‘Home grown terrorists main security threat to US’

Last Updated: Friday, September 10, 2010 - 21:27

Washington: As America prepares to mark the
ninth anniversary of 9/11, homegrown terrorists like David
Headley and Faizal Shahzad have emerged as the biggest
security threat to the country, a group of top national
security experts have warned.

A new report by the Bipartisan Policy Center`s National
Security Preparedness Group says the US does not have a real
strategy to counter the homegrown threat.

"A key shift in the past couple of years is the
increasingly prominent role in planning and operations that
US citizens and residents have played in the leadership of
al Qaeda and aligned groups, and the higher numbers of
Americans attaching themselves to these groups," the report
says.

Among other things, the 42-page analysis warns of the
expanding role played by US citizens and residents within al
Qaeda and allied organisations. It describes an increasingly
wide range of "US-based jihadist militants" who do not fit
"any particular ethnic, economic, educational, or social
profile."

The report also points to an "Americanisation" of the
leadership of al Qaeda and its allied groups, noting that
radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who had links with suspects in
the failed Times Square bombing, including Pakistani-American
Faisal Shahzad and the Fort Hood shootings, grew up in New
Mexico.

It also notes that Chicago resident David Headley, a LeT
operative, had played a major role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The United States, the report asserts, now confronts "a
dynamic threat that has diversified to a broad array of
different attacks, from shootings to car bombs to simultaneous
suicide attacks to attempted in-flight bombings of passenger
aircraft."

Would-be terrorists are now likely to attempt more
frequent and less sophisticated attacks compared to what
transpired in 2001, the report states. Preventing such attacks
will require greater involvement from state and local public
safety officials, CNN reported.

The report was produced by the non-partisan National
Security Preparedness Group, chaired by Lee Hamilton,
a former lawmaker from Indiana, and former Governor Tom Kean,
who also headed the 9/11 Commission.

"Al Qaeda or its allies continue to have the capacity to
kill dozens, or even hundreds of Americans, in a single
attack," the report concludes. And al Qaeda leaders still
"hope to inflict mass casualty attacks in the United States."

While the threat now is less severe "than the
catastrophic proportions of a 9/11-like attack, (it) is more
complex and more diverse than at any time over the past nine
years."

Al Qaeda and its allies have been hampered, the
analysis says, by US drone attacks in Pakistan and negative
attitudes toward Islamic extremists in both Pakistan and the
broader Muslim world.

PTI



First Published: Friday, September 10, 2010 - 21:27

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