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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76489 Find in a Library
Title: Investigation of Terrorist Activities (From Clandestine Tactics and Technology - A Technical and Background Intelligence Data Service, Volume 4 - See NCJ-77152)
Author(s): E T Dreher; J W Magner
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 26
Sponsoring Agency: International Assoc of Chiefs of Police
Alexandria, VA 22314
Sale Source: International Assoc of Chiefs of Police
44 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Characteristics of terrorists and terrorism are discussed and the mechanics involved in conducting a police investigation of terrorist acts are considered and illustrated with a description of the investigation of a bombing at La Guardia Airport in New York City.
Abstract: Terrorism is defined as the method by which groups seek to achieve their aims through the systematic use of violence. Both extreme right-wing and left-wing political groups use terrorism to achieve their aims. Two types of terrorists are identified. Lone terrorists are often psychotic, fanatic losers who are suicidal and possessed by fantasy images. Terrorists operating in groups are also fanatical, but posess greater discipline and lack fantasy motivation. Most American terrorists are young upper middle-class individuals with college educations, and are frequently female. Terrorists seek either to overthrow established government or seek the maintenance of the status quo. The police, as a highly visible instrument of government, are often singled out for attack; multinational corporations also are often targeted. However, the police should not yield to the temptations of eliminating due process procedures in attempts to solve terrorist crimes. Mobility, professionalism, and coordination are terrorists' strengths; lack of funds, small size, and the need to seek publicity constitute their weaknesses. Successful police operations represent one of the best ways to weaken terrorist organizations by disproving their claims that the government cannot provide protection to citizens. Investigation should emphasize agency coordination, immediate response, forensics, media coordination, and scientific analysis. The United Nations should define the term terrorist and categorize terrorists separately from political dissidents, eliminate sanctuaries for skyjackers, return terrorists to the scene of their crimes for trial, and eliminate discussions of causes from negotiations with terrorists. Police departments should improve intelligence-gathering mechanisms, encourage and assist in developing improved security systems, improve investigative capabilities, and develop higher levels of professionalism to avoid public hostility and reduce sympathy for terrorists.
Index Term(s): Counter-terrorism tactics; Criminal investigation; International cooperation; International extradition; Police intelligence operations; Police response to terrorism; Terrorist profiles
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