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Domestic Terrorism

chapter 7

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) divides terrorism into two distinct types: international terrorism and domestic terrorism. The FBI defines international terrorism as "the unlawful use of force or violence committed by a group or individual, who has some connection to a foreign power or whose activities transcend national boundaries, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." These incidents may take place within the United States or may involve U.S. citizens or interests overseas. Domestic terrorism, however, is defined by the FBI as terrorism that "involves groups or individuals who are based and operate entirely within the United States and Puerto Rico without foreign direction and whose acts are directed at elements of the U.S. government or population."


Domestic terrorism is not new to the United States. In 1920 the financial district of New York City was a terrorist target—a massive bomb killed thirty people. An investigation centered on Sicilian, Romanian, and Russian terror groups, but the case was never solved. More than eighty years later, scars from the bombs can still be seen on buildings in New York's financial district.

In 1954 four armed, pro-independence Puerto Rican terrorists started shooting guns from the visitors' gallery of the U.S. House of Representatives. Five Congressmen were wounded.


16th street baptist church, birmingham, al, september 1963. In 1963 the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killed four female African-American children. Almost thirty years later, the case was finally closed when, on May 22, 2002, former Ku Klux Klan member Bobby Frank Cherry, age seventy-one, was convicted of four counts of murder. Cherry, who was trained in demolitions in the U.S. Army, claimed during the trial that he could not have planted the bomb the night before the attack because he was at home watching wrestling on television with his cancer-stricken wife. Prosecutors were able to show not only that no wrestling was on television that night but also that Cherry's wife was not diagnosed with cancer until two years after the bombing. Thomas E. Blanton, an accomplice in the bombing, was convicted in 2001 and sentenced to life in prison. A third accomplice, Robert Chambliss, was convicted in 1977 and later died in prison.

the weather underground, 1960s and 1970s. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the radical left-wing Weather Underground, a splinter group of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), carried out some twenty-five bombings across the country. Among their targets were the New York City Police Headquarters in June 1970, the U.S. Capitol Building in March 1971, the Pentagon in May 1972, and the U.S. State Department in January 1975. In March 1970 an explosion ripped through a Manhattan townhouse where members of the group were making bombs, killing Theodore Gold, Diana Oughton, and Terry Robbins, all members of the Weather Underground. The bombs being made were antipersonnel weapons loaded with shrapnel. By the late 1970s the Weather Underground had turned to bank robberies to finance its operations. Along with members of the separatist Black Liberation Army (BLA), it was involved in the October 1981 robbery of a Brinks armored car in Nyack, New York, in which two policemen and a Brinks security guard were shot dead. Among those convicted of the robbery were Weather Underground members Kathy Boudin, who served twenty-two years in prison; Judith Clark, sentenced to seventy-five years in prison; and BLA member Donald Weems, who was sentenced to life in prison, where he died of AIDS in 1986. In 2003 the Nyack post office was renamed in honor of those killed in the robbery.

alfred p. murrah federal building, oklahoma city, ok, april 1995. On April 19, 1995, a two-ton truck bomb exploded just outside the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killing 168 people and injuring 518. Because a day care center was in the building very near the site of the explosion, many of the victims were children. Rescue workers searched for bodies in the rubble for almost two weeks after the blast. There was an enormous outpouring of grief for, and assistance to, bombing victims and their families. Oklahoma City residents and others aided the rescue workers and made monetary donations to assist the victims and their families. Several years later, a huge memorial was erected at the site of the bombing in honor of the victims.

Federal authorities arrested Timothy McVeigh for the crime. McVeigh, a disgruntled former army member who was rumored to be associated with an antigovernment militia group, evidently set the bomb in retaliation for the FBI's handling of the Branch Davidian cult standoff in Waco, Texas, in 1994, which resulted in the deaths of over eighty men, women, and children. McVeigh's bombing of the Murrah building on April 19 coincided with the date in 1993 that the Branch Davidian compound had been destroyed in a federal raid. He was convicted of the bombing and then executed by lethal injection on June 9, 2001. The government allowed the families of the victims to watch McVeigh's execution on closed-circuit television in the federal prison in which he died. Also arrested was McVeigh's accomplice, Terry L. Nichols. In 1998 he was convicted and sentenced to life for the deaths of eight law enforcement officers killed in the blast. In August 2004 Nichols received 161 life terms for the deaths of other victims.

centennial park, olympic games, atlanta, ga, july 1996. While the toll in lives and property damage was much lower than in the Oklahoma City bombing, a bombing in July at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, created international alarm. When a nail-packed pipe bomb exploded in a large common area, one person was killed and more than a hundred were injured. Authorities believed the perpetrator might have been affiliated with a Christian Identity group, a militant white supremacist organization.

