November 1, 2010
OMAHA, Neb. — In the past 18 months across the United States more than 60 Americans have been arrested and are facing terrorism charges.
U.S. citizens are rising in the ranks of al-Qaida. Investigators said Adam Gadah of California has been considered to be the top propagandists of al-Qaida by using the Internet to encourage Americans to kill their neighbors.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation told KETV NewsWatch 7 that there are activities in Omaha that are causing concern.
The FBI said the face of extremism is changing.
“We’ve had everything from blond-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian males to people of African-American and Middle Eastern descent,” said Weysan Dun, Omaha’s FBI Special Agent in Charge.
Dun said the number of Americans willing to commit terroristic acts is growing and he said no community is immune.
“There are things going on in Nebraska and Iowa that we are concerned about and closely monitor. I really can’t go into much more than that,” Dun said. “Fortunately, we have had nothing that would indicate any specific or active plotting.”
Dun said there is no immediate threat here, but there are definite concerns.
The FBI agent said there is no longer a stereotypical profile of a terrorist. It’s a fact that worries Sen. Ben Nelson, who sits on the Senate’s Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee.
“It’s very disturbing to know that there are Americans who have been recruited who engage in acts of violence at a moment’s notice, without our knowing who they are,” Nelson said.
According to the Homeland Security Administration, in 1998 there were a total of 12 terrorist-related websites. By January of 2009, there were close to 7,000 active sites.
“Whatever extremist views you are looking for, you can find,” said Dun.
Dun said the extremists are maintaining blogs, social networking pages and even creating rap music that appeals to American teenagers.
“There are some websites out there now, for example, that feature rap music in English to glorify the ideal of martyrdom and fighting Jihad the way they view it,” said Dun.
He said young people typically seek out the radical groups themselves. Dun said they are generally teens who feel like outcasts and are looking to belong.
“Regrettably, we got a lot of those kinds of kids in our country and in our communities,” said Dr. Daniel Daly, the head of youth counseling at Boys Town.
Daly said the type of kids likely to get recruited by terrorists is the same type of kid who gets recruited by gangs or becomes engaged in deviant behavior.
“They just want identification and just want a cause like everyone does in their life, and if it isn’t provided in a socially appropriate way, that makes the community stronger,” Daly said.
To prevent an attack, authorities said citizens must do their part by being alert, observant and by taking action.
“Truly the first lines of our nation’s defense, now more than ever, is the awareness of citizens, the awareness of the community and more importantly, the willingness for people to report their concerns,” said Dun.