Accessibility links

Domestic Terrorists  Still a Concern for Law Enforcement Agencies

  • Carol Pearson

Victims of the worst act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history were remembered Tuesday at a memorial in Oklahoma City, in the western state of Oklahoma. There, ten years ago, a truck bomb exploded at a building housing federal agencies. 168 people perished, including young children, who were at a day care center in the building.

Today, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation is actively pursuing more than 300 cases of what it calls domestic terrorism.

James P. Wickstrom promotes white supremacy and considers himself an enemy of the United States government.

While federal officials have spent a lot of effort fighting terrorism from abroad, and have detained a number of foreign suspects as enemy combatants, they have to acknowledge a threat from within the U.S. as well.

Mr. Wickstrom's Web site portrays Timothy McVeigh, the man convicted in the Oklahoma City bombing, as a martyr. And, Mr. Wickstrom regularly calls for the deaths of government leaders.

"There is none of them in this Cabinet that damnable deserves to breathe the air in this nation," said Mr. Wickstrom.

The American network, ABC News, reports the FBI has identified 22 groups as domestic terror organizations.

Professor Brian Levin studies these groups at the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University. "There are people out there today who have the capacity, skill and hatred to carry out acts worse than what Timothy McVeigh carried out 10 years ago," says Professor Levin.

He says the Internet has replaced cross burnings and meetings as a communication and recruitment tool.

"They're in their bedrooms accessing bomb-making information on the 'Net and accessing hateful rhetoric which empowers them," explains Professor Levin.

Law enforcement officials are also concerned that these groups are recruiting teenagers.

Just recently, police seized weapons, narcotics and Nazi paraphernalia in the western state of California that had been in the possession of a high school football coach who recruited the teenagers for a neo-Nazi group. The man and 18 others await trial.

XS
SM
MD
LG