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Evil Twins: The Crime-Terror Nexus

NCJ Number
Forensic Examiner Volume: 18 Issue: 4 Dated: Winter 2009 Pages: 16-29
Frank S. Perri, J.D., M.B.A., C.P.A.; Terrance G. Lichtenwald, Ph.D.; Paula M. MacKenzie, Psy.D.
Date Published
14 pages
This article examines the symbiotic relationship between organized crime and terrorist organizations, which includes the circumstance in which relationships between organized crime and terrorism are virtually indistinguishable.
Since the end of the Cold War and the subsequent decline in state sponsorship for terrorism, the use and imitation of organized crime tactics have been an important influence on terrorist groups' methods for producing revenue and acquiring expertise to support terrorist-type activities. The authors caution, however, that the link between these groups, although evident, is not always clear. This is partly due to differences in but also the mingling of the goals of organized crime networks and the goals of terrorist groups; whereas money-making activities motivate organized crime groups, terrorist groups have political, religious, moralistic, and or socioeconomic goals that are pursued with tactics of violence and fear (also used by organized crime); however, money is needed as a resource for their terrorist activities. A method is proposed for investigators to use in identifying the areas where terrorism and organized crime are most likely to interact. The method, called Preparation of the Investigation Environment (PIE) provides investigators and analysts a method for identifying and locating terror and organized crime interactions, then confirming their existence, followed by an assessment of the consequences of these collaborations. PIE is an efficient tool for analyzing the behavior of criminal and terrorist groups because it focuses on evidence about their operational behavior as well as the environment in which they operate. Identified domains of interaction between organized crime groups and terrorist groups include communications, financial transactions, organizational forms, and behavioral patterns. Actual case examples of how the PIE method has and can be used are provided. The role of the forensic examiner is discussed, and recommendations are offered for policy analysts and investigators. 64 references