domestic terrorism | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Homeland Security

Domestic terrorism refers to acts of terrorism that individuals or groups perpetrate within a country’s own border.

Domestic terrorists are motivated by various ideologies, including political, religious, and social beliefs. They may target government buildings, infrastructure, or civilians, and their actions are intended to intimidate or coerce a government or the civilian population. Domestic terrorism can be committed by both right-wing and left-wing groups and individuals, and it can take many forms, including bombings, assassinations, and cyber attacks.

In the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is responsible for investigating and preventing domestic terrorism. The FBI defines domestic terrorism as “violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.”

It is important to distinguish domestic terrorism from international terrorism, which is perpetrated by individuals or groups that are based outside of a country’s borders and that often have transnational goals.

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Last Modified: 01/09/2023


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