Terrorism In the United States


Over the past few years the United States have become more
vulnerable to terrorist attacks. There have been newspaper
headlines that described the World Trade Center bombing,
the Unabomber's arrest, and the bombings in Oklahoma City
and Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. Though
investigators didn't find evidence that an explosion caused
the crash of TWA Flight 800 was a bomb, the airline
security has risen drastically. While the lawmakers debate
which steps to take to prevent any future attacks, many
Americans wonder what they may have to sacrifice to stop or
at least lower terrorist attacks. Are air travelers going
to be willing to wait longer in lines at the air port so
they can use the high sensitive equipment to check for
explosives? Are they willing to pay extra prices for the
airline tickets so the new equipment can be bought? Are
Americans willing to sacrifice there freedom of movements
as well as privacy? Most of this is domestic terrorism. The
FBI defines domestic terrorism as the "unlawful use of
force or violence, committed by a group(s) of two or more
individuals, against persons or property to intimidate or
coerce a government, the civilian population, or any
segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social
objectives. The number of terrorist attacks in the 1990s
have made American realize the vulnerability among
themselves. The World Trade Center Bombing. In February
1993, a bomb exploded in the World Trade Center in New York
City. The World Trade Center is the second tallest building
in the world, where more that 100,000 people work and visit
ever day. The bomb exploded in the parking area underneath
the building, damaging the under lying base and the subway
tunnels. Smoke reached the top of the building in minutes.
Six people were killed; more than 1,000 were injured. The
FBI joined the Joint Terrorist Task Force in the
investigation. They ended up putting 22 Islamic
fundamentalist conspirators on trial. At the end of the
trial it revealed that they had major plans to ruin
government facilities. 

Identifying the Unabomber: A Possible Breakthrough. In
April 1996, federal agents arrested Theodore Kaczynski and
charged him with crimes committed by what they called
"Unabomber". The Unabomber, who went after university
scientists and airline employees, and others, had been
disrupting authorities for over 18 years. The FBI said the
suspect had killed three people and injured 23 others with
packages bombs. The Unabomber believed that new and more
advanced technology had dehumanized society. That is why he
went after scientists to release his anger. The Oklahoma
City Bombing. The bombing of Alfred P. Murrah Federal
Building in Oklahoma City in April 1995 killed 168 people
and injured more than 500 others. The trial of the suspects
Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, who are charged with
murder and conspiracy began in the final months of 1996.
The two were connected to the militia movement, which
opposes the expanded powers of the federal government and
believes that their right to bear arms were threatened. The
Oklahoma City bombing occurred two years after federal
troops stormed the Branch Dividian compound outside Waco,
Texas. Federal prosecutors believe that the reason they did
it is because of the governments murder of 78 Branch
Davidian in Waco militia. The Olympic Bombing. During the
Summer Olympic Games, in July 1996, less than two weeks
after the TWA Flight 800 disaster, a pipe bomb exploded at
Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia, killing two
people and injuring more than one hundred others. The FBI
said it looked like it was homemade with nails and screws
attached to it. They suspected it was domestic terrorists,
and some members of local militia groups, and they were
questioned without any results. The FBI named a suspect
Richard Jewell, a security guard who found the bomb. His
name was given to the press as the main suspect and
appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world.
Recently a $500,000 reward was offered for information
leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
Congress passed, and Clinton signed into law, the 1996
Anti-Terrorism Act, which grants the federal authorities $1
billion combat terrorism. Airlines are a major concern to
the government and a gold mine to terrorist attacks. On
July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800 exploded in the air off the
coast of Long Island, shortly after taking off from New
York's Kennedy International Airport. The explosion killed
all 229 passengers and crew. People began to wonder whether
it was caused by a technical failure or a bomb. Airline
security has received a great amount of money since the
crash, even though no evidence was found that the explosion
was a result of a bomb. Lawmakers have tried to respond to
the fear that America is becoming more vulnerable to
terrorist attacks. The many attacks have resulted of great
disappointment to the government. It has showed them where
a giant flaw in the laws have occurred. I feel that we need
to pass more laws and enforce laws that have already been
made. Highlights of 1996 Anti-Terrorism Act Creates a
federal death penalty for terrorist murders Strengthens
penalties for crimes committed against federal employees
while performing their official duties; makes such crimes a
federal offense Authorizes a study on the potential for
tagging explosive materials for detection and
identification purposes Requires plastic explosives to
carry such detection agents Increases penalties for
conspiracies involving explosives Expands penalties for
possession of nuclear materials Criminalizes the use of
chemical weapons within the United States, or against
Americans outside the United States Directs the Attorney
General to issue a public report on whether literature or
other material on making bombs or weapons of mass
destruction is protected by the First Amendment Authorizes
the Secretary of State to designate groups as terrorist
organizations and prohibit the from fundraising in the
United States; also authorizes the Secretary of Treasury to
freeze the assets of such organizations; in addition,
forbids U.S. citizens, nationals, residents, etc. from
having financial transactions with known terrorist states
Prohibits U.S. government financial assistance to nations
sponsoring terrorism Allows the Attorney General to deny
asylum to suspected terrorists Denies entry into the United
States to any person who is a representative or member of a
designated terrorist organization Provides that INS border
officers, rather than immigration judges, can decide the
asylum claims of people who claim to be fleeing persecution
and who arrive without travel documents Expands deportation
procedures for criminal aliens; in particular establishes
special courts of review to handle deportation hearings
against suspected alien terrorists Allows state and local
law enforcement officials to arrest and detain illegal
aliens who have previously been deported for criminal
behavior until they can be taken into federal custody by
the INS Limits appeals of state court death penalty
sentences in the federal courts(Habeas Corpus) by setting a
one-year limit on an application for habeas writ Authorizes
more than $1 billion over five years for various federal,
state, and local government programs to prevent, combat, or
deal with terrorism in the United States and abroad; in
particular, authorizes $468 million for the FBI
counterterrorism and counterintelligence efforts, and
authorizes $20 million for the INS to deport criminal
aliens Timeline of Domestic Terrorism 1950 Assassination
attempt on President Truman. Puerto Rican nationalist kill
one District of Columbia policeman during an attempted
assassination of President Harry S. Truman outside of Blair
House in Washington, D.C. 1954 Shooting in the U.S. House
of Representatives. Five members of Congress are wounded by
gunfire during an attack by Puerto Rican nationalist on the
U.S. House of Representatives. 1972 Fraunces Tavern
Bombing. Four people die in this bombing at a historic
tavern in downtown New York City. The Puerto Rican
nationalist group FALN is blamed for the attack, one of the
49 bombings in New York attributed to them between 1974 and
1977 1975 LaGuardia Airport Bombing. Eleven are killed, 75
are injured in this attack by Croatian nationalists at this
New York City Airport. 1976 Letelier Assassination. Orlando
Letelier, the former Chilean ambassador to the United
States, is killed by a car bomb in Washington, D.C. The
bomb, planted by Chile's Pinochet government, also kills
one of Letelier's associates while injuring another. 1981
Kennedy Airport Bombing. One man is killed when a bomb
planted by a group calling itself the Puerto Rican Armed
Resistance goes off in a men's bathroom at New York City's
international airport. 1983 U.S. Senate Bombing. A bomb
goes off in the cloak room next to U.S. Senate in the
Capitol Building. Two left-wing radicals plead guilty to
the attack. 1993 World Trade Center Bombing 1995 Oklahoma
City Bombing 1996 Olympic Bombing 1997 Abortion Clinic


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