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Gangs and Terrorists in the Americans: An Unlikely Nexus

NCJ Number
Journal of Gang Research Volume: 14 Issue: 2 Dated: Winter 2007 Pages: 19-30
Joseph Rogers Ph.D.
Date Published
12 pages
This article examines the potential relationship between al Qaeda and gangs in the United States.
The United States’ past, such as September 11, 2001 demonstrates that the United States cannot afford to discount any terrorist scenario. The post September 11 realities suggest the planning, policy, and budget processes in the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security require analyses that point to the most likely and catastrophic terrorist scenarios to be faced. It is argued that the relationship between al Qaeda and the local Mara Salvatrucha 13 gang or MS13 is unlikely, but not impossible. A nexus between al Qaeda and United States gangs would represent a serious challenge to Homeland Security. Vigilant homeland security efforts require analyses that go beyond superficial reporting, and thoroughly examine the definitions, history, and nature of the relationships that are being offered as fact. Our national efforts to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do occur, demand no less. Gangs in the United States cultivate links to terrorist operatives abroad and threaten United States Homeland Security. This article critically examines the alleged link between al Qaeda and MS13 drawing on what is known about gangs in the United States and Central America. It acknowledges the new and intense concerns for homeland security caused by the terrorist attacks of September 11th. References