President Obama expressed concerns over lone wolf attacks and not mass attacks as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches. In an interview with CNN, the president said the threat of another large-scale assault on America was less likely due to punishing attacks on the group by U.S. military and intelligence, which resulted in "a much weaker organization with much less capability than they had just two or three years ago."
"The risk is always there, and obviously on a seminal event like the tenth anniversary of 9/11, that makes us more concerned -- it means we've got heightened awareness," President Obama said. "The most likely scenario that we have to guard against right now ends up being more of a lone wolf operation than a large, well coordinated terrorist attack," he added, noting increased security measures and "extra vigilance" preceding the anniversary.
A determined attacker with a weapon can "carry out wide-scale massacres" like Anders Breivik's bombing and shooting spree in Norway recently," he said. "When you've got one person who is deranged or driven by a hateful ideology they can do a lot of damage and it's a lot harder to trace those lone wolf operators."
CNN's question was prompted by an alert issued Tuesday by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security regarding lone wolf threats. Breivik, the bulletin noted, "is believed to have acted alone and used legal methods to procure the vast majority of materials and weapons needed for his operation, successfully avoiding law enforcement suspicion."
The bulletin also cited the recent plot by Army Pvt. Naser Jason Abdo to attack a restaurant near Foot Hood that is popular with soldiers and other base personnel.
Similar concerns over lone wolf attacks were expressed Wednesday by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.