Intelligence Officials See Likely Terrorist Attack on US Soil

A recent spike in terrorist activity has prompted Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair to believe that Al Qaeda and other groups may be planning to attack the United States. Speaking before a Senate panel, Blair said he was “highly certain” that terrorists would try to sow chaos on American soil in the first half of the year. He cited the failed attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound Northwest airliner on Christmas Day as one the bases for his assessment.

Meanwhile, CIA Director Leon E. Panetta, who was also present at the Senate Intelligence Committee meeting, said there is no immediate threat of attacks similar in magnitude to 9/11, although he admitted that terrorist plots are becoming more complicated and harder to detect.

The warning from the two intelligence officials came as CIA drones continue to bombard suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban enclaves in the mountains of Pakistan. Last month, there were reports that the Taliban leader in Pakistan, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed in a US drone attack. The Taliban has denied the claim.