Cover Story Overview

Evaluating the Al-Qa`ida Threat to the U.S. Homeland

In recent years, the United States has faced terrorist plots from individuals in Texas, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and North Carolina. In contrast to the 19 hijackers on 9/11, many of the recent terrorist plotters are U.S.-born Muslims or converts, with few, if any, links to al-Qa`ida’s central leadership. This article reviews al-Qa`ida’s present threat to the U.S. homeland. It looks at the evolution of the threat from 9/11—including the rise of affiliated organizations and independent actors— and the problems faced by al-Qa`ida’s central organization in orchestrating attacks in the United States.

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