Homegrown terrorists are playing increasingly prominent roles within Al Qaeda and are threatening more deadly attacks from within the U.S., the much anticipated 9/11 report card revealed today.
As the 10th anniversary of the devastating attacks on New York approaches, the National Security Preparedness Group issued a stinging assessment of just how far the U.S. needs to go to combat terror threats.
Airport security is still not thorough enough to stop a large-scale air bombing, the report claimed and, even more worryingly, the greatest threat to national security may well be coming from America itself, with the frighteningly common radicalisation of Muslim-American teens.
The report, issued today, stated: ‘Most troubling, we have seen a pattern of increasing terrorist recruitment of American citizens and residents to act as “lone wolves” . . .
‘Today, we know that Americans are playing increasingly prominent roles in al Qaeda’s movement.
‘Muslim-American youth are being recruited in Somali communities in Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon, in some respects moving the front lines to the interior of our country.’
In recent years, there has been a jump in the number of attacks on the U.S. by homegrown Muslim-Americans.
In 2009, there were two of these high-profile terrorist attacks in the U.S.
13 people were killed and 29 injured in the Fort Hood shooting, the sole suspect for which is Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. born Palestinian who faces the death penalty for the charges.
He was an Army major serving as a psychiatrist who was shot when taken into custody and is now paralysed from the chest down.
The same year, a U.S. military recruiter was killed in Little Rock, Arkansas and another man injured.
Muslim convert Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad was said by police to have confessed to the killing of Private William Long, saying he had been sent to kill as many soldiers as possible by Al Qaeda.
The report said particularly worrying was the ‘self-radicalisation’ of Muslim youth in America.
‘This process is often influenced by blogs and other online content advocating violent Islamist extremism,’ it stated.
‘While there are methods to monitor some of this activity, it is simply impossible to know the inner thinking of every at-risk person. Thus, self-radicalisation poses a serious emerging threat in the U.S.’
The report card added that despite the government spending billions of dollars on airport security, scanners still cannot reliably detect bombs which could bring down planes.
Among concerns raised were ones about full body scanners, which , aside from raising privacy concerns, cannot see explosives hidden within the body.
‘Explosives detection technology lacks reliability and lags in its capability to automatically identify concealed weapons and explosives,’ the report claimed.
‘The next generation of whole body scanning machines also are not effective at detecting explosives hidden within the body.’
It added: ‘Although Osama bin Laden is dead, al Qaeda is not.’
Governor Tom Kean, the co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission told ABC News: ‘We really have not gotten it right yet. Some of these recommendations, no question you get an F.’
The Transportation Security Administration’s former administrator Kip Hawley insisted security at airports was sufficient to prevent large scale attacks on planes.
‘Yes, you don’t want a bomb going off and injuring people on a plane, but you do not want to let them bring on a bomb that will catastrophically destroy the plane,’ he said.
TSA spokesman Greg Soule added: ‘As we approach the tenth anniversary of 9/11, there is no question that America’s transportation systems are stronger and more secure than they were a decade ago.