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Homegrown terrorism a growing concern for US intelligence

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These include feelings of alienation, concerns over American foreign policy, and ties to extremist Islamic groups and “negatively inspirational ideologues.”

Of particular concern are US citizens who travel abroad for training and return to attack the homeland, according to an unclassified version of the Annual Threat Assessment presented by Blair at the hearing.

Sporadic terror plots to persist

The assessment said violence from homegrown jihadists will persist “but will be sporadic.”

“A handful of individuals and small, discrete cells will seek to mount attacks each year, with only a small portion of that activity materializing into violence against the homeland,” according to Blair’s testimony.

So far, there is no evidence of a US-based group sophisticated enough to support organized attacks against the US.

Still, there have been several domestic terror plots in the past few years, points out Rick Nelson, an expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a
think tank in Washington, in an analysis. In the past year, these include:

* Last September, Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan living legally in the US, was arrested on charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. Authorities claimed he traveled to Pakistan to receive training.

* Eight people were charged in November for allegedly recruiting more than 20 Somali-Americans to join Al Shabab, a local group in Somalia linked to Al Qaeda.

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