In the long war against terrorism, legions of militants lie in wait, devoted to jihad and dreaming about the defeat of the West. When the terrorists are known and within America's reach, they lose. The surge in Iraq and ongoing operations in Afghanistan, the Philippines, and elsewhere have proved the effectiveness of military operations against known insurgent groups. The FBI's dismantling of terrorist cells across the nation shows the efficiency of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement services against identified enemies.
It is the thousands of unknown terrorists—the anonymous jihadists who stoke anti-Western hatred on the World Wide Web; the experienced warriors waiting patiently in remote mountain strongholds; the sympathizers and sleeper agents who travel freely among nations—who pose a long-term threat to the security of the United States. Of prime concern are those foreign fighters who have skulked away from the battlefield and returned to their home cities and villages, saving themselves for future operations, in many cases thoroughly trained in the finer arts of bomb building and the terrorist trade.