Shortly after the attack, suspicion centered on a security guard at Centennial Park, where the blast occurred, but he was later cleared and given an official apology. In May 1998 the FBI added Eric Robert Rudolph to its Top Ten Most Wanted list, seeking him for questioning about the Olympics bombing and two later incidents. Rudolph was also charged with bombing an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, in January 1998. In that blast, an off-duty police officer was killed and a nurse was seriously injured. The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and the Birmingham Police Department offered a $1 million reward. Rudolph was captured in December 2003 in North Carolina, where he had been hiding in the rugged Nantahala National Forest.

the unabomber. Over a seventeen-year period, an individual nicknamed the "Unabomber" committed sixteen bombings in several states. Three people were killed and twenty-three injured in the attacks. After reading a fifty-six-page manuscript supposedly written by the Unabomber and published in the New York Times and the Washington Post newspapers in 1995, David Kaczynski contacted the FBI and shared his fears that his brother, Theodore, might be the Unabomber. The manhunt for Theodore Kaczynski was one of the longest and most difficult in U.S. history, involving hundreds of federal and state law enforcement agents. Kaczynski was later captured and pled guilty at his trial. Although he claimed the bombings (usually letter bombs) were directed against the U.S. federal government, the victims were generally not directly related to the government. In January 1998 Kaczynski was sentenced to life imprisonment, with no possibility of parole, for his actions as the Unabomber.

mailbox bomber, luke j. helder. Beginning on Friday, May 3, 2002, eighteen pipe bombs were placed in rural mailboxes in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, and Texas, injuring five people. On Tuesday, May 7, 2002, the FBI arrested twenty-one-year-old college student Luke J. Helder in connection with the bombings. Helder was charged by federal prosecutors in Iowa with the use of an explosive device to maliciously destroy property affecting interstate commerce and with the use of a destructive device to commit a crime of violence, punishable by up to life imprisonment. The pipe bombs, some of which did not detonate, were accompanied by letters warning of excessive government control over individual behavior. In April 2004 Helder was deemed to be incompetent to stand trial.

Anthrax Attacks

Anthrax, classified by the U.S. government as a potential weapon of mass destruction, is a bacterial disease spread through spores. The spores can live in soil or the wool or hair of diseased animals. Humans acquire the disease when the spores are inhaled or ingested. Ulcerous sores on the skin and lesions on the lungs are symptomatic of the disease. While potentially deadly if it spreads to the lungs, anthrax is treatable if identified early.

Terrorist attacks using anthrax occurred in the autumn of 2001. Anthrax-tainted letters were sent through the U.S. postal system in the first major bioterrorist attack against the U.S. homeland. No link was demonstrated between the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the anthrax attacks, but the anthrax attacks did prove that terrorists could use the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to unleash germ warfare against American citizens, news organizations, and congressional representatives.

Lethal anthrax bacilli infected the skin or the lungs of personnel at various offices, all of which had received letters containing a suspicious white powder: the Sun tabloid newspaper in Boca Raton, Florida; the headquarters of NBC News in New York's Rockefeller Center; the New York headquarters of CBS News; the offices of the New York Post in New York; the congressional offices in Washington, D.C., of Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont; and facilities of the Microsoft Corporation in Nevada. The anthrax also appeared at several USPS processing facilities and at several outlying mail-sorting centers for federal government agencies such as the State Department and the Department of Defense.

Twenty-two persons developed anthrax. Five died from it: two postal workers in Washington, D.C., a Florida newspaper editor, an elderly Connecticut woman, and a New York hospital worker. The government ordered thousands more people, mostly postal workers, to take the antibiotic Cipro as a precautionary measure. Nine months later, health specialists estimated that the tainted letters may have cross-infected as many as five thousand other pieces of mail.

The anthrax arrived in letters that contained a message referring to Allah (the name for God in Islam), and the message seemed to imply an association with Islamic terrorism. However, it became increasingly clear that a single person located within the United States could have packed the letters with anthrax spores. The attacks were not necessarily the work of a group, much less an Islamic terrorist group. The spores used had been highly "weaponized," or finely milled to diameters of between one and three microns. This technical feat ensured their maximum dispersal when the envelopes were opened or even as they shuttled from post office to post office. The level of sophistication in this refinement of the anthrax implied that a highly skilled scientist or technician within the U.S. military's own bioweapons research and testing program could have been responsible. As a result, although the perpetrators were still unknown as of late 2004, the anthrax attacks are generally considered domestic terrorism.

Another effect of the anthrax attacks was the slew of threats and hoaxes that followed. In late October 2001 a USPS employee, Sharon Ann Watson of Stafford, Virginia, was arrested on charges of perpetrating an anthrax hoax at the Falmouth, Virginia, post office where she worked. She was charged with knowingly mailing threatening communications and unlawful delay or destruction of mail. Each offense carried penalties of up to twenty years in prison.

By November 2001 a total of 353 postal facilities had been evacuated for varying amounts of time as a result of 8,674 hoaxes, threats, and suspicious mailing incidents, which averaged 578 per day. Postal inspectors had arrested twenty people for anthrax-related hoaxes, threats, and suspicious mailing incidents and continued to investigate eighteen additional incidents. A reward of up to $2.5 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone mailing anthrax resulted in 165 investigative leads. The attacks caused an expensive, difficult logjam in mail delivery that forced the U.S. government to buy multimillion-dollar machines to irradiate all mail in an attempt to kill any dangerous bacteria it might contain.


