String of terror arrests in US raises discussions of possible increases in homegrown radicalism

Five men in the last five months have been arrested on terror charges in the US. Their efforts to carry out violent jihad plans varied in sophistication, with more serious plots raising questions as to whether a rise in homegrown radicalism may be taking place in America.

“For the most part, these guys are not totally dangerous on their own,” said Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical intelligence at Stratfor, a global intelligence company. “The grass routes guys are amateurish and don’t have the ability to do (large scale) damage… when they get dangerous is when they get a trained operational commander who has skills to plan and do surveillance.”

Jena McNeill, policy analyst for homeland security at the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation, said that while the United States always faces some type of terror threat, the danger of home grown terrorism has not increased.

“I don’t want to downplay the possibility that it could increase, but it is not as bad as Europe,” she said, adding that radical Islam poses a greater danger across the Atlantic than it does in the United States.