Home News Stories 2006 June Director Addresses the Threat of Homegrown Terrorism
This is archived material from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) website. It may contain outdated information and links may no longer function.

Director Addresses the Threat of Homegrown Terrorism

Protecting America from Terrorist Attack
Director Addresses the Threat of Homegrown Terrorism


On Friday, June 23, as terrorism-related arrests were announced in Miami, Florida, FBI Director Robert Mueller spoke to the City Club of Cleveland on the changing shape of terrorism—specifically, the threat of homegrown terrorism and the radicalization process in the United States.

Citing the London and Madrid bombings and the recent terrorist prevention in Toronto, Director Mueller noted that these extremists “lived in the area they intended to attack. They were not sleeper operatives sent on suicide missions; they were students and business people and members of the community. They were persons who, for whatever reason, came to view their home country as the enemy. ...While we have made great strides in disabling traditional terrorist models like al Qaeda, the convergence of globalization and technology has created a new brand of terrorism...smaller, more loosely defined individuals and cells who are not affiliated with al Qaeda, but who are inspired by a violent jihadist message.”

Who are these individuals? They are people who may be religious or who may turn to religion out of frustration with their lives or the politics of their home government. They become fervent. They discover and link up with other extremists. They become radicalized...isolated from their families and the larger community...involved in extremist activities...and ultimately they can take the last step into terrorist action.

Where can they be found? Anywhere—from schools and universities to mosques to prisons to community centers to the 5000+ virtual extremist websites on the Internet.

How can they be identified before they take that last step into terrorist action? It’s not easy and it takes enormous resources, carefully administered within the rule of law.

“Our greatest challenge is mapping these underground networks. This can be tedious, intricate work, but it is absolutely essential to the safety of this country. We need to see how certain individuals fit into the big picture. We need to know where to set the trip wires to identify the line between the extremist and the operational. To meet that mission, we are relying on three things: firstly, intelligence; secondly, technology; and thirdly, partnerships.”

We strongly encourage you to read Director Mueller’s speech in full, to learn the details of FBI efforts against the threat of traditional and homegrown terrorist attack...and how they are integrated with the efforts of law enforcement, intelligence, Muslim, and private sector groups at home and around the world.

“Our greatest weapon against terrorism is unity. That unity is built on information sharing and coordination among our partners in the law enforcement and the intelligence communities. It is built on partnerships with the private sector and effective outreach to the public as our eyes and ears. It is built on the idea that, together, we are smarter and stronger than we are standing alone.”

Links: Director Mueller’s speech on Homegrown Terrorism | Counterterrorism | Counterterrorism stories