9/11 Case Study


The response to 9/11 continues into its 14th year. The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), a long-term monitoring and treatment program now funded by the Zadroga Act of 2010, includes >60,000 World Trade Center (WTC) disaster responders and community members (“survivors”). The aim of this review is to identify several elements that have had a critical impact on the evolution of the WTC response and, directly or indirectly, the health of the WTC-exposed population. It further explores post-disaster monitoring efforts, recent scientific findings from the WTCHP, and some implications of this experience for ongoing and future environmental disaster response.


Transparency and responsiveness, site safety and worker training, assessment of acute and chronic exposure, and development of clinical expertise are interconnected elements determining efficacy of disaster response.


Even in a relatively well-resourced environment, challenges regarding allocation of appropriate attention to vulnerable populations and integration of treatment response to significant medical and mental health comorbidities remain areas of ongoing programmatic development.

This book includes a detailed discussion, each organized in a similar manner, of the cases that have come to light of Islamist extremist terrorism since 9/11, whether based in the United States or abroad, in which the United States itself has been, or apparently has been, targeted. It mostly springs from papers generated in honors seminars I conducted at Ohio State University. Interns at the Cato Institute have also contributed case studies. I have added an introduction as well as a headnote for each case. Since we plan to update, revise, and correct, and then to re-post from time to time, each case study and each headnote is dated and carries its own individual pagination.— John Mueller

The book is also available in printed form from The Educational Publisher https://edupublisher.com

The cases are arrayed below. There are studies for those with underlined titles. Click on separate file to access the individual case as an independent pdf file.

  • The shoe bomber 4 2001 A British man tries to blow up a US-bound airliner with explosives in his shoes but is subdued by passengers and crew—Jolie Yangseparate file

  • Padilla 1 2002 An American connected to al-Qaeda, who had discussed a dirty bomb attack, returns to the US and is arrested— Allison Barboseparate file

  • Mt. Rushmore 3 2002 Two men in Florida, one of them possibly connected to an al-Qaeda operative, plot, crucially aided by an informant, to bomb local targets as well as Mt. Rushmore before 9/11, and are arrested and tried the year after.

  • El Al at LAX 4 2002 A depressed anti-Israel Egyptian national shoots and kills two at the El Al ticket counter at Los Angeles airport in an act later considered to be one of terrorism, and then is killed by a guard—Zachary Zaerrseparate file

  • Lackawanna 1 2002 Seven Americans in Lackawanna, NY, are induced to travel to an al-Qaeda training camp, but six return

    disillusioned, all before 9/11, and are arrested the next year for providing support to the group—Blaise Katter separate file

  • Kahn and the Parachas 2 2003 A young Pakistani seeks to help an al-Qaeda operative enter the country to attack underground storage tanks at gas stations—Alexander Hitchcock separate file

  • Abu Ali in Saudi Arabia 2 2003 A US citizen joins a terrorist cell in Saudi Arabia and plots to hijack a plane in the US and to assassinate President Bush when he is arrested by the Saudis and extradited to the US for trial—Leigh Stephensseparate file

  • Columbus and the Brooklyn Bridge 2 2003 An American connected to al-Qaeda discusses shooting up a shopping mall in Columbus, Ohio, with two friends, then scouts taking down the Brooklyn Bridge for al-Qaeda, but decides it’s too difficult— Drew Herrickseparate file

  • Barot and the financial buildings 2 2004 Group in London tied to al-Qaeda scouts out financial buildings in the US with an eye to bombing them, but never gets to the issue of explosives— Tessa Reinhartseparate file

  • Albany 3 2004 Two men in Albany, NY, effectively help fund an informant's terror plot—Michael Spinosiseparate file

  • Nettles 3 2004 An American with a long history of criminal and mental problems plots under the nickname of "Ben Laden" to blow up a federal courthouse in Chicago and reaches out for help

    to a Middle Eastern terrorist group, but gets the FBI—Rachel Cohen separate file

  • Herald Square 3 2004 Loud-mouthed jihadist in New York and a schizophrenic friend attract informant who helps them lay plans to bomb Herald Square subway station—Surili Sheth separate file

    12a Nashville 3 2004 An immigrant from Iraq, 33, angry about American policy in Iraq, declares he is “going Jihad,” planning to blow up something probably in Nashville, and is arrested when he pays an FBI operative $1000 for, and takes possession of, two disassembled machine guns, four disassembled hand grenades, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in the parking lot of a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop.

