CAROL COSTELLO: This morning the Feds are searching an eighth suspect accused of being part of a terror cell in North Carolina. Their alleged ring leader accused of hording weapons and visiting terror camps overseas. This is just one of a string of recent high profile terror arrests here at home. So, just how safe is America from Homegrown Terrorism? Let's bring in an expert, Steven Emerson. He's the Executive Director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. He joins us live now from Washington. Good morning.
STEVEN EMERSON: Good morning, Carol.
COSTELLO: So it seems like there are a lot of people here in America alleged homegrown terrorists being indicted for crimes for jihad. How scared should we be?
EMERSON: Well, we're seeing a new phase, Carol, here in the radicalization of American citizens as well as American-born Muslims. In the past six months alone there have been more than 40 arrests of either American-born Muslims or of Americans who converted to Islam and tried to carry out plots either overseas or in the United States. This is indicative of what has happened in Europe over the last 10 years where the environment there and some of the calls by the Islamic groups have radicalized the Muslim population there. We're seeing it here, but more interestingly we are seeing American citizens who convert to Islam and stage operations from the safety of the U.S. overseas in carrying out Jihad.
COSTELLO: I want to talk specifically about Daniel Patrick Boyd, the guy from North Carolina. I mean, he just looked like your average Joe. Neighbors said if he was a terrorist, he's the nicest terrorist we know, he just seemed like such a normal guy yet he supposedly carried on this secret life. From 1989 to 1992 he traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan. What did he do there exactly?
EMERSON: Well in 1989 to 1992 he volunteered against the Soviets who occupied Afghanistan and he volunteered and trained with the Afghan "Mujahideen," the holy warriors, but he kept up and he was interviewed in the Washington Post actually, in 1991 where he called the U.S. a "kafir" or infidel country. He kept up his religious animosity to the United States. Even indoctrinating his own kids willing to send them on suicide operations in Israel and elsewhere aboard to carry out Jihad. So it shows you the extent to which he was radicalized. What's more interesting here is the extent to which there are other cells around the country, Carol, that have been involved in carrying out plots either here in the U.S. or overseas but using the safety of the united States and becoming radicalized here even though they were not radical or not even born Muslim.
COSTELLO: Yeah, I want to get into some of the psychology of this because Daniel Patrick Boyd apparently plotted these alleged terror missions overseas, not here in the United States but then again who knows right? But how does one who lives in America, grows up in the American culture become radicalized like this?
EMERSON: You raised an excellent question and I think part of the answer lies in the fact that once you make a conversion to Islam; and most Muslims are not radical, but once you make a conversion to Islam sometimes the Islamic groups, the national groups that control the distribution of literature, of the media, of the educational system teach them Jihad and teach them that America is the enemy. Just the other day letters from Congress representing seven Islamic radical groups claimed to be mistreated by the U.S. government and they themselves in statements in the last ten years claimed that the U.S. government is the enemy. If you are constantly fed on a diet that the U.S. government is the enemy, that the U.S. government is part of a conspiracy to suppress Islam, you will naturally end up radicalized, hating the U.S. and even willing to carry out violence to advance that goal.
COSTELLO: Scary. Steven Emerson, thanks for joining us this morning.
EMERSON: You're welcome.