From 1980 to 2001, the FBI recorded 482 incidents or planned incidents of terrorism within the United States. (See Figure 7.1.) According to Terrorism: 2000–2001, (Washington, DC: Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2002), these incidents killed 2,993 people and injured 14,047. Of the 482 incidents committed in the United States, 164 were committed by international terrorist groups, 130 by domestic left-wing groups, eighty-five by domestic right-wing groups, and eighty-one by domestic special-interest groups. (See Figure 7.2.) By region, terrorist attacks were most common in the Northeast (144), Puerto Rico (103), and the West (97). (See Figure 7.3.) Table 7.1 is a chronological summary of all domestic terror incidents from 1990 to 2001.


Domestic terrorism has been driven by various motivations ranging across the political spectrum. Special interest groups have undertaken terrorist attacks on U.S. soil as well.

Left-Wing Organizations

According to the FBI's Terrorism in the United States 1999, terrorist groups on the extreme left tend to "profess a revolutionary socialist doctrine and view themselves as protectors of the people against dehumanizing effects of capitalism and imperialism." These groups were more prominent during the days of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union, and they carried out a number of bombings and robberies from the 1960s to the 1980s. From 1980 to 1985, the FBI attributed eighty-six of the 184 recorded terrorist attacks to left-wing extremists. The fall of the Soviet Union and a global shift away from communist ideologies greatly affected the motivations and capabilities of such groups.

Some left-wing groups have been fighting for the independence of Puerto Rico. Groups such as the Popular Puerto Rican Army often employ violent means in their attempts to secure full Puerto Rican independence from



the United States. In 1998 three of the five recorded acts of terrorism within the United States and its territories occurred in Puerto Rico and were attributed by the FBI to the Popular Puerto Rican Army. Groups fighting for Puerto Rican independence were more active during the 1980s and carried out several bombings and violent attacks.

Other types of left-wing groups include anarchists and social extremists, whose causes vary but remain political and anti-establishment. They operate in groups or as individuals. Such groups were responsible for extensive damage during riots in Seattle, Washington, in 1999, during demonstrations against the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting.

Right-Wing Organizations

Right-wing groups tend to regard the U.S. government as oppressive or unjust. Often, such groups believe in racial supremacy and refuse to follow any rules and regulations set forth by the government. The origins of some of these groups can be traced back to the nineteenth century. The widespread poverty and destitution in the Southern states after their defeat in the Civil War (1861–65), combined with attitudes of racial superiority, created an atmosphere that gave birth to such organizations as the Ku Klux Klan.

Contemporary right-wing extremists have toned down their rhetoric in order to attract a larger audience. Members of the extreme right often adhere to one or more of the following beliefs:

  • Christian Identity adherents believe that Americans of white European descent are descendants of the ten lost tribes of Israel, that the Aryan race is God's chosen race, and that whites will defeat Jews and nonwhites during the Second Coming of Christ.
  • White supremacists call for the supremacy of the white race above all others; extreme members of such organizations also believe that a special homeland should be established to maintain the purity of the white race.
  • Militias are armed paramilitary groups that strongly believe the U.S. government is out to destroy them. They preach elaborate conspiracy theories—for example, that the U.S. government is merely a cog in a "new world order" run by the United Nations (UN).
  • Patriot Movement members consider themselves to be true patriots who disagree with how the government currently functions and refuse to adhere to any federal, state, or local laws. Many have racist ideologies. According to the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), 171 Patriot groups operate within the United States, forty-five of them militia groups (although not all of these groups advocate violence). (See Table 7.2.)
  • Tax Protest Movement members believe that tax laws are incorrectly interpreted and that paying federal income tax should be voluntary.

The FBI claims that since about the mid-1990s there has been a rise in grass-roots patriot and militia movements that profess antigovernment sentiments and global conspiracy theories. This rise is the result of the increasing prominence of the UN, growing U.S. involvement around the world, the passage of increased gun-control legislation, and recent confrontations between militias and the law enforcement community. These groups present a unique threat to the federal government because they often stockpile weapons and refuse to acknowledge any law enforcement above the level of the county sheriff. Many also lack a cohesive organizational structure and an overall leader or headquarters, making these small, tightly knit groups hard to infiltrate or monitor.

The increase in activity by right-wing groups beginning in the 1990s was partly caused by a shift in tactics away from hierarchical organizations to what is termed "leaderless resistance." Using small cells of only a few members who commit acts of resistance, this strategy makes such groups more difficult for law enforcement to infiltrate. First popularized by "The Order," a right-wing group involved in armored-car robberies and the murder of a Jewish radio personality, "leaderless resistance" was also promoted in the 1978 novel The Turner Diaries, written by National Alliance founder William L. Pierce and an underground best-seller in far-right circles.


