Terrorism in the US

10 brief facts about terrorism in the US, by our researcher Cat Cronin.


New York City

1. Since 9/11, 427 people have been charged for terrorism against the US. The highest number of charges occurred in 2015 with 80 charges. So far in 2019, 10 people have been charged for terrorism.


2. 84% of charged terrorists have been US citizens and permanent residents. Out of the 427 charged terrorists, 231 people were US born citizens and 100 were naturalized citizens.


3. 50% of terrorists were radicalized online, but the number has been rapidly increasing in recent years.


4. Although many Americans view Islamic terrorists as the biggest threat to the country, jihadists have only killed 103 people in the US since 9/11.


5. Far-right extremists are rarely prosecuted as terrorists. Since 9/11, only 34 right-wing extremists have been charged under US terrorism laws but 268 have been prosecuted. It is more challenging to charge people with domestic terrorism charges due to First Amendment rights which permit free speech and the freedom to engage with others who have extremist views.


6. The number of attacks by right-wing extremists has increased from 6% in the 2000s to 35% in the 2010s. Conversely, the number of attacks by left-wing extremists has decreased from 64% in the 2000s to 12% in the 2010s.


7. In 2018, right-wing extremism was linked to 50 extremist-related murders in the US, the highest its been since 1995. Between 2009 and 2019, 73.3% of fatalities were due to right-wing extremists and only 23.4% were due to Islamic extremists.


8. Over 70% of Americans believe defending the US against terrorism should be the #1 priority for the US government. About half of Americans do not believe anti-terrorism policies have gone far enough in protecting the US from terrorism.


9. The FBI classifies domestic terrorism into four categories: racially motivated violent extremism, anti-government/anti-authority extremism, animal rights/environmental extremism, and abortion extremism.


10. The US has spent $2.8 trillion on counterterrorism efforts between 2002-2017, for an average of $186.6 billion a year.

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