Despite efforts to seal U.S. borders against terrorists, the threat may already be inside the country, reports the Associated Press. Whether it’s al-Qaida sympathizers, abortion clinic bombers, or a single eco-terrorist, authorities say a small number of fellow citizens pose as much a threat to the nation as foreign terrorists. The threat was highlighted last weekend with Canada’s arrests of 17 Muslim Canadians charged with running a terror ring from Ontario.
“We still have to look at al-Qaida as an organization, even though its ability to operate has been somewhat limited,” Joseph Billy, acting assistant director of the FBI’s counterterrorism division, told the Associated Press. A University of Maryland database compiling information on terror incidents worldwide since 1970 concludes that one of every seven attacks is carried out by a homegrown extremist. A January 2005 priority sheet for the Homeland Security Department listed domestic Islamic extremist groups and eco-terrorists as top threats. Fewer than 10 percent – an estimated 1,000 of 11,500 – of the nation’s Border Patrol agents are deployed to the Canadian border.