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Report: US Authorities Failed to Comprehend the Growing Threat of Homegrown Radicals

10 September 2010 One Comment

On the eve of the ninth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attack on U.S. soil that killed nearly 3000 people, the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Security Preparedness Group has released a grim report, “Assessing the Terrorist Threat,” written by Peter Bergen, the author Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden and Bruce Hoffman, author of Inside Terrorism.

The 44-page report found that the U.S. was slow to take the threat posed by homegrown radicals seriously and as a result the government has failed to put systems in place to deal with this growing phenomenon. The report also warns about the increasing risk that American extremists may resort to suicide bombings. As an example, the report highlights Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who has been charged with killing 13 people and wounding 32 in last year’s shootings at Fort Hood. Maj. Hasan had written about suicide operations in e-mails, and his attack at Fort Hood appeared to be one.

From the Executive Summary
Al-Qaeda and allied groups continue to pose a threat to the United States. Although it is less severe than the catastrophic proportions of a 9/11-like attack, the threat today is more complex and more diverse than at any time over the past nine years. Al-Qaeda or its allies continue to have the capacity to kill dozens, or even hundreds, of Americans in a single attack. A key shift in the past couple of years is the increasingly prominent role in planning and operations that U.S. 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. Another development is the increasing diversification of the types of U.S.-based jihadist militants, and the groups with which those militants have affiliated. Indeed, these jihadists do not fit any particular ethnic, economic, educational, or social profile.
Al-Qaeda’s ideological influence on other jihadist groups is on the rise in South Asia and has continued to extend into countries like Yemen and Somalia; al-Qaeda’s top leaders are still at large, and American overreactions to even unsuccessful terrorist attacks arguably have played, however inadvertently, into the hands of the jihadists. Working against al-Qaeda and allied groups are the ramped-up campaign of drone attacks in Pakistan, increasingly negative Pakistani attitudes and actions against the militants based on their territory, which are mirrored by increasingly hostile attitudes toward al-Qaeda and allied groups in the Muslim world in general, and the fact that erstwhile militant allies have now also turned against al-Qaeda.

Read it all here.

Also read: 9/11 Redux: U.S. Repeated 9/11 Failures in Christmas Day Bombing Plot