Kean and Hamilton cite diversification of terrorist threat since 9/11
Sept. 10, 2010
Washington, D.C. – On the day before the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) National Security Preparedness Group (NSPG) released a report, Assessing the Terrorist Threat, which details how the terrorist threat currently facing the United States has grown more complex and diverse since 2001. Under the leadership of former 9/11 Commission Chair and Vice Chair Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, NSPG members Peter Bergen and Dr. Bruce Hoffman authored the report which is based on interviews with a wide range of senior U.S. counterterrorism officials at the federal and local levels.
“The threat that the U.S. is facing today remains significant and dangerous, but has developed since the 9/11 Commission presented its report six long years ago,” said Congressman Hamilton. “The changing nature of the terrorist threat makes it necessary for America to constantly reexamine its counterterrorism assumptions and approaches. The level of threat posed by al-Qaeda and its allies is not fading into the past.”
Key findings of the report identify an increase in homegrown terrorists in the United States underscoring how much the threat has changed since September 11, 2001. Al-Qaeda leadership is becoming increasingly ‘Americanized’ and U.S.-based jihadist militants do not fit any particular “ethnic, economic, educational, or social profile,” according to the assessment.
“We are seeing more Americans turning on their country, going abroad and making common cause with terrorist groups,” said Dr. Bruce Hoffman, one of the report authors. “The array of perpetrators and the nature of their plots against America are remarkable and there is no single government agency responsible for deterring radicalization and terrorist recruitment. The terrorists may have found our Achilles heel – we have no way of dealing with this growing problem.”
“Al-Qaeda has made a strategic shift away from spectacular attacks, like 9/11, to less sophisticated, more frequent attacks,” said Dr. Stephen Flynn, a member of the NSPG, at today’s press conference. “The smaller-scale attacks are almost impossible for the national security and intelligence communities to detect and intercept.” As the attempted Christmas Day bombing in Detroit and foiled plot in New York’s Times Square illustrate, “the national security community, local law enforcement and the American public need to adapt to the increasingly domestic nature of the threat.”
“We are here to remember, but also look forward and reassess, reexamine and look at what the threat is today,” said Governor Kean. “The American people have lost their focus on the threat and while we’re not trying to make people panic, this report reminds us that we cannot be complacent,” said Congressman Hamilton.
The NSPG is composed of a distinguished bipartisan group of experts including former U.S. Secretary of Energy and U.S. Senator E. Spencer Abraham, Peter Bergen, Dr. Stephen Flynn, Dr. John Gannon, Dr. Bruce Hoffman, former Congressman Dave McCurdy, former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Ridge, Frances Townsend, former U.S. Attorney General Richard L. Thornburgh, former Congressman Jim Turner, and former Secretary of Agriculture and BPC Senior Fellow Dan Glickman. Michael Allen, formerly of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council, is the Executive Director.
Download a full copy of the report here.
Homeland Security Project