Counterterror chief discusses terror threats in US

July 25, 2012 - 9:42 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the National Counterterrorism Center says al-Qaida isn't as capable as it once was, but terrorists are focused on smaller, simpler plots against the United States.

Director Matthew G. Olsen tells Congress that U.S. authorities also are worried about "homegrown violent extremists" who are influenced by surviving al-Qaida leaders. In testimony prepared for a hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee Wednesday, Olsen says "lone actors or insular groups" pose the most serious homegrown threat.

Olsen does not mention the Colorado movie theater shooting that killed at least 12 people last week. The motive in that attack is unknown.

The director also tells lawmakers that the National Counterterrorism Center is working with U.S. intelligence and British authorities on security issues around the London Olympics.