Terrorism Case Study


Terrorism Case Study

There has been an enormous amount of terrorist attacks in the world. These attacks have been carried out by domestic and international terrorists. Two major terrorist attacks have occurred on U.S. soil. One occurred in Oklahoma City and was carried out by domestic terrorists, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. The other attack occurred in New York City and was carried out by 19 radical Muslims with ties to the Al Qaeda network. These significant terrorist incidents had a significant impact on the United States during the attack and continue.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations defines domestic terrorism as:

The unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States or its territories without foreign direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, (Federal Bureau of Investigation 1999 Terrorism in the United States 1999)or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives (FBI, 1999, p. 5).

The men responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing are considered domestic terrorists and their target was the Alfred P. Murrah building, a federal government building (Henderson, 2001). On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh drove a Ryder truck to the Alfred P. Murrah. The Ryder truck that he parked in front of the federal building was packed with a twenty-foot, four thousand pound bomb (Serrano, 1998).

The Alfred P. Murrah building was erected in 1977. The building was made of concrete and steel, stood 9 stories high and cost $14.5 million to build (Burke, 2007). This miraculous structure turned to rubble from one explosion. Nearly 80% of the buildings front was ripped off from the bomb (Burke, 2007).

The attack that started over enraged feelings toward the U.S. government led to the death of 168 people, including children (Henderson, 2001). Over 850 people were injured and it took over 2 weeks to remove all the bodies from the rubble (Burke, 2007). Three hundred buildings sustained damage and fifty of them had to be demolished (Burke, 2007).

Terry Nichols was sentenced to life in prison for his role as a conspirator in the bombing and Timothy McVeigh was indicted on terrorism, murder, and conspiracy charges (Burke, 2007). Timothy McVeigh was sentenced to death and was executed on June 11, 2001, at 8:14 p.m. in a federal prison located in Terre Haute, Indiana (Burke, 2007). The Oklahoma City bombing was considered the most damaging terrorist attack on U.S. soil until the attack of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 (Simon, 2003, p. 144).

The attack on the World Trade Center was not conducted by domestic terrorists, however, both of the attacks on the World Trade Center was orchestrated by international terrorists. International terrorists are defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as:

Terrorism involving violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any state, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or any state. These acts appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, influence the policy of a government by assassination or kidnapping. International terrorist acts occur outside the United States or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to coerce or intimidate, or the locale in which the perpetrators operate or seek asylum (FBI, 1999).

On February 26, 1993, the first attack of the World Trade Center occurred. The international terrorists were followers of an Egyptian fundamentalist, Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman (Henderson, 2001, p. 121). They placed a bomb in an underground parking garage of the World Trade Center (Henderson, 2001, p. 121). The bomb did not have the impact that they desired, it failed because the bombers lacked knowledge in regards to the construction of the two enormous structures (Schnibben, 2002).