26 April 1997
Source: http://www.usia.gov/

Unites States Information Agency

17 April 1997


(Domestic terrorism shifts to the right)  (1740)

Washington -- The threat of domestic terrorism in the United States
has shifted from leftist-oriented extremists to increased activities
by extremists associated with right wing groups and special interest
organizations, according a report of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (F.B.I.).

In its recently released report on "Terrorism in the United States --
1995," the F.B.I. says that supporters of formalized terrorist groups
continue to view the United States as an attractive refuge and staging

Also, it said that extremists with loose affiliations to organizations
continue to view the United States as both a staging area and target.

The report notes that terrorists studying the attack against the World
Trade Center and the Oklahoma City bombing "could prompt future
terrorists to plan their attacks with greater care."

"Terrorism in the United States continued a general trend in which
fewer attacks are occurring in the United States, but individual
attacks are becoming more deadly," the F.B.I. report said.

Following are excerpts of the report discussing the current threat and
current trends in domestic terrorism.

(Begin Excerpts)


Domestic Terrorism

The face of domestic terrorism in the United States continued to
change in 1995. The FBI identified a further decline in traditional
left wing domestic extremism, and an increase in activities among
extremists associated with right wing groups and special interest

Left Wing Terrorism

Over the last three decades, leftist-oriented extremist groups posed
the predominant domestic terrorist threat in the United States. In the
1980s, the FBI neutralized many of these groups by arresting key
members who were conducting criminal activity. The transformation of
the former Soviet Union also deprived many leftist groups of a
coherent ideology or spiritual patron. As a result, membership and
support for these groups waned.

The United States still faces a threat from some leftist extremists,
including Puerto Rican terrorist groups. Although Puerto Rico voted to
remain within the U.S. Commonwealth in 1993, some extremists are still
willing to plan and conduct terrorist acts in order to draw attention
to their desire for independence.

Right Wing Terrorism

On the other side of the political spectrum, right wing extremist
groups -- which generally adhere to an anti-government or racist
ideology -- continued to attract supporters last year. Many of these
recruits feel displaced by rapid changes in the U.S. culture and
economy, or are seeking some form of personal affirmation. As American
society continues to change, the potential for hate crimes by
extremist right wing groups is an increasing concern.

The militia movement in the United States also continued to attract
supporters. Several factors have contributed to the increase of this
generally anti-government effort. The changing political environment,
issues such as gun-control legislation, United Nations involvement in
international affairs, and clashes between dissidents and law
enforcement are cornerstones of militia ideology.

One product of the militia movement is common law courts. These courts
-- which have no legitimate legal authority -- consist of
self-appointed judges and juries who sometimes issue fraudulent
indictments and warrants.

Some militia members believe that the U.S. Government is part of a
conspiracy to create a "new world order." According to adherents, in
this new order existing international boundaries will be dissolved and
the world will be ruled by the United Nations. Other militia
supporters believe that the federal government is either too powerful
or simply illegal.

Last year, some of these militants continued to conduct paramilitary
training and stockpile illegal weapons in preparation for unlawful
armed action. A few of these more extreme militia members pose a
potential terrorist threat.

Special Interest Extremists

Special interest extremists continued to conduct acts of
politically-oriented crime last year. Violent anti-abortion advocates
were responsible for almost all of these activities.

Due to the efforts of the Department of Justice's Task Force on
Violence Against Abortion Providers (TFVAAP), the number of
abortion-related crimes decreased from 1994 levels. Although the
number of incidents declined, the TFVAAP still investigated more than
100 violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act
in 1995.

Two of the most prominent abortion-related events in 1995 included the

-- On February 22, 1995, Dr. Elizabeth Karlin, a physician in Madison,
Wisconsin, received two death threat letters. Vincent Whitaker -- an
inmate at a local county jail who was serving a 67-year sentence for
reckless injury with a motor vehicle -- later admitted writing the
letters. On September 12, 1995, Whitaker was tried and convicted of
two counts of the FACE Act and sending threats through the U.S. Mail.
On November 21, 1995, Whitaker was sentenced to an additional 63
months imprisonment.

-- In August 1995, John Salvi -- the suspected murderer of two
receptionists during a December 30, 1994, shooting spree at an
abortion clinic in Brookline, Massachusetts -- was declared competent
to stand trial. Salvi is charged under Massachusetts law with the
murders of Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols, and five other counts
of aggravated assault.

The Civil Rights Division of the Department of justice, through the
TFVAAP, investigates any instance in which customers or providers of
reproductive health services are criminally threatened, obstructed, or
injured while seeking or providing services.

