Internet may serve as terrorists' training ground - US official

Disaffected people living in the US may develop radical ideologies and potentially violent skills over the Internet, something that can present the next major security threat to the nation and to the world, Reuters quoted Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff as saying.

'We now have a capability of someone to radicalize themselves over the Internet,' Chertoff said on the sidelines of a meeting of the International Association of the Chiefs of Police last Monday.

'They can train themselves over the Internet. They never have to necessarily go to the training camp or speak with anybody else and that diffusion of a combination of hatred and technical skills in things like bomb-making is a dangerous combination,' Chertoff said. 'Those are the kind of terrorists that we may not be able to detect with spies and satellites.'

He said the July 7, 2005 attacks on London's transit system, which killed 56 people, was an example a homegrown threat, according to Reuters.

To help gather intelligence on possible homegrown attackers, he said Homeland Security would deploy 20 field agents this fiscal year into 'intelligence fusion centers,' where they would work with local police agencies.

By the end of the next fiscal year, he said the department aimed to increase that to 35 staffers, the Reuters report said.