U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Sunday he is concerned about so-called lone wolf attacks in the United States by Islamist militants inspired by al-Qaida affiliates.
Holder met with his European counterparts in Paris on Sunday to discuss ways to prevent violent extremism, after Islamist militants killed 17 people in several attacks in the French capital.
Holder said on CBS's Face the Nation program that the “decimation” of core al-Qaida has reduced or eliminated that group's ability to carry out a 9/11-style attack, but he said affiliates like al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula have stepped in to try to inspire people to carry out smaller attacks.
“I think the possibility of such attacks exists in the United States,” Holder said.
“It is something that, frankly, keeps me up at night worrying about the lone wolf or a very small group of people who decide to get arms on their own and do what we saw in France this week,” he said.
To hold security meeting
President Barack Obama will hold a global security meeting in Washington in February to discuss domestic and international efforts to counteract violent extremism.
Holder, who appeared on several U.S. television shows on Sunday morning, said Americans should feel secure with U.S. officials' efforts to prevent attacks by Islamist militants.
He told CNN's State of the Union program that about 150 Americans had gone or attempted to travel to Syria or Iraq to fight with militants there, and about 12 were there now.
Holder said the United States works with its allies to monitor people who could pose a threat to U.S. security.