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FBI's Mission in Countering Terrorism

NCJ Number
Terrorism Volume: 13 Issue: 1 Dated: (January-February 1990) Pages: 1-6
W S Sessions
Date Published
6 pages
The FBI's counter-terrorist policy begins with the premise that terrorists are criminals and not freedom fighters nor political activists.
The FBI firmly rejects the notion that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Terrorists claim to have political goals, but they target innocent civilians who are unconnected to their alleged political goals. Unlike other organized criminals, they tend not to be motivated by monetary gain and usually act alone or in small groups. Since 1982, when the FBI was designated the lead agency for counter-terrorism within the U.S., and as international terrorist incidences have increased in number, domestic terrorist attacks have declined dramatically from 51 in 1982 to 4 in 1989. However, 1989 saw two highly publicized incidents that could be harbingers of things to come. There were death threats against publishing houses and bookstores who supported the book "The Satanic Verses" by Salman Rushdie and a bomb was exploded in a van driven by the wife of Captain Will Rogers of the U.S.S. Vincennes which had mistakenly shot down an Iranian passenger jet in July 1988. Governments around the world should formulate strong counter-terrorist policies, and law enforcement agencies should link forces to combat terrorism and bring the criminals to justice.