Armed Hostilities

Extremist Groups and Domestic Terrorism in the US


Law enforcement officers across the world face an increasingly facing complex combination of problems due to the emerging worldwide coordinated criminal networks. The modern day criminals continue to prove their prowess in the ownership of the world most sophisticated weapons and intelligence networks. In order to counteract this, local security agencies must come up with improved systems of crime detection and prevention mechanisms.

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The United States, for example, faces a variety of security threats from all manners of criminality. From the weapons of mass destructions developed by terrorists to the local based crimes of murder and street gangs. Such threats necessitate adequate measures for disaster preparation and response to attack. For this reason, many commissions and studies recommend far-reaching changes in the US security systems and approach towards domestic preparedness threat of insecurity. Major changes continuously take center-stage to ensure that the security agencies nub masterminds of terrorism and other related crimes before they execute their crimes.

The central intelligence agency responsible for intelligence service, the federal bureau of investigation, and the military all remain central in the fight against terrorism. These agencies derive their power from government legislations and policies. It is from these policies that the government agencies develop different types of crimes such as local crimes, domestic terrorism, and international terrorism threat. For local security agencies to meet the challenges brought forward by the organized terrorist links, it is necessary to adopt urgent time-tested approaches that emphasize prevention strategies. Such measures must develop ways of maximizing of the prediction skills in the security agencies to ensure crime prevention (Berman 2009, p. 77). This paper seeks to understand the basics components of domestic terrorism and explain the roles of the local federal agencies in the fight against this vice. Similarly, the paper review the ways in which radical groups among the sovereign citizens of the US undermine the federal governments strive to curb the threats of domestic terrorism.

Radical Groups in the US

For many years since the end to the struggle for independence, anti-defamation league continues its fight against bigotry and anti-Semitism in the US. This league exposes and reports hate groups and extremists whose main aim remains harming perceived enemies and undermining democracy. Entry of Extremism in America – an online resource for the extremist groups in the US, offers adequate information for comprehending the chronological events and activities of different groups, their beliefs, as well as the system of their actions. This resource base provides an analysis of the groups, individuals, movements, and media on extremist beliefs thereby painting a comprehensive picture on motives of such groups.

Behind any extremist group lie radical ideologies, religious beliefs, pent-up anger, and frustrations. All these kinds of characters create a full avenue for commission of crimes often ranging in magnitude dependent on the extremity in question. Hate crimes and terrorisms remain the best expression of the frustrations among the extreme groups. In the US, the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers and the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City remain the most painful pictures of the actions of extreme groups.

The actions of these groups remain dangerous just like those of the radical extremists from outside America. Some of the extremist groups within the US include anti-Semitic neo-Nazi Skinheads, camouflage-wearing militia members, and arson-prone environmental extremists. Since extremist groups use violence to upset the democratic space within the society, the America population is the best target for their crimes (Norwitz 2008, p. 130). This coupled with the fact that most extremist groups arise from the minority groups in the society, the harm the groups cause to the citizens of the US risks increasing due to the rising population and congestion in the American society.

America as a nation has a wide array of extremist groups; such groups range from far right groups based on racist ideologies, hate groups, and anti government systems to the fat leftist groups including environmental and animal rights groups. Even though some of these movements focus on a narrow issue such as abortion, some movements’ beliefs stress on racial seniority, fanatic religious beliefs, and radical political stances. Subscribers to these extremist groups remain so loyal to their course so that they often break the law and use violence to achieve their goals, hence threatening the legitimacy of the federal government.

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The American Front

As a skinhead racists group, the American Front remains active in several states in the US; it encourages anti-Semitic, white supremacist ideology among the members through public events that vilify Jews, immigrants and other minority groups in the US (Walker 1990, p. 408). Even though the group lacks adequate members to orchestrate their goals, it boasts of a legacy in criminal activities in the fields of hate crimes and local terrorism. Currently the groups seek to recruit more members by joining affiliates such as racist skinhead and neo-Nazi groups across the country especially in California. Similarly, the group promotes the support of The Order, a white supremacists terrorist group that was responsible for rampant robberies, assassinations and other crimes in the 1980s.

