New Report on Terrorism: Al Qaeda and U.S. Homegrown Terror Threat
35 Potential Homegrown Terrorists Discovered in Past 18 Months
Sept. 10, 2010 -- The United States is facing a more dynamic terrorism threat than was posed by al Qaeda nine years ago as the group has spread its ideology to regional terrorist groups. That is the conclusion of a new terrorism threat assessment organized by the former chairman of the 9/11 Commission with the Bipartisan Policy Center's National Security Preparedness Group.
The assessment also says al Qaeda has staged an early stage recruitment and radicalization operation in the United States: "Al-Qaeda and its allies arguably have been able to establish at least an embryonic terrorist recruitment, radicalization and operational infrastructure in the United States with effects both at home and abroad."
The assessment was led by the former chair and vice-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton.
"Al-Qaeda and allied groups and those inspired by its ideas continue to pose a threat to the United States. Although it is less severe than the catastrophic proportions of a 9/11-like attack, the threat today is more complex and more diverse than at any time over the past nine years," The threat assessment says.
The report mentions the close calls that the United States has faced in the past year with the disrupted plot by Najibullah Zazi to attack the New York City subway system and the averted bombing of Northwest flight 253.
"Last year was a watershed in terrorist attacks and plots in the United States, with a record ten jihadi attacks, jihadi-inspired plots or efforts by Americans to travel overseas to obtain terrorist training. They included two actual attacks (Fort Hood, Texas, which claimed the lives of thirteen people, and the shooting of two U.S. military recruiters in Little Rock, Arkansas)… Al-Qaeda and its Pakistani, Somali and Yemeni allies arguably have been able to accomplish the unthinkable -- establishing at least an embryonic terrorist recruitment, radicalization and operational infrastructure in the United States with effects both at home and abroad."