Archive for Security

Just What Is Domestic Terrorism?

Are hate crimes domestic terrorism? Is what happened in Las Vegas an example of domestic terrorism? This NPR piece delves into this questions and shows why such a label can be dangerous. Two CRS reports add further fuel for thought: Sifting Domestic Terrorism from Hate Crime and Homegrown Violent Extremism gives definitions from security organizations as well as examples of what is and what is not domestic terrorism; while Domestic Terrorism: An Overview posits ‘”Two basic questions are key to understanding domestic terrorism. First, what exactly constitutes “domestic terrorism?” Answering this question is more complicated than it may appear. Some consider all terrorist plots occurring within the homeland as acts of domestic terrorism. According to this perspective, a bombing plot involving U.S. citizens motivated by a foreign terrorist group such as Al Qaeda or the Islamic State constitutes domestic terrorism. While this conceptualization may be true at some level, a practical definition of domestic terrorism distilled from federal sources is much narrower.”‘ (2-3) This is an important report with hundreds of references trying to sift through the ambiguities and pitfalls of what actually constitutes “domestic terrorism”, and how we enumerate its occurrences.

Another resource containing more apposite information and data is the Domestic (U.S.) Terrorism site from the Homeland Security Digital Library.



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The Role of the United States in the 1953 Iran Coup

This volume of long-suppressed documents – Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952-1954, Iran, 1951–1954 – finally acknowledges the covert United States operations that underpinned the 1953 Iranian coup. In conjunction with this 1989 volume – Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Iran, 1951–1954, Volume X  – a fuller and more accurate representation  of the times is presented.

Read the preface of the first volume above to understand the furor that erupted when the 1989 volume was released WITHOUT any documentation of the CIA’s role in the overthrow.

Additional information can be found in this internal CIA history – The Battle for Iran, 1953. And here is a relevant New York Times site – The C.I.A. in Iran; it includes a timeline and selected articles from the paper.

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National Security Reports – September 2017 Update

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2016 Statistics on Terrorism

Included as an appendix to the Country Reports on Terrorism is the Statistical Information on Terrorism in 2016. It lists incidents of terrorism throughout the world by month and location, brief country profiles, top five perpetrator groups, tactics and weapons, and much more.

Compare this with figures generated from the Global Terrorism Database and the 2016 Global Terrorism Index from the Institute for Economics and Peace.

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National Security Reports – August 2017 Update

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“Global Trends in Terrorism: 1970-2016”

This major study by Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic & International Studies, after accounting for discrepancies in data sources, states:

“As for the data presented, the figures and graphs for 1970-2016 do reflect several broad trends that are undoubtedly real and accurate. They show a major shift from a more broadly distributed pattern of global terrorism to one driven by Islamic extremism and internal instability in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, with a sharp rise beginning in the mid-2000s and becoming a key threat in these regions after 2011.” (9-10)

While this report does not specifically address domestic terrorism in the United States by utilizing that term, it does present troubling figures on the occurrence of hate crimes. (pp.65-68)

The report is buttressed by numerous graphs and charts and ends with an illuminating section on Sources, Analytic Cautions and Challenges.


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National Security Reports – July 2017 Update

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