Special-Interest and Single-Issue Terrorism

In addition to left-wing and right-wing groups, a variety of special-interest groups, such as animal liberation groups, environmentalists, antiabortion activists, and black separatists, have committed acts of terror to draw attention to one specific cause. They have carried out such destructive acts as arson, bombings, and even anthrax hoaxes in the past. These groups frequently use media outlets such as the Internet to disseminate their ideologies and recruit members.

ecoterrorism. The underground Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF) are the leading groups that have engaged in ecoterrorism since the mid-1990s. In testimony before the House Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, in February 2002, James F. Jarboe, the FBI domestic terrorism section chief, defined ecoterrorism as "the use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against innocent victims or property by an environmentally oriented, subnational group for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature." These groups are composed of radical environmentalists and are primarily active across North America. ELF, for example, describes itself in a


Chronological summary of terrorist incidents in the United States, 1990–2001
Date Location Incident type Group
1/12/90Santurce, PRPipe bombingBrigodo Internocionolisto Eugenio Moria de Hostos de los Fuerzos Revolucionories Pedro Albizu Compos (Eugenio Maria de Hostos International Brigade of the Pedro Albizu Campos Revolutionary Forces)
1/12/90Carolina, PRPipe bombingBrigodo Internocionolisto Eugenio Moria de Hostos de los Fuerzos Revolucionories Pedro Albizu Compos (Eugenio Maria de Hostos International Brigade of the Pedro Albizu Campos Revolutionary Forces)
2/22/90Los Angeles, CABombingUp the IRS, Inc.
4/22/90Santa Cruz County, CAMalicious destruction of propertyEarth Night Action Group
5/27/90Mayaguez, PRArsonUnknown Puerto Rican group
9/17/90Arecibo, PRBombingPedro Albizu Group Revolutionary Forces
9/17/90Vega Baja, PRBombingPedro Albizu Group Revolutionary Forces
2/3/91Mayaguez, PRArsonPopular Liberation Army (PLA)
2/18/91Sabana Grande, PRArsonPopular Liberation Army (PLA)
3/17/91Carolina, PRArsonUnknown Puerto Rican group
4/1/91Fresno, CABombingPopular Liberation Army (PLA)
7/6/91Punta Borinquen, PRBombingPopular Liberation Army (PLA)
4/5/92New York, NYHostile takeoverMujohedin-E-Kholq (MEK)
11/19/92Urbana, ILAttempted firebombingMexican Revolutionary Movement
12/10/92Chicago, ILCar fire and attempted firebombingBoricua Revolutionary Front (two incidents)
2/26/93New York, NYCar bombingInternational Radical Terrorists
7/20/93Tacoma, WAPipe bombingAmerican Front Skinheads
7/22/93Tacoma, WABombingAmerican Front Skinheads
11/27–28/93Chicago, ILFirebombingAnimal Liberation Front (nine incidents)
3/1/94New York, NYShootingRashid Najib Baz convicted on November 30, 1994
4/19/95Oklahoma City, OKTruck bombingTimothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols convicted. (Michael Fortier found guilty of failing to alert authorities of plot)
4/1/96Spokane, WAPipe bombing/bank robberySpokane Bank Robbers
7/12/96Spokane, WAPipe bombing/bank robberySpokane Bank Robbers
7/27/96Atlanta, GAPipe bombingEric Robert Rudolph charged on October 14, 1998
1/2/97Washington, DCLetter bomb (counted as one incident)Pending investigation
No claim of responsibility
1/2/97Leavenworth, KSLetter bomb (counted as one incidentPending investigation
No claim of responsibility
1/16/97Atlanta, GABombing of abortion clinicEric Robert Rudolph charged on October 14, 1998
2/21/97Atlanta, GABombing of alternative lifestyle nightclubEric Robert Rudolph charged on October 14, 1998
1/29/98Birmingham, ALBombing of reproductive services clinicEric Robert Rudolph charged with the bombing on February 14, 1998
3/31/98Arecibo, PRBombing of superaqueduct construction projectClaim of responsibility issued by Los Macheteros
6/9/98Rio Piedras, PRBombing of bank branch officeClaim of responsibility issued by Los Macheteros
6/25/98Santa Isabel, PRBombing of bank branch officeLos Macheteros suspected
10/19/98Vail, COArson fire at ski resortClaim of responsibility issued by Earth Liberation Front
3/27/99Franklin Township, NJBombing of circus vehiclesClaim of responsibility issued by Animal Liberation Front
4/5/99Minneapolis, St. Paul, MNMalicious destruction and theftAnimal Liberation Front
5/9/99Eugene, ORBombingAnimal Liberation Front
7/2–4/99Chicago Skokie, IL
Northbrook, Bloomington, IN
Multiple shootingsBenjamin Nathaniel Smith
8/10/99Granada Hills, CAMultiple shootingsBuford O'Neal Furrow
8/28–29/99Orange, CAMalicious destruction and theftClaim of responsibility issued by Animal Liberation Front
10/24/99Bellingham, WAMalicious destruction and theftClaim of responsibility issued by Animal Liberation Front
11/20/99Puyallup, WAMalicious destructionAnimal Liberation Front
12/25/99Monmouth, ORArsonClaim of responsibility issued by Earth Liberation Front
12/31/99East Lansing, MIArsonClaim of responsibility issued by Earth Liberation Front
1/3/00Petaluma, CAIncendiary attackAnimal Liberation Front
1/15/00Petaluma, CAIncendiary attackAnimal Liberation Front
1/22/00Bloomington, INArsonEarth Liberation Front
5/7/00Olympia, WAArsonRevenge of the Trees
7/2/00North Vernon, INArsonAnimal Liberation Front
7/20/00Rhinelander, WIVandalismEarth Liberation Front
12/1/00Phoenix, AZMultiple arsonsMark Warren Sands
12/9–30/00Suffolk County, Long Island, NYMultiple arsonsEarth Liberation Front
1/2/01Glendale, ORArsonEarth Liberation Front
2/20/01Visalia, CAArsonEarth Liberation Front
3/9/01Culpeper, VATree spikingEarth Liberation Front
3/30/01Eugene, ORArsonEarth Liberation Front
4/15/01Portland, ORArsonEarth Liberation Front

statement posted on their Web site ( as "an international underground organization that uses direct action in the form of economic sabotage to stop the exploitation and destruction of the natural environment." Most ELF members believe in a form of deep ecology, or the theory that all nonhuman life has an intrinsic value and must be protected from humanity.

