“Groups affiliated with al-Qaida are now actively targeting the United States and looking to use Americans or Westerners who are able to remain undetected by heightened security measures,” FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“Terrorists are working increasingly to build alliances or essentially recruit soldiers for their army from within the United States”
It appears that “domestic radicalization and homegrown extremism” is becoming more pronounced, Mueller said.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said al-Qaida has inspired an array of terrorist organizations.
“We are all seeing more diverse activity” by a more diverse collection of groups, Napolitano said.
Since 2009, at least 63 American citizens have been charged or convicted for terrorism or related crimes, “an astoundingly high number of American citizens who have attacked — or intended to attack — their own country,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., the committee’s chairman.
In his prepared testimony, Mueller said it is possible that more American extremists are feeling increasingly disenchanted with living in the United States or are angry about U.S. and Western foreign policy, “making their decision to leave for extremist opportunities abroad all the more appealing.
Napolitano said U.S.-born, Yemen-based Anwar al-Awlaki is an illustration of an English-speaker spreading propaganda over the Internet, an approach she said could be helping to increase the number of homegrown extremists.
Terrorists “are working increasingly to build alliances or essentially recruit soldiers for their army from within the United States,” Lieberman said.”