Christian Identity

Christian identity remains a popular right wing under extreme ideology within the US. Adherents in this school of thought believe that white populations of European descent have traces with the “Lost Tribes of Israel.” In this extremist group, there exists a belief that Jews represent Satanism and chronological descendants of serpents while all the non-white people represent the “mud peoples” created before Adam. Beliefs and doctrine of this minority group remains anti-Semitic and harbor anti-government sentiments. Even though the group influences a large number of white supremacists and extreme anti-government movements, its membership remains relatively low. Crimes that this extremist group commits to execute their course includes hate crimes and acts of terrorism with its identities ranging from Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi group philosophies.

The doctrine of “two-seed” theory remains one of the most radical expression of the Christian Identity group. In this belief, the seduction of Eve by the serpent in Eden takes the sexual perspective with Cain as the resultant son. Consequently, all Jewish become the children of the devil given that Cain played the biblical role of Jewish’s father. This group holds that all Jewish are demonic.

How Radical Groups Undermine the Federal Government

The fight against both domestic and international terrorism in the US remains complicated and difficult. Highly furious human rights’ watchdogs coupled with the rising number of the extremist groups only worsen the situation. Generally, modern day terrorism continues to become more dispersed and less centralized. Under this setting, the terrorists remain reliant on smaller cells inspired by common ideologies. This implies that the system of central command continuously become obsolete in the terrorism industry (Mahan and Griset 2013, p. 66). Notably, it is this loophole that small local extremist group use to evade security agencies. This coupled with the few number of subscribers in the extremist groups put the work of security forces in jeopardy since the situation disintegrates their focus.

While the US government and its partners strive to eliminate all elements of terrorism, the security agencies in many occasions have failed to prevent the occurrence of terrorism acts within the country. Increasing number of the extremist groups continue to worsen the situation. Domestic target areas continue to change as different extremist groups appear. Similarly, extreme environmentalist in the US resorted to arson in expressing their dissatisfaction with environmental conservation programs. Existing dynamism with which the extremist groups express their action often finds the security agencies in awkward positions.

In as much as the US government and other anti-terror allies continue to improve the terror preventive mechanisms in air, sea, and border security, the homeland security remains vulnerable to the acts of terrorism. The homegrown extremist groups exploit this gap in orchestrating the goals. Intelligence service tops the offshore protection mechanism at the expense of local protection. This lacuna creates an ample environment for the local brood of terrorist to pursue the course of action.

Freedom of media with unregulated responsibilities plays an integral role in the development of domestic tourism. America as a country believes in maximum respect to the human rights as enshrined in the constitution. Freedom of association, worship, and expression among other inalienable rights necessitate the formation of these extremist groups. Even though on the onset, the groups seem responsible and democratic, change of course often occurs after establishment.

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It is in the freedom of media especially in the social network sites, that local extremist group communicates, recruits, trains and radicalizes the new recruits. Extremist group use such avenue to spread hatred and propaganda thus causing instability and insecurity in the country. In this case, the local security agencies find it difficult to counteract the course of domestic terrorist due to the spontaneous social network systems.

Transformational movements of extremist organizations, networks, and individuals continue to revolutionize systems that terrorist use to express their course. For this reason, the local security agencies continue to face great difficulties in understanding the enemy (Kushner 1998, p. 51). Even though these transformational movements are not monolithic, the main agenda of terrorism, both domestic and international, remains consistent and inspired by a common vision. Extremist groups driven by hate, violence, and oppression, remain united on a common course against perceived enemies. Inability to understand the dynamics behind the movement with animal activist, environmentalist, religious extremist, among other groups engaging in violence and acts of crime continue to elude the local security agencies. This uncertainty makes it difficult to curb acts of domestic terrorism.

