DHS John Kelly’s fears: ‘The other thing that keeps me literally awake at night …’

It’s what keeps him awake at night.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said that while homegrown terrorism and threats from North Korea are items of concern for him, neither is number-one on his hit parade of threats to national security.

That spot is filled by the horror of an attack on a commercial airliner — especially one filled with American citizens.

Kelly made this assessment on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, to hoist John Dickerson.

“The other thing, John, that keeps me literally awake at night is the threat against aviation. We know that would be the Super Bowl for the terrorists to knock down an airplane in flight, particularly if it was full of Americans,” Kelly said.

We have taken measures overseas to reduce that threat, but it’s something I watch every day — ask four or five time a day, because there are a number of plots that we’re watching very, very closely. They’re very sophisticated, they’re very threatening, and the number-one thing in my mind is to protect the American people. So we’ll do that.”

Dickerson pushed back, saying that many others believe that the threat from homegrown terrorists remains foremost, “as a part of the San Bernardino shooting, as a part of the Boston bombing.”

Kelly conceded that “It is a big threat,” but “Is it the number-one threat?” he asked. He thought not.

“I think it’s the most common threat. Unfortunately, there are other similar-type terrorist threats that could come from outside the border. You know, the CIA, NSA, all the great men and women of DOD are doing a great job keeping them away from the homeland.”

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