"When you're looking at inspired-through-the-Internet, homegrown extremists, well, they can pop up anywhere," John Miller, FBI assistant director, said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." "(Instead) of having a focus in a certain direction, you have to focus in a 360-degree radius every moment of every day."
Four men from the Caribbean, including an American citizen who is a former JFK cargo handler, were charged Saturday with plotting to blow up the airport's terminals and fuel lines.
While in the early stages, the al-Qaida-inspired suspects "were searching for funding and explosives, so on that level it was certainly operational," Miller said.
Asked whether they were linked to al-Qaida were found, Miller said, "As far as we know (there are) no direct ties to al-Qaida."
He said al-Qaida is trying daily to engineer "larger spectacular attacks, something along the lines of a 9/11 equivalent," and at the same time pumping out propaganda aimed at encouraging others to attempt attacks on their own.