source: "Chronological Summary of Incidents in the United States, 1990–2001," in Terrorism: 2000–01, Federal Bureau of Investigation, (accessed September 12, 2004)
5/17/01Harrisburg, PABank robberyClayton Lee Waagner
5/21/01Seattle, WAArsonEarth Liberation Front
5/21/01Clatskanie, ORArsonEarth Liberation Front
7/24/01Stateline, NVDestruction of propertyEarth Liberation Front
9/11/01New York, NY
Arlington, VA
Stony Creek, PA
Aircraft AttackAl-Qaeda
Fall 2001New York, NY
Washington, DC
Lantana, FL
Bacillus anthrocis mailingsPending investigation
No claim of responsibility
10/14/01Litchfield, CAArsonEarth Liberation Front
11/9/01Morgantown, WVBank robberyClayton Lee Waagner
11/12/01San Diego, CABurglary and vandalismAnimal Liberation Front

Both ALF and ELF were created without a hierarchical and centralized structure so that various subgroups and individuals are able to carry out actions under the umbrella of a larger group. In a statement made before the U.S. Senate in May 2001, FBI director Louis J. Freeh labeled ALF "one of the most active extremist elements in the United States." ALF and ELF have committed some six hundred criminal acts since 1996, according to the FBI. Their actions—including arson, vandalism, and bombings—resulted in some $43 million in damages between 1996 and 2002, while in 2003 alone, ecoterrorist damage estimates attributed to ELF and ALF surpassed $50 million. The FBI reports that there has been over $200 million in damages from all ecoterrorist incidents since the late 1980s.

Ecoterrorists have taken action against various targets they believe endanger the earth's environment in some way, including country clubs, ski resorts, oil companies, multinational corporations, research institutes involved in genetic modification, animal laboratories, lumber yards, and various U.S. government agencies. Their tactics have ranged from tree-spiking (inserting spikes in trees to damage saws) and sabotage to arson and firebombing. In October 1998, during a single attack on a ski resort in Vail, Colorado, members of ELF caused approximately $12 million worth of damage. On October 30, 2001, several members of ELF firebombed a wild-horse corral in California that belonged to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. In August 2003 ELF took responsibility for burning a five-story apartment building under construction in San Diego, California, causing some $50 million in damages. In August 2003 a group calling itself the Animal Liberation Brigade–Revolutionary Cells bombed the Chiron Corp., a biotechnology firm in Emeryville, California. On September 26, 2003, the same group set off a bomb at Shaklee Corp. in Pleasanton, California.

antiabortion activism. Another cause that falls in the special-interest category is the antiabortion movement in the United States. Acts of violence against, and murders of, health care professionals involved in providing abortions rose rapidly in the 1980s and 1990s. Individuals and groups pursuing such activities belong to a larger pro-life movement in the United States that believes the rights of unborn children must be protected. Though most members of the pro-life movement do not support killing medical professionals, a fundamentalist segment of the group strongly believes that killing abortion providers is the only way to protect the unborn.

These groups have no overall structural organization. Individuals sharing similar beliefs network primarily through pamphlets and the Internet. Some Web sites even list names of abortion providers in the United States. Law enforcement officials believe these lists provide "hit lists" for individuals who wish to kill abortion providers. Besides targeting medical professionals, antiabortion groups also commit arson, bombings, blockades (so that workers and patients cannot get into clinics), and anthrax hoaxes.

In response to increasing acts of violence committed against abortion providers and their clinics, Congress enacted the Freedom of Access to Clinical Entrances Act (FACE) in 1994. The legislation specified federal criminal penalties against any individual obstructing, harassing, or acting violently against abortion providers or recipients. Furthermore, in response to the 1998 murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian, a reproductive health care provider in New York, then–Attorney General Janet Reno established a Task Force on Violence against Health Care Providers. Falling under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Justice, the task force is headed by the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. It is staffed by lawyers and other personnel from the Civil Rights and Criminal Divisions of the Department of Justice, as well as investigators from the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and U.S. Marshals Service.

