•David Headley, an American citizen from Illinois, was arrested in October for plotting a terrorist attack in Denmark. He has also been charged with helping plan the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai (Bombay) that killed more than 170 people.
“American Muslim extremists are not just a serious domestic terror threat,” says Segal. “The US is exporting militants, armed with radical interpretations of Islam and US passports, overseas at an alarming rate. In addition to David Headley, the Virginia students, and others, there has been a wave of Americans traveling to Somalia to fight with Al Shabab, an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group.”
Internet facilitates recruitment
The experiences of “Jihad Jane” and others show how advances in online communication have made it easier to recruit Americans to radical Islam.
“They have really improved their ability to radicalize people and bring them into the fight, which of course severely hampers our ability to disrupt and get ourselves involved in the process,” said Garry Reid, deputy assistant secretary of Defense, in testimony before a Senate panel recently.
A prime example, experts point out, is Omar Hammami, a 25-year-old US citizen from Alabama, who has become a primary recruiter for Al Shabab.