"International terrorism has long been recognized as a serious foreign and domestic security threat. This issue brief examines international terrorist actions and threats and the U.S. policy response. As the 9/11 Commission report released on July 19, 2004, concludes, the United States needs to use all tools at its disposal, including diplomacy, international cooperation, and constructive engagement to economic sanctions, covert action, physical security enhancement, and military force. A modern trend in terrorism is toward loosely organized, self-financed, international networks of terrorists. Another trend is toward terrorism that is religiously- or ideologically-motivated. Radical Islamic fundamentalist groups, or groups using religion as a pretext, pose terrorist threats of varying kinds to U.S. interests and to friendly regimes. A third trend is the apparent growth of cross-national links among different terrorist organizations, which may involve combinations of military training, funding, technology transfer, or political advice. […] As terrorism is a global phenomenon, a major challenge facing policy makers is how to maximize international cooperation and support, without unduly compromising important U.S. national security interests. A growing issue bedeviling policymakers is how to minimize the economic and civil liberties costs of an enhanced security environment. The issue of how to combat incitement to terrorism -- especially in instances where such activity is state sponsored or countenanced -- perplexes policymakers as well. On July 22, 2004, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States ('9/11 Commission') issued its final report. On December 17, 2004, the President signed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, establishing a National Intelligence Director and National Counterterrorism Center."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB10119