  • Grecula 3 2005 An American with visions of being an modern day Spartacus agrees to build a bomb to be exploded in the US for undercover agents claiming to be al-Qaeda—Todd Ivesseparate file

  • Lodi 1 2005 An American in Lodi, California, who may have attended a training camp in Pakistan but with no apparent plan to commit violence is arrested with the aid of an informant— Andrew Ashbrookseparate file

  • JIS 2 2005 American in jail masterminds a plot by three others to shoot up military recruitment centers, synagogues, and a non-existent military base in the Los Angeles area but, although close to their first attack, the plans are disrupted when they leave

    a cell phone behind at a funds-raising robbery—Demetrius Daniels-Hill separate file

  • Pipelines and the terrorist hunter 3 2005 An American offers on the internet to blow up pipelines in Canada as an aid to

    al-Qaeda, and attracts the attention of free-lance informant— Shannon Buckner separate file

  • U of North Carolina 4 2006 To punish the US government for actions around the world, a former student, after failing to go abroad to fight or to join the Air Force so he could drop a nuclear bomb on Washington, drives a rented SUV onto campus to run over as many Americans as possible and manages to injure nine—Andrew Braunseparate file

    17a Target surveillance in Washington, DC 2 2006 Two men hailing from South Asia, 21 and 19, apparently linked to Lashkar e-Taiba, a Pakistani terrorist group, make videos, later sending them to an international terrorist contact in London, of potential targets in the Washington, DC, area including the Capitol, the headquarters of the World Bank, a Masonic Temple, and a group of large fuel storage tanks.

  • Hudson River tunnels 2 2006 Angered by the US invasion of Iraq, several men plot on the internet to flood railway tunnels under the Hudson river, but are arrested overseas before acquiring bomb materials, before meeting each other in person, and before setting foot in the US—Zachary Karabatakseparate file

  • Sears Tower 3 2006 Seven men in Miami plot with an informant, whom they claim they were trying to con, to take

    down the Sears Tower in Chicago, then focus on closer buildings—Lauren Brady separate file

  • Bombing transatlantic airliners 2 2006 A small group in London, under intense police surveillance from the beginning, plots to explode liquid bombs on US-bound airliners—Tyler Puhl separate file

  • Rockford Mall 3 2006 Loud mouthed jihadist attracts the attention of an informant and together they plot exploding grenades at a shopping mall in Rockford, IL—David Bernstein separate file

  • Fort Dix 3 2007 A small group target practices, buys guns, and plots to attack Ft. Dix, NJ, with the aid of an informant who joins the group when the FBI is told they took a jihadist video into a shop to be duplicated—Jovan Galevskiseparate file

  • JFK airport 3 2007 A small group, with informant, plots to blow up fuel lines serving JFK airport in New York—Bryan Staubseparate file

  • Vinas 2 2008 A New York man travels to Pakistan, is accepted into al-Qaeda, and plots to plant a bomb in the US, but is being watched and talks after being arrested—David Dawson separate file

  • Bronx synagogues 3 2009 Four men, with crucial aid from an informant, plot to bomb synagogues in Bronx, NY, and shoot down a plane at a military base—David Bernsteinseparate file

  • Little Rock 4 2009 An American man travels to Middle East to get training, but fails, and on his return, working as a lone wolf, he eventually shoots and kills one soldier at a military recruitment center in Little Rock, AK—Michael Colemanseparate file

  • Boyd and Quantico 3 2009 A complicated conspiracy in North Carolina including an informant, gathers weapons and may have targeted Quantico Marine Base—Kelly Stritzingerseparate file

  • Zazi 2 2009 An Afghan-American and two friends travel to Pakistan to join the Taliban, but are recruited by al-Qaeda to plant bombs on New York subways instead, and are under surveillance throughout—Justin Heilmannseparate file

  • Springfield 3 2009 A loud mouthed jihadist plots, with informants, to set off a bomb in Springfield, IL—Ronald Liebermanseparate file

