Early detection of the lone wolf: Advancement of counter terrorism investigations with an absence or abundance of information and intelligence

Jason-Leigh Striegher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The consequences of large-scale, al-Qaeda style operations have seen billions of dollars spent on military interventions; a raft of new law enforcement and intelligence agency (LEIA) powers and laws; and an exponential growth in public and private security interventions. Large-scale terrorist operations aside, lonewolf terrorists have now become one of society's greatest threats. This is because lone wolves are fundamentally and ideologically driven to undertake terrorist activities autonomously; they generally adhere to no hierarchal structure; and they meticulously plan and prepare such acts while maintaining virtual invisibility within the community. As a result of their independence, astute preparation, and adept anonymity, the threat of lone-wolf terrorism presents a range of issues that are problematic for LEIA in their attempt at identifying those with a manifest hatred that leads to extreme violence. LEIA are further disadvantaged by a number of operational obstacles, which include the navigation of complex investigations offering limited, or conversely, an abundance of information. It is essential to recognise, however, that the lone-wolf terrorist never truly operates without the influence and/or assistance of like-minded individuals or groups; and that this may be the key to their undoing. It is the position of this paper that religion is not the sole motivating factor behind individual acts of terror, and that gathering and deciphering of information in juxtaposition with detecting, identifying, and tracking radical individuals pertains to a singular and/or combination of differing motives*political, ideological, and/or religious.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-53
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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