The path from believing in radical Islamist political ideology to plotting attacks in the homeland can be triggered by a number of factors, a new Congressional Research Service report finds.
The report focuses on homegrown Islamic terrorism, which in itself is remarkable given the reluctance many in Washington have had to clearly naming a leading source of the terrorist threat. The title, "American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating a Complex Threat," uses the kind of language all-but-banned by the executive branch since 2008. Cabinet officials in the Obama administration have strained to avoid references to jihadist violence.
But the Congressional Research Service is tasked with producing "authoritative, confidential, objective and nonpartisan" analysis, rather than catering to political semantics. The 137-page report contains more than 500 references to "jihad" or "jihadist." The term "Islam" or "Islamic" is used 117 times. It doesn't deny the existence of other forms of violent extremism, including "radical environmentalism, animal rights, or anti-abortion causes," but the report's focus is on the threat of attacks motivated by radical Islam.