The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that lone terrorists behind plots like the Times Square bombing attempt and the Fort Hood attack are part of a growing, more serious threat to U.S. security.
Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan told CBS' "The Early Show" that Saturday's attempt in Times Square and an earlier plot to blow up New York's subways are among the changes in strategy that terrorists abroad are using against the United States.
Hoekstra says that intelligence officials have long thought that al-Qaida wanted to launch an attack as big, if not bigger than, 9/11. But now officials are seeing people acting independently after training with groups abroad. The groups recognize that even if their attempts fail, they can spread fear in America.
The FBI is investigating possible ties between terrorist groups and Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American arrested in the Times Square bombing attempt. Officials would not say whether they believe Shahzad acted alone or as part of a conspiracy.
Raymond Kelly, New York City's police commissioner, was asked on NBC's "Today" show Wednesday whether Shahzad represents a change in the profile of the type of terror suspect authorities are seeking in order to prevent such attacks.
"We don't really have an exact profile .... These are what we call unremarkable people who decide to kill innocent people in their own country. So it's very difficult for law enforcement to get their arms around this. It's an individual that by all indications wouldn't be involved in something like this," Kelly said.
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