Domestic Terrorism the September 11  Research Proposal

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They are seeing more and more of that in some of the militias.

The trend is that there's now a multitude of these groups out there -- the common-law courts, the sovereign citizens, the secessionists, the Republic of Texas -- that type of group. Even these particular groups, while they may profess anti-government sentiments, they've developed mature political agendas, and appear content to proceed within the bounds of legitimate political activity - recognizing that anything toward any type of violent activity will produce an overwhelming reaction by law enforcement. So what they have done is they've stayed within the bounds of legitimate political activity.

The trend the FBI has seen also is "leaderless resistance" - the lone offender, or the lone wolf out there, who may go to meetings, who may attach to some particular group or ideology, that the FBI doesn't know about. He's the one with the bomb-making materials, who's a member of Christian Identity, who attends various meetings (it could be Aryan Nations meetings, it could be a militia meeting, things like that) and attaches to that ideology, and is out there doing his own thing. That's law enforcement's biggest challenge in the future, is to identify that individual - to identify who they are. (MSNBC, 2001)

FBI Director Robert Mueller sees a rising threat from homegrown terrorists, but he cautions that foreign groups are far from vanquished and still consume more bureau resources.

We have certainly hundreds" of people in this country that the bureau is investigating with varied levels of intensity, Mueller told a group of reporters Wednesday. "But if you're looking at terrorism across the board... we have several thousand cases -- although they may be intelligence cases" to gather information [from] rather criminal cases headed for prosecution. With attention focused on the arrests of four groups of largely homegrown plotters in the past year in Miami, Atlanta, Toledo, Ohio and Torrance, Calif., Mueller took pains to point out that al-Qaeda and other international terrorists still represent a large threat. (Sniffen, 2006)

We've decimated al-Qaeda's leadership and taken away their sanctuary, but there are still individuals in the al-Qaeda hierarchy who are capable of organizing, financing and supporting attacks in the United States or against United States interests around the world," Mueller said. "One cannot dismiss the potency of al-Qaeda to undertake attacks," he added, but there are now also groups here and in other countries "motivated by radical Islamist ideology to undertake actions on their own."

FBI Deputy Director John Pistole said, "Many, if not most, of those cases are dealing with material support for terrorism. These are not bomb-throwers; these are people out there raising money or recruiting." (Sniffen, 2006)

With the rise in homegrown plots here and abroad, Mueller said the bureau is putting some of the new resources it acquired after 9/11 to work on trying "to identify the various stages of radicalization and... those who would be vulnerable to radicalization and those who would do the radicalization, so you could address them before they could engage" in attacks.

Those include doubling the number of FBI intelligence analysts, tripling its linguists and putting analysts in all 56 bureau field offices. At the same time, the FBI has ramped up its regional joint terrorism task forces from 35 to 101 since 2001, expanding the number of federal, state and local agents assigned to them from 1,000 to nearly 4,000. (Sniffen, 2006)

The FBI is looking at where radicalization can occur. Mueller said that was not necessarily in mosques but anywhere radical fundamentalism could be taught by individuals or even one charismatic individual, including gyms, schools, universities and prisons.

I hope the American people understand this problem (of terrorism) is going to be with us for a substantial period of time," Mueller said, "and the FBI does a heck of a good job."

He added that the bureau had expanded its resources and transformed its anti-terrorism focus from after-the-fact arrests to prevention, while "we've maintained our operational tempo" against public corruption, organized crime, civil rights, white collar crime and gangs. (Sniffen, 2006)

How much does the average American citizen need to be vigilant about domestic terrorism? Aside from Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center, the FBI thinks this country has been very lucky with respect to terrorist incidents. Part of it is that it's a credit to law enforcement - and it's not just the FBI, it's all of law enforcement.

If you get into the area of weapons of mass destruction, or WMD, experts think the threat of a WMD incident is low, but when it does occur, as we saw in Oklahoma City, the consequences can be devastating. So they are out there. The FBI is working the credible threats, and working with law enforcement, working with our state and local partners and first responders. (MSNBC, 2001)


ACLU. (2002, December 6). How the U.S.A. patriot act redefines "domestic terrorism." Retrieved February 19, 2009, from American Civil Liberties Union:

Belt, D. (2006, March 27). Domestic security: The homefront and the war on terror. Retrieved February 19, 2009, from Public Broadcasting System:

Fletcher, H. (2008, April 21). Militant extremists in the United States. Retrieved February 19, 2009, from Council on Foreign Relations:

Jarboe, J. (2002, February 12). Congressional testimony. Retrieved February 19, 2009, from Federal Bureau of Investigation:

MSNBC. (2001, April 20). Domestic terrorism: the FBI view. Retrieved February 19, 2009, from Rick Ross institute:

Sniffen, M. (2006, September 8). Domestic terrorism threat on…

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