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Prosecuting Terrorism: Challenges in the Post-9/11 World

Terrorism and Counterterrorism Today

ISBN: 978-1-78560-191-0, eISBN: 978-1-78560-190-3

Publication date: 11 September 2015



In this chapter, we provide a brief historical framework of the events and policy changes that impacted the prosecution of terrorism over the past 50 years with emphasis placed on the changes that resulted from the 9/11 attacks.


We provide a review of relevant literature and complete the chapter by providing new data (2015) on case outcomes derived from the American Terrorism Study, a database housed in the Terrorism Research Center in Fulbright College, at the University of Arkansas.


Investigative and prosecutorial authority in U.S. terrorism cases has experienced ebbs and flows that correspond with terrorism attacks as well as missteps by the FBI, and each has impacted the success of prosecution efforts. Despite dramatic changes, the number of cases prosecuted after 9/11 is unprecedented, and conviction rates continue to climb.


This chapter provides the reader with a synopsis of the policy changes that have occurred in federal terrorism investigations and trials from the late 1960s upto the present. Based on that context, we provide an explanation of how those policy changes have impacted terrorism prosecutions.



Shields, C.A., Smith, B.L. and Damphousse, K.R. (2015), "Prosecuting Terrorism: Challenges in the Post-9/11 World", Terrorism and Counterterrorism Today (Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance, Vol. 20), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 173-195.



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