Black Separatism

The two largest black separatist groups in America are the Nation of Islam (NOI) and the New Black Panther Party for


Active patriot groups, 2003
Alabama Committee
Constitution Party
Holly Pond
Constitution Party
Jefferson Party
Constitution Party
Ranch Rescue
American Patriot Friends Network
Civil Homeland Defense
Militia of Washington County
Constitution Party
Little Rock
California Militia
John Birch Society
State Citizens Service Center Research Headquarters
Canoga Park
Truth Radio
John Birch Society
Fountain Valley
Free Enterprise Society
Second Amendment Committee
John Birch Society
John Birch Society
Laguna Hills
John Birch Society
Mission Viejo
John Birch Society
Newport Beach
John Birch Society
Southern California High Desert Militia
John Birch Society
Freedom Law School
John Birch Society
Santa Ana
Truth in Taxation
Studio City
American Independent Party
Ranch Rescue
American Freedom Network
District of Columbia
American Free Press
Citizens for Better Government
Constitution Party
Militia of Georgia
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Sons of Liberty
Police & Military Against the New World Order
Constitution Party
Post Falls
Southern Illinois Patriots League
Constitution Party
Indiana Citizens Volunteer Militia 2nd Brigade
Allen County
Old Paths Baptist Church
Indiana Citizens Volunteer Militia 6th Brigade
Indiana Citizens Volunteer Militia 4th Brigade
Indianapolis Baptist Temple
Indiana Citizens Volunteer Militia 1st Brigade
Lake County
Indiana Militia Corps 2nd Brigade
Northeastern Indiana
Indiana Militia Corps 1st Brigade
Northeastern Indiana
Indiana State Militia 14th Regiment
Owen County
Indiana Militia Corps 5th Brigade
Indiana Citizens Volunteer Militia 7th Brigade
Perry County
Indiana Citizens Volunteer Militia 5th Brigade
Putnam County
Indiana Militia Corps 4th Brigade
Southeastern Indiana
Indiana Militia Corps 3rd Brigade
Soutwestern Indiana
Indiana Citizens Volunteer Militia 3rd Brigade
Tippeacanoe County
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Kentucky State Militia 5th Battalion
Central Kentucky
Take Back Kentucky
Free Kentucky
Constitution Party
John Birch Society
New Orleans
Southern Sons of Liberty
Constitution Party
Save a Patriot Fellowship
Michigan Militia Corps Wolverines
Big Rapids
Michigan Militia
Patriot Broadcasting Network
Michigan Militia Corps Wolverines
U.S. Taxpayers Party
Michigan Militia Corps Wolverines
Livingston County
Michigan Militia Corps Wolverines
Macomb County
Citizens Militia of St. Clair County
Michigan Militia Corps Wolverines
Oakland County
Michigan Militia, Inc.
Southern Michigan Regional Militia
Lawful Path
Constitution Party
St. Paul
Missouri 51st Militia
Grain Valley
7th Missouri Militia
Militia of Montana
Center for Action
Sandy Valley
Independent American Party
New Jersey
Constitution Party
New Jersey Committee of Safety
New Jersey Militia
New York
Constitution Party
We The People
North Carolina
Constitution Party
Rocky Point
North Dakota
Constitution Party
Right Way L.A.W.
Central Ohio Unorganized Militia
Columbus County
Constitution Party
E Pluribus Unum
Grove City
Unorganized Militia of Champaign County
St. Paris
Ranch Rescue
Present Truth Ministry
Emissary Publications
Southern Oregon Militia
Eagle Point
source: "Active Patriot Groups in the United States in the Year 2003," in Intelligence Report, Southern Poverty Law Center, Spring 2004, (accessed August 24, 2004)
Freedom Bound International
Klamath Falls
Constitution Party
Embassy of Heaven
American Nationalist Union
Allison Park
Constitution Party
John Birch Society
Northern Voice Bookstore
South Carolina
Aware Group
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Take Back Tennessee
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Ranch Rescue
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Society
John Birch Society
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Buffalo Creek Press
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Corpus Christi
Republic of Texas
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
El Paso
Constitution Party
Republic of Texas
Fort Worth
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Republic of Texas
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
God Said Ministries
Mount Enterprise
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Republic of Texas
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
San Antonio
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
The Woodlands
Church of God Evangelistic Association
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Constitution Party
Ranch Rescue
Kenton's Rangers Virginia Line Militia
Front Royal
Virginia Citizens Militia
Constitution Party
Washington State Jural Society
Ranch Rescue
American Opinion Book Services
Constitution Party
John Birch Society
District of Columbia1
New Hampshire0
New Jersey3
New Mexico0
New York2
North Carolina1
North Dakota1
Rhode Island0
South Carolina2
South Dakota0
West Virginia0
Total 171

Self Defense (NBPP). These groups promote a strongly anti-white, anti-Semitic position and call for a separation between the races. The NBPP also encourages members to arm themselves. For a list of black separatist hate groups, see Table 7.3.

nation of islam. The NOI was founded in the 1930s by Elijah Muhammad, who taught that whites were "the devil race" and blacks were the "makers of the universe." Probably its most prominent member was Malcolm X, who eventually left the group and was murdered by three NOI members in February 1965. Following Muhammad's own death in 1974, Louis Farrakhan took over the organization. In addition to its hatred of whites, the NOI is also anti-Semitic. In its book The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews, the group alleges that the slave trade was organized and run by Jews. During the 1990s Farrakhan caused controversy by visiting with the heads of such countries as


