Top U.S. officials warn that deadly attacks similar to those in France could happen in the U,S., and they raise fresh concerns about vulnerabilities in the nation's counterterrorism system, the Washington Post reports. Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking from Paris, where he met with European counterparts after attacks that left 17 people dead, discussed the potential for strikes against the U.S. by individuals or groups tied to al-Qaeda or other terror organizations. “It's something that frankly keeps me up at night, worrying about the lone wolf or a group of people, a very small group of people, who decide to get arms on their own and do what we saw in France,” he told “Face the Nation.” Holder's comments came as 1.3 million people, including world leaders and dignitaries, flooded the streets of Paris for the largest demonstration in the country's history.
Several senior lawmakers warned of the specter of similar attacks, saying they would press the Obama administration to keep closer tabs on U.S. citizens and others who travel overseas to train with terror groups and attempt to return home. Small-scale attacks are “very difficult to detect, deter and disrupt, which is really our goal,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), who leads the House Homeland Security Committee, said on CBS. “I think we're going to see more and more of these taking place.” McCaul and other lawmakers said that the U.S. “no-fly” list remains an important antiterrorism tool but worried about the vulnerability of the visa waiver program, which allows people from designated countries to travel into the U.S. for up to 90 days without first obtaining a visa. President Obama on Feb. 18 will host a summit on countering extremism, to highlight how local communities are working to curb violence before it takes place.