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‘Homegrown’ Terror Still a Threat

Hobbled by drone attacks in Pakistan, al Qaeda may not pose a "direct national-security threat," but its existence still puts the U.S. in danger from "al Qaeda-trained or -inspired" terrorists, writes al Qaeda expert Peter Bergen in Foreign Policy. Examining the stories of several terrorists, both native and foreign-born, who operated in the United States since 9/11—including the Afghan-American Najibullah Zazi, who was allegedly planning what one terror commentator described as "Mumbai-on-the-Hudson," and the suspected Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan—Bergen finds an "interesting mix" of militants who run the gamut from "lone wolves" to those "plug[ged] directly into al Qaeda central." Bergen concludes that there is still a "small minority of American Muslims [who] are not immune to the al Qaeda ideological virus." Bergen writes that the Patriot Act, in easing agencies' ability to share intelligence, may be the strongest post-9/11 force in preventing a serious domestic terror attack—along with a belief in the "American Dream," prevalent among the largely well-educated and wealthy community of American Muslims.