An emerging corps of wannabe terrorists is scoping out skyscrapers, conducting terror-training camps, and attacking Americans by using a Jeep, says the Christian Science Monitor. Six men arrested last week in Miami and one in Atlanta for plotting to destroy Chicago’s Sears Tower have been called “homegrown” because five of them are U.S. citizens. “These homegrown terrorists may prove to be as dangerous as groups like Al Qaeda, if not more so,” FBI Director Robert Mueller said Friday.
Experts cite cultural alienation, the influence of radical clerics, and even youthful rebellion run amok as motivations for these plots. “One fundamental common denominator of these cases is the belief that there’s a war against Islam and therefore you have to avenge it,” says Steven Emerson, author of “American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us.” Says Gary LaFree, director of the National Consortium for the Study of Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism in College Park, Md.: “You’re getting people who aren’t connected to particular groups, and they seem to be moving very rapidly from a period of having no criminal record to suddenly being willing to use violent methods to make a political point.”