— -- By Quiana Burns
The FBI is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to homegrown extremists. That's the message Assistant Director of FBI Public Affairs John Miller shared with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" Sunday. It comes one day after officials charged four men with plotting to attack John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.
"When you're looking at inspired through the internet, homegrown extremists, well they can pop up anywhere," Miller said. "So now instead of having a focus in a certain direction, you have to focus in a 360-degree radius every moment, of everyday."
Investigators had been tracking this latest group of radicals since 2006. The suspects included a former cargo handler at JFK airport and a former member of Guyana's parliament. The plan of attack was in its early stages, but the extremists had hopes of causing more harm to the U.S. than the events of 9/11.
"While people will say it wasn't operational; they had done four surveillances, they were searching for funding and explosives. So, on that level it was certainly operational," Miller argued.
The group apparently had no direct ties to al-Qaeda. However, Miller believes many radicals are still being influenced by the terrorist group.
"They pump out an awful lot of propaganda aimed at getting those who think they can find the wherewithal to act on their own," Miller told Stephanopoulos. "Encouraging it while they plan the next big one."
Miller said the FBI took its time in making arrests in the JFK plot in order to gather critical intelligence. It may prove useful as the threat of terror grows beyond countries in the Middle East.
"Part of what we do everyday is to try and determine are we looking in all of the places we're supposed to," Miller continued. "One of the reasons we ran this last case, or the Fort Dix case for more than a year, was to make sure we peeled back every layer we could."