Even though, the motives of such groups are different, they remain tilted towards secular and narrow territorial claims. Such motives and action threaten public interests as they attempt to replace order with chaos. Environmental groups striving for environmental sustainability, but turning to arson to receive audience and anti-abortion group setting up a bomb in a clinic to express their grievances remain good examples of how local homegrown individuals engage in acts of terror. Such groups may be legitimate at registration; this may further complicate the ability of security agencies of preventing their development.

Every generation develops different kinds of extremist beliefs. In modern America, extremist groups become difficult to clear due to the frequent changes of names and actions. Even though the religious extremist tends to maintain their doctrines, government’s inability to counteract youth radicalization and extremist teaching remains impossible. Domestic terrorist especially Muslim extremists use local and official moderate Muslim machinery to explore their missions (Esposito 2002, p. 92).

This practice infiltrated into the entire Muslim community such that attempts by governments of the day to alter traditional Islamic systems frequently meet violent opposition. From this aspect, it becomes increasingly difficult for the local security agencies to identify the local machineries responsible for the radicalization. In several cases, the federal government always detects the negative side of such machineries after the team in question executes their roles.

Law enforcement agencies and intelligence organizations remain crippled with inadequacy of experienced analysts. For example, most local security agencies lack workforce trained on critical language skills such as Arabic, Farsi, and Pashtu (Young et al. 2011, p. 73). This makes it difficult to decode suspected local suspects and act accordingly. Similarly, inadequate technologically improved databases and communications snooping systems only worsen the situation. As the local agencies struggle to develop a seamless means of inter-agency communication that overcomes the barriers of organizational culture, the risks of domestic terrorist continue to increase.

Extremist groups boast of unlimited funding from individuals and external groups. For this reason, they harbor the ability to acquire some sophisticated weapons that they use to commit such acts. For example, the Ruckus Society is a group of extreme environmentalists who use dedicated violence to disrupt peace and democracy within America. In one of its projects, the groups train people in disrupting political campaigns organized by perceived enemies. Tides Foundation gives $200,000 disbursements annually to support radicalization of members (Davis 2010, p. 39). This group receives funding from Tides foundation. All these groups use violence and acts of terror to achieve their course.

Many extremist groups engage in illegal businesses with drug trafficking cartels within the country. Such symbiotic engagements allow the exchange of drugs and illegal weapons using the smuggling routes while concealing profits. These groups use the money laundering system developed by the drug cartels as well as corrupt officials within the governments to squander public funds. The main course of action for drug cartels is wealth and financial enrichment with minimal public attention while the extremist groups use the weapons exchanged in the process to commit atrocities as defined in their mission (Staub 2002, p. 39). This pragmatic arm’s length relationship between drug cartels, extremist groups, and corrupt individuals in government make programs aimed at eliminating the extremists futile.

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Corrective Measures Required

In order to defend America from domestic terrorism, the need for use of state machinery is paramount. It is in the constitutional vehicle that ultimate sovereignty resides. Reports that some state employees charged with the responsibility of protecting the nation from criminal activities engage in business with criminals paint a bad picture in this war. Employee engagement with criminal gangs jeopardizes their abilities to combat the crime for fear of making losses in their illegal undertakings. America should develop a tamper-proof employee base to achieve successful fight against domestic terrorism.

Government should embark on proper measures to-radicalize the extremists in cases resulting into arrests and imprisonment. In Saudi Arabia, for example, there exists a long counseling program aimed at disengaging the extremists from radical beliefs and doctrines. This process involves a combination of traditional Saudi methods of conflict resolutions and Western methods of conflict management (Pelletiere 1995, p. 225).

The disengagement program involves extended social networks in which the family of the prisoner convicted for terrorism atrocities receive salaries and housing as the prisoner receives training for job placement at the end of the prison terms. Ideally, this program sets ground for repentance and renouncement of previous radical ideologies. After completion of the prison term, the convicts meet with religious scholars to learn the real issues around their extremities, as they are encouraged to marry and settle down. In Saudi, this program has successfully converted many youths from radical beliefs. The American government should develop such a program to help control the ever-rising numbers of extremists in the country.