International Terrorism

Foreign terrorists viewed the United States as a priority target last
year. Foreign terrorists and their supporters continued to live in and
travel throughout this country.

State Sponsors of Terrorism

The recognized state sponsors of international terrorism -- Iran,
Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Cuba, and North Korea -- continue to
maintain diplomatic establishments here. In the past, the FBI has
investigated allegations that diplomats from some of these countries
were involved in terrorist-related activities.

During the 1995 seditious conspiracy trial in New York of Egyptian
Shaykh Omar Abdel Rahman and several followers, one Sudanese national
testified that Sudanese diplomats were aware of the conspiracy to bomb
major landmarks in New York City. One Sudanese diplomat allegedly
offered to help the conspirators place a bomb at the United Nations by
providing diplomatic license plates. The U.S. Department of State, in
coordination with the FBI, declared a diplomat at the Sudanese Mission
to the United Nations persona non grata in 1996.

Formal Terrorist Groups

Supporters of formalized terrorist groups -- such as the Egyptian
Al-Gama'at Al-Islamiyya, HAMAS, and Hizballah -- also continued to
view the United States as an attractive refuge and staging area. Some
supporters in the United States are believed to be conducting criminal
activity -- to include military-style training -- in support of
terrorist groups' objectives. With the conviction of Shaykh Omar Abdel
Rahman -- the spiritual leader of the militant Egyptian Islamic Group
-- and the detention of HAMAS leader Musa Abu Marzook, it is possible
that members of formal terrorist groups may be considering some form
of retaliation.

Loosely-Affiliated Extremists

Finally, loosely-affiliated extremists continued to view the United
States as both a staging area and a target. Some of these unilateral
radicals -- who adhere to the worst excesses of hatred spawned by a
variety of international conflicts -- have demonstrated the ability to
use advanced technology in the United States, travel undetected here,
and circumvent the letter and spirit of U.S. laws. These militants
represent the most difficult international terrorist challenge to the
law enforcement and intelligence communities.


Terrorists Are Improving

Over the past year, terrorist supporters in the United States
continued a trend toward improving their ability to collect
information, raise money, and issue rhetoric. Advanced technology
allowed some extremists to communicate efficiently and securely.
Supporters of terrorist groups also continued to send and receive
information from like-minded zealots overseas.

Public computer databases are becoming ubiquitous in the United
States. Some of these networks are repositories for inflammatory
rhetoric which can influence or inflame extremists. Other databases
contain recipes for bombs, hold information on unconventional weapons,
or offer computer viruses for download.

Terrorists may also have learned from past violence in the United
States, particularly the examples set by the World Trade Center and
Oklahoma City bombings. Studying the attacks -- including the
resulting damage, media coverage, and investigative techniques used to
apprehend suspects -- could prompt future terrorists to plan their
attacks with greater care.

Bombs Are Deadlier

Terrorists in the United States continued a general trend in which
fewer attacks are occurring in the United States, but individual
attacks are becoming more deadly. The 1995 Oklahoma City bombing was
one of the largest explosions ever investigated by the FBI. That
single bombing killed more Americans in the United States than any
terrorist attack in the modem era.

Recipes for large explosives are available for any extremist willing
to research them. It is likely that the United States will continue to
face the threat of "spectacular terrorism" for the foreseeable future.

Unconventional Weapons

Extremists in the United States continued a chilling trend by
demonstrating interest in -- and experimentation with --
unconventional weapons. Over the past ten years, a pattern of interest
in biological agents by criminals and extremists has developed:

-- In 1984, two members of the Rajneesh religious sect in Oregon
produced and dispensed salmonella in restaurants in order to affect
the outcome of a local election. Seven hundred and fifteen persons
were affected. There were no fatalities.

-- In April 1991, several members of a domestic extremist group called
the Patriot's Council in Minnesota manufactured the biological agent
ricin from castor beans and discussed using it against federal law
enforcement officers. The amount of ricin produced could have killed
over 100 people if effectively delivered.

-- In May 1995, a U.S. person illegally obtained three vials of
bubonic plague from a firm in Maryland. He was arrested and charged
with fraud. It is still unclear why he ordered the vials.

These events indicate that terrorists and other criminals may consider
using unconventional weapons in an attack here sometime in the future.

Terrorist Reprisals

Finally, in 1995, numerous foreign and domestic terrorists were either
apprehended or sentenced to prison. Several known terrorist groups
have publicly threatened to retaliate. Other groups may be considering
revenge, but have not broadcast their intent.

America and Americans have also been a favorite choice of target for
terrorists. Reprisals for U.S. legal action against domestic and
international terrorists increase the likelihood that Americans will
be the target of terrorist attacks either in the United States and

(End Excerpts)