Finally, FBI Investigation Team Arrives in Yemen USSCole Investigations to Resume [Archives:2001/36/Front Page]
Well-informed sources noted that a new team of FBI investigators is due to arrive in Aden for following-up the investigations related to the USS Cole bombing incident that occurred on October 12, 2000 while the US destroyer was refueling at the port of Aden. On the other hand, news reports mentioned that a US military plane carrying equipment belonging to the team of investigation unloaded the shipment in Aden airport last Thursday and departed in the same day. This move came amid US-based news reports about strong disagreement between the two countries on the extension of investigations regarding USS Cole incident.
In the meanwhile, the US Ambassador to Yemen, Barbara Bodine indirectly accused the Yemeni authorities of concealing names of persons involved in the USS Cole bombing incident. In a press conference Bodine mentioned that “persons directly involved in the bombing incident are still at large,”
Bodine further added that the Yemeni security authorities have information that could potentially help the American investigators to track all the persons involved in the incident. In the same time the American ambassador denied the existence of any key disagreements between the US and Yemen concerning the current investigation, however, she confirmed the existence of differences regarding the way the investigations should be carried out and the whole issue should be tackled.
Bodine commended the cooperation of the Yemeni side during the investigations and added that the US and Yemen agreed that foreign groups are involved in the incident without directly or indirectly mentioning the Islamic groups. Differences between the two sides erupted when the Yemeni authorities declared that the investigations with the suspects accused in assisting the culprits had been completed and that the suspects will be referred to justice. This move provoked Washington which demanded the postponement of the trial several times to give a greater chance for investigators to go ahead with their duties.
Two FBI officials arrived in Sana’a on August 3, within a team of six. Four of those officials returned to Washington shortly after arriving in Yemen. Earlier in mid-June, Washington pulled out its team of investigators on the pretext that terrorist threats had been made against the US citizen and interests in Yemen.
President Saleh had awarded the “Unity Medal” to Bodine for her role in enhancing the US-Yemeni relations during her term of office.
It is worth mentioning that Bodine assumed her post as Ambassador of the US to Yemen in 1996. The Yemeni government requested from Washington to extend the term of office of Bodine one extra year which had been approved by the American administration. On the other hand, the US administration named James Edmund as the new American Ambassador to Yemen. Mr. Edmund who used to be the head of international counter-terrorism division at the US Department of State will arrive in Sana’a within the next couple of weeks.