Concerns about domestic terrorism grow as 9/11 anniversary approaches

El Paso News

Effects of war on terror bring refugees to El Paso

FILE – In this Sept. 11, 2011 file photo, US soldiers sit beneath an American flag just raised to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at Forward Operating Base Bostick in Kunar province, Afghanistan. The Biden administration’s surprise announcement in April 2021, of an unconditional troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021, appears to strip the Taliban and the Afghan government of considerable leverage, pressuring them to reach a peace deal. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The 20th-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks coincides with growing concerns about domestic terrorism.

Today, people across the country are more concerned by potential homegrown terrorists, a new report says. It’s a shift in general concern among the American public who once believed threats to the United States came from abroad, which was just 20 years ago.

Two-thirds of Americans report being extremely or very concerned about the threat domestic extremists pose, says survey data from the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The survey found only about half of respondents say they are extremely or very concerned about the threat of foreign based terrorists.

The survey data coincides with the arrival of Afghan refugees to the U.S., who are staying at nearby military installations on Fort Bliss and Holloman Air Force Base – a result of 20 years of foreign policy in the Middle East after the Sept. 11 attacks.

KTSM 9 News polled El Pasoans on the street and social media who affirm the survey results.

“Probably domestic at the moment,” says Richard, an El Pasoan, on whether he’s more fearful of domestic or foreign extremists. 

“Like the people who stormed the Capitol building, I feel like that was really scary,” he adds.

The Borderland is particularly vulnerable to terroristic threats in the wake of the August 3rd Cielo Vista Walmart mass shooting, while Islamophobic disinformation continues to spread on social media. 

KTSM spoke with David Brignac, a retired U.S. Army veteran who served more than 25 years and was deployed in Afghanistan, who says he’s concerned over the welfare of the refugees. 

“Texas is a hotbed for extremism,” says Brignac. “We’re a diverse state but people can be pretty intolerant when it comes to any kind of migrant.”

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