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N.C. Arrests Raise Concerns about Homegrown Terrorism

After seven North Carolina men were arrested on accusations of planning a terrorist attack, law enforcement officials said they were concerned about other possible homegrown terrorists. Ray Suarez speaks with a terrorism expert and a civil rights advocate.

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    It was from this home in a rural corner of North Carolina that 39-year-old Daniel Boyd and a group of alleged co-conspirators are accused of quietly planning "violent jihad."

  • ROB ROEGNER, neighbor:

    I spoke with him on several occasions, and never was there any idea that he was involved in something like that.


    On Monday, more than 100 federal agents fanned out across the state to arrest Boyd, his two sons, and four others. A 14-page indictment accuses the men of a long-standing conspiracy to plan and launch an overseas terrorist attack.

    Boyd, the silent cell's alleged mastermind, is an American-born Muslim convert. The indictment claims he traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the late 1980s to train alongside Islamist fighters then battling the Soviets.

    The North Carolina case — and similar recent incidents — worry American law enforcement officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder, who spoke to ABC News.

    ERIC HOLDER, attorney general: This whole notion of radicalization is something that perhaps did not loom as large a few months ago as it does now. And that — it's the shifting nature of threats that, I think, keeps you up at night.


    In a memo issued shortly after Monday's arrests, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security cited the Boyd case and others as evidence of a growing trend.

    Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano addressed the issue yesterday.

    JANET NAPOLITANO, secretary of homeland security: We need to comprehend and anticipate an expanding range of threats. Now, DHS monitors and shares information about potential homegrown threats, as well. These can be individuals, radicals radicalized by events abroad or lone wolf attacks.


    Federal prosecutors recently disclosed an American raised on Long Island was currently being detained for training with al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    And this week, a Virginia man, who had joined al-Qaida, was sentenced to life in prison for planning to kill former President George W. Bush.

    Boyd and his co-defendants are scheduled to appear in a federal court in Raleigh next Tuesday.


    Just how widespread is homegrown radical extremism? And how do you combat that threat?

    For answers, we turn to David Schanzer, director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, located at Duke University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Ibrahim Ramey, director for human and civil rights at the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C.