Washington (CNN) – For the first time in nearly four years, a majority of Americans think that a terrorist attack is likely to occur somewhere in the United States in the next few weeks, according to a new national poll.
But a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday morning indicates only one in 20 Americans think that terrorism is the most important problem facing the country today.
Fifty-five percent of people questioned say an act of terrorism in the U.S. over the next few weeks is likely, up 21 points from last August. Forty-three percent said such an attack is not likely, down 21 points from August.
"Eight in ten Americans don't think that a terrorist attack is likely in their community, but the 17 percent who do worry about being targeted by terrorists is the highest that number has been since 2002," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Nonetheless, terrorism ranks dead last when Americans are asked to name the country's most important problem."
The economy, at 45 percent, tops the list, with the deficit, at 12 percent, and health care, at 11 percent, the only other issues in double digits. Only four percent of those questioned in the poll say terrorism is the country's top issue.
Washington (CNN) - Vowing to continue to "underwrite global security" - but not alone - the Obama administration Thursday released its first National Security Strategy, a 52-page outline of the president's strategic approach and priorities.
The NSS, required by Congress of every administration to be prepared every four years, for the first time combines homeland security and national security, focusing not only on threats internationally but on the threat of home-grown radicals inspired and recruited by al Qaeda.
"We view this as an important and emerging challenge," Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, told reporters. Al Qaeda, he said, is less capable of using safe havens for training abroad and is now "trying to inspire Americans to carry out attacks on the U.S."
Those Americans, he said, may have less direct contact with the terrorist organization but they carry American passports and know the strengths and weaknesses of the United States.
"Several recent incidents of violent extremists in the United States who are committed to fighting here and abroad have underscored the threat to the United States and our interests posed by individuals radicalized at home," the NSS states. "Our best defenses against this threat are well informed and equipped families, local communities and institutions."
Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration unveils its National Security Strategy on Thursday and it will be the first time a president explicitly recognizes the threat posed to the country by radicalized individuals at home, the president's chief counterterrorism adviser said.
The security strategy acts as a blueprint for how a White House administration intends to protect Americans. In the past, it has focused mostly on international threats.
But a spate of terror-related plots in the United States recently prompted the Obama administration to include homegrown terrorism in the document, National Security Adviser John Brennan said Wednesday.
Homegrown terrorism represents a new phase of the terrorist threat, he said.
Speaking at the U.S. Military Academy commencement in New York, Obama praised the graduates for their achievements and laid out a scenario of military and societal challenges in what is the ninth consecutive West Point commencement during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the fight against international terrorism.
"This time of war began in Afghanistan - a place that may seem as far from this peaceful bend in the Hudson River as anywhere on Earth," Obama said, referring to a conflict that started after the al Qaeda terror network attacked the United States on September 11, 2001.
"The war began only because our own cities and civilians were attacked by violent extremists who plotted from that distant place, and it continues only because that plotting persists to this day."
"I was sad to see it go," former Sen. Fred Thompson, better known outside political circles as the series' "D.A. Arthur Branch," said in an interview set to air Wednesday on CNN's John King, USA.
Adding that the popular crime series "meant a lot to me personally," Thompson joked with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that the television drama took him from the "obscurity of the United States Senate" and elevated him to being New York City's fictional district attorney.
"At least we'll have reruns probably for more than the rest of our lives," the attorney-turned actor-turned lawmaker told King.
The former lawmaker, who returned to politics for a 2008 White House bid, also weighed in on the current political climate and November's midterm elections.
Washington (CNN) - The top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee says he doesn't yet see the evidence to support Obama administration claims that the Times Square bombing suspect was working on behalf of the Pakistani Taliban.
Sen. Kit Bond, R-Missouri, also is criticizing Attorney General Eric Holder for launching what he calls a "hostile takeover" of the intelligence community.
In a written statement released on Wednesday, Bond accused the Justice Department of violating the National Security Act by not allowing intelligence agencies to provide congressional oversight committees information the agencies had gathered about alleged Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.
"Instead of complying with the law and getting timely information to Congress, the Attorney General and Administration officials were busy spinning the Times Square story in the press," Bond in the statement.
“We can do everything we can to protect – but there will be some things that will slip up on us, no matter what,” Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, said on CNN’s State of the Union.
Shelby noted that the recent Times Square plot and last year’s failed attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day had something in common - they were both carried out in the main by a single person. Those types of one-person operations make intelligence gathering and detection that much harder, he said.
“So if they keep doing this and they fan out all over the country, we’re going to have deep, deep challenges ahead in terms terrorism work,” Shelby told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.
Later in the interview, Shelby said that law enforcement officials were lucky when it came to the botched Times Square plot. “It’s been said before: Luck shouldn’t be our policy,” said Shelby, “We’ve got to be more diligent. We’ve got to do more training. We’ve got to realize that individuals are dangerous by themselves especially when they’ve had training.”
"It looks like he was working on behalf of the Pakistani Taliban," Obama counterterterrorism advsier John Brennan said Sunday on CNN. (Photo Credit: CNN)
Washington (CNN) - The suspect in the failed Times Square bombing was likely working with the Taliban movement in Pakistan, President Barack Obama's top terrorism adviser said Sunday.
John Brennan, the assistant to the president for counterterrorism and homeland security, told CNN's "State of the Union" that the ongoing investigation pointed to Faisal Shahzad having links to Tehrik-e-Taliban, known
"It looks like he was working on behalf of the Pakistani Taliban," Brennan said.
Watch: Brennan weighs in on Shahzad
The group, also known as the TTP, is "closely allied with al Qaeda" and has pledged to carry out attacks on other parts of the world, including the United States, Brennan said.
Updated: 4:55 p.m.
Washington (CNN) – A bipartisan group of legislators on Thursday introduced legislation in Congress to strip citizenship from any American found to be involved in terrorism.
If the Terrorist Expatriation Act passes, an American could lose citizenship if the State Department found that person had provided material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization - as designated by the secretary of state - or participated in actions against the United States.
Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, and Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, co-sponsored the bill. An identical bill is being introduced in the House by Reps. Jason Altmire, D-Pennsylvania, and Charlie Dent, R-Pennsylvania.
"As the attempted terrorist attack on Times Square showed us again, our enemies today are even more willing than the Nazis or fascists were to kill innocent civilian Americans," Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, told reporters. "Our enemies today are stateless actors who don't wear uniforms and plot against Americans abroad and here in the United States."
Washington (CNN) - If the new requirement that no-fly lists be checked by airlines every two hours had been in place, Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad would have been stopped before boarding a plane, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday.
Pressed by lawmakers at a Senate hearing, Holder said the requirement for airlines to check no-fly lists every two hours instead of 24 hours likely could have prompted authorities at the airport to apprehend Shahzad sooner.
Shahzad was arrested late Monday at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport after boarding a flight bound for Dubai, United Arab Emirates. His final destination was Pakistan.
The Emirates plane had pulled away from the gate but was ordered back by customs officials. Shahzad was taken into custody.
Holder reiterated his statement to reporters Tuesday that he personally was "never worried" Shahzad would manage to escape, but acknowledged not everything went right.