Sec Kelly: ‘I Don’t Know How To Stop’ Homegrown Terror

Official DHS photo by Barry Bahler.

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly lamented the difficulty in stopping homegrown violent extremists in an interview with CBS Face The Nation that aired Sunday.

“There are so many aspects to this terrorist thing. Obviously you got the homegrown terrorists. I don’t know how to stop that. I don’t know how to detect that,” Kelly said. He said homegrown terrorism is “the most common” threat, but added that the “threat against aviation” literally keeps him awake at night.

Many of the major terrorist attacks in the U.S. were either natural born or naturalized and then radicalized citizens. The Boston Bombers, Chatanooga shooter Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, San Bernadino shooter Syed Farook, Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, and Chelsea bomber Ahmad Rahami are among the second group.

Kelly continued, “there are a number of plots that we’re watching very, very closely. They’re very sophisticated. They’re very threatening. And the number one thing in my mind is to protect the American people.” He again highlighted the threat from terrorism to aviation saying “if they’re successful, they’re going to kill hundreds and hundreds of people in one fell swoop. So I think the appeal I would make on the homegrown threat is if you see something, say something.”

Kelly’s emphasis on the threat of terrorism to commercial aviation also follows the Trump administration’s implementation of a March laptop ban on flights to the U.S. from several Middle Eastern countries. A senior homeland security official indicated at the time that intelligence indicated that terrorists are “aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks,” adding that one way was to smuggle “explosive devices in various consumer items.”

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Saagar Enjeti