Former U.S. senator James G. Abourezk, head of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said yesterday after a meeting with FBI Director William H. Webster that he was satisfied with the FBI's investigation of a series of recent violent incidents at the committee's regional offices.
"I am satisfied that they have committed substantial resources to the investigation and that they have been seriously looking at the incidents for some time," Abourezk said in an interview after the meeting.
Abourezk, who asked for the meeting after a fire Nov. 29 in the Connecticut Avenue NW building that houses the ADC's national headquarters, said earlier this week that he believed the FBI had not made its investigation of the fire and two other incidents a high priority because of "anti-Arab racism" in the government.
The meeting was also to discuss information Abourezk gave the FBI earlier this week on "movements" of a person he believes might be responsible for the fire here and two incidents involving bombs at ADC offices. Abourezk said Webster "had been aware of the individual" about whom he turned over information.
On Oct. 11, a bomb exploded at the ADC's Santa Ana, Calif., office, fatally injuring the group's West Coast director, Alex Odeh. Five days later, a bomb that was discovered outside the committee's Boston office injured two policemen who were trying to disarm it.
The cause of the fire at 1731 Connecticut Ave. NW, which investigators have called "very suspicious," remains under investigation, a D.C. Fire Department spokesman said yesterday. The blaze apparently began in a public relations firm two floors below the ADC offices.
On Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it had ordered the FBI to conduct a civil rights investigation of the three incidents at ADC offices to determine whether the civil rights of the group or its members have been violated. Associate Attorney General D. Lowell Jensen, who had been expected at yesterday's meeting, did not attend.
Abourezk said that Webster briefed him on the FBI's investigation and that the bureau is apparently "devoting quite a lot of resources to it . . . He Webster said, 'We don't try our cases in the press,' " Abourezk said. "I just had not known before the meeting" the extent of the investigation.
Abourezk would not elaborate on what was discussed, saying "we talked about everything in general, but we didn't talk about anything in detail."
Also attending the meeting, which lasted about 30 minutes, was former U.S. senator Charles H. Percy, whom Abourezk said he invited to "add power" to the discussion.