  • Dallas skyscraper 3 2009 A Jordanian on a student visa rouses interest from the FBI in internet postings and, together with three agents, tries to detonate a fake bomb in the basement of a Dallas skyscraper—Lauren Bradyseparate file

  • Mehanna 2 2009 A well-educated Muslim jihadist may have plotted briefly to shoot up a shopping center in the Boston area and tried to join an insurgency in the Middle East, but is arrested for spreading jihadist propaganda—Malgorzata Mrozekseparate file

  • Killings at Fort Hood 4 2009 Military psychiatrist, acting as a lone wolf, shoots up a military deployment center in Ft. Hood, TX, killing 12 soldiers and one civilian, shortly before he is supposed to be deployed to the war in Afghanistan—Taylor Schmaltzseparate file

  • The underwear bomber 4 2009 A Nigerian man tries to blow up a US-bound airliner with explosives in his underwear but is subdued by passengers and crew—Matthew Spadeseparate file

  • Times Square 4 2010 A Pakistani-American gets training in Pakistan and on his own tries, but fails, to set off a car bomb at Times Square in New York—David Tanseparate file

  • Alaska 3 2010 A Muslim convert in a remote Alaska town plots the assassination of 20 with the aid of an informant. separate file

  • Parcel bombs on cargo planes 2 2010 An effort by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to set off parcel bombs implanted in printer cartridges on cargo planes bound for the United States is disrupted by an insider—Ruxton McClureseparate file

  • DC Metro—bomb plot 3 2010 A Pakistani-American aids FBI operatives posing as al-Qaeda in a plot to bomb the DC Metro—Chad Chessinseparate file

  • Oregon 3 2010 A teenaged Somali-American jihadist, unable to go abroad to fight, works with FBI operatives, apparently alerted by his father, to set off a van bomb at a

    Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon—David Bernstein separate file

  • DC Metro—Facebook 2 2010 A Virginia man brags without substance to a female Facebook correspondent that he will bomb the Washington Metro soon, and is quickly arrested for making interstate threats, receiving a light sentence—Lauren Brady separate file

  • Baltimore 3 2010 A Baltimore man seeks allies on Facebook for violent jihad, and the FBI supplies him with an informant and with a fake SUV bomb with which he tries to blow up a military recruitment center—Lauren Bradyseparate file

  • Texas 2 2011 A Saudi student in Texas, flunking out and displaying intense new discontent on his blog and Facebook profile, is arrested after buying bomb-making materials and considering potential targets including crowded streets in distant New York and a local residence of former President George W. Bush—David Bernsteinseparate file

  • Manhattan’s pair of lone wolves 3 2011 Upset with how the US treats Muslims around the world, a mentally ill American citizen, with an accomplice and an undercover officer, purchases weapons as the first step in a plot to blow up synagogues, the Empire State Building, and other targets in New York and New Jersey.separate file

  • Pentagon shooter4 2011 A US marine reservist with jihadist literature shoots at military buildings in the DC area and

    is arrested as he seeks to desecrate the graves of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—Andrew Braun separate file

  • Seattle 3 2011 Two financially-destitute men, exercised over US foreign policy, are arrested in Seattle after they purchase an FBI-supplied machine gun that they plan to use to attack a military recruiting center after they save up enough money to purchase bullets and other material.separate file

  • Abdo 2 2011 A US Army Private, unwilling to wage war on Muslims, is arrested after he buys ammunition and bomb materials to explode in a restaurant popular with soldiers—Nicole Spaetzelseparate file

  • Model planes 3 2011 Seeking to “decapitate” the US “military center,” a mentally-ill hobbyist plots with police operatives to attack the Pentagon with remote-controlled model planes bearing explosives and then to shoot at people as they flee the building—Ruxton McClureseparate file

  • Iran and Scarface 3 2011 An Iranian-American used-car salesman from Texas, nicknamed “Scarface” from the results of an earlier street brawl, is engaged for a promised $1.5 million by members of the Iranian government to arrange for a Mexican drug cartel to blow up Saudi Arabia's ambassador in a Washington restaurant but is foiled by an undercover Drug Enforcement Agency operative who is wired $100,000 as a down payment—Zachary Zaerrseparate file

