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US in ‘entirely new phase’ of homegrown terror: DHS secretary

6 December 2015 12:45


Faced with an evolving and deadly threat of homegrown extremism, the United States is rethinking its strategy on combating domestic terror, according to a report.

“We have moved to an entirely new phase in the global terrorist threat and in our homeland security efforts,” US Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson said in an interview with the New York Times on Saturday.

Terrorists have “in effect outsourced attempts to attack our homeland. We’ve seen this not just here but in other places. This requires a whole new approach, in my view,” he added.

The comments come more than a week after President Barack Obama reassured Americans that there was no “specific and credible intelligence” indicating a plot against the homeland.

Then came Wednesday’s massacre in California, the deadliest mass shooting in the US in nearly three years.

“What may be most disturbing is not that Mr. Obama was wrong, but that apparently he was right. By all accounts so far, the government had no concrete intelligence warning of the assault on Wednesday that killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif.,” the Times said in its report.

Obama will address the nation on Sunday night about terror threats in the aftermath of the deadly California shooting, according to the White House.

The president will give an update about the investigation into the shooting and brief Americans on the nature of the terrorist threat the US is facing as well as steps the administration is taking to protect them.

Mourners pray in a circle at a makeshift memorial at Waterman Avenue and Orange Show Road near the Inland Regional Center on December 5, 2015, in San Bernardino, California. The center was the site of the December 2 mass shooting that left 14 dead and 21 wounded. (AFP photo)

Unable to introduce measures to reform gun laws, federal and state authorities may have to rely on programs urging Americans to report suspicions, the Times reported.

Johnson said the government should take steps to increase airline security by placing more agents in overseas airports, boost standards for visa waiver programs, and reach out to communities to help identify potential threats.

American voters believe “homegrown” terrorists pose a far greater threat than terrorists coming from other countries, according to a new national poll by Quinnipiac University.

The survey, released last Thursday, found that 58 percent of Americans think US born terrorists pose the greatest terror threat, while only 17 percent of them see foreign terrorists as such.

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