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The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism -- Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why

The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism -- Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why

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Published by: Captain Crunch on Aug 01, 2012
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In response to a number of inquiries from the media concerning the report "Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism,"which was mounted on our website on December 14, 2001, the Federal Research Division (FRD) offers the followingbackground:• FRD is a full cost recovery service that performs directed research at the request of other agencies of the U.S.Government. FRD prepares studies, reports, and translations under interagency agreements for a wide variety of Federalagencies, which are listed elsewhere on this website (http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/FAQ_Clients.html).• Work done for Federal agencies is the property of the requesting agency, and dissemination is controlled by them. Insome cases, FRD is asked to disseminate the commissioned reports, many of which can been seen on this website under"Research Products" (http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/frd/ ).• The study "Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism," reported the findings of FRD's research of then -current literaturewritten by experts on terrorism, inside and outside government, and was commissioned in June 1999 by the NationalIntelligence Council (http://www.cia.gov/nic/ ) and delivered in September 1999. A paper copy of this study can beordered through the Library of Congress(http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/terrorism_order.html).
 Report Prepared under an Interagency Agreement 
by the Federal Research Division, Library of CongressSeptember 1999
 Author: Rex A. Hudson
Editor: Marilyn MajeskaProject Managers: Andrea M. Savada Helen C. Metz
http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Sociology-Psychology%20of%20Terrorism.htm (1 of 127) [01/09/2003 11:33:21 AM]
 Federal Research Division Library of CongressWashington, D.C. 20540-4840
Tel: 202-707-3900Fax: 202-707-3920E-Mail:frds@loc.gov Homepage:http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/ 
Dear Reader:This product was prepared by the staff of the
Federal Research Division
of the Library of Congressunder an Interagency Agreement with the sponsoring United States Government agency.The Federal Research Division is the Library of Congress's primary fee-for-service research unit andhas served United States Government agencies since 1948. At the request of Executive and Judicialbranch agencies, and on a cost-recovery basis, the Division prepares customized studies and reports,chronologies, bibliographies, foreign-language abstracts, databases, and other directed-researchproducts in hard-copy and electronic media. The research includes a broad spectrum of social sciences,physical sciences, and humanities topics using the collections of the Library of Congress and otherinformation sources world-wide.
For additional information
on obtaining the research and analytical services of the Federal ResearchDivision, please call 202-707-3909, fax 202-707-3920, E-mailfrds@loc.gov,or write to:
 MarketingCoordinator, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540-4840
. TheDivision's World Wide Web Homepage can be viewed athttp://www.loc.gov/rr/frd.Robert L. Worden, Ph.D.Chief Federal Research DivisionLibrary of Congress101 Independence Ave SEWashington, DC 20540-4840E-mail:rwor@loc.gov 
http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Sociology-Psychology%20of%20Terrorism.htm (2 of 127) [01/09/2003 11:33:21 AM]
The purpose of this study is to focus attention on the types of individuals and groups that are prone toterrorism (see Glossary) in an effort to help improve U.S. counterterrorist methods and policies.The emergence of amorphous and largely unknown terrorist individuals and groups operatingindependently (freelancers) and the new recruitment patterns of some groups, such as recruiting suicidecommandos, female and child terrorists, and scientists capable of developing weapons of mass destruction,provide a measure of urgency to increasing our understanding of the psychological and sociologicaldynamics of terrorist groups and individuals. The approach used in this study is twofold. First, the studyexamines the relevant literature and assesses the current knowledge of the subject. Second, the study seeksto develop psychological and sociological profiles of foreign terrorist individuals and selected groups touse as case studies in assessing trends, motivations, likely behavior, and actions that might deter suchbehavior, as well as reveal vulnerabilities that would aid in combating terrorist groups and individuals.Because this survey is concerned not only with assessing the extensive literature on sociopsychologicalaspects of terrorism but also providing case studies of about a dozen terrorist groups, it is limited by timeconstraints and data availability in the amount of attention that it can give to the individual groups, letalone individual leaders or other members. Thus, analysis of the groups and leaders will necessarily beincomplete. A longer study, for example, would allow for the collection and study of the literatureproduced by each group in the form of autobiographies of former members, group communiqués andmanifestos, news media interviews, and other resources. Much information about the terrorist mindset (seeGlossary) and decision-making process can be gleaned from such sources. Moreover, there is a languagebarrier to an examination of the untranslated literature of most of the groups included as case studiesherein.Terrorism databases that profile groups and leaders quickly become outdated, and this report is noexception to that rule. In order to remain current, a terrorism database ideally should be updatedperiodically. New groups or terrorist leaders may suddenly emerge, and if an established group perpetratesa major terrorist incident, new information on the group is likely to be reported in news media. Even if agroup appears to be quiescent, new information may become available about the group from scholarlypublications.There are many variations in the transliteration for both Arabic and Persian. The academic versions tend tobe more complex than the popular forms used in the news media and by the Foreign BroadcastInformation Service (FBIS). Thus, the latter usages are used in this study. For example, although Ussamahbin Ladin is the proper transliteration, the more commonly used Osama bin Laden is used in this study.
 PREFACE iEXECUTIVE SUMMARY: MINDSETS OF MASS DESTRUCTION 1New Types of Post-Cold War Terrorists 1New Forms of Terrorist-Threat Scenarios 4INTRODUCTION 8
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