WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said Tuesday that a “lone wolf” terror attack in the U.S. is more likely than a major coordinated effort like the Sept. 11 attacks nearly a decade ago.

With the nation preparing to observe the 10th anniversary of hijacked airliners crashing in New York and Washington and along the Pennsylvania countryside, Obama said the government is in a state of heightened awareness.

“The biggest concern we have right now is not the launching of a major terrorist operation, although that risk is always there,” the president said in an interview with CNN.

“The risk that we’re especially concerned over right now is the lone wolf terrorist, somebody with a single weapon being able to carry out wide-scale massacres of the sort that we saw in Norway recently,” he said. “You know, when you’ve got one person who is deranged or driven by a hateful ideology, they can do a lot of damage, and it’s a lot harder to trace those lone wolf operators.”

In Norway, Anders Behring Breivik, 32, was charged with killing 69 people last month at a youth camp. A lawyer for Breivik says his client believes the massacre was necessary to save Norway and Europe from Muslims and punish politicians who have embraced multiculturalism.

In recent years the U.S. has endured terror-linked attacks that authorities believe were carried out by a single person. In November 2009, 13 people were killed at Fort Hood, Texas, in a shooting that led to charges against an Army psychiatrist who authorities allege had become an Islamic extremist.

A botched car bomb in New York’s Times Square in 2010 and a Christmas Day 2009 attempt to bring down a Detroit-bound jetliner with a bomb also were tied by authorities to one person in each instance.

In the CNN interview, Obama said the government continues to monitor and gather information about potential terrorist plots even though al-Qaida’s capabilities have been degraded. Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs during a raid in Pakistan last May.

Asked if Americans don’t have to worry about a nuclear or radiological attack or some other “spectacular” event, Obama said: “Look, as president of the United States, I worry about all of it. But I think the most likely scenario that we have to guard against right now ends up being more of a lone wolf operation than a large, well-coordinated terrorist attack. We still have to stay on top of it, though, and we’re never letting our guard down. That’s part of our job.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (5)
  1. Clever says:

    I think he’s talking about the corrupt bankers that destroyed our economy. They are dangerous too.

    Oh no, not them, they donate to his campaign

  2. StraycatStrut says:

    Seems like BO is making his way leaving a carbon footprint on the land, noise pollution in the air, and taxpayer greenbacks coming out his exhaust pipe.

  3. Common Cents says:

    Hmmm, can you hear the crickets? Over 50% of americans voted Obama in, yet no one defends him?

    Lets give Ron Paul a shot @ 4 years…. some real change we can believe in.

    1. bill says:

      Agreed, even grandpa nutbar can do a better job

  4. Randy says:

    Lone Wolf = White American Christian.
    We should quit persecuting this group to minimize the chance to this happening by eliminating govt programs that benefit everyone but Lone Wolves.

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