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Background to International Terrorism

al-Qa'ida Training Manual

Annotated Bibliography of Government Documents Related to the Threat of Terrorism & the Attacks of September 11, 2001 (Oklahoma Department of Libraries)
Separate sections cover the aftermath of the September 11 attacks; Congressional and presidential actions; global terrorism; international politics; US national security and foreign relations, policies, and treaties; and weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Counterterrorism Office (U.S. Department of State. Office of the coordinator of Counterterrorism)
The U.S. State Department's Counterterrorism Office coordinates US efforts to improve counterterrorism cooperation with foreign governments. Options cover official statements; assistance programs that train foreign personnel; Congressional happenings; treaties; and related sites.

Country Reports on Terrorism (Department of State) (2000-present)
Lockwood Documents US S 1.138: (1986-2001)
The U.S. State Department prepares this annual report that describes terrorist activities throughout the world. Appendices reproduce chronologies; background data on terrorist groups; and statistical overviews. Issues published since 2002 are not nearly as detailed as the earlier ones.  Reports published between 2000 and 2003 were entitled Patterns of Global Terrorism.  Click Archive  ( to view reports between 1996 and 1999. 

Documents on Terrorism (Yale University. Avalon Project)
The Yale Law School's Avalon Project is a digital library that reproduces documents pertaining to law, history, economics, diplomacy, politics, and government. Coverage includes Congressional and international resolutions; Congressional testimonies; and Executive Orders from 1995 to data. The section dealing with the September 11 attack ( includes press briefings; speeches; and excerpts from the Congressional Record.

Global Terrorism Database (University of Maryland. National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START)
A database of nearly 80,000 international terrorist incidents from 1970-2004.  Search for information by dates; locations of incidents; types of attacks and types of weapons used; and numbers of casualties.  All records include this information, and when available, identities of perpetrators.  The database excludes foiled plots.

MIPT (National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism) (Rand Corporation)
A comprehensive database of world terrorist incidents and terrorists groups. MIPT monitors terrorism worldwide, providing information on terrorist incidents from 1968-present.

Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) (U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Transportation Security Administration)
Encourages sharing of security related information between the U.S. government and Americans living abroad. Select Profiled Groups to view descriptions of groups the U.S. Department of State recognizes as terrorist.

RAND Voices of Jihad Database (Rand Corporation)
Links to speeches, interviews, statements, and publications of jihadist leaders and followers.

Terrorism - Background and Threat Assessments (Federation of American Scientists)
A comprehensive site that covers the September 11 attacks and their aftermath; general information about terrorism; Mideast terrorism; chemical and biological weapons; the State Department's annual reports on Patterns of Global Terrorism ; and related links.

Terrorism Information Center (National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, Rand Corporation)
An online library of reports, articles, fact sheets, and links to related web sites.

Terrorism Research Center (Terrorism Research Center, Inc.)
The Terrorism Research Center, Inc. (TRC) is a non-partisan independent institute dedicated to research on terrorism; information warfare; critical infrastructure protection; and other related issues. It accepts commercial sponsorship in exchange for advertising space on the Web site. Access to selected parts of the Web site requires a subscription.

United Nations

Terrorism in the US

Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction (Rand Corporation. National Security Research Division)
Assessed response capabilities at federal, state, and local levels.

CIA & The War on Terrorism (U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA))
Presents articles and statements by CIA staff covering 2001 through the present in reverse chronological order.

Congressional Publications

Lockwood Library's Government Documents collection has Congressional publications pertaining to all aspects of terrorism. Retrieve information by