  • Pimentel’s pipe bomb 3 2011 A naturalized US citizen and Muslim convert, hostile to US military ventures in the Middle

    East, seeks to make pipe bombs using match heads to attack various targets. separate file

  • Tampa 3 2012 Under suspicion after he walked into a store seeking to purchase an al-Qaeda flag, an Albanian-American loner plots in Tampa with a police operative to detonate a car bomb, fire an assault rifle, wear an explosive belt, take hostages, and bomb nightclubs, a police center, several bridges, and a Starbuck’s coffee shop in order to avenge wrongs against Muslims and to bring terror to his “victims’ hearts”—Nicole Spaetzelseparate file

  • Capitol bomber 3 2012 A Moroccan man who had overstayed his visa for years and had been thrown out of his apartment for non-payment of rent, concludes that the war on terror is a war on Muslims, plots with FBI operatives, and is arrested as he seeks to carry out a suicide bombing at the Capitol—Zachary Karabatakseparate file

  • Chicago bar 3 2012 Drawn by the violent jihadist emails and internet postings composed by an unemployed and apparently retarded 18-year-old Egyptian-American who felt the US was at war with Islam, FBI agents gain his confidence, supply him with a fake bomb which he parks outside a Chicago bar he said was filled with “the evilest people,” and then arrest him when he attempts to detonate it from a nearby alley— Rachel Cohenseparate file

  • Bombing the Federal Reserve Bank 3 2012 A college flunk- out from Bangladesh uses his parents’ life-savings to study in the US and reaches out on Facebook, obtains the help of the FBI to

    do something that will “shake the whole country,” and is arrested when he tries to set off an FBI-supplied bomb planted at the Federal Reserve Bank building in New York from a nearby hotel room—Todd Ives separate file

  • The brothers plot 2 2012 Two brothers in Florida plot to set off a bomb in New York in revenge for US drone attacks in Afghanistan, but are arrested before getting very far beyond bicycling around Manhattan looking for targets Oazi November

    53a Car bomb at an Oakland bank 3 2013 A mentally disturbed US citizen, 28, in sympathy with the Taliban, tries to set off a car bomb supplied to him by the FBI in front of a bank in Oakland, California, in hopes that the explosion would be blamed on antigovernment militias and prompt a crackdown that would touch off a civil war.

  • Boston Marathon 4 2013 Two Chechen-American brothers, working alone, detonate two homemade bombs in a crowd at the Boston marathon, killing three, and then are killed or captured a few days later after an exhaustive and dramatic manhunt—Chad Chessinseparate file

    54a Uzbek bomb plot in Boise 3 2013 A refugee from Uzbekistan gathers materials for a potential bombing of a military base or of a July 4 celebration in Boise, Idaho.

  • Wichita airport 3 2013 A worker at the Wichita, Kansas, airport plots with FBI agents to detonate a car bomb at dawn at the airport—Niko Pittoreseparate file

  • Rochester 3 2014 A pizza shop owner in Rochester, in vocal sympathy with Islamic State on social media who had been asked to leave three Mosques for his radical views, seeks to recruit for the group and plots with FBI operatives to shoot and kill returning members of the U.S. military.

  • Killings in Seattle and New Jersey 4 2014 Apparently motivated by hostility to American foreign policy, a man murders three in Washington state and is captured later when he kills another in New Jersey—Alex Iammarinoseparate file

  • New York axe attack 4 2014 An unemployed recluse and devotee of ISIS and other terrorist groups with a multiple arrest record, 22, attacks four police officers with an axe in Queens, New York, and is shot dead in an altercation that takes seven seconds.

  • Cincinnati 3 2015 A young local loner, in sympathy with ISIS, plots with FBI operatives to set off a bomb at the Capitol in Washington, DC—Cassandra Dulaseparate file

    59a Carolina 2 2015 Two men, one a teen, plan to rob a gun shop, attack a North Carolina military base, then go to the Middle East to join ISIS.

