The threat of terrorism against the US homeland is in some aspects "at its most heightened state" since the 9/11 attacks, US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has said.
"The terrorist threat facing our country has evolved significantly," she told members of Congress.
The US faced new threats by groups already inside the country, inspired by al-Qaeda, she said.
Ms Napolitano warned that attacks could be carried out with little warning.
Al-Qaeda and Taliban-linked individuals have attempted a number of recent attacks against the US, including a Nigerian who tried to blow up an aircraft with explosives hidden in his underwear, and a man who plotted to attack the New York subway.
State and local law enforcement officials are increasingly needed to combat terror, and the federal government must focus on supporting their efforts to secure communities, Ms Napolitano said in testimony to the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee.
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Homegrown radicalization is a growing threat, and one we cannot ignore”
Republican Representative from New York
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