Janet Napolitano testifies on local terrorism threats

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testifies before the House Committee on Homeland Security during a hearing on Understanding the Homeland Threat Landscape - Considerations for the 112th Congress.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testifies before the House Committee on Homeland Security during a hearing on Understanding the Homeland Threat Landscape - Considerations for the 112th Congress. Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

Federal Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the director of the National Counterterrorism Center briefed a Congressional committee this morning on the threat of homegrown terrorism.

Cabinet secretary Janet Napolitano told the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee she's focused on aiding local law enforcement agencies, because they’ll be the first to learn about potential terrorist threats.

Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of Santa Ana asked whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation was following the rules in its probes of American Muslims. "What are the safeguards that we now have in place so that we aren’t sending people into mosques and trying to elicit somebody proactively to create some sort of terrorist attack?"

Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said the FBI has strict guidelines on its level of intrusiveness – "not having radical thoughts, but moving to action, which would be terrorist action."

Lawmakers complained that security information from Washington has been slow to reach local cops. Democrats and Republicans added that local law enforcement needs more money to help fight terrorism.

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