Pass Em’ Right: Assessing the Threat of WMD Terrorism from America’s Christian Patriots

Paul D. Brister, Nina A. Kollars


Within the field of terrorism studies, great effort has been devoted to the topic of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their potential usage in the hands of terrorist organisations. This article deepens the discussion of WMD terrorism by focusing upon an oft-overlooked movement that resides within American borders. The Christian Patriot Movement – which rightfully claims the likes of Timothy McVeigh – is a phenomenon that has gone largely unnoticed as American counterterrorism efforts focus largely upon Islamist terrorist organizations. Here we aim to bring the Patriots back into discussions of terrorist threats by assessing their potential to use WMD. We conclude that, although the Patriots have demonstrated intent to employ such weapons, they lack the overall capability to design, acquire, or employ a WMD of significant lethality. We end by looking at the pathways which the Patriots are currently exploring to narrow the divide between intent and capability.       

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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