Terrorist threat may be at most ‘heightened state’ since 9/11, Napolitano says

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said at a congressional hearing Wednesday, that the terrorist threat to the United States may be at its most “heightened state” since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and al-Qaeda and its affiliates are placing increased emphasis on recruiting Americans and other Westerners to carry out attacks.

Napolitano spoke before the House Committee on Homeland Security, whose chairman, Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), is planning hearings on the threat posed by domestic radicalization and a growing incidence of U.S. citizens or legal residents involved in terrorist plots.

While Napolitano addressed the growing threat of homegrown terrorism, Michael E. Leiter, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said al-Qaeda’s leadership, based in Pakistan, is “at one of its weakest points in the past decade.”