The unanswered threat of homegrown terrorists

Faisal “The Fizzler” Shehzad was the boy next door and a terrorist in our own back yard. Homegrown terrorism is a reality, epitomized by Shehzad. Far too long has the attention of authorities been on threats from outside. However, in the years following 9/11 the internal threat has kept brewing and only now is it boiling over. Faisal Shehzad is not the only and definitely not the first domestic terrorist in recent years.

The case of Faisal “The Fizzler” Shehzad, the Time Square bomber gets more intriguing every day. From a smoking vehicle to having links with the Taliban and now being declared as a homegrown terrorist by New York Police Commissioner, Raymond Kelly, the bottom line with Shehzad is simple – he is a US citizen.

Contrary to the banter coming from the Pentagon and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, the terrorism threat in recent times has been more internal than external. Except for the Christmas Underwear bomber, the cases of Shehzad, Colleen de LaRose, Zachary Adam Chesser (alias Abu Talhah al-Amrikee) and Anwer AlAwlaki, are all internal.


For those not familiar with the names mentioned above, Colleen de LaRose was a suburban girl who was supporting terrorists. This Pennsylvania woman was recruited via internet chat rooms by terrorists. Going by a screen name of “JihadJane”, LaRose said she was ‘desperate to do something’. She converted to Islam and got married online to an Algerian man. The online couple along with a few others planned to murder Lars Vilks, a Swedish Journalist who had drawn objectionable cartoons of Prophet Mohammed SAW. She was apprehended in Ireland after having visited the residence of her target.


Zachary Adam Chesser, better known as the ‘Brooklyn man’ who scared Comedy Central into taking the satirical cartoon, South Park, episode 201 off the airwaves.  He issued a threat to the producers via his website,, which instantly set off alarm bells at Comedy Central Head Quarters. Chesser, alias Abu Talhah al-Amrikee, is believed to be a 20 year old male, who had only recently converted to Islam. His threats somehow managed to convince the producers to take the “episode” off the airwaves.

Faisal Shehzad, a 30 something father of two had quite a normal suburban life. The reasons for his switching over to the other side are a dime a dozen; property foreclosure; formative years spent in Pakistan or just ‘something’ that triggered off to make him a terrorist are among the top few reasons given by people trying to figure out his motive. He himself claims to have received training from Al Qaeda at Taliban camps located in the troubled Western borderlands of Pakistan. In fact, all information about Shehzad remains murky as reports come in.

Then there is Anwer Al Awlaki – a US born, Yemen based radical cleric who is on the CIA hit list. In what would be a historic move, President Obama is considering granting permission to assassinate this American citizen. Born in New Mexico in 1971, Awlaki has been all over the US, handling responsibilities of being a cleric at various mosques in California, Colorado and Washington DC. He is linked to the Fort Hood killings, the “Underwear Christmas” bomber and now the Times Square Bomber. His Facebook and MySpace pages have several members who are still in high schools. On the run since 2002, he is currently believed to be in Yemen, orchestrating radical groups.

The above examples are all of the terror that threatens the US from within. In retrospect, all the advancement in technology and spy drones, and the pomp of the Patriot Act – they have all failed in protecting Americans. 9/11 took the attention abroad and it is this distraction that has allowed terror elements to germinate into a real problem within the States.  And who knows how many more Faisal Shehzad’s are lurking around in the dark alleys (or online chat-rooms) all over USA.

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