The United States faces an ever-evolving threat from our terrorist enemies. Though al-Qaeda has been significantly weakened following the killing of Osama bin Laden, the dangerous threat posed by al-Qaeda affiliates continues to grow. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the most active and dangerous of the affiliates, is headed by American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and is responsible for the Christmas Day attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 and the 2010 plot to blow up cargo planes with bombs concealed in packages. AQAP, which former National Counterterrorism Center director called the greatest terror threat to our homeland, also reportedly inspired the Fort Hood shooter. Other al-Qaeda affiliates pose a significant threat to the homeland in testimony before the Committee in February 2011, as well. For example, the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) trained Faisal Shahzad, who attempted to detonate a car bomb in Times Square in 2010. Likewise, Somalia-based al-Shabaab is actively recruiting and radicalizing young men in the U.S. and is a growing threat to the homeland.
It is critical that our Federal government, including law enforcement, the Intelligence Community, and the military, continues to work diligently to stay ahead of our terrorist enemies. Also vital is the Department of Homeland Security’s continued coordination with Federal, State, local and tribal law enforcement.