Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (L), FBIRobert Mueller (C) and National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter (R) testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing 'Eight Years After 9/11: Confronting The Terrorist Threat to the Homeland' on September 30, 2009 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Director
Homegrown terrorists a concern, agencies say
FBI Director Robert Mueller and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told lawmakers today that eight years after the Sept. 11 attacks, they are as worried about "homegrown" terrorism as they are about threats from overseas.
Less than two weeks after three different terrorist plots involving longtime U.S. residents were broken up, Mueller said al Qaeda is recruiting Westerners to carry out terror attacks in the United States, and the Internet is allowing even people who are unaffiliated with organized terror groups to "self-radicalize."
He and Napolitano, testifying before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, stressed that terrorism is a threat throughout the country, not just in landmark cities like New York and Washington, and that people of any background might be involved.
Mueller said that while al Qaeda is still determined to attack the United States and the FBI is still carefully monitoring that threat, it is devoting increased attention to the specter of "homegrown" terrorism perpetrated by American natives or legal permanent residents.
Napolitano said the Department of Homeland Security is going to direct more money to "fusion centers," locations across the U.S. where members of different security agencies share space and information as they work together on security issues. There are currently 72 fusion centers in 24 states and Washington.