Thornburgh Reassures Book Industry on Bombings

Times Staff Writer

A group of publishers and booksellers, fearing that bookstore bombings will continue, met Wednesday with Atty. Gen. Dick Thornburgh and received his assurance that “every resource available” will be used to hunt down the bombers and guard against future attacks.

In the meeting, which lasted more than an hour, 10 representatives of publishing houses and three representatives of booksellers expressed their concerns in the wake of Monday’s firebombings of two Berkeley, Calif., bookstores and a New York weekly newspaper in apparent retaliation for the sale and support of the book “The Satanic Verses” by Salman Rushdie.

After the session at the Justice Department, Thornburgh told reporters: “There simply is no room for any threat against the exercise of First Amendment rights.”

He added that he discussed the capabilities of law enforcement officials in gathering information and was assured by literary representatives that investigators will have their “fullest cooperation.”


Lawrence Hughes, chairman of the Assn. of American Publishers and the group’s spokesman, said he was satisfied that federal investigators will do everything they can “to prevent terrorism in this country.”

On Tuesday, President Bush denounced violence and vowed to protect the rights of Americans.

Thornburgh said that the FBI, in investigating the bombings, will draw on “years of experience with terrorist activities” and added that, in the meeting, he had “expressed our determination to see that the President’s commitment of yesterday is fully honored” by law enforcement officials.