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Homeland Security chief Elaine Duke: Terror threat 'in many ways exceeds' that of 9/11

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Acting Director of Homeland Security Elaine Duke testifies before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said Wednesday that the U.S. faces a greater terrorism threat now than it did at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"Natural disasters are not the only threats we face as a nation. Right now, the terror threat to our country equals and in many ways exceeds that in the period around 9/11. We are seeing a surge in terrorist activity because the fundamentals of terrorism have changed," Duke testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday morning.

The statement marks the first time Duke has said the current threat to national security is more than mirroring the levels in 2001.

Duke said America's enemies are crowdsourcing propaganda online and "promoting a do-it-yourself approach that involves using any weapons their followers can get their hands on easily."

The main international terror threat facing the U.S. is from global jihadist groups, but DHS is also heavily focused on domestic terror plots.

"There is no longer a home game and an away game. The line is blurred and the threats are connected across borders," Duke said. "We will not allow pervasive terrorism to become the new normal."

The acting DHS secretary said she recommended the update to President Trump's newly announced eight-country travel ban and supports new aviation security measures as ways to thwart potential attacks.