HOW TO KEEP TERROR AT BAY? RUSSIA RACKS BRAINS

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MOSCOW, September 2 (RIA Novosti) - Two airliners blasted in European Russia, August 24. An appalling blast came close to a metro station in Moscow, August 31. A school was seized in North Ossetia, Caucasus, yesterday.

Safety in congested spots has come into the foreground of public and official attention. Passions are seething round metro, airlines, police and secret services' safety expenditures.

The thing that matters most has escaped public attention, however-what we are doing now is not the way to catch terrorists, remarks Nezavisimaya Gazeta, widely-read Moscow-based daily. Airport checks are the last defense line. When a terrorist is spotted there, we have every reason to say the secret service has botched up its job. It failed to plant agents in a terror gang, detect its schemes, and catch its men red-handed as they were buying weapons or explosives.

Every sensational terror act tempts an enterprising newshound to penetrate a heavily guarded vital project, chosen at random, and make a front-page reportage of his exploit.

But then, today's terrorists come for prey to town streets. Any bus stop offers them several dozen victims. What town, however big, can arrange a police post with a metal detector and an X-ray at every bus stop?

Here, the newspaper goes over to more optimistic remarks. The number of bus stops is practically limitless-unlike a limited number of terrorists. Then, Russia is not Israel, which is, in fact, a fort besieged by hostile neighbors, whose majority is siding with terrorists. Russia is too big for a terrorist to reach Moscow's heart from an outlying province within an hour or two. Secret agents ought to keep "home-bred" terrorists in watch and prevent their acts. They can cope with the task. The job is up to the Federal Security Service, or FSB, not airport security or railway and traffic police. The FSB has everything to be a success-analysts, plainclothes and other detectives, and leading-edge devices from satellites to radio and e-mail tapping gadgetry. Federal allocations to secret services are skyrocketing with every passing year, and the men must work for their huge money, says the daily.

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