  • Ohio returnee from Syria 2 2015 A Somali-American, actively communicating about his plans with friends on social media, travels to the Middle East, stays about a month, receives some training from and al-Qaeda affiliate, returns, and, as urged by a cleric he met in Syria, may have planned to commit violence—Maria Chabaliseparate file

  • Aurora 3 2015 Unable to travel abroad to fight with ISIS because of a felony conviction for trying to rob a McDonalds, an Illinois man, 23, plots with a cousin, 30, and with FBI operatives to “unleash the lion” by attacking a local National Guard Armory.

  • Two women in Queens 3 2015 Protesting that “It’s war” and “Protest don’t work” and “Why can’t we be some real bad bitches?” two women, one in communication with al-Qaeda in Yemen, try to fabricate bombs with the aid of an undercover officer.

  • Miami 3 2015 Posting sympathies to ISIS on Facebook, a Florida man is arrested after he seeks to buy arms and ammunition (with plans to emboss “ISIS” on the shell casings) from an FBI operative.

  • Fort Riley 3 2015 A young man enthusing on Facebook about being killed in jihad, plots with FBI operatives to explode a 1000-pound bomb at a nearby military base—Alex Rhodes separate file

  • Shootings at Cartoon Contest in Garland, Texas 4 2015 Two men with very limited connections to ISIS and other terrorist groups drive from Phoenix to Garland, Texas, wearing body armor and carrying six guns, open fire at an anti-Islamist exhibit, and are gunned down in 15 seconds by a traffic officer armed only with a handgun and then killed by a SWAT team— Sam Zacherseparate file

  • Abdulkader in Cincinnati 3 2015 Yearning to join ISIS in Syria, a 21-year-old in Cincinnati attracts the attention of the FBI by Tweeting nearly daily about his admiration for the group and about his enthusiasm for beheadings, and then plots with an FBI operative and with an ISIS cybercoach to kill a soldier and to raid a police station.

  • New England 4 2015 Three ISIS-inspired men variously plot to carry out terrorist attacks, and one, saying he couldn’t wait any longer and has decided to “go after” the “boys in blue” instead, attempts to stab a police officer in Boston and is shot dead.

  • Attempted stabbing of an FBI agent in New York 4 2015 Three ISIS-inspired men in the New York area variously plot attacks, and one tries to stab an FBI agent searching his home.

  • Al-Ghazi in Ohio 3 2015 A drug dealer and convicted felon becomes attracted to ISIS, pledges affiliation, creates propaganda videos for the group, seeks to recruit others to the cause on social media, gets in contact with someone he thinks is an encouraging ISIS member overseas (but is actually an FBI operative), appears to express a desire to commit a terrorist attack, and is arrested when he purchases an AK-47 from an FBI operative.

  • Sullivan 3 2015 Tipped off by his stepfather, the FBI puts an operative on, and eventually arrests, an unstable 19-year-old man in North Carolina with a yearning to kill hundreds of people on behalf of ISIS and who had previously robbed and

    killed a neighbor apparently to get money for weapons. separatefile

  • Ciccolo 3 2015 Turned in by his father, a Boston police captain, a man who advertised his desire to join ISIS on social media and had a long history of mental illness plans to attack a university cafeteria deemed to be “very sinful” and is arrested when an undercover agent supplies him with weapons—Maria Chabaliseparate file

  • Chattanooga 4 2015 A mentally-ill man with no known terrorist connections, but who possessed some jihadist literature and whose life was on a downward spiral, kills five military personnel in Tennessee and then is killed in a shoot-out with police—Niko Pittoreseparate file

  • Suarez and Key West 3 2015 After capturing the attention of the FBI with some Facebook posts (including beheading videos), a Florida man, 25, who considers himself to be a member of ISIS and expects the group soon to come to the US to fight, scripts and records a recruitment video for ISIS and plots with some FBI operatives to detonate a buried timer bomb at a Key West beach but is arrested when he takes possession of a bomb created for the purpose by the FBI.

    73a Bombs and a Papal assassination attempt in Philadelphia 3 2015 A 15-year-old who had spent a considerable amount of time in a mental hospital puts together ISIS-inspired plots to set off bombs across Philadelphia and also to assassinate the Pope on a visit to the city, but the sniper he seeks to hire is an FBI operative.

