Sebastian Smith
July 29, 2009

[efoods]A top US domestic security chief called Wednesday on ordinary citizens to join law enforcement bodies in fighting an increasingly elusive — and homegrown — terrorist threat.

“We need a culture of collective responsibility, a culture where every individual understands his or her role,” Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said in a speech in New York.

Referring to a spate of arrests around the country of US citizens and residents charged with jihad-type militancy, Napolitano said that ordinary people were often the first line of defense.

In just the latest case, seven people were arrested Monday, including an American-born Muslim convert and his two sons living in a quiet North Carolina suburb.

Napolitano stressed she was not advocating “a culture of spying on one another,” but said that crucial intelligence came from the bottom up.

“You are the ones who know when something is not right in your community,” she said.

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