Recent U.S. Terror Cases Show Evolving Threat; More than a dozen Americans have been captured or identified by the U.S. government and its allies over the past two years for actively supporting jihad, or holy war. Individuals can be radicalized over the Internet on their own through a process of self-radicalization to become a Muslim terrorist, Shut jihad websites down.
FOX NEWS WASHINGTON -- One was a drywall contractor and father, another a petite woman who cared for the elderly, another a U.S. military officer. The most alarming thing about a string of recently arrested terror suspects is that they are all Americans.
Over the past week, a Pennsylvania woman accused in a plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist, and a radicalized New Jersey man held by authorities in Yemen, have become the latest cases among more than a dozen Americans captured or identified by the U.S. government and its allies over the past two years for actively supporting jihad, or holy war.
Some, according to prosecutors, were inspired by the U.S. involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Others, like the accused Pennsylvania woman, wanted to avenge what they considered an insult to the Prophet Mohammed. Many traveled overseas to get terrorist training. Some used home computers to foment plots.
There is no evidence that these cases are connected in any way. But they underscore the new reality that there is a threat from violent Islamic extremism from within the U.S. It is difficult to say whether the uptick in cases is because law enforcement has gotten better at catching suspects or if there are simply more to catch.
Most of the cases ended with suspects captured before they could act on their plans. But some were nearly ready to spring to action, like Queens resident Najibullah Zazi, 24, who pleaded guilty in February as the leader of a plot to bomb the New York subway system.
And law enforcement was too late to prevent a shooting rampage in December on the military post at Fort Hood, Texas. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, 39, a U.S.-born Army psychiatrist of Palestinian descent, is charged with killing 13 people.
Determining how quickly a suspected homegrown terrorist goes from adopting extremist rhetoric to becoming a suicide bomber is also a challenge to law enforcement. Some people never make that leap. Others do it in a matter of months or years.
"Individuals can be radicalized in a number of ways -- by direct contact with terrorists abroad or in the United States, over the Internet or on their own through a process of self-radicalization," said Assistant Attorney General David Kris, the top counterterrorism official at the Justice, more from this source................
Bill Warner Director of CSPI..Covert Surveillance by Private Investigators at WBI Inc.