Homegrown Violent Extremists

The prevalence of homegrown violent extremism (HVE) has increased in the United States over the years. From the lone wolf to sovereign citizen movements, terrorist movements have gained traction. After watching Countering Violent Extremism: Community Policing Strategies and Lone Wolf Terrorism in America, research the current HVE groups in the United States, and lone wolf terrorism specifically. Explain how these groups pose unique challenges to law enforcement and the tools available to professionals to combat this facet of domestic terrorism.

In response to your peers, cite one legal parameter surrounding the counter terrorism tools or activities suggested. Explain the legal considerations that would have to be made when using that particular prevention strategy.

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Textbook: Counterterrorism, Chapters 3 and 11

Chapter 3 covers various factors that contribute to the decision to become involved in terrorism and ways to reasons for the failure of terrorism groups.
Chapter 11 expands on the influence that prisons have on terrorist organizations and their recruitment efforts. In addition, the security measures that are considered to curtail terrorist radicalization in prison and rehabilitation and reintegration methods are discussed.
Video: Countering Violent Extremism: Community Policing Strategies (cc) (4:31)
This video explains various techniques available to law enforcement and security professionals used to combat violent extremism.

Video: Lone Wolf Terrorism in America (cc) (7:32)
This video illustrates the lone wolf ideology and how the use of public topics enhances and supports the lone wolf agenda.

Article: How to Deter Terrorism (Optional)
This article describes various methods to deter terrorism and fundamental ideology.

To acess textbook


Peer post 1

Good day, Professor and class,

In 2017 Christopher Wray, Director of the FBI, said in a statement,

Preventing terrorist attacks remains the FBI’s top priority. The terrorist threat against the United States remains persistent and acute. From a threat perspective, we are concerned with three areas in particular: (1) those who are inspired by terrorist propaganda and act out in support; (2) those who are enabled to act after gaining inspiration from extremist propaganda and communicating with members of foreign terrorist organizations who provide guidance on operational planning or targets; and (3) those who are directed by members of foreign terrorist organizations to commit specific, directed acts in support of the group’s ideology or cause. Prospective terrorists can fall into any one of these three categories or span across them, but in the end the result is the same—innocent men, women, and children killed and families, friends, and whole communities left to struggle in the aftermath. Currently, the FBI has designated the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) and homegrown violent extremists as the main terrorism threats to the Homeland. (“Current Threats,” 2017)

HVEs and lone wolves are particularly challenging individuals when it comes to detection and capturing.

In 2016, the FBI described the Unabomber as a twisted genius, someone who aspires to be the perfect anonymous killer, someone who leaves false clues just to trick the authorities, someone who builds untraceable bombs and send them to random people, someone who tells no other about his crimes, someone who lives like a recluse in the mountains (“Unabomber,” 2016). The Unabomber was finally captured, after being hunted for almost two decades by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.

Our counterterrorism assets continue to collect and track intelligence on individuals and groups across the nation that are of concern. This is not an easy task, as today, many hide behind a computer screen. Many people are radicalized through social media, others in prison.

The DHS works with other agencies to fight these groups. Specifically, they aim,

To address the root causes of violent extremism by providing resources to communities to build and sustain local prevention efforts and promote the use of counter-narratives to confront violent extremist messaging online. Building relationships based on trust with communities is essential to this effort. (DHS, 2018)

The DHS also offers tools and resources to help in this fight on their website.


Current Threats to the Homeland. (2017, September 27). Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/news/testimony/current-threats…

DHS. (2018, October 29). Retrieved from https://www.dhs.gov/terrorism-prevention-partnersh…

Unabomber. (2016, May 18). Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/history/famous-cases/unabomber



Peer post 2

Hello Class and Dr. P.,

“Lone wolf terrorism is political violence perpetrated by individuals who act alone. They do not belong to an organized terrorist group or network, and act without the direct influence of a leader or hierarchy. Their tactics and methods are conceived and directed by the individual without any direct outside command or direction” (Hamm & Spaaj, 2015).

Lone wolves pose unique challenges to law enforcement. First, lone wolves work alone, which makes it difficult to identify them since there are no other members that can be investigated and questioned to link to a plot. Second, they come from all areas of religion and politics, such Islamic extremists, white supremacists, and activists. Third, the “internet has led to a proliferation of lone wolves and allowed for anybody with a laptop or smart phone to quickly become knowledgeable about terrorist tactics, targets, and weapons, and also provides them with a venue to become radicalized by reading terrorist groups’ websites and participating in online forums, extremist chat rooms and other social media” (Thompson, 2013). Finally, they live right under our noses, working with us, living as our neighbors, and being protected by their Constitutional rights, which allows them to lay low, prepare, and strike any target at any moment.

Though it is impossible to stop terrorism, there are many tools available to combat this facet of domestic terrorism. First, law enforcement (LE) can work with social media request that they shut down or suspend suspected terrorist group accounts. Second, LE can attempt to infiltrate terrorists’ social media groups by posing as a radical and monitoring the posts. Finally, LE can “work with Muslim communities to address crime and anti-Muslim harassment and help immigrants access social services, while working with community leaders in advance on plans to protect their communities from the Islamophobia violence that often follows jihadist terrorist attacks” (Byman, 2017).


Byman, D. L. (2017, February 14). How to hunt a lone wolf: Countering terrorists who act on their own. Retrieved June 18, 2019, fromhttps://www.brookings.edu/opinions/how-to-hunt-a-lone-wolf-countering-terrorists-who-act-on-their-own/

Hamm, M., & Spaaj, R. (2015, February). Lone Wolf Terrorism in America: Using Knowledge of … Retrieved June 17, 2019, fromhttps://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/248691.pdf

Thompson, M. (2013, February 27). The Danger of the Lone-Wolf Terrorist. Retrieved June 17, 2019, from http://nation.time.com/2013/02/27/the-danger-of-the-lone-wolf-terrrorist/

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