“The Department of Defense considers the U.S. homeland the most dangerous place for a G.I. outside of foreign war zones — and the top threat they face here is from violent Islamist extremists,” Rep. Peter T. King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said during a special joint House-Senate hearing.
Military officials testified about the homegrown terrorist threat at U.S. military bases in the wake of several attacks, including the November 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 41, has been charged in the killing of 13 people and wounding of 29 others in the worst shootings ever to take place on an American military base.
“The Fort Hood attack was not an anomaly,” said Mr. King, New York Republican. “It was part of al Qaeda’s two-decade success at infiltrating the U.S. military for terrorism — an effort that is increasing in scope and threat.”
The Congressional Research Service has identified 54 homegrown terrorism plots and attacks since Sept. 11, 2001. Of those, 33 were directed against the U.S. military, said Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs and Homeland Security Committee.
“The American service member is increasingly in the terrorists’ scope and not just overseas in a traditional war setting,” said Mr. Lieberman, Connecticut independent.
The publicly disclosed plots and attacks by military insiders “represent the leading edge of al Qaeda’s ongoing effort to infiltrate the U.S. military and to recruit or radicalize vulnerable servicemen to commit future acts of terror,” according to a report published Wednesday by Mr. King’s staff.
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