Wednesday, August 15, 2007

U.S. Jihadists: Passport Required?

The following snippet from Chris Heffelfinger's recent piece in Terrorism Monitor, "Behind the Indoctrination and Training of American Jihadis," caught my eye:

After conducting numerous case studies at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, research has demonstrated a pattern for radicalization among Americans who embrace jihad, whether foreign or U.S. born. The cases of the Lackawanna Six, the Portland Seven, the Virginia Jihad Group, as well as John Walker Lindh, Adam Gadahn and others demonstrate the need to travel overseas to receive training. In all of the above cases, the individuals traveled, or attempted to travel, to Pakistan or Afghanistan.
Yes ... but past performance does not necessarily indicate future results.

Heffelfinger seems to be arguing that traveling and training overseas are necessary preconditions for jihadist radicalization among Americans.

While I acknowledge that the U.S. terrorism suspects who have lacked overseas training have been more aspirational than operational, it seems premature to conclude that in the absence of overseas training, radicalization and/or technical proficiency in terrorist tactics is not possible.

We are a nation awash in potential targets and the materials necessary to carry out a terrorist act. And while there is a strong social element to terrorist indoctrination, it certainly seems to be possible that a group of like-minded individuals could spur one another down the path to jihadism.

No comments: