Americans worried about domestic terror exceeds those who are worried about foreign threats, poll finds

Just 34 per cent per cent believe Iraq War was worth fighting, with 63 per cent saying it was not

Bevan Hurley
In New York
Tuesday 07 September 2021 21:26 BST
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More Americans are concerned about homegrown terrorism than they are about the threat of extremism from overseas, a new study has found.

According to the poll for the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, about two-thirds of Americans say they are extremely or very concerned about the threat from extremist groups inside the US.

By contrast, only about 50 per cent of respondents say they are extremely or very concerned about the threat from foreign-based terrorists.

As the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks approaches, the survey also found deep dissatisfaction with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

There are warnings of further violence at the US Capitol on September 18 (The Associated Press)

Just 34 per cent percent of Americans said they believe the Iraq War was worth fighting, with 63 per cent saying it was not.

The poll results were similar for the Afghanistan war, with 35 per cent of respondents saying the conflict was worth fighting, while 62 per cent said it was not.

The survey was conducted from August 12 to August 16, in the days before the US completed the withdrawal from its 20-year occupation of Afghanistan.

The growing concern about local extremism comes as supporters of former President Donald Trump prepare to gather for a Justice for January 6 rally in the grounds of the US Capitol in Washington DC on September 18.

Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe said law enforcement needed to take the threat “very seriously”.

“In fact, they should take it more seriously than they took the same sort of intelligence that they likely saw on 5 January,” Mr McCabe said.

The AP-NORC poll also found Americans are increasingly against intrusive government surveillance in the name of national security.

Forty-six per cent of Americans say they oppose the US government responding to national security threats by reading emails sent between people outside of the US without a warrant, as permitted under law for purposes of foreign intelligence collection.

Just 27 per cent are in favour. That’s a stark change from the results of an AP-NORC poll conducted one decade ago, when 47 per cent favoured the approach compared to 30 per cent against.

Americans are also more likely to oppose government eavesdropping on calls outside the US without a warrant, 44 per cent to 28 per cent. Another 27 per cent hold neither opinion.

About two-thirds of Americans continue to be opposed to the possibility of warrantless US government monitoring of telephone calls, emails and text messages made within the US

Though the National Security Agency is focused on surveillance abroad, it does have the ability to collect the communications of Americans as they’re in touch with someone outside the country who is a target of government surveillance.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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