These plots don't include "individual Jihad" - attacks involving Muslims unconnected to known Islamic terrorist organizations. Some individual Jihad attacks include food contamination, drug overdoses, vehicle 'accidents', and murder of non-Muslims under the guise of 'common crimes' (home-invasions, drug-related, car-jacking, random shootins, etc).
Some of these plots are well-known, such as Richard Reid's failed "shoe bombing" in December 2001 and the liquid explosives plot of 2006, when British investigators uncovered a plan to carry bombs on airliners bound for the U.S. Each of those incidents permanently changed airport security protocols.
Then there was the plot to kill U.S. soldiers using assault rifles and grenades at Fort Dix in New Jersey, and the so-called "Lackawanna Six," who pleaded guilty to providing support to Al Qaeda.
But others have passed by with little notice from the general public, as well as critics of government efforts to protect the U.S. from homegrown terror attacks.
Take, for example, Iyman Faris, of Columbus, Ohio, who plotted to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge and was convicted of conspiracy and providing material support for Al Qaeda in 2003.
Later that year 11 men with connections to Al Qaeda were discovered training for jihad in Virginia, using paintball games to simulate battlefield situations. In 2004, James Elshafay and Shahawar Matin Siraj were convicted of planning to bomb New York's Penn Station during the Republican National Convention.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a household name for his role as mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, also is known to have prepared little-known strikes against America's tallest building, the Sears Tower in Chicago, as well as the Empire State Building in New York and the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles.
In contrast, Dhiren Barot may not be a familiar name, although some security experts say he should be. An Indian convert to Islam, the Pakistan-based Barot planned a series of ruinous attacks on the U.S. and U.K, including the New York Stock Exchange and the IMF building in Washington, D.C. Barot was caught by British authorities in 2004 and sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiracy to commit murder.
Andrew McCarthy, director of the Center for Law and Counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, credits much of the success in preventing terrorist attacks at home to the pursuit of enemies overseas.