Washington, Sep 23(ANI): Al-Qaeda and its allies are likely to attempt small-scale and less sophisticated terrorist attacks in the United States, senior Obama administration officials have said.
Testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Secretary, said: "Unlike large-scale, coordinated, catastrophic attacks, executing smaller-scale attacks requires less planning and fewer pre-operational steps."
"Accordingly, there are fewer opportunities to detect such an attack before it occurs," she added.
National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter said that the failed plots targeting New York subway system, a commercial airliner approaching Detroit and the Times Square has increased the risk of another dramatic mass-casualty event.
"The impact of the attempted attacks during the past year suggests Al-Qaeda, and its affiliates and allies, will attempt to conduct smaller-scale attacks targeting the homeland, but with greater frequency," The Washington Post quoted Leiter, as saying.
Leiter said in his testimony that "Al-Qaeda in Pakistan is at one of its weakest points organizationally", but he noted that the "regional affiliates and allies can compensate for the potentially decreased willingness of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan - the deadliest supplier of such training and guidance - to accept and train new recruits".
He also expressed concern about some American citizens and residents turning terrorists after receiving training in Pakistan.
"The spike in home-grown violent extremist activity during the past year is indicative of a common cause that rallies independent extremists to want to attack the homeland," Leiter said.
"Key to this trend has been the development of a U.S.-specific narrative that motivates individuals to violence. This narrative - a blend of al-Qaeda inspiration, perceived victimization and glorification of past plotting - has become increasingly accessible through the Internet, and English-language Web sites are tailored to address the unique concerns of U.S.-based extremists," he added. (ANI)