  • UC Merced 4 2015 After visiting ISIS websites and after being kicked out of a study group, a student at the University of California, Merced, stabs four people on campus and then is killed by police—Niko Pittoreseparate file

  • Akron 2 2015 An ardent ISIS supporter in Akron, Ohio, 24 years old, is arrested for solicitation to commit violent crime when he posts “kill lists” on social media, comprised of the names and addresses of 100 military people he thinks should be killed, and declares that he would be proud when he sheds American blood.

  • San Bernardino 4 2015 A husband and wife, professing loyalty to ISIS, fire guns at a holiday party, killing 14, and then are killed in a battle with police in a subsequent chase—Alex Iammarinoseparate file

  • ISIS fund transfer 2 2015 A Baltimore man, tracked for months, is arrested when he receives at least $8700 from Islamic State operatives in Egypt to fund a terrorist attack in the US, although he claims he was merely seeking to scam the money from the group.

  • Rochester panhandler 3 2015 Deemed an “aggressive panhandler” by a local restaurant/bar owner, a mentally-unstable man, part of a four-man terrorist cell or cluster (the other three are FBI operatives), becomes “ready to give up everything” to join ISIS in Syria and, to show ISIS that he is serious, plots to attack the restaurant/bar with a machete that one of the FBI

    operatives purchases for him at Walmart—Cassandra Dula separate file

    78a Houston mall 3 2016 An Iraqi refugee in Texas, 24, confides to an FBI operative that he would like to join ISIS and plots to bomb a Houston shopping mall.

  • Philadelphia 4 2016 A man, 30, attempts to kill a Philadelphia police officer with a stolen handgun and says, “I pledge my allegiance to the Islamic State, and that’s why I did what I did.”

  • Masonic temple in Milwaukee 3 2016 A fitness trainer and US citizen in Milwaukee, 23, abandoning plans to kill Israelis in the West Bank as impractical, plots with two FBI operatives to shoot up a local Masonic temple (“if this hit is executed, it will be known all over the world…If I got out after killing thirty people, I will be....100% happy, because these 30 will terrify the world. The mother fuckers will know that nobody can play with Muslims”), and is arrested after FBI operatives sell him fully automatic weapons and one silencer.

  • Detroit church 3 2016 A US-born citizen, 21, makes increasingly violent statements on Twitter about conducting an attack on behalf of ISIS and, after communicating with an FBI operative, focuses on a Detroit church and then is arrested for possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance and is sentenced to 5 years.

  • Franey in Montesano 3 2016 A vocal ISIS supporter in Montesano, Washington, 34, accepts guns for a potential attack from an FBI operative.

  • Ranting in Minnesota 2 2016 A 23-year-old Minnesota man, in contact with ISIS members in Syria, is arrested for communicating threats by saying during a drunken rant that he was going to “kill everyone” at a local Walgreens, but is ultimately charged only with falsely telling the FBI that the contacts had ended.

  • Bombings and shootings in New York 3 2016 Three men abroad, one of them an orthopedic surgeon in the Philippines, plot with an FBI informant to shoot up and detonate bombs in New York City in support of ISIS.

  • Florida synagogue 3 2016 A U.S.-born convert to Islam, aged 40, with mental health problems (including a cyst in his brain) plots to bomb a synagogue in Florida, crediting the deed to ISIS following an FBI informant’s suggestion and inspiring other Muslims (“It’s a war, man, and like it’s time to strike back here in America”), but is arrested when he buys the requisite explosive from the operative and attempts to place in near the synagogue.

  • Orlando 4 2016 A gunman trained in the use of firearms, professing allegiance to ISIS and that demanding US airstrikes be halted in the Middle East, kills 49 at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and is killed by police after a three-hour standoff—Alex Rhodes separate file

  • Gregerson in Michigan 3 2016 Following a tip that he is amassing an arsenal, the FBI investigates a U.S.-born Muslim convert, 29, in Michigan, a vocal ISIS sympathizer who “fantasizes” about committing terrorism, and arrests him when he buys explosives from an FBI operative.

  • Phoenix 3 2016 An 18 year old Arizona man, mentally-ill, corresponds with a federal agent he believes to be an ISIS fighter about attacking a motor vehicle office in Phoenix.

