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The Nature of Terrorism

There are many definitions, as you will see, but they have certain common denominators. First of all, terrorism is a criminal activity. It is important to understand this. Terrorist activity is not an acceptable and normal manner in which to make one’s views heard. Secondly, terrorism involves violence against civilians—people like you and me and our families. Thirdly, a terrorist has as her or his aim to push a social, religious, or political objective. The goal of the terrorist is to force a government or a group of people to change.

Indicators of a Terrorist Plan

What kinds of things do they do?

The first step for an organization to become viable is to increase group size. They do this by holding rallies, posting recruitment fliers, guiding visitors to their web sites, and so on. Be on the lookout for suspicious documents that you find on your site, but keep in mind that freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed by the Constitution.

Another key step for a terrorist is gaining access to money. As with disguises, the easiest way to get money is to steal it – there is no record! ID theft, for example, is on the increase, and using another person’s identification is an easy way to illegally obtain cash or merchandise that can be converted into cash. Property that is stolen can always be sold to generate cash. Terrorists frequently commit armed robberies to get quick cash. Naturally, all of these are serious crimes—for whatever reason they are committed. If your site handles financial transactions in any way, keep in mind the purposes to which the money can be put. Also, if your site experiences a theft of uniforms, vehicles with company logos, etc., such kinds of activity should arouse your suspicions and be reported.

Three Types of Weapons That a Terrorist Can Use

  • Conventional weapons such as guns, explosives, and incendiary devices
  • Chemical and biological agents
  • Nuclear weapons and radiological material

Pipe bombs come in different sizes, but all can easily be carried on a person. All the components are legal and easily obtainable. The devastation caused by mass destruction weapons such as explosives can be enormous, as several incidents both in the United States and in other countries have shown.

Chemical agents are highly toxic, but are used less often because their effect is hard to limit. The best way of preventing their use is to stop theft of chemicals from your site. The potential users have to get onto your site to steal this material, and that’s where your important position comes into play.

Biological agents cause illness or death. Anthrax is probably the best known of these, but any kind of easily infectious disease-causing agent can also spread terror. In addition, the terrorist needs a way to “deliver” the poisonous substance in the place they want to attack. One simple and effective way is to place the biological agent into the air conditioning / heating system.

Nuclear weapons are extremely hard to come by. One possibility is for terrorists to combine a traditional explosive device with radioactive material, the so-called “dirty bomb”. Your most important role is to prevent access to, transportation of, or removal of potentially dangerous materials.