For the purposes of this research, “preparatory behaviors” are defined as the criminal and non-criminal conduct by members of a terrorist group in

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The author(s) shown below used Federal funds provided by the U.S. Department of Justice and prepared the following final report: Document Title: Pre-Incident Indicators of Terrorist Incidents: The Identification of Behavioral, Geographic, and Temporal Patterns of Preparatory Conduct Author(s): Brent L. Smith ; Kelly R. Damphousse ; Paxton Roberts Document No.: 214217 Date Received: May 2006 Award Number: 2003-DT-CX-0003 This report has not been published by the U.S. Department of Justice. To provide better customer service, NCJRS has made this Federally- funded grant final report available electronically in addition to traditional paper copies. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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University of Arkansas NIJ Grant 2003-DT-CX-0003 ABSTRACT Pre-Incident Indicators of Terrorist Incidents: The Identification of Behavioral, Geographic, and Temporal Patterns of Preparatory Conduct Findings from the American Terrorism Study (NIJ grant #1999-IJCX-0005 and DHS/MIPT grant #lO6- 1 13-2000-064) reveal that unlike traditional criminality, terrorists are much less spontaneous, engage in substantial planning activities, and commit ancillary and preparatory crimes in advance of a terrorist incident. Building on these findings, the goals of the current project were to determine whether (1) sufficient open source data exists to examine the temporal and spatial relationships that exist in terrorist group planning, and (2) if such data do exist, can patterns of routinized preparatory conduct be identified. To accomplish these goals, subject matter experts were selected to identify terrorist groupslincidents that operated or occurred within the United States from four major categories: international; and three types of domestic terrorism –left-wing, right- wing, and single issue (which was limited to environmental and anti-abortion terrorism). Sixty-seven “cases” were selected for analysis. Of these sixty seven, sixty of the cases were sufficiently fertile to provide some data for analysis. These included 22 right-wing, 9 left-wing, 10 international, and 17 single issue cases. Information on some 200 terrorist “incidents” (right-wing, 41; left-wing, 51; international, 58; and single issue, 50) was extracted from open source data on these cases to create a relational database composed of 265 variables. Geospatial data was recorded on some 515 terrorists’ residences, planning locations, preparatory activities, and target locations. Terrorism Research Center in Fulbright College

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Due to the exploratory nature of this research, analyses focused upon the identification of general temporal and spatial patterns of activity. On average, the terrorist groups studied existed for some 1,205 days from the date of the first known planning meeting to the date of the actuallplanned terrorist incident.’ This figure, however, should not be taken as indicative of the average “lifespan” of terrorist groups. Some of the groups studied, such as the United Freedom Front and Omega 7, operated for several years, atypical for most terrorist groups. The planning process for specific acts began, on average, approximately 2-3 months prior to the commission of the terrorist incident. Planning and preparatory activities were intermingled during this period. However, on average, a lull in activities occurred during the last three to four weeks prior to the incident. Approximately two and one-half known planning and preparatory behaviors were recorded per incident and these varied by type of terrorist group. The spatial analysis revealed that terrorists typically live relatively close to the incident target. Nearly one-half of the terrorists resided within 30 miles of the target location. Similarly, approximately one-half of the terrorists engaged in their planning and preparatory activities within this distance of their residences. Finally, a similar percentage of preparatory behaviors took place within 30 miles of the eventual target of the terrorist incident. The implications for local law enforcement are extremely important. While terrorists may think globally, they act locally. Both preventative efforts and post-incident investigations should focus upon local events and persons as the primary source of information about terrorist activities. ‘ Some incidents were “prevented.” If a planned date for carrying out the attack was known, it was recorded as such. 2

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University of Arkansas NIJ Grant 2003-DT-CX-0003 Executive Summary Pre-Incident Indicators of Terrorist Incidents: The Identification of Behavioral, Geographic, and Temporal Patterns of Preparatory Conduct Brent L. Smith Terrorism Research Center in Fulbright College University of Arkansas Kelly R. Damphousse KayTen Research and Development, Inc. Paxton Roberts Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies University of Arkansas March 2006 Terrorism Research Center in Fulbright College

