NYT lone terrorist article


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February 22, 2003, 03:02 PM
Agencies Warn of Lone Terrorists
By DAVID JOHNSTON and JAMES RISEN

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 — The possibility of war with Iraq could unleash acts of anti-American violence in the United States or overseas by individual extremists who do not belong to Al Qaeda or other Middle Eastern terrorist groups but sympathize with their grievances, intelligence and law enforcement officials say.

A classified F.B.I. intelligence bulletin, issued on Wednesday to state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country, warned the authorities to be on the alert for lone terrorists who are not directed by organizations like Al Qaeda.

"Lone extremists represent an ongoing terrorist threat in the United States," the bulletin said. "Lone extremists may operate independently or on the fringes of established extremist groups, either alone or with one or two accomplices."

Law enforcement and intelligence officials said in interviews in recent days that they believe the threat of such attacks by individual extremists is growing because of the possibility of an American-led war against Iraq.

The officials said a war would inflame anti-American sentiment throughout the Arab world, adding to a litany of causes that have stoked hatred of the United States. One of the main issues expressed by many Arabs is their belief that the United States has supported Israel in its effort to put down the Palestinian intifada, or uprising. And some people may decide to strike against American targets almost on the spur of the moment, officials warned.

Moreover, analysts regard the new taped message believed to be from Osama bin Laden as a summons to his followers, and perhaps to new sympathizers, to conduct actions against the American targets in response to the possible war in Iraq.

Counterterrorism officials have long feared that a solitary terrorist with an automatic weapon or one committed to a suicide bombing could inflict heavy casualties in the United States.

The threat posed by what officials refer to as "lone wolves" who suddenly decide to act because of their increasingly radicalized views toward the United States is a major concern for American officials because their actions are difficult to predict or prevent.

"Many lone extremists have no links to conventional terrorist groups," the bulletin of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said. "In fact, F.B.I. analysis suggests that psychological abnormalities, as much as devotion to an ideology, drive lone extremists to commit violent acts."

As the Central Intelligence Agency and the F.B.I. scramble to try to deal with intelligence suggesting that Al Qaeda hopes to launch another attack soon against the United States, the threat posed by individual extremists who may suddenly decide to attack Americans is a wild card facing counterterrorism officials.

Robert S. Mueller III, the bureau director, cited the threat of lone extremists in testimony last week to the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committees.

"The threat from single individuals sympathetic or affiliated with Al Qaeda, acting without external support or surrounding conspiracies, is increasing, in part because of heightened publicity surrounding recent events such as the October 2002 Washington area sniper attacks and the anthrax letter attacks," Mr. Mueller said.

One case cited in the F.B.I. bulletin was that of Hesham Mohamed Ali Hadayet, an Egyptian immigrant who fatally shot two people at El Al Airlines' ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport in July 2002. While there are indications that Mr. Hadayet had connections to terrorists, the F.B.I. says it believes he acted alone.

American counterterrorism officials who have studied the nature of the threat from extremist Islamic terrorist groups said that they now realized they must distinguish between intricate plots that are carefully coordinated by groups like Al Qaeda and the less organized actions of individuals on the fringes of extremist movements.

The F.B.I. bulletin cited other examples of people who had engaged in the kind of violence that has worried counterterrorism officials. One was Timothy J. McVeigh, who was executed for the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. Mr. McVeigh began plotting the bombing after a Michigan militia group distanced itself from him because "it became apparent that his views were too radical," the bulletin said.

Another solitary extremist identified in the F.B.I. bulletin was Paul J. Hill, an anti-abortion militant who fatally shot an abortion doctor and his assistant in Pensacola, Fla., in 1994.

Lone extremists who belong to conventional terrorist groups may commit acts without the prior knowledge of the group's leadership, the bulletin said, adding:

"Even successful undercover penetration of such groups may not provide any advanced warning of planned attacks. However, often there are early warning signs concerning these individuals that could be useful to law enforcement. Many lone extremists, for example, have a history of functioning poorly within traditional communities, such as educational institutions, churches and places of employment."

