accessments of U.S. prisoners

By DON THOMPSON
Associated Press Writer

SACRAMENTO, Calif.- FBI agents nationwide have been ordered to conduct "threat assessments" of inmates who might have become radicalized in prison and could commit extremist violence upon their release, according to an FBI letter obtained by The Associated Press.

"The primary goal of these efforts is to assess and disrupt the recruitment and conversion of inmates to radicalized ideologies which advocate violence," according to a letter from the acting assistant chief of the FBI's Los Angeles office, Randy D. Parsons.

The agency has been trying to identify potentially disruptive groups for "some time," according to the letter. "However, recent investigations have identified a clear need to increase the FBI's focus and commitment in this area," Parsons wrote in the letter, which was dated Friday and obtained Tuesday by the AP.

He said the FBI wants to increase its efforts to "identify, report, analyze and disrupt efforts by extremist persons or groups to radicalize, recruit or advocate for the purpose of violence within correctional facilities."

California prison officials confirmed receiving the letter.

The order comes as an investigation continues into whether a suspected Southern California terror plot originated in a state prison in Folsom, near Sacramento. Three Los Angeles area men, including a parolee from California State Prison, Sacramento, are suspected of plotting attacks on Jewish and National Guard sites.

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