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University of Arkansas SUR/II\~IM.Y PRE-INCIDENT OF TERRORISTINDICATORS INCIDENTS: GEOGRAPHIC, PATTERNSTHE IDENTIFICATION OF BEHAVIORAL, AND TEMPORAL OF PREPARATORYCONDUCT Traditional criminality is characterized by spontaneity, lack of planning, and pecuniary or personal motives. In contrast, terrorism typically involves persons or groups motivated by political or social goals, ideological justification, and considerable forethought and planning. The notion that terrorists engage in a variety of non-terrorist planning activities and criminal conduct prior to the commission of any terrorist act has been noted in previous research (Smith, 1994; Smith and Damphousse 2003). These non- terrorist acts include crimes related to the creation of false identities for group members, thefts to procure funding for the group, thefts of weapons or explosive materials and, frequently, crimes related to the maintenance of internal security. These behaviors ultimately culminate in acts of terrorism. If routinized, these preparatory behaviors may serve as pre-incident indicators that may assist law enforcement agencies in early interdiction and prevention of terrorist incidents. This research involved an examination of selected terrorist groups/incidents (and preventions) in the United States during the period 1980-2002. The study focused upon the planning processes and behaviors, both criminal and non-criminal, that terrorists engaged in while preparing for terrorist incidents. These behaviors are referred to as “antecedent conduct.”‘ An examination of the antecedent conduct of terrorist group ‘ For the purposes of this research, “preparatory behaviors” are defined as the criminal and non-criminal conduct by members of a terrorist group in preparation for a terrorist incident. “Antecedent offenses” are defined as the totality of non-terrorist crimes committed by a terrorist group. Antecedent offenses may be of two types: preparatory crimes -crimes committed to assist in the preparation of a terrorist incident; and ancillary crimes -crimes committed for order maintenance, internal security or personal reasons. 2 Terrorism Research Center in Fulbright College

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University of Arkansas members places the subsequent terrorist incident in context, providing the potential to identify patterns of conduct that might lead to intervention prior to the commission of actual terrorist incidents. The analysis focuses upon the temporal and geographic distribution of these behaviors. Figure 1: Flow Char-t of Terrorist Group Activity ITI Time Tz T3 Time 7-4 T5 Time T6 I b DI DistanceILocation D4, D5 DI DistanceILocation D4, D5 D6 D2 DistanceILocation D4, D5 D6 Terrorist group conduct was examined as occurring along a continuum involving four major activities: (1) recruitment; (2) preliminary organization and planning; (3) 3 Terrorism Research Center in Fulbright College

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University of Arkansas rendered information on some 200 terrorist “incidents” (right-wing, 41; left-wing, 5 1 ; international, 58; and single issue, 50). Information on these cases was extracted from several sources: (1) federal criminal court case records (indictments, FBI affidavits, transcripts, etc.); (2) newspapers, books, and print media; and (3) other open source data to include internet searches and other publicly available documents. A relational database composed of 265 variables was created that included geospatial data on some 5 15 terrorists’ residences, planning locations, preparatory activities, and target locations. TERRORISM IN TIME AND SPACE Terrorists and terrorist groups operate within the constraints and boundaries of both time and space. Since September 11,2001, state and federal expenditures for terrorism response have increased substantially. One criticism of current funding for counterterrorism is that allocations seem to assume that terrorist incidents are random and “can occur anywhere.” While it is true that they “can” occur anywhere, the probability of their occurrence in specific locations varies widely (Davis et al., 2004). In many ways both the indiscriminant and spontaneous nature of terrorism has been overemphasized. Terrorist incidents do not materialize out of “thin air” –they require time to plan, meet, procure and prepare explosive devices, and travel time to and from the selected target. These events are further constrained by the distances among the residences of the terrorists, where they meet and plan, where they procure or manufacture their explosives, and the distance to the target. In this project, both spatial and temporal issues were examined regarding terrorist group planning and execution. 5 Terrorism Research Center in Fulbright College

