Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Miami News, May 6, 1976, "Chiles Criticizes FBI Inaction Here" by Louis Salome

U.S. Sen. Lawton Chiles has criticized the FBI for failing to halt the wave of terrorist murders and attempted murders that has gripped Miami for two years.

Just hours after his speech, the FBI, Miami and Metro police arrested three men and detained two others for questioning about bombings.

In his speech in Miami last night, Chiles urged the creation of a special FBI task force to combat the terrorist activity.

Federal agents today indicated the people being held were among a group of men who have been under surveillance since November.

The Lakeland Democrat said he met recently with Deputy U.S. Attorney General Harold Tyler in an attempt to get Tyler to persuade U.S. Attorney General Edward Levi to create the beefed-up task force in cooperation with local law enforcement officials.

Chiles said he expected to get Levi's response very soon. While in Miami, Chiles said, he hoped to meet with U.S. Attorney Robert Rusk about the problem.

"For the period of time this has been goig on, we ought to be seeing some action and results," Chiles said.

He said it is no longer good enough for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to say they have ideas about who's behind the violence but can't prove it.

Chiles made the comments while on his way to visit Emilio Milian, the news director of radio station WQBA, who last week had both legs blown off by a bomb.

"It's been going on for a long period of time," Chiles said of the bombings and shootings.

"When a newsman is a victim apparently because he spoke out against terrorism, the community needs to see some action."

There have been seven assassinations attempts - four of them successful - here in two years, all of them apparently related in some fashion to anti-Castro Cuban politics.

After a series of bombings last December, the FBI and local law enforcement agencies formed a task force which resulted in the indictment of Rolando Otero, who has fled the country.

The FBI, however, is directly involved only in bombings, not shootings, and official meetings of the task force have become less frequent in recent months.

Chiles said the FBI has not added any agents to work on the cases, at least to his knowledge.

"I don't think they (the FBI) have the kind of force operating here that they have in New York and Chicago to combat terrorism," Chiles said.

"The total community needs to speak out and make clear we are not going to be intimidated. The total community needs to condemn the action and show this is the American way."

Copyright (c) 1976 The Miami News