Terrorism is defined by the FBI as the use of “violent acts or acts dangerous to human life…to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.” Terrorism can be conducted by domestic or international sources. It is one of the foremost threats of our time. The intended outcome of terrorism is far greater than just the physical damage that is done by the attack. Terrorists use their attacks to send a message; their intent is to gain the world’s attention so they can inflict as much psychological damage as possible. Terrorists hope to bring about their own agenda through fear. According to retired U.S. Army Captain Dan Hill, “Although a terrorist attack may create many casualties and much property damage, that’s all collateral, secondary to the main purpose of terrorism. The true goal of an attack is psychological. You want to create a perception of helplessness, despair, vulnerability, the inability to defend, protect and prevent—this goes to the breaking of will.” Typically, when we think of terrorism, we immediately think of international threats. While international terrorism is responsible for the majority of terrorist attacks on the United States, domestic terrorism (acts of terrorism perpetuated by an American citizen or permanent U.S. resident) continues to threaten our nation.

State Department Country Reports on Terrorism
Report on the rise and spread of jihadist groups
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