Black separatist hate groups, 2003
City Chapter Group
BirminghamNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
HuntsvilleNation of IslamBlack Separatist
MobileNation of IslamBlack Separatist
MontgomeryNation of IslamBlack Separatist
PhoenixNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
Little RockNation of IslamBlack Separatist
AdelantoNation of IslamBlack Separatist
BakersfieldNew Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
Long BeachNation of IslamBlack Separatist
Los AngelesNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
MontclairNation of IslamBlack Separatist
OaklandNation of IslamBlack Separatist
RialtoNation of IslamBlack Separatist
RichmondNation of IslamBlack Separatist
SacramentoNation of IslamBlack Separatist
San DiegoNation of IslamBlack Separatist
San FranciscoNation of IslamBlack Separatist
DenverNation of IslamBlack Separatist
BridgeportNation of IslamBlack Separatist
HartfordNation of IslamBlack Separatist
United Nuwaubian Nation of MoorsBlack Separatist
New HavenNation of IslamBlack Separatist
WilmingtonNation of IslamBlack Separatist
District of Columbia
WashingtonNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
United Nuwaubian Nation of MoorsBlack Separatist
Fort LauderdaleNation of IslamBlack Separatist
JacksonvilleNation of IslamBlack Separatist
MiamiNation of IslamBlack Separatist
PensacolaNation of IslamBlack Separatist
TallahasseeNation of IslamBlack Separatist
TampaNation of IslamBlack Separatist
West Palm BeachNation of IslamBlack Separatist
AlbanyNation of IslamBlack Separatist
AthensNation of IslamBlack Separatist
United Nuwaubian Nation of MoorsBlack Separatist
AtlantaNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
United Nuwaubian Nation of MoorsBlack Separatist
AugustaNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
United Nuwaubian Nation of MoorsBlack Separatist
ColumbusNation of IslamBlack Separatist
DecaturUnited Nuwaubian Nation of MoorsBlack Separatist
EatontonUnited Nuwaubian Nation of MoorsBlack Separatist
MaconNation of IslamBlack Separatist
United Nuwaubian Nation of MoorsBlack Separatist
SavannahNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
Hawaii CountyNation of IslamBlack Separatist

Iran and Libya, even winning a promise from Libya's dictator Muammar Qaddafi of a $1 billion donation. Qaddafi had already given Farrakhan an interest-free $5 million loan in 1985, according to an Intelligence Report by Martin A. Lee of in the Southern Poverty Law Center.

ChicagoNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
East St. LouisNation of IslamBlack Separatist
RockfordNew Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
IndianapolisNation of IslamBlack Separatist
WaterlooNation of IslamBlack Separatist
LouisvilleNation of IslamBlack Separatist
Baton RougeNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
New OrleansNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
BaltimoreNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
BostonNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
SpringfieldNation of IslamBlack Separatist
DetroitNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
St. PaulNation of IslamBlack Separatist
GreenvilleNation of IslamBlack Separatist
Holly SpringsNation of IslamBlack Separatist
JacksonNation of IslamBlack Separatist
McCombNew Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
Kansas CityNation of IslamBlack Separatist
St. LouisNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
OmahaNation of IslamBlack Separatist
Las VegasNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
New Jersey
CamdenNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New BrunswickNation of IslamBlack Separatist
NewarkNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
PatersonNew Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
PlainfieldNation of IslamBlack Separatist
TrentonNew Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
New York
AlbanyNation of IslamBlack Separatist
BrooklynUnited Nuwaubian Nation of MoorsBlack Separatist
BuffaloNation of IslamBlack Separatist
HarlemNew Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
New YorkNation of IslamBlack Separatist
RochesterNew Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
SyracuseNation of IslamBlack Separatist
North Carolina
CharlotteNation of IslamBlack Separatist
DurhamNation of IslamBlack Separatist
GreensboroNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
RaleighNation of IslamBlack Separatist
ReidsvilleNation of IslamBlack Separatist

new black panther party for self defense. The NBPP was founded by Michael McGee as the Black Panther Militia. McGee, who was involved in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,

source: "Active U.S. Hate Groups in 2003: Black Separatist," in Intelligence Report, Southern Poverty Law Center, (accessed September 23, 2004)
CincinnatiNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
ClevelandNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
ColumbusNation of IslamBlack Separatist
DaytonNation of IslamBlack Separatist
ToledoNation of IslamBlack Separatist
TulsaNation of IslamBlack Separatist
HarrisburgNation of IslamBlack Separatist
PhiladelphiaNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
United Nuwaubian Nation of MoorsBlack Separatist
PittsburghNation of IslamBlack Separatist
Rhode Island
ProvidenceNew Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
South Carolina
ColumbiaNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
ChattanoogaNation of IslamBlack Separatist
KnoxvilleNation of IslamBlack Separatist
MemphisNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
NashvilleNation of IslamBlack Separatist
AustinNew Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
DallasNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
El PasoNation of IslamBlack Separatist
HoustonNation of IslamBlack Separatist
New Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
JasperNew Black Panther PartyBlack Separatist
San AntonioNation of IslamBlack Separatist
DanvilleNation of IslamBlack Separatist
PetersburgNation of IslamBlack Separatist
RichmondNation of IslamBlack Separatist
SeattleNation of IslamBlack Separatist
MilwaukeeNation of IslamBlack Separatist

