US: Homegrown terror threat spiking

2010-09-22 21:43

Washington - The US faces a "spike" in the threat from homegrown extremists who are inspired by al-Qaeda and are increasingly difficult to detect, top US officials said on Wednesday.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned senators that "a new and changing facet of the terrorist threat comes from homegrown terrorists, by which I mean US persons who are radicalised here and receive terrorist training either here or elsewhere."

She said that the threat "is evolving in several ways that make it more difficult for law enforcement or the intelligence community to detect and disrupt plots".

At the same senate hearing, Michael Leiter, head of the National Counter-terrorism Centre, described a "spike in homegrown violent extremist activity" that was enabled by extremist groups abroad using the internet.

Napolitano also confirmed that terror groups posed a heightened threat to Western countries, including Europe, citing stepped up "activity".

Asked about warnings in Europe of a growing danger, she said: "Suffice it to say, we are all seeing increased activity by a more diverse set of groups and a more diverse set of threats."

The West in general

The threat, which came mostly from Islamist networks, was "directed at the West generally," she said, adding that she would be discussing the issue with her European counterparts at a meeting next week.

Highlighting a surge in attempted attacks or plots by US nationals, top security officials cited the November shooting rampage last year at Fort Hood in Texas - blamed on a Muslim army officer - and the attempted bombing in May of New York's Time Square.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director Robert Mueller said the al-Qaeda network had shifted the focus of its recruiting efforts since 2006 on US citizens or residents instead of volunteers from the Middle East or South Asia.

He said US authorities were concerned about radicalised Americans travelling abroad to link up with extremist groups or gain experience in war zones, including Somalia.

"In particular, Somalia has garnered the attention of many American extremists, as at least two dozen Americans have successfully made it there to train or fight over the past few years," Mueller told lawmakers.

In trying to explain why the homegrown threat was expanding, the head of the FBI said "it is possible more American extremists are feeling increasingly disenchanted with living in the US, or angry about US and Western foreign policy, making their decision to leave for extremist opportunities abroad all the more appealing."

Mueller added that an increase in English-language "propaganda" from militants also may have had an effect.


Read more on:    fbi  |  al-qaeda  |  janet napolitano  |  us  |  security

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24

  • Wednesday Bellville - 09:57 AM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    DELAYS between the R300 Highway and the Durban Road exit
  • Wednesday Cape Town - 09:21 AM
    Road name: N2 Inbound
    Earlier ACCIDENT before Hospital Bend has been moved to the side of the carriageway - HEAVY DELAYS from Duinefontein Road
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia C3

The Nokia C3 Features a 2+ Megapixel Camera, A2DP, Bluetooth,...

From R1175.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself fascinated by something which could draw you in to obsessively exploring this subject in more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.