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University of Arkansas THE TEKROMSTS’ TIMEPIECE How long do terrorist groups typically plan their activities? How much time typically elapses between various phases of terrorist group planning and the eventual commission of terrorist acts? Does this vary by type of terrorist group? Does planning initially begin slowly and then culminate in a frenzy of hurried activity immediately prior to commission of the terrorist act? None of these rudimentary questions have ever been addressed. No empirical literature regarding the length of the terrorists’ planning process could be located –and for good reason. Despite prosecutors’ efforts to identify these events in federal indictments, particularly those involving multiple conspirators, temporal data about the terrorists’ planning sequence were extremely difficult to identify and verify. However, temporal data were recorded for 191 behaviors and incidents. Those findings are presented in Figure 2 below. Figure 2: Temporal patterns of terrorist group activities avg. 99 1 *54 days I avg. 1205 days (3.3 years) -1 Unknown due to small sample size n=34 /*n=30excludes outliers Terrorism Research Center in Fulbright College 6

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University of Arkansas Despite a lack of information regarding recruitment, sufficient tempord data existed to identify basic patterns of preparatory conduct. On average, the terrorist cells held their first planning meetings slightly over 3 months from the time they committed the terrorist incidents studied. This is generally consistent with Rapoport’s (1992) notion that terrorist groups have a life expectancy of less than one year. The lifespan of these “cells” ranged from a few weeks to more than three years. The initial “planning phase” appears to last, on average from between twelve days to approximately two months. It is during this period that law enforcement agencies would have the greatest probability of successful intervention. Planning and preparatory activities cannot be temporally separated. Meetings, preparation, training, and procurement of materials for terrorist incidents are not sequenced independent of each other. Substantial variation among types of terrorist groups (e.g. single-issue, international, etc.) regarding this issue was apparent. However, the limited amount of temporal data available from these case studies precludes further specification than the overall pattern of conduct. The onset of preparatory behavior typically began about three to four months prior to the planned terrorist incident. Preparatory conduct may include criminal, as well as noncriminal activity. The most common preparatory behaviors included meetings, phone calls, the purchase of supplies and materials, and banking activities, which included everything from bank robbery to fund the planned incident to legitimate withdrawals. Terrorist groups engaged in an average of 2.3 known behaviors per incident. Further examination, however, revealed that one-fourth (1 15 of 453; 25.3%) of the these 7 Terrorism Research Center in Fulbright College

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University of Arkansas activities were “ancillary” -predominately criminal conduct associated with the terrorist group that could have been used as a “pre-incident indicator,” but which was not directly related to the planning of the eventual terrorist incident. Of the 453 behaviors recorded, nearly one-third (145 of 453; 32.1%) involved a criminal offense. The most common of these crimes was involving acquiring, manufacturing, or testing bombs (24 of 145; 16.6%). Conspiracies do not frequently become known to law enforcement agencies until after the completion of the act or other arrests are made. Consequently, non-overt acts of conspiracies, such as meetings and phone calls, may not come to the attention of local law enforcement agencies. However, three-fourths of these crimes involved “observable” offenses which might lead the police to suspicion more sinister activities. Robbery (21 of 145; 14.4%), and murder (9 of 145; 6.1%), and training (9 of 145; 6.1%) constituted the remaining most common preparatory and ancillary offenses committed. Once preparations for the terrorist act have been completed, the overall analysis suggests a lull between final acts of preparation and commission of the terrorist act. On average, the terrorist incident occurred or was scheduled to occur between three and six weeks following the final known act in preparation. In fact, this average time would have been much shorter except for the existence of a few outliers where preparatory behaviors near the time of the incident were not known. Among cases where preparatory acts were measured, nearly two-thirds (65.2%) of the terrorist incidents involved a preparatory act on the day of the incident and another nine percent of the groups committed their last preparatory act the day prior to the incident. 8 Terrorism Research Center in Fulbright College

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