Mueller on terror spy in the U.S. Navy and 'three-tiered threat'FBI Director Robert Mueller said last week the terrorist intelligence threat was highlighted by the federal conviction on terrorism charges last month of Abu-Jihaad, a U.S. Navy signalman.
Abu-Jihaad sent classified information about the movements and vulnerabilities of his Navy battle group to an extremist website based in London while he worked on the USS Benfold in the Middle East.
"We learned about Abu-Jihaad from British law enforcement officers, who found a computer disk containing this classified information while searching a residence in London," Mueller said.
Former Navy sailor Hassan Abujihaad, 31, is accused of supporting terrorism by disclosing secret information while on active duty on the USS Benfold (above), a guided-missile destroyer, in 2000 and 2001.
From searches of Abu-Jihaad, the FBI learned that a confederate, Derrick Shareef and Abu-Jihaad planned to attack military targets in Phoenix and San Diego.
Mueller also said that Al Qaida is regrouping in ungoverned tribal areas of Pakistan and "continues to adjust its strategies and tactics."
"We now confront a three-tiered threat," he said in a speech in London.
The top tier is Al Qaida's core organization that has "established new sanctuaries in the ungoverned spaces, tribal areas, and frontier provinces of Pakistan."
"And new sanctuaries mean Al Qaida can reconstitute its leadership, recruit new operatives, and regenerate its capability to attack," he said.
The middle tier includes small groups with some ties to established terror groups that are "self-directed," and the third tier is homegrown extremists.
"They are self-radicalizing, self-financing, and self-executing," he said. "They meet up on the Internet instead of in foreign training camps. They have no formal affiliation with Al Qaida, but they are inspired by its message of violence."
Evolving terror tactics include the search for weapons of mass destruction, car bombs, airliner attacks and kidnapping and murders.