America’s Home-Grown Radical Terrorist Problem

Posted on September 10, 2010

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The U.S. was slow to take seriously the threat posed by homegrown radicals and the government has failed to put systems in place to deal with the growing phenomenon, according to a new report compiled by the former heads of the Sept. 11 Commission.

The report says U.S. authorities failed to realize that Somali-American youths traveling from Minnesota to Mogadishu in 2008 to join extremists was not an isolated issue. Instead, the movement was one among several instances of a broader, more diverse threat that has surfaced across the country.

“Our long-held belief that homegrown terrorism couldn’t happen here has thus created a situation where we are today stumbling blindly through the legal, operational and organizational minefield of countering terrorist radicalization and recruitment occurring in the United States,” said the report, which was obtained by The Associated Press.

As a result, there is still no federal agency specifically charged with identifying radicalization or working to prevent terrorist recruitment of U.S. citizens and residents, said the report, slated to be released Friday by the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Security Preparedness Group.

The group, headed by former 9-11 commission leaders Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, laid out a detailed description of domestic terror incidents ranging from the Fort Hood, Texas, shooting spree and the attempted Christmas Day airliner attack in late 2009 to last May’s botched truck bombing in New York’s Times Square.

Over the past year, terrorism experts and government officials have warned of the threat posed by homegrown radicals, saying terror recruits who go abroad could return to the U.S. to carry out attacks.

But the U.S., the group said, should have learned earlier from Britain’s experience. Prior to the 2005 London suicide bombings, the British believed that Muslims there were better integrated, educated and wealthier than their counterparts elsewhere.

Similarly, the U.S. believed that its melting pot of nationalities and religions would protect it from internal radical strife, the report said.

The terrorists, said the report, may have discovered America’s “Achilles’ heel in that we currently have no strategy to counter the type of threat posed by homegrown terrorists and other radicalized recruits.”

U.S. officials have acknowledged the need to address the radicalization problem, and for the first time, the White House this year added combating homegrown terrorism to its national security strategy. The plan includes a “new interagency effort that brings together key stakeholders” and continued “outreach to communities across the country,” said Ben Rhodes, the White House’s deputy national security adviser.

The FBI, meanwhile, has worked to reach out to the Somali communities, in an effort to counter the radicalization of the youth

More…..news.yahoo.com

From article: Report: US must deal with domestic radical problem by Lolita Baldor,AP

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