The State Department said Friday that terrorists supported by Iraq are planning attacks around the world if war breaks out over Kuwait.
And the Justice Department is debating whether to fingerprint, photograph and register an estimated 8,500 Iraqis in the United States - an idea that has provoked strong criticism from civil rights groups, who say it reflects growing hysteria over prospects of a war with Iraq."Our initial feeling is the hysteria behind this action is rather outrageous," said Phil Gatis, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union in New York City.
The department also advised American citizens in Israel and the occupied territories to leave before Tuesday's U.N. deadline for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait or face military expulsion.
Justice Department officials say privately that registration of Iraqis in the United States would be a precaution against terrorist acts. The registration would not include the 60,000 Iraqis with permanent resident status in the United States.
The government ordered an anti-terrorism watch within the United States as well, enhancing security at airports, telling nuclear plants to be on guard and mobilizing the Coast Guard to shield U.S. ports and coastal factories.