Federal agencies should engage in a program aimed at assessing the capabilities of the local and domestic security agencies. The level of weaponry sophistication that the extremist groups possess is excessively superior to the local guards (Gessner 2011, p. 58). Therefore, federal agencies should train the local security on the domestic threats as an emerging issue to ensure adequate preparedness.

The inter-agency security systems have a wide base with great focus on terrorism. In this context, the pre-occupation with the fight against international terrorism leaves no space for local homegrown extremists. For this reason, there is need for creation of a division within the security agencies to focus on domestic terrorism. Similarly, a clear distinction is necessary between the department of crisis management and consequence managements; overlapping roles within the systems compromise the effectiveness of the workforce.

The government should develop tamper-proof security system, acquire best weapons, and adequate intelligence in the security systems. However, the enemies from within the system become difficult to eliminate (Bolden et al. 2001, p. 271).

Moles within the security agencies who engage in business deal with drug lords and leaders of extremist groups must be identified and eliminated. There is need to identify and seal the areas of weaknesses among the workforce that push some individuals in corrupt dealings with the extremist groups. Proper remuneration system and workforce sensitization on the needs for integrity at work are necessary to eliminate such undertakings. Even though the religious extremist tends to maintain their doctrines, government’s inability to counteract youth radicalization and extremist teaching remains impossible.


Threats that America faces at the mercy of domestic terrorist organization proves to an issue that requires adequate discussion and concern. Attacks on the Murrah Federal Building executed by an individual with ideological inclination towards violence necessitate the long over due focus on domestic terrorism and extremist organizations. Extremists groups with radicalized thoughts have ventured into use of guns and conventional bombs to achieve their goals and missions. Increasing technological advancements coupled with rising number of extremist groups in the US brings forth the need for extremists to venture into illegal weapons, acquisition of high-tech military equipment and automatic rifles responsible for the intimidation, disorientation, and destabilization of the perceived enemies. Reshaping the country’s national strategy on domestic terrorism by clearly highlighting the roles of the military in domestic incidences, as well as developing a detailed congressional oversight and assistance prove vital in enhancing the abilities of crisis response structures to prevent possible domestic terror incidents.

Reference List

Berman, Eli. 2009. Radical, religious, and violent: the new economics of terrorism. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Web.

Bolden, Miki, Gayle Raymer, and Jeffrey O. Whamond. 2001. Domestic terrorism and incident management: issues and tactics. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C Thomas. Web.

Davis, Danny W. 2010. The Phinehas Priesthood violent vanguard of the Christian Identity movement. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International. Web.

Esposito, John L. 2002. Unholy war: terror in the name of Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Web.

Gessner, David. 2011. My green manifesto: down the Charles River in pursuit of a new environmentalism. Minneapolis, Minn.: Milkweed Editions. Web.

Kushner, Harvey. 1998. Terrorism in America a structured approach to understanding the terrorist threat. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C. Thomas. Web.

Mahan, Sue, and Pamala L. Griset. 2013. Terrorism in perspective. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications. Web.

Norwitz, Jeffrey H. 2008. Armed groups: studies in national security, counterterrorism, and counterinsurgency. Newport, R.I.: U.S. Naval War College. Web.

Pelletiere, Stephen C. 1995. Terrorism national security policy and the home front. Carlisle Barracks, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College. Web.

Staub, Michael E. 2002. Torn at the roots: the crisis of Jewish liberalism in postwar America. New York: Columbia University Press. Web.

Walker, Samuel. 1990. In defense of American liberties: a history of the ACLU. New York: Oxford University Press. Web.

Young, Alfred Fabian, Gary B. Nash, and Ray Raphael. 2011. Revolutionary founders: rebels, radicals, and reformers in the making of the nation. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Web.

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