politics as a city council member and alderman before turning to extremist politics, announced the creation of the Black Panther Militia in 1990 and sought to enlist local street gangs as members. "Our militia will be about violence. I'm talking actual fighting, bloodshed and urban guerilla warfare," McGee explained, according to the Anti-Defamation League's Web site ( Renamed the NBPP, the group began appearing at rallies and demonstrations throughout the country, often armed with shotguns and automatic rifles. A May 1996 Dallas school board meeting was canceled after the NBPP threatened to come with loaded weapons. A high school in Wedowee, Alabama, was burned down hours after a speech was given there by NBPP leader Mmoja Ajabu. A local member was later acquitted of arson. The NBPP is strongly anti-white and anti-Semitic. It also calls for a separation of the races and the overthrow of the government. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the group accused Jews of having masterminded the events. By this point, the group's leader was Malik Zulu Shabazz, a Washington D.C.-based attorney. In July 2002 Shabazz announced that the NBPP intended to support accused Arab terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, who was on trial for his role in the September 11, 2001 attacks.


Besides the U.S. government, a number of watchdog groups, such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), maintain a database of current domestic terrorist and militia groups. In addition to keeping abreast of the activities of these groups, the ADL and SPLC also provide education and training to reduce hate crimes, or attacks perpetrated against an individual or a group based on ethnicity, religion, or sexual preference. Groups specifically preaching hateful ideologies against homosexuals and different races include various Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi, black separatist, and racist skinhead organizations.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL)

The ADL was founded in Chicago in 1913 by Sigmund Livingston with the mission "to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience, and if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people" ( Today, the ADL is one of the nation's premier civil rights/human-relations agencies, dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defending democratic ideals, and protecting civil rights for all. The ADL develops materials, programs, and services to build communication, understanding, and respect among diverse groups. It has conducted and published four national surveys and analyses of far-right extremism in the United States. The ADL Web site provides articles on a wide range of issues, including extremist groups, hate crimes, security awareness, and terrorism.

Since it was founded, the ADL has acted against groups such as the Ku Klux Klan (by circulating pamphlets and calling on Presidents William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt to denounce automaker Henry Ford's anti-Semitic books) and U.S. fascist groups (by accumulating a storehouse of information on extremist groups and individuals in the United States).

In 2002 the ADL took several measures to aid the fight against terrorism. It established a partnership with the Israel-based International Policy Institute for Counterterrorism (ICT) to facilitate meetings between ICT terrorism experts and American law enforcement, government officials, media, and community groups, and to distribute ICT publications in the United States. The ADL monitored the response of extremist groups to the attacks of September 11, 2001, by posting their statements on the ADL's Web site. The ADL also issues a periodic report on international and domestic terrorism called Terrorism Update, which is distributed to the media, members of Congress, the presidential administration, state and local legislators, academics, and Jewish organizations.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)

The SPLC was founded as a small civil rights law firm in 1971 by Morris Dees and Joe Levin, two local lawyers who shared a commitment to racial equality. Today, the SPLC is a nonprofit organization that combats hate, intolerance, and discrimination through education and litigation. The center is internationally known for its tolerance education programs, its legal victories against white supremacist groups, its tracking of hate groups, and its sponsorship of the Civil Rights Memorial.

In 1981, in response to the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, the SPLC began to monitor hate activity. In 2004 the SPLC's Intelligence Project tracked the activities of more than six hundred racist and neo-Nazi groups. In 1994, after uncovering links between white supremacist organizations and elements of the emerging antigovernment Patriot movement, the SPLC expanded its monitoring operation to include the activities of militias and other extremist antigovernment groups. Six months before the Oklahoma City bombing, the SPLC warned the U.S. attorney general that the new mixture of armed militia groups and those who hate was a recipe for disaster.

At the peak of the Patriot movement in the mid 1990s, the SPLC tracked more than eight hundred militia like Patriot groups. As of 2004 that number had dwindled to fewer than two hundred. Using information collected by the Intelligence Project during its monitoring and investigative activities, the SPLC provides comprehensive updates to law enforcement agencies, the media, and the general public through its quarterly publication, Intelligence Report.

Several of the SPLC's lawsuits have reached the U.S. Supreme Court, and many have resulted in landmark rulings. The SPLC has developed novel legal strategies to shut down extremist activity and to help victims of hate crimes extract monetary damages from groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.


With increased attention being given to international terrorism groups such as al Qaeda, issues of domestic terrorism may seem to be on the back burner. On the contrary, many U.S. legislators recognize the problem of homegrown terror groups. On November 2, 2001, several members of Congress wrote to various environmental groups, urging them to abandon tactics of ecoterrorism. The Agroterrorism Act of 2001 fights domestic terrorism by increasing penalties against perpetrators, and the Hands Off Our Kids Act of 2001 calls for measures to stop groups like the ALF and ELF from recruiting young people for illegal activities.

Through interagency efforts, the U.S. government also developed the Concept of Operations Plan (CON-PLAN) which, according to United States Government Interagency Domestic Terrorism Concept of Operations Plan ( is "designed to provide overall guidance to Federal, State, and local agencies concerning how the Federal government would respond to a potential or actual terrorist threat or incident in the United States, particularly one involving Weapons of Mass Destruction." Primary agencies involved in this plan are the Department of Justice (led by the FBI), Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Health and Human Services. These six agencies are responsible for developing coordinated tactical and strategic options to deal effectively with terrorist attacks.

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