Organizational Learning and Islamic Militancy: Law Enforcement May Be Able to Exploit Terrorists' Inexperience to Deter Attacks   [open pdf - 267KB]

"Terrorists with knowledge and practical experience are more likely to carry out 'successful' attacks than those lacking both of these essential qualities. However, some extremists are more informed -- and experienced -- than others. Well-educated people do not necessarily make good terrorists. The medical doctors behind the failed 2007 car bombings in London and Glasgow, Scotland, lacked the bomb-making skills of the petty criminals who killed 56 people in the London Tube and bus bombings two years before. Terrorism is a craft involving its own particular set of skills and knowledge that practitioners must develop to be good at it. This begs an important yet little understood question: How do terrorists get the experience -- and expertise -- they need to carry out acts of political violence? To answer this question, [the author] carried out five months of fieldwork on Islamic militancy in Britain and Spain, home to two of the most devastating terrorist attacks since Sept. 11. [The author] interviewed many militants, including former Guantanamo Bay detainees and members of al-Muhajiroun. [The author] also interviewed dozens of law enforcement officials and intelligence analysts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the London Metropolitan Police Service, the Spanish Civil Guard and other agencies. [The author] complemented these interviews with news reports, studies and court documents from criminal proceedings in Britain and Spain."

Report Number:
NCJ 229887
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
National Criminal Justice Reference Service: http://www.ncjrs.gov/index.html
Media Type:
NIJ Journal (April 2010), no.265, p.18-21
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