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 U.s. Worried About Homegrown Terrorists, Homeland Security to root out plots
Posted: Jan 5 2007, 06:46 PM

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WASHINGTON - The nation's homeland security chief said Friday he is increasingly worried about "homegrown" terrorists and will give more help to local police trying to root out such plots.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced several changes in how the government chooses to dole out anti-terror money to major U.S. cities, moving away from what he said was too much "bean-counting" last year that subjected the agency to ridicule.

"This is going to be an amazing admission for a public official. ... I actually listen to people," Chertoff said. "Speaking for myself, I don't believe that I'm infallible or that I have nothing to learn from anybody."

The agency will do several things differently from last year when New York and Washington officials complained that the urban area security initiative had slashed their funding by 40 percent.

DHS will now allow six cities to use some grants to pay for police officers devoted exclusively to anti-terror work, such as increased security measures during a terror alert or investigations into local terror suspects.

One such suspect, Pakistani immigrant and high school dropout Shahawar Matin Siraj, is to be sentenced Monday in federal court in New York for plotting to detonate explosives at a busy subway station a case that was investigated by the New York Police Department.

Chertoff said that even as governments try to guard against sophisticated worldwide networks like al-Qaida, there is a growing worry about local threats.

"We're very concerned about intelligence-gathering," said Chertoff. "We also know the matter of homegrown terrorism is becoming an increasing concern all around the globe."

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