The terrorist's year in review.
According the bureau's report Terrorism in the United States 1990, terrorist incidents in the United States have dropped significantly in the past five years-from 25 in 1986 to seven in 1990. That's great news to a country still slightly anxious about Saddam Hussein's call for "jihad," or holy war.
But the FBI warns against loosening the security belt: "Despite the positive trend, it would be incorrect to conclude that the threat of terrorism in the United States is being eliminated. Throughout the world, the political and social events and conditions which spawn terrorism still remain."
The FBI explains: "In assessing the threat associated with the Persian Gulf crisis, it is important to note that the full ramifications of the crisis have yet to be realized. While the end of the armed conflict has lessened the intensity of the threat, it has not been eliminated. During the next year, it will be essential to follow developments in the Middle East which may impact on potential terrorism related to this crisis."
If 1990 is any indication, we must concentrate on defending ourselves against domestic terrorism. All of 1990's seven incidents were committed by domestic groups.
According to the FBI analysis, Puerto Rican separatists pose the principal threat. Roughly 67 percent (36 out of 54) of the terrorist incidents in the United States over the past five years occurred in Puerto Rico. Of those, 33 were bombings or attempted bombings. The only domestic assassination in the past five years also occurred in Puerto Rico.
That assassination, which happened in 1986, resulted in the only death by terrorist act the United States has seen in five years. Nineteen injuries were also reported that year; no injuries have occurred since.
Although the incidents seem few, remember that this report only covers terrorism in the United States. Of the 200 acts of terrorism worldwide between January 16, 1991, and March 15, 1991, about half were directed at US targets on foreign soil.
This report can help security managers identify terrorist threats and prepare for incidents. Due to a limited supply, however, the report is not available from the FBI. Instead, look for an article in an upcoming issue of Security Management for details. TABULAR DATA OMITTED