Assignment: The purpose of this essay is to identify two violent incidents that are ambiguous in whether they would be defined as terrorism. Next, systematically compare the characteristics of the event to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s definitions of domestic and international terrorism. One incident must, on the face of it, appear to be an act of domestic terrorism that you compare to the domestic terrorism definition. An example of a domestic terrorism event, although not ambiguous, would be the Oklahoma City Bombing. The second incident must, on the face of it, appear to be an act of international terrorism that you compare to the international terrorism definition. An example of an international terrorism event, although not ambiguous, would be the attacks on 9/11/2001. As discussed in the readings, terrorism can be defined in many ways and for many purposes. For this assignment, I would like you to focus on the FBI’s definitions of domestic and international terrorism, as stated in Nacos (2019, p.22).
Domestic terrorism is the unlawful use, or threatened use, of violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States or its territories, without foreign direction, committed against persons or property, to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
International terrorism involves violent acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any state, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or any state. Acts of international terrorism are intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, influence the policy of the government, or affect the conduct of a government. These acts transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they are intended to intimidate, or the locale in which perpetrators operate.
Now, identify two incidents that have occurred in the U.S. or against U.S. interests that are not clearly terrorism – one event that is domestic in nature and one that is international (I recommend using a news aggregation site, such as Google News (Links to an external site.), Bing News (Links to an external site.), or Proquest (Links to an external site.) to search for events). Next, collect enough information on these incidents to determine whether they fit the FBI’s domestic or international terrorism definitions. The more ambiguous the incident, the more meaningful your analysis will be, and therefore the greater the potential for receiving an above average grade. For example, as stated the Oklahoma City Bombing and the attacks on 9/11/2001 are not ambiguous in nature, there is little argument that these were acts of terrorism and would be a poor choice for your terrorism examples. In your essay, identify each component of the definition and explain why the incident you are examining does or does not fit that component. In addition, please state whether you personally believe the attack was an act of terrorism, regardless of whether it fits the FBI definition or not, justifying your answer.