"International terrorism has long been recognized as a foreign and domestic security threat. The tragic events of September 11 in New York, the Washington, D.C., area, and Pennsylvania have dramatically re-energized the nation's focus and resolve on terrorism. This issue brief examines international terrorist actions and threats and the U.S. policy response. Available policy options range from diplomacy, international cooperation, and constructive engagement to economic sanctions, covert action, physical security enhancement, and military force. The September 11th terrorist incidents in the United States, the subsequent anthrax attacks, as well as bombings of the U.S.S. Cole, Oklahoma City, World Trade Center in 1993, and of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, have brought the issue of terrorism to the forefront of American public interest. Questions relate to whether U.S. policy and organizational mechanisms are adequate to deal with both state-sponsored or -abetted terrorism and that undertaken by independent groups. Terrorist activities supported by sophisticated planning and logistics as well as possible access to unconventional weaponry raise a host of new issues. Some analysts' long-held belief that a comprehensive review of U.S. counterterrorism policy, organizational structure, and intelligence capabilities is needed has now become a mainstream view. […]The Department of State's 'Annual Patterns of Global Terrorism', 2002 report is expected to be released at the end of April. The annual report to Congress provides a snapshot of international terrorism related activity and trends during the previous calendar year as well as background on terrorist organizations and the terrorism situation in various countries. The report is also expected to describe efforts to counter Al Qaeda and other international terrorist groups as well as the U.S. efforts to respond to state sponsors of terrorism. In a meeting with reporters on April 9, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge expressed concern over the danger of surface to air missiles to commercial aviation and suggested the federal government may have to pay for the installation of anti-missile devises on commercial aircraft.. The Secretary's remarks come in the wake of rising calls for stricter international efforts aimed at regulation and accountability of 'shoulder fired' missiles, of which as many as 700,000 may exist. (See CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report RL31741.)"
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB95112