Domestic terror plots down after terror leader's death

CBS This Morning correspondent John Miller, a former assistant director of the FBI, notes that people tend to lose track of how many terror plots are foiled by U.S. authorities.

FBI arrests would-be Capitol bomber outside D.C.

After Sept. 11, 2002, there was an average of about four of these plots a year, targeting people in places on U.S. soil, said Miller. Then around 2008-10, the attempts spiked to about a dozen a year.

The reason for the spike?

Terror leader Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in September, 2011

A lot of people in the intelligence community believe it was al Qaeda got more mature with its message but also found the right messenger -- Anwar al-Awlaki. Al-Awlaki had been in America for years, born in New Mexico, spoke perfect English. He was a master propagandist for al Qaeda and was a very prolific YouTube video creator.

Al-Awlaki was killed by a U.S. drone attack in Yemen in September 2011. Miller says that the drop in U.S. terror attack attempts may have something to do with that decline.. Two things: One, that the government asked YouTube to remove those videos because they said that was direct link between that message and terrorist plots; Two, al-Awlaki's death also made that communication halt.

CBS This Morning correspondent John Miller, a former assistant director of the FBI, discusses the latest terror attack attempt with CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley.

As for the current case involving Amine El Khalifi, Miller predics "wall-to-wall" evidence on the case.

"You're going see video inside apartments of people handling weapons. You're going to hear voice recordings and video recordings of people in cars. You're going to see him trying on this suicide vest because the government has also realized the strongest hedge against the entrapment argument is to film the whole thing ... and let the jury watch it and come to their own decision.

  • John Miller

    John Miller is a senior correspondent for CBS News, with extensive experience in intelligence, law enforcement and journalism, including stints in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the FBI.