Domestic terrorism number one priority for US intelligence

February 11th, 2011 - 2:19 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb.11 (ANI): Intelligence agency chiefs in the United States have unveiled the annual National Threat Assessment, and said that success against Al Qaeda means that domestic terrorism is now their ‘priority No. 1.’

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Leon Panetta, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and National Counter-terrorism Center Director Michael Leiter told members of Congress about the increasing danger that homegrown terrorists pose to the country.

“Absolutely, our No. 1 priority” is identifying Americans intent on doing harm to their own country, Leiter told the House Intelligence Committee.The panel of intelligence officials also cited the devastating potential for cyber attacks and defended the performance of US intelligence-gatherers in the Middle East, who have been widely criticized for failing to predict the current showdown on streets of Egypt.

While homegrown actors represent a “numerically small” segment of the terrorist threat, they have disproportionate access to US facilities, Clapper said that he remains “especially focused on Al Qaeda’s resolve to target Americans for recruitment.”

“They (Al-Qaeda) are now resorting to other ways to go after this country,” said Panetta, adding “That’s the nature of the kind of threats that we are now dealing with.”

Leiter said challenge before American intelligence was to identify people while still protecting US civil liberties. (ANI)

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