Overseas, the terrorist threat is similarly complex and ever-changing. We are seeing more groups and individuals engaged in terrorism, a wider array of terrorist targets, greater cooperation among terrorist groups, and continued evolution and adaptation in tactics and communication.
Al Qaeda and its affiliates, especially al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), continue to represent a top terrorist threat to the nation. These groups have attempted several attacks on the United States, including the failed Christmas Day airline bombing in 2009 and the attempted bombing of U.S.-bound cargo planes in October of 2010.
In December 2011, Somali national Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame pled guilty to nine counts of providing material support to AQAP and al Shabaab. A Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation found that Warsarme conspired to teach terrorists how to make bombs, provided explosives weapons and training to al Shabaab, and arranged for al Shabaab leaders to obtain weapons from members of AQAP. Warsame faces up to life in prison.Director Mueller also spoke of the "continuing threat from homegrown violent extremists" as seen in the Boston marathon bombing, and the "growing scope of the insider threat" posing risks to national security, illustrated by Chinese national Steve Liu, an employee of a New Jersey defense contractor sentenced in March to five years in prison for stealing designs on U.S. weapons systems.
Note: This article first appeared at The Weekly Standard.