Newly emerging terrorism suspects do not fit the traditional profiles, a trend that worries U.S. officials. Terrorists who are “radicalized over the Internet” present “different challenges for the law enforcement community to try to identify them,” Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told the Los Angeles Times said Tuesday. “What we are seeing is a rising threat of homegrown terrorists.” FBI director Robert Mueller said the bureau had “certainly several hundred” individuals under investigation in the U.S. as part of terrorism-related probes. He said the bureau is devoting more resources to understanding the “radicalization” process – how people come to embrace extremist views.
FBI deputy director John Pistole said most of the subjects of investigations were being examined for their financial ties to terrorist groups rather than as actual operatives. “These are not bomb-throwers for the most part,” Pistole said. “These are people who are out there raising money.” Terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann said, “I think what really disturbs [U.S. officials] is to see growing numbers of people who do not fit any profiling model – they are not from the Middle East; they are not converted to any religion. It is like a stealth convert – someone who radicalizes on their own. It is very difficult to find someone like that.”