There's been a fundamental change in the terrorist threat aimed at the USA, NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reported this morning.
According to a report being released today, she said:
"The biggest threat is no longer coming from the dusty landscape of Afghanistan or the mountains of Pakistan border regions. Instead, experts say, the threat now comes from within our own borders, in the form of homegrown terrorists."
That report, from the Bipartisan Policy Center's National Security Preparedness Group, is now posted online.
From its executive summary:
"A key shift in the past couple of years is the increasingly prominent role in planning and operations that U.S. citizens and residents have played in the leadership of al-Qaeda and aligned groups, and the higher numbers of Americans attaching themselves to these groups. Another development is the increasing diversification of the types of U.S.-based jihadist militants, and the groups with which those militants have affiliated. Indeed, these jihadists do not fit any particular ethnic, economic, educational, or social profile."
And later, it states that:
"Al-Qaeda and its allies arguably have been able to establish at least an embryonic terrorist recruitment, radicalization, and operational infrastructure in the United States with effects both at home and abroad."
Dina and others at NPR have done a lot of reporting in recent years about the "homegrown" terrorist threat. You can find more of their reports here.
The Bipartisan Policy Center, by the way, describes itself as having been "established in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell to develop and promote solutions that can attract public support and political momentum in order to achieve real progress. The BPC acts as an incubator for policy efforts that engage top political figures, advocates, academics and business leaders in the art of principled compromise."