Since September 11, 2001, so-called “homegrown terrorists,” working alone or with others, have planned and in some cases implemented terrorist activities, contributed financial or other material support to others’ terrorist activities, or become radicalized in the United States and then traveled to other countries to conduct terrorist activities directed against those countries or against the United States. This paper examines the cases of homegrown terrorism from 9/11 through 2010, highlights lessons learned from those cases that suggest actions for the future, and includes a chronology of numbers and case descriptions of terrorist events in the United States during that period. Most of the individuals involved are Muslim, but the numbers are small. A total of 176 Americans have been indicted, arrested, or otherwise identified as jihadist terrorists or supporters since 9/11. They were involved in 82 cases, a majority of which involve the actions of a single individual. Al Qaeda has increasingly used the Internet to build an army of followers. Many of the terrorists identified in this study began their journey online. However, al Qaeda has not yet managed to inspire its online followers to action. Few of the 32 locally hatched jihadist plots to carry out terrorist attacks in the United States since 9/11 got much beyond the discussion stage. Nevertheless, al Qaeda remains a threat. More terrorist attempts will occur. Traditional law enforcement, in which authorities attempt to identify and apprehend a perpetrator after a crime has been committed, is inadequate to deal with terrorists who are determined to cause many deaths and great destruction and who may not care whether they themselves survive. Public safety demands a preventive approach — intervention before an attack occurs. In addition to law enforcement, intelligence collection, and community policing, public reaction is an essential component of such preventive defense.
Tip of the Hat to Berto Jongman for the pointer.
Phi Beta Iota: Excellent but narrow. The reality is that the war on terror is a massive scam against the public, and we are our own worst enemy. What the US Government does in the way of fraud, waste, and abuse each day is vastly more harmful to the public interest and public health and public safety than a hundred 9/11’s…it’s just creeping. The study also fails to understand the depth and breadth of the blue collar and middle class anger in the aftermath of the clear and present high crimes against the public that made the financial bubbles possible. There is a class war emergent, with most of the pre-conditions of revolution being tangibly present today in the USA, lacking just a precipitant or two–a burning soccer mom will do nicely–and will have nothing at all to do with jihad, and everything to do with the persistent and pervasive breach of the public trust by all elements of the US Government.