The organic emergence of terrorist groups, whose only connection to al Qaeda is through the media, shouldn't come as a surprise. We will see this again and again. One reason is that in open source warfare, the barriers to entry are nearly zero. Anyone can participate. All you need to do in order to join, is to act. Of course, the only good thing (for us) about this dynamic, is that many of these terrorist groups will be merely collections of amateur hackers (in the sloppy sense). Their plans will be stale, foolish, and easy to intercept. The Ft. Dix six are an example of this.What's more interesting about their plot, was how it was intercepted. As with all plots of organic terrorism, it was discovered at the local level. In this case, it was a clerk at a Circuit City store that noticed that the DVD he was asked to copy was full of mock jihadi activity. That in turn led to the follow up by the police/FBI and the subsequent arrests.
It was not intercepted through a top down surveillance effort that monitored the communications traffic of millions of Americans sifting for patterns of terrorism. Not only is that approach ripe for abuse and potentially extremely costly (lots of false positives to follow up on), it doesn't work in theory. The network of a flag football team is almost identical to the network of a terrorist cell if looked at from a level of abstraction. The way to use this technology is to first find solid evidence of something wrong and only then map the network.