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Terrorist attacks or anxiety attacks?

The United States has not been the fertile ground for international terrorist attacks that it was predicted to be after the Persian Gulf War and after the US indictment of two Libyan nationals suspected of bombing Pan Am Flight 103. Was all the angst for naught?

The FBI says no. According to the bureau's report Terrorism in the United States 1991, even though the Flight 103 disaster--more than three years ago--was the last major terrorist attack against a US target, terrorist groups and their state sponsors have not abandoned their goals.
FBI 5-Year Statistics on Terrorism
 Suspected
 Terrorist Terrorist Terrorism
 Incidents Incidents Preventions
1987 9 8 5
1988 9 5 3
1989 4 16 7
1990 7 1 5
1991 5 1 4
Total 34 31 24


"International terrorist groups still retain potent capabilities throughout the world, including the United States," the reports says. "State sponsors of terrorism may have decided only publicly to place a temporary halt on their international terrorist activities. The current cessation can be purely strategic as the state sponsors of terrorism await the results of some of the ongoing international diplomatic maneuvers, such as the Arab/Israeli peace talks, before they resume support of terrorist activities. The absence of a spectacular terrorist incident for an extended period of time is a welcome sign. However, the underlying political and social conflict, which has spawned terrorism in the past, has not changed all that significantly. Unfortunately, the threat remains."

Though the international front has been quiet, the United States has seen some action domestically. In 1991, five terrorist incidents took place within its borders. Three of those incidents were arson fires set by Puerto Rican separatist groups; two were bombings--one carried out by Up the IRS Inc. and the other by an unknown Puerto Rican separatist group.

Domestically, Puerto Rican separatists pose the greatest threat and have done so during the past five years. Twenty-three out of 34 (roughly 68 percent) of the terrorist incidents during that period took place in Puerto Rico, and bombings were the tactic of choice--also 23 out of 34. Other tactics used during this period included the destruction of property (four), sabotage (one), and arson (six). No deaths or injuries resulted from these attacks.

According to the report: "The independence issue remains pertinent |in Puerto Rico~,...and there is little indication that the level of terrorism that Puerto Rico has faced for over three decades will halt or decrease significantly during the upcoming year."
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Security Spotlight; report on terrorism
Publication:Security Management
Date:Oct 1, 1992
Words:412
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