US faces terror threat diffused from AfPak region: Official

New Delhi, Dec 5: The US faces an increasingly diffused terror threat that has evolved from a central location in the AfPak region, a senior official said Thursday, noting the threats require shift in tactics.

Talking to reporters at the end of India-US police chiefs’ conference here, Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security David Heyman said there was need to empower communities in the fight against terror as they were likely to get information about any attempt at recruitment.

He said there were self-radicalized individuals and those recruited from outside.

“Each of these cases (require) empowerment of communities, support to their efforts,” he said.

Heyman was accompanied by Daniel Oates, chief of Aurora Police Department, Art Acevedo, chief of Austin Police Department, and Michael Downing, deputy chief of Los Angeles Police Department.

Heyman laid stress on community-oriented policing to deal with challenges such as radicalization of individuals.

Asked about terror threat in the US, he said there was increasingly diffused threat “that has evolved from central location in the AfPak” region.

The police officers from the US also shared their experiences about “use” and “frustration” with the social media amid growing concerns in India about its possible misuse in flaring up communal tensions.

Downing said there was robust discussion on technology and use and leveraging of social media.

He said there was also frustration due to possible misuse of social media.

“It causes us to be distracted. (There can be) potentially destructive inaccurate information,” he said.

Downing said the two sides shared experiences and “conversation was very helpful”.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde have in the past pointed to the misuse of social media in fanning riots in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar.

Shinde inaugurated the conference Wednesday.

The two sides made presentations on response to mass casualty events, maritime security and law enforcement.

Surveillance and command control in urban policing, security and law enforcement in mass transit system were among the issues discussed.