(CNSNews.com) - The threat to the American homeland is "evolving," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told Congress on Tuesday.
He pointed to recent attacks or attempted attacks involving self-radicalized individuals who did not receive direct orders from a terrorist organization.
"So, this threat is challenging, and it includes not just terrorist-inspired attacks. We now have a new category which we refer to as terrorist-enabled attacks, which is something in between terrorist-directed and terrorist-inspired, and every once in a while, something we refer to as terrorist-validated, where a terrorist organization may take credit for something after the attack."
Johnson told the Senate Homeland Security Committee that an individual involved in these new categories is likely to have spent all or most of their lives in the U.S., can be U.S. citizens, "but is inspired by things he sees" on the Internet.
"This makes for a more complicated and challenging Homeland Security public safety environment," Johnson said in testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
He stressed the importance of "building community partnerships, particularly with American Muslim communities. "I think in this environment, it is critical that we do that to encourage them if you see something, say something."
He said "grant-making activity" and other resources "can make a difference" when it comes to building bridges with Muslim communities.