Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned that al-Qaida followers are inside the U.S. and pose the threat of terrorist attacks on Americans.
“The fact is that home-based terrorism is here,” she said in an address to the American-Israel Friendship League in New York on Wednesday night.
“And like extremism abroad, it is now part of the threat picture that we must confront."
“Individuals sympathetic to al-Qaida and its affiliates, as well as those inspired by their ideology, are present in the U.S., and would like to attack the homeland or plot overseas attacks against our interests abroad.”
Napolitano said a series of recent arrests in the U.S. should “remove any remaining comfort that some might have had from the notion that if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won’t have to fight them here.”
That was seen as a rebuttal to the “notion” expressed by George Bush while in the White House, The Washington Post observed.
Napolitano’s remarks came after President Obama said in his Tuesday night speech that extremists have been “sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit more acts of terror.”
She cited Najibullah Zazi, a Denver airport worker who was arrested in September after allegedly receiving training in explosives at an al-Qaida base in Pakistan. The Afghan immigrant is accused of plotting a terror attack in New York City.
He contacted accomplices there while making a cross-country drive from Denver, according to officials familiar with the case. That raised concerns among investigators that he was sending instructions to purchase more bomb-making chemicals.
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