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New Study: Since 9/11 Islamist Terrorism In the United States No More Deadly Than Other Forms of Terrorism

Published:   September 12, 2011

A new study issued by the New America Foundation and Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Public Policy documents and compares cases of homegrown jihadist versus right-and left-wing terrorism in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

New America’s Peter Bergen and Andrew Lebovich write, “In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, one of the fears of ordinary citizens and terrorism experts alike was that a new wave of terrorists would strike, some of them armed with chemical, biological, radiological or even nuclear materials.

"Ten years later, we have yet to see an Islamist terrorist incident involving such weapons in the United States, and no Islamist militant in this country has made a documented attempt to even acquire such devices.

"Yet this is not the case for other terrorists. Indeed, the record of the past decade suggests that if a chemical, biological or radiological attack were to take place in the United States, it is more likely that it would come not from a Islamist terrorist but from a right-wing extremist or anarchist.”

Some Key Findings Include:

1. Weapons: There were no instances in which jihadist terrorists in the United States sought to acquire or manufacture chemical, radiological, or biological weapons but there were 5 cases of right-and left-wing terrorism where such weapons were involved.

2. Federal Authorities: Informants, cooperating witnesses, and undercover government agents were involved in more than half of right-and left-wing terrorist cases.

3. Tips: In both right-and left-wing terrorism and jihadist cases, families and social or religious communities were just as likely to provide authorities with tips that either let to arrests or aided investigations.

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