How Real Is The Terror Threat Today?09:08
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A memorial to victims of the Boston Marathon bombings is pictured in Copley Square, Boston, on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. (Alex Ashlock/Here & Now)
A memorial to victims of the Boston Marathon bombings is pictured in Copley Square, Boston, on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. (Alex Ashlock/Here & Now)

On CNN this month, Senator Diane Feinstein said that, when it comes to terrorism, we are not safer than we were one or two years ago.

Feinstein chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee and she said terror threats are up worldwide.

But terrorist expert Peter Bergen tells Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti that while terror threats are up in aggregate, terror threats against the United States are down.

"I think there is a certain conflation in what [Feinstein] said between what's going on overseas — I mean, certainly it's a fact that al-Qaida is enjoying a renaissance in Iraq, which accounts for the fact that violence in Iraq today is at the same levels that it was in 2008," Bergen said. "The question is, to what extent is that a national security problem for the United States?"

Bergen says that the terrorist threats that have been seen recently in the United States are carried out by "lone wolves" rather than organized entities.

"We're seeing fewer and fewer cases today of people linked to foreign terrorist groups or going overseas for terrorist training, which makes them more effective," he said, "If the threat is now lone wolves, yes they are harder to detect, but they are by definition, less capable of creating mass terrorist attacks."

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This segment aired on December 30, 2013.

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