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PARIS — U.S. Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano said Friday that the risk of "lone wolf" attackers, with no ties to known extremist networks or grand conspiracies, is on the rise as the global terrorist threat has shifted.
Such risks, Napolitano said in an interview in Paris, heighten the need to keep dangerous travelers from reaching the United States, and she urged European partners to finalize a deal on sharing passenger data that has met resistance over privacy concerns.
Napolitano acknowledged shifts in the terror threat this year, but said the changes had little to do with the uprisings that have overturned the old order in countries around the Arab world and opened up new opportunities for extremist groups.
Asked about the greatest current threats to the United States, she said one from al-Qaida has morphed. "From a U.S. perspective, over the last several years we have had more attacks emanating from AQAP (al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula) than from core al-Qaida," she told The Associated Press.
"There's been a lot of evolution over the past three years," she said. "The thing that's most noticeable to me is the growth of the lone wolf," the single attacker who lives in the United States or elsewhere who is not part of a larger global conspiracy or network, she said. She named no examples, but it's a phenomenon that is increasingly the focus of international anti-terror operations.
One threat that has remained constant, Napolitano stressed, is that of terrorists reaching U.S. territory. She said the agreement with the EU on sharing data on air passengers for flights from Europe to America is needed to "make sure these global networks and global systems that we all rely on remain safe."
One threat that has remained constant, Napolitano stressed, is that of terrorists reaching U.S. territory.
She said the agreement with the EU on sharing data on air passengers for flights from Europe to America is needed...