Kenya Westgate Mall Attack: What Is Al-Shabab?


Could Al-Shabaab Attack in the U.S.?

Analysts have long called into question whether al-Shabab on its own has the capability, or the will, to launch an attack on the American homeland, but that didn't stop the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, from listing al-Shabab as a significant terror threat to the homeland in 2012. Clapper was speaking in part of the particular danger posed by al-Shabaab's "foreign fighter cadre that includes U.S. passport holders... [who] may have aspirations to attack inside the United States."

Soufan said Sunday that such a scenario is "scary."

"What we see today in Kenya can easily be copied here in the United States," Soufan said. "And I think from a law enforcement perspective, how do you identify these individuals? I think from an individualistic nature of the recruitment process, the radicalization process, and the mobilization process make it extremely impossible to figure."

But while U.S. officials recently told ABC News that as many as 50 individuals are under surveillance in the U.S. for their suspected ties to al Qaeda or its affiliates, a senior law enforcement official said Sunday the latest U.S. government analysis shows no heightened threat to the U.S. as a result of the attack in Kenya and said U.S. authorities are not taking any significantly different actions in the U.S. in response.

However, late Monday NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters he has "redeployed some of our critical response vehicles to shopping locations" in New York City.

"We at the very least want to give a higher comfort level to shoppers who are going to malls, department stores and may be concerned about what is happening in Kenya," he said.

ABC News' Dana Hughes and Mike Levine and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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