Nearly 3,200 Terrorist Incidents Counted by U.S. in 2004

  • July 12, 2005

The National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) has released data citing nearly 3,200 terrorist incidents worldwide in 2004, including five in the United States.

NCTC, the primary center for U.S. government analysis of terrorism, raised its official estimate of international terrorist incidents for 2004 to 3,192 from 651 - the total cited in its preliminary report, issued in April. The new, substantially larger figure reflects the Center’s effort to broaden its criteria for defining terrorism.

For example, the definition of terrorism used by the Center in its preliminary report indicated that in order to be counted as a “terrorist attack,” an incident in any country had to victimize at least one citizen of another country. The revised data includes incidents in which terrorists attacked civilians in their own country without other nationals being involved. The new definition also classifies “terrorist attacks” without regard to the number or types of injuries and eliminates limits on damages (previously, only attacks resulting in more than $10,000 damage or serious injuries were counted).

According to the data, described by the NCTC’s interim director, John Brennan, as “the most comprehensive U.S. effort to date to track terrorist incidents worldwide,” nearly 29,000 people were affected by terror in 2004.

According to the NCTC, five attacks occurred in the U.S. in 2004: a July arson in Utah claimed by the Animal Liberation Front; a February arson in Virginia claimed by the Earth Liberation Front; an unclaimed bombing in California in June, which severely injured a woman; an unclaimed pipe bomb explosion at a Massachusetts high school in June; and the discovery of ricin at a Senator’s office in Washington, DC, in February.

Other terrorist-related incidents that occurred in the U.S. in 2004, which fell outside NCTC criteria, include the firebombing of an Oklahoma City synagogue by a member of Aryan Nations; the firebombing of an Islamic Center in El Paso, Texas; an alleged plot to kill law enforcement officers by members of the Michigan Militia; an attempt by a Tennessee white supremacist to obtain weapons of mass destruction to attack government buildings; a plot by another Tennessee white supremacist to blow up a National Guard armory and a synagogue; other claimed eco-terror attacks by the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front; three arsons or attempted arsons of abortion clinics; and the bombing of the Scottsdale Office of Diversity and Dialogue in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The creation of the NCTC was recommended in July 2004 by the 9/11 commission. A month later, President Bush signed an executive order establishing the Center.


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