US sees rise in number of militant plots over last year

The US is witnessing a spike in terrorist activities by home grown radicals since May 2009.

Last Updated: Dec 21, 2010, 11:53 AM IST

Washington: The US is witnessing a spike
in terrorist activities by home grown radicals, and a growing number of plots since May 2009 suggest that at least some
Americans remain susceptible to ideologies of violent jihad, a
Congressional report has said on a trend that may be worrying for the country.
Between May 2009 and November 2010, arrests were made
for 22 "homegrown" jihadist inspired terrorist plots by
American citizens or legal permanent residents of the US, said
the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in its latest report
`American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating a Complex Threat`.

The CRS, which is an independent bipartisan wing of
the Congress, in its report said two of these plots resulted
in attacks ?- US Army Major Nidal Hasan`s alleged assault at
Fort Hood in Texas and Abdulhakim Muhammed`s shooting at the
US Army-Navy Career Center in Little Rock, Arkansas -- and led
to 14 deaths.

"By comparison, in more than seven years from the
September 11, 2001 terrorist strikes (9/11) through May 2009,
there were 21 such plots. Two resulted in attacks, and no more
than six plots occurred in a single year (2006)," said the CRS
which produces periodic reports on issues of interest to US
lawmakers.

Citing the example of David Coleman Headley ? the
Mumbai attack accused ? the report said homegrown terrorists
can be nimble adversaries, because as US citizens or legal
permanent residents, they can travel easily between the United
States and foreign countries.

While abroad, they could receive training from foreign
terrorist organisations, conduct surveillance operations
against foreign targets, and plan attacks.

In the case of recent immigrants to the United States,
they are particularly comfortable moving between American and
foreign cultural contexts.

English language skills, the ability to navigate Western culture, society, and context are likely key ingredients for successful strikes.

"On March 18, 2010, David Headley, born Daood Sayed
Gilani to an American mother and Pakistani father, pled guilty
to helping plan the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India,
and for plotting to attack the offices of a newspaper in
Copenhagen, Denmark.

"Headley was able to use his American citizenship and
Pakistani heritage to move between the United States and
abroad for seven years during which time he received terrorist
training in Pakistan and scouted locations in India and
Denmark for terrorist attacks," the report said.

Bureau Report