Domestic Terrorist Groups and Threats

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Submitted By lucyapplebee
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In the wake of the horrendous terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States Congress, under pressure from U.S. citizens to do more to protect the country from further attack, passed the Patriot Act on October 26, 2001. In effect, the act changed many U.S. laws concerning the legal authority of law enforcement entities and the lengths to which those entities could go to investigate potential terrorist activities. Another result of the act was to expand the definition of terrorism to include acts of domestic terrorism and or extremism.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) report “The Domestic Terrorist Threat: Background and Issues for Congress, dated May 15, 2012, states that in “statutory terms, a domestic terrorist engages in terrorist activity that occurs in the homeland.” This definition appears quite broad; to add context, the CRS report further states that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) not only views domestic terrorism solely as an act carried out on U.S. soil, but acts that are carried out by groups or persons that “lack foreign direction.”

Unlike the U.S. State Department’s public list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, “The federal government does not generate an official and public list of domestic terrorist organizations or individuals.” As explained by the CRS report, the creation of such a list could subject the federal government to lawsuits from groups and individuals claiming infringement of their civil rights.
The lack of an official list of domestic terrorist organizations does not necessarily mean that such a list does not exist. It does mean however, that any such list created by the public, the press or by scholarly research groups lends ambiguity as to which groups should actually be labeled as a terrorist group. In an effort to remain as objective as possible, this paper will focus on groups that…...

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