WASHINGTON -- Experts on terrorism Wednesday warned against complacency in the aftermath of the death of Osama bin Laden, even though the core members of al-Qaida are finding it hard to replace their slain charismatic leader.
But terrorism consultant Evan Kohlmann said that since 9/11, "regional al-Qaida leaderships have emerged in crucial locations such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and North Africa," along with "a new generation of homegrown jihadists." And there's evidence al-Qaida in Yemen is in touch with the terrorist group al-Shabab in Somalia, he said. "The underlying threat is in some ways unchanged."
Bergen said a recent study found terrorist attacks involving U.S. citizens spiked in 2009-10, accounting for 76 of 180 since 9/11. This year, the number has plummeted to six. "The question for the committee, and frankly for the nation: Was 2009 and 2010 sort of an outlier or was it part of a pattern?" he said. "I think that is still very much an open question."