♦ Homegrown terrorism is the number one threat to the United States, says the intelligence community. "While homegrown actors represent a 'numerically small' segment of the terrorist threat, they have disproportionate access to US facilities, noted Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. He said that he remains 'especially focused on Al Qaeda’s resolve to target Americans for recruitment,'" reports The Christian Science Monitor. 'This focus is the result of the damage that US forces have done to Al Qaeda in places like Pakistan, officials argue. US success in targeting insurgent operatives has in turn encouraged Al Qaeda to look for other ways to harm America – specifically, recruiting Americans to take part in terrorist attacks on their home soil, they say."
♦ Besides homegrown terrorism, the intelligence community's top leaders increasingly fear cyberattacks as another dire threat to national security. CIA Director Leon Panetta told House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that "terrorists are determined to find a way to hack into the power grid system in the United States, which he said 'brings down the financial system, brings down our government systems. You could paralyze this country,'" according to the Los Angeles Times. "He noted that extremists in Iran, Russia and China are developing 'a significant capacity' to stage such an attack, and that 'hundreds of thousands' of attempts are being made to sneak into national security networks."