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Homeland Security

Terrorism

What is Terrorism

Terrorism is the use of force or violence against persons or property in violation of the criminal law of the United States for purposes of intimidation, coercion or ransom. Terrorists often use threats to create fear among the public, to try to convince citizens that their government is powerless to prevent terrorism, and to get immediate publicity for their causes.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) categorizes terrorism in the United States as one of two types - domestic terrorism or international terrorism. This distinction refers not to where the terrorist act takes place, but rather to the origin of the individuals or groups responsible for it.

Domestic terrorism involves groups or individuals whose terrorist activities are directed at elements of our government or population without foreign direction.

International terrorism involves groups or individuals whose terrorist activities are foreign-based and / or directed by countries or groups outside the United States or whose activities transcent national boundaries.

Terrorism in the United States

  • In the United States, most terrorist incidents have involved small extremist groups who use terrorism to achieve a designated objective. Local, State and Federal law enforcement officials monitor suspected terrorist groups and try to prevent or protect against a suspected attack. Additionally, the U.S. government works with other countries to limit the sources of support for terrorism.
  • A terrorist attack can take several forms, depending on the technological means available to the terrorist, the nature of the political issue motivating the attack, and the points of weakness of the terrorist's target. Bombings have been the most frequently used terrorist method in the United States. Other possibilites include an attack at transportation.
  • Terrorist incidents in this country propr to the September 11, 2001 attack have included bombings of the World Trade Center in New York City, the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. and Mobil Oil corporate headquarters in New York City.

 

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