Mike McConnell, the former Director of National Intelligence under Bush, commended the Obama administration for how it has been handling the evolving threats.
"My observation is the new administration has been as aggressive, if not more aggressive, in pursuing these issues, because they're real," McConnell said.
"Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you come from or what your political views might be, these threats are very real and very serious and we have to deal with them in a very serious way," he said.
Brennan calls Yemeni president about al-Qaeda fight
Hayden stressed that even though the homegrown terrorists would be more amateur in conducting "low-threshold" attacks, the threat was "almost like penalty kicks in soccer."
"No matter how good your goalie is, sooner or later this ball is going to get into the back of the net," he said.
McConnell said he would most worry about a chemical or biological attack from al Qaeda.
"The most likely event is going to be an explosion. They want death and destruction and blood and mayhem," he said. "That's what they strive for. But there are other things that they could consider.
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