Beyond fears about people loosely affiliated with Al Qaeda, counterterrorism officials have expressed concern that Middle Eastern terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah could signal their followers to conduct independent terrorist actions in the event of an American-led invasion of Iraq, a senior government official said.

In his Senate testimony last week, Mr. Mueller said that Hamas and Hezbollah had the resources in the United States to launch terrorist attacks, but added that neither group "appears to have sufficient incentive to abandon their current fund-raising and recruitment activities in the U.S. in favor of violence."

But Mr. Mueller warned that each group could "in short order develop the capability to launch attacks should international developments or other circumstances prompt them to undertake such actions."

As a result, federal authorities have intensified their efforts to keep track of these groups in the United States, along with individuals associated with them, particularly people on the periphery who are believed to be capable of violence.

Investigators have intensified their use of covert monitoring using national security warrants and have questioned a few people who they believe might engage in violence, a precautionary step that in effect warns interview subjects that their activities may be under scrutiny.

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Standing Wolf
February 22, 2003, 08:22 PM
Obvious solution: identify, locate, round up, and deport all the illegal aliens. We might miss a few legal alien terrorists, but deporting the illegal aliens would solve the lion's share of the problem.

jmbg29
February 22, 2003, 08:32 PM
Lone TerroristsWe could start a terrorist dating service called "Goat Getters", and when the death-cult nuts show up for a romantic evening, we just shoot them in the head.

Baba Louie
February 23, 2003, 12:16 AM
I sure hope that these guys don't pick NYC or Washington DC, cause there's no legally owned guns allowed there (OK... NYC will let you go apply for a permit, if you're a resident and NOT a Felon) and whatever would the citizens do? Call 911 of course.

Didn't we just see an example of what two wacked out guys with an AR-15 could do to that area (or any large Metropolitan area actually)?

Now they tell us.

The dude at the LAX El Al counter... he wasn't a terrorist.

Malme and Mohamed in MD... they weren't REEEAAALL terrorists.

Can't round up all illegal Islamic Aliens and send em back home...Noooooooo. That would be wrong and might upset em.
sigh.

War IS heck.

Adios

Blackhawk
February 23, 2003, 01:52 AM
Where's the twirling in the air index finger smilie with the whoo-ee face? :rolleyes:

Waitone
February 23, 2003, 02:42 AM
Why is this considered news? I love it when our esteemed Big Media ceases reporting events and begins predicting the future. I remember right in the middle of the anthrax scare Big Media evidently got bored and began looking forward to the next and newest pestilence---small pox. Never mind there was no hint of small pox. I appreciate the NYT's and other rags looking out for my best interest but I'd rather see them spending filthy lucre and effort in accurately reporting facts of today's events and perhaps doing a fact check or two on gun stories.

It was inevitable the US would face freelance terrorists. We were sucker punched on 911. We are now better prepared simply because we are looking for another punch. We've made it more difficult for the badguys to move and communicate their plans for a bodacious hit. So to keep the pressure on the US up and to keep Islamic useful fools enthused, freelancing had to be in the mix.

So if I'm smart enough to see the trend, how come the esteemed NYT didn't?

Jeff Thomas
February 23, 2003, 08:46 PM
Gee. I wonder if this will require a reappraisal of the usual CCW / CHL comment, always delivered with a pompous air, that civilian carriers of concealed firearms can't do anything in the war on terror.

Nah. We'll just get more lectures confusing self defense with vigilantism.

But those idiotic comments won't change the reality we may be dealing with. Sad that some people have to learn what Israelis, and John Lott, learned long ago ...

Regards from TX


"I, with two more to help me, will hold the foe in play.
In yon strait path a thousand may well be stopped by three.
Now who will stand on either hand and keep the bridge with me?''

from "Horatius" by Thomas Babbington, Lord Macaulay

REMEMBER the brave men and women of United Flight 93, September 11, 2001 ... those brave American civilians stopped terrorism when America's governments were powerless. Never, ever surrender the tools or the ethic of self defense. Molon labe.

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