WASHINGTON — The U.S. was slow to take seriously the threat posed by homegrown radicals, and the government has failed to put systems into place to deal with the growing phenomenon, according to a new report compiled by the former heads of the Sept. 11 commission.
The report says U.S. authorities failed to realize that the traveling of Somali-American youths from Minnesota to Mogadishu in 2008 to join extremists was not an isolated issue. Instead, the movement was one among several instances of a broader, more diverse threat that has surfaced across the country.
"Our long-held belief that homegrown terrorism couldn't happen here has thus created a situation where we are today stumbling blindly through the legal, operational and organizational minefield of countering terrorist radicalization and recruitment occurring in the United States," said the report, obtained by the Associated Press.
As a result, there is still no federal agency specifically charged with identifying radicalization or working to prevent terrorist recruitment of U.S. citizens and residents, said the report, slated to be released today by the Bipartisan Policy Center's National Security Preparedness Group.
The group, headed by former Sept. 11 commission leaders Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, described in detail domestic terror incidents ranging from the Fort Hood, Texas, shooting rampage and the attempted Christmas Day airliner attack in late 2009 to last May's botched truck bombing in New York's Times Square.