On Monday, FPRI released an article I wrote in December 2011 comparing the radicalization of al Qaeda members with that of other extremist groups. Some took my discussion to indicate that I believed domestic terrorism is more threatening than international terrorism.
While this was not the intent of the article, it still brings up an interesting question for debate: Which terrorist threat is currently the greatest threat in the U.S.? International terrorist groups like al Qaeda? or domestic groups and their loose affiliates such as the Sikh Temple shooter a couple weeks back? In the 1990’s, it was Timothy McVeigh, a domestic anti-government terrorist, executing the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history until the 9/11 attacks.
Similar to the “Who should we call al Qaeda?” question I ran a couple weeks back, I again have developed a one question survey addressing this week’s debate: international terrorism or domestic terrorism – which is more likely?
Below are two hypothetical terrorist attacks that might occur in the U.S. In the survey block below, cast your vote as to which is a more likely threat and after voting you should see the results of all votes. No experience required for voting. Just take a guess based on your gut feeling. For international readers, feel free to vote as well, the more votes the more interesting it becomes. Also, if you’d like to leave a comment, I put a comment box in below where you can leave some additional notes, which I’ll post later similar to the results of the last question.
Question: Assuming a future terrorist attack in the U.S. is inevitable, which of the following two hypothetical terrorist attacks is more likely to occur first?
- An al Qaeda Central, al Qaeda affiliated or al Qaeda inspired attack in the U.S. killing 50 or more U.S. citizens (Smaller than 9/11 attacks but still a significant attack)
- A domestic terrorist group or domestic terrorist group affiliated lone perpetrator attack in the U.S. killing 50 or more U.S. citizens (Relatively equal in scale to Oklahoma City Bombing)
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