  • Former national guardsman in Virginia 3 2016 A former national guardsman in Virginia, 27, hooks up with an ISIS cybercoach in Libya who then inadvertently connects him with an FBI informant, and the three begin to plot to kill a couple of soldiers in the United States, following this up with a larger ISIS attack.

  • Wehelie 3 2016 A Virginia man, arrested and charged with illegal gun possession, gets a long sentence because he made “dangerous statements” to an FBI operatives about how he would love to join ISIS abroad but would settle for attacking a

    U.S. military recruitment station.

  • Recruiter for an ISIS attack in North Carolina 3 2016 A North Carolina man seeks to recruit people over social media, including an undercover FBI agent, to carry out ISIS attacks in the United States.

  • Roanoke 4 2016 A man, apparently inspired by ISIS and possibly mentally ill, attacks two people with a knife after hearing voices in Roanoke, Virginia.

  • Southern Illinois 1 2016 An 18-year old with a history of mental illness who once used a rock to scratch a pickup truck is charged with making a verbal threat to commit a “mass casualty event” and providing material support to a terrorist organization.

  • Minnesota mall stabbings 4 2016 An unassuming Somali- American student and part-time security guard, with little evidence of terrorist intent (but afterwards proclaimed a “soldier” by ISIS), goes on a stabbing spree, injuring ten people in a shopping mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, before being killed by an off-duty police officer—Niko Pittoreseparate file

  • Chelsea bomber 4 2016 A 28-year-old Afghan-American, apparently inspired by al-Qaeda, plants several homemade bombs in the New York area, two of which explode, killing no one, and the bombmaker is later arrested after a shootout with police—Niko Pittoreseparate file

  • ISIS assassination plot in Maryland 3 2016 A legal permanent resident who came to the US from Bangladesh at the age of three (and was now 24), expresses support on social media for ISIS and then enthusiastically plots (“That’s like my goal in life”) with an FBI operative to murder a US military member on an ISIS hit list (they gathered 100 rounds of ammunition for the job) under the belief, suggested by the operative, that they would receive $80,000 from ISIS for the venture.

  • Houston 3 2016 A 24-year-old Iraqi refugee who wants to join ISIS, plots with an FBI informant to set off bombs at two

    Houston shopping malls.

  • Bomb plot in an Arizona prison 2 2016 Following a tip, police disrupt a plot by a 38-year old Muslim convert, ISIS supporter, and lifer at an Arizona prison to use “radicalized materials” and bombmaking information mailed to him by his wife to murder the warden or blow up a vending machine in the visitors section.

  • Indiana 3 2016 An Indiana man, 30, communicates with police operatives indicating that he wants to join ISIS and sends information about making and using explosives.

  • Oakland 3 2016 A man in California, 22, opens social media accounts for ISIS and plots attacks with FBI operatives.

  • Garbage truck at Times Square 3 2016 A 37-year-old Yemen-born Uber driver in Brooklyn avidly supports ISIS on Facebook, tries and fails to join the group, and then discusses driving a garbage truck into a crowd at Times Square with an FBI informant he met through his Facebook posts.

  • Ohio State University 4 2016 A Somali refugee, a student at Ohio State, apparently outraged at the persecution of Muslims around the world particularly in Burma, injures thirteen people by driving his car into a crowd on campus and by leaping from the car and stabbing at people with a butcher knife and then is shot dead by a campus police officer—Niko Pittore separate file

  • Thompson in Arizona 2 2016 A 30 year old felon in Arizona who nearly two years earlier may have tried to buy a pistol online, is arrested after he conducts hundreds of suspicious Google searches and posts on social media such comments as “Islamic State is officially in America. The war has begun” and “Right, we need to get down with this ISIS shit.”

  • Suffolk 3 2016 After the FBI is informed that a Suffolk, Virginia, man, 26, had voiced support for ISIS on his Facebook page and had purchased an AK-47 rifle, they have an agent contact him posing as an ISIS member and arrest him after he requests ammunition, gives the agent $250 to support the terrorist group, and says he is ready to “go forth.”

