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R41416

R41416

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Published by MarvinWatts
American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating a
Complex Threat
American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating a
Complex Threat

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: MarvinWatts on Sep 24, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/06/2012

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CRS Report for Congress
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating aComplex Threat
Jerome P. Bjelopera
Analyst in Organized Crime and Terrorism
Mark A. Randol
Specialist in Domestic Intelligence and Counter-TerrorismSeptember 20, 2010
Congressional Research Service
7-5700www.crs.govR41416
 
 American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating a Complex Threat Congressional Research Service
Summary
Between May 2009 and August 2010, arrests were made for 19 “homegrown,” jihadist-inspiredterrorist plots by American citizens or legal permanent residents of the United States. Two of these resulted in attacks—U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan’s alleged assault at Fort Hood in Texasand Abdulhakim Muhammed’s shooting at the U.S. Army-Navy Career Center in Little Rock,Arkansas—and produced 14 deaths. By comparison, in more than seven years from theSeptember 11, 2001, terrorist strikes (9/11) through May 2009, there were 21 such plots. Tworesulted in attacks, and no more than six plots occurred in a single year (2006). The apparentspike in such activity after May 2009 suggests that at least some Americans—even if a tinyminority—continue to be susceptible to ideologies supporting a violent form of jihad.This report describes homegrown violent jihadists and the plots and attacks that have occurredsince 9/11. “Homegrown” and “domestic” are terms that describe terrorist activity or plotsperpetrated within the United States or abroad by American citizens, legal permanent residents, orvisitors radicalized largely within the United States. The term “jihadist” describes radicalizedindividuals using Islam as an ideological and/or religious justification for their belief in theestablishment of a global caliphate, or jurisdiction governed by a Muslim civil and religiousleader known as a caliph. The term “violent jihadist” characterizes jihadists who have made the jump to illegally supporting, plotting, or directly engaging in violent terrorist activity.The report also discusses the radicalization process and the forces driving violent extremistactivity. It analyzes post-9/11 domestic jihadist terrorism, describes law enforcement andintelligence efforts to combat terrorism and the challenges associated with those efforts. It alsooutlines actions underway to build trust and partnership between community groups andgovernment agencies and the tensions that may occur between law enforcement and engagementactivities. One appendix provides details about each of the post-9/11 homegrown jihadist terroristplots and attacks. A second appendix describes engagement and partnership activities by federalagencies with Muslim-American communities. Finally, the report offers policy considerations forCongress.There is an “executive summary” at the beginning that summarizes the report’s findings,observations, and policy considerations for Congress.
 
 American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating a Complex Threat Congressional Research Service
Contents
Executive Summary....................................................................................................................1
 
Homegrown Jihadi Terrorists: The Problem...........................................................................1
 
How Do People Become Violent Jihadists?.....................................................................2
 
Analysis of Homegrown Jihadist Plots............................................................................2
 
Combating Homegrown Violent Jihadists..............................................................................3
 
Preventive Policing.........................................................................................................3
 
State and Local Authorities..............................................................................................4
 
Investigative Approaches................................................................................................4
 
Trust and Partnership......................................................................................................4
 
Balancing Security and Liberty.......................................................................................4
 
Issues for Congress...............................................................................................................5
 
Introduction................................................................................................................................6
 
Homegrown Violent Jihadists......................................................................................................8
 
Shortcomings and Strengths..................................................................................................8
 
Radicalization and Violent Extremism.......................................................................................11
 
From Radicalization to Violent Extremism..........................................................................12
 
Forces and Factors in the Forging of Terrorists....................................................................13
 
Intermediaries...............................................................................................................14
 
Social Networks............................................................................................................16
 
The Internet..................................................................................................................18
 
Jailhouse Jihadism........................................................................................................20
 
Overview of Post 9/11 Homegrown Jihadist Terrorism Plots and Attacks...................................22
 
Overarching Themes...........................................................................................................26
 
A Variety of Endgames..................................................................................................26
 
Little Stomach for Suicide or Martyrdom......................................................................32
 
The Success of Lone Wolves.........................................................................................33
 
Varied Capabilities........................................................................................................33
 
Combating Homegrown Terrorism: Enforcement Activities.......................................................35
 
Intelligence Approaches......................................................................................................36
 
Preventive Policing.......................................................................................................37
 
The Role of State and Local Law Enforcement....................................................................42
 
Investigative Approaches....................................................................................................44
 
The Capone Approach...................................................................................................45
 
Agent Provocateur Cases...............................................................................................46
 
Combating Homegrown Terrorism: Building Trust and Partnership...........................................50
 
Engagement with Communities...........................................................................................51
 
Federal, State, and Local Government Activities...........................................................52
 
Muslim Community Activities......................................................................................52
 
Risks and Challenges....................................................................................................53
 
The Tension Between Enforcement and Engagement Activities...........................................54
 
Policy Considerations for Congress...........................................................................................58
 
Unifying the National Effort to Combat Homegrown Jihadist Terrorism..............................58
 
Past Initiatives...............................................................................................................60
 
A National Strategy for Combating Homegrown Jihadist Terrorism...............................61
 

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