Home-grown terrorism on the rise

Michael Leiter, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, issued a statement that if the nation’s defenses would endure a security breach, it would probably be as a result of a home-grown radical due to the increased presence of such individuals.

Leiter said that the threat of a catastrophic attack planned on the U.S. by traditional al-Qaeda leadership has diminished, however, along with the chance of a chemical, biological or radiological attack, The Telegraph reports.

The statement was given after a year-long period that contained the most intense terrorist activity since September 11, 2001, with several thwarted or failed attacks, The Telegraph reports.

“Although we aim for perfection, perfection will not be achieved,” Leiter said, according to the Telegraph. “Just like any other endeavor, we will not stop all the attacks. If there is an attack, it may well be tragic. Innocent lives will be lost. But we still have to be honest, and we have to be honest that some things will get through.

 “In this era of a more complicated threat, a more diverse threat and lower-scale attacks to include individuals who have been radicalized here in the homeland, stopping all the attacks has become that much harder,” Leiter said in his speech, given at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Part of the reason the threat has risen is because of heightened involvement of AQAP, the Yemen-based al-Qaeda contingent in the Arabian Peninsula, and Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born radical cleric. They have been linked to the November 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood Texas that killed 13 people and the failed plane bombing attempt that was headed to Detroit last Christmas.

Last week, the FBI arrested Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who was plotting to detonate a bomb in Portland while thousands attended the lighting of the town Christmas tree.