The Jericho Option: Al-Qa'ida and Attacks on Critical Infrastructure

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There is no doubt that al-Qaida and its affiliates have displayed, and continue to display, an acute interest in attacking targets that are considered to be important components of the infrastructure of the United States. What has not thus far been carried out, however, is an in-depth examination of the basic nature, historical evolution, and present scope of the organization's objectives that might help government personnel develop sound policy recommendations and analytical indicators to assist in detecting and interdicting plots of this nature. This study was completed with the financial support of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, through a project ... continued below

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PDF-file: 322 pages; size: 3.1 Mbytes

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Ackerman, G; Blair, C; Bale, J; Hahn, G; DiLorenzo, E; Vadlamudi, S et al. August 28, 2006.

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Description

There is no doubt that al-Qaida and its affiliates have displayed, and continue to display, an acute interest in attacking targets that are considered to be important components of the infrastructure of the United States. What has not thus far been carried out, however, is an in-depth examination of the basic nature, historical evolution, and present scope of the organization's objectives that might help government personnel develop sound policy recommendations and analytical indicators to assist in detecting and interdicting plots of this nature. This study was completed with the financial support of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, through a project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate. It is specifically intended to increase counterterrorism analysts understanding of certain features of al-Qaida's strategy and operations in order to facilitate the anticipation and prevention of attacks directed against our most critical infrastructures. The procedure adopted herein has involved consulting a wide variety of source materials that bear on the topic, ranging from sacred religious texts and historical accounts to al-Qaida-linked materials and the firsthand testimony of captured members of the group. It has also intentionally combined multiple approaches, including exploring the more esoteric religion-historical referents that have served to influence al-Qaida's behavior, providing a strategic analysis of its objectives and targeting rationales, closely examining the statements and writings of al-Qaida leaders and spokesmen (in part on the basis of material translated from primary sources), offering a descriptive analysis of its past global attack patterns, and producing concise but nonetheless in-depth case studies of its previous ''infrastructural'' attacks on U.S. soil. The analyses contained herein tend to support the preliminary assessment made by some of the authors in an earlier report, namely, that transnational jihadist organizations are amongst the extremist groups that are most likely to carry out successful attacks against targets that U.S. officials would categorize as elements of this country's critical infrastructure. These networks clearly have the operational capabilities to conduct these types of attacks, even on a large scale, and they display a number of ideological proclivities that may incline them to attack such targets. Although this seems self-evident, this study has also yielded more detailed insights into the behavior and orientation of al-Qaida and its affiliated networks.

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PDF-file: 322 pages; size: 3.1 Mbytes

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  • Report No.: UCRL-SR-224072
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • DOI: 10.2172/897999 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 897999
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc877136

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Creation Date

  • August 28, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Nov. 29, 2016, 4:38 p.m.

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Ackerman, G; Blair, C; Bale, J; Hahn, G; DiLorenzo, E; Vadlamudi, S et al. The Jericho Option: Al-Qa'ida and Attacks on Critical Infrastructure, report, August 28, 2006; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc877136/: accessed October 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.