Terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as "the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives" (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85).
An intentional or attempted act that is detrimental or hazardous to a society, if this act or attempt is committed or neglected it will violate the laws that have been set forth.
Possible Signs of Terrorism/ Criminal Activity
1. Surveillance - Terrorists will likely observe a chosen target during the planning phase of an operation. They do this to determine the strengths, weaknesses and number of emergency personnel that may respond to an incident. Suspicious actions during this phase may include someone recording or monitoring activities, drawing diagrams or making notes on maps, using vision-enhancing devices, or having possession of floor plans or blue prints of places such as high-tech firms, financial institutions, or government facilities, including military installations. Routes to and from the target are also usually established during the surveillance phase.
2. Elicitation - This sign entails attempting to gain information about a place, person, or operation pertaining to the target. Terrorists may attempt to elicit information about a critical infrastructure such as a power plant, water reservoir, maritime port, military base, bridge, or tunnel by making unusual inquiries. They may inquire about usage and operations. Additionally, they may attempt to place people in legitimate employment at key locations to monitor day-to-day activities and gather detailed knowledge in order to make their mission or scheme more effective.
3. Tests of Security - Terrorists may also test the security of a target to gather data. To do this, they may drive by the target, moving into sensitive areas and observing security or law enforcement response. They are likely assessing how long before personnel respond to a security breech or the routes responders take to a specific location. Terrorists may also attempt to penetrate physical security barriers or procedures in order to assess strengths and weaknesses.
4. Fundraising - Although this is a tough sign to pick up on, it is one of the most important. Without funding, terrorist activity will come to a dramatic halt. Terrorists are very creative in raising, transferring, and spending money. Some scenarios to look for include: (1) credit card fraud, (2) defrauding the elderly, (3) people asking for donations to legitimate organizations but in peculiar ways, and (4) very large amounts of cash used in business transactions.
5. Acquiring Supplies - Terrorists may purchase or steal explosives, weapons, ammunition, or attempt to store harmful chemical equipment. In order to gain easier entrance to a secured area, they may also try to acquire uniforms, equipment, or identification of first responders, including military personnel. Other items they may try to obtain include flight passes, flight manuals, passports, or other pieces of identification.
6. Suspicious/Out-Of-Place Behavior - Profiling individuals is wrong, however, profiling behaviors may indicate suspicious behavior. Sometimes suspicious people just "do not belong" or a behavior seems out of place. This may include a person in a workplace, building, neighborhood or business establishment that seems unusual because of demeanor, language usage, or unusual questions they ask.
7. Dry Runs - Before executing the final operation or plan, terrorists may engage in a practice session, or "dry run," to work out flaws or unanticipated problems. Although terrorists normally conduct multiple practice sessions at or near the target area, a "dry run" may be the heart of the planning stage of a terrorist act. During a "dry run," terrorists may monitor police radio frequencies and record emergency response times.
8. Deploying Assets/Getting Into Position - The deployment of assets or getting into position stage last chance for an individual to alert authorities before the terrorist act occurs.