  • Denver killing 4 2017 A former Army sergeant and martial arts instructor, 37, about whose apparent radicalism police had been warned more than once by the Muslim community, abruptly shoots and kills a transit officer and is apprehended shortly thereafter without further incident by the police.

  • ISIS supporter in Missouri 3 2017. A Missouri man plots to bomb Kansas City in collaboration with FBI agents who pose as ISIS members and who had been alerted by his social media posts supporting violent jihad.

  • Lepsky of New Jersey 2 2017 After police responded to what they called an “incident” taking place in a Point Pleasant, NJ, home in which a 20-year-old man had stabbed the family’s dog because it was “dirty” in the view of Islam and was apparently going to do the same to his mother, they discovered

    that the man was an ISIS supporter who was planning to create and detonate a pressure cooker bomb in New York City “to kill as many people as possible” and to die in the process.

  • Threats in North Carolina 2 2017 Garrett Grimsley, 27, is charged with making online threats “in interstate commerce” to “non-Muslims,” and a subsequent search of his apartment uncovers an assault rifle and 340 bullets while discovering that he had been reading an ISIS magazine—though Grimsley said he only was looking at the pictures.

  • Calloway in DC 3 2017 A felon and former Marine, 38, who advertises his admiration for ISIS on Facebook (complete with flag) and discusses with an FBI operative the killing of DC police officers (but not ones who are Muslim) and the need to prepare for a “race war” against whites, is arrested when he buys an AK-47 rifle and ammunition from the informant.

  • Surveilling for Hizballah 2 2017. Two men, one from New York City and one from Dearborn, Michigan, both naturalized citizens, are arrested for being undercover agents for Hizballah, surveilling potential targets in the United States and in the Panama Canal zone and for “possessing extensive bomb making training.”

  • Alabama 2 2017 A Huntsville man, 22, who swore allegiance to ISIS and may have been planning to bomb a public building, is arrested by local police, following a tip, for soliciting or providing support for terrorism.

  • Ftouhi in Flint 4 2017 A 49-year-old Tunisian-Canadian comes to Flint, Michigan, attempts to stab a police officer at the airport and, after being taken into custody, explains, “You have killed people in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die.”

  • Casey Spain 3 2017 A Virginia felon, who had himself tattooed in prison with “Cop Killa” on his face and an ISIS flag on his back and who talks repeatedly to fellow inmates of working for ISIS, is arrested 20 days after his release when an FBI operative sells him a handgun.

  • Shopping Mall in Miami 3 2017 A Florida man records pro-ISIS videos and works with FBI operatives to build a bomb to be detonated in the food court of the Sweetwater mall in Miami.

  • Truck attack on Manhattan bike path 4 2017 A Florida man, originally from Uzbekistan and vowing allegiance to ISIS, plows a rented truck down a bike path in Manhattan, killing 8, and then, armed with toy guns, is shot and subdued by police.

  • Homemade bomb in New York pedestrian tunnel 4 2017 A 2011 immigrant from Bangladesh, 27, angered by US foreign policy and inspired by ISIS, detonates a crude strapped-on pipe bomb in a pedestrian tunnel in New York, suffering burns and cuts himself and inflicting minor injuries on three others.

  • San Francisco 3 2017. A depressed tow-truck driver who completed basic training in the Marines, advertises his ISIS sympathies online noting, in particular, that he “loved” an ISIS

  • poster showing Santa Claus in New York with a box of dynamite over the caption, “We meet at Christmas in New York

    . . . soon,” and is arrested when he considers, but then apparently abandons, a suicide plan to shoot up and perhaps bomb a popular tourist attraction in San Francisco on Christmas in coordination with the other members of his cell, all of whom are FBI operatives.

    There are also two case studies concerning efforts by Islamist extremists to go abroad to inflict damage on US interests there:

    998 New York Stock Exchange 2010 Three men seek to join the fight against the US in the Middle East and find a couple of operatives in Yemen who agree to help them (and after being arrested, identity them), but only after the men send over tens of thousands of dollars and case the New York Stock Exchange for a possible attack—Jake A. Douglasseparate file

    999 Toledo 2006 Three men in Toledo, OH, seek to join the fight against the US in the Middle East but fail to get in while attracting the attention of an informant who trains them— Meagan Woodallseparate file


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