US domestic terrorism remains threat: expert
Updated: 2012-08-24 13:26
WASHINGTON - A string of recent shootings including a bloody attack at a Wisconsin Sikh temple underscores that domestic terrorism remains a threat in the United States, said a US expert on Thursday.
"Domestic terrorism in the United States is a cyclical phenomenon," argued Scott Stewart, vice-president of tactical intelligence at Stratfor, a global intelligence company, in an analysis released on the group's website.
"The intense political polarization that has occurred in recent years in the United States, the widespread distrust of the government on both the extreme right and the extreme left, and the current election-year rhetoric will further inflame political passions," he said. "This means that the current cycle of domestic terrorism plots and violence is likely to continue for at least the next several months."
On Aug 5, Wade Page opened fire on the congregation of a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, in the US state of Wisconsin, killing six people and wounding three others.
"Though Page killed himself and did not leave any evidence explicitly listing his motives for the attack, his long association with the white supremacist movement was clearly a factor in his target choice," said Stewart.
Less than two weeks later, Floyd Corkins shot and wounded a security guard in the lobby of the Family Research Council's office in Washington after a guard blocked him from entering the office.
Corkins allegedly targeted the organization because of its support for Chick-fil-A amid controversy over statements made by the fast food chain's founder regarding gay marriage.
The next day, an off-duty sheriff's deputy was shot and wounded while working as a security guard outside New Orleans, Louisiana. A vehicle associated with the incident was spotted at a nearby trailer park, and two other deputies were ambushed and killed by a trailer's occupants.
Seven people have been arrested in connection with the shootings. News reports indicate that the group was associated with the sovereign citizen movement, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation bills an anti-government extremist group.
Stewart argued all three of these incidents stem from distinct ideological streams: the white supremacist skinhead movement, the radical left and the Posse Comitatus/sovereign citizen movement.
While the motives were unrelated, "when taken together they show that extremist ideologies subscribed to by certain individuals on the fringes of US society continue to radicalize some to the point that they are willing to take violent action in accordance with those ideologies," Stewart contended.
"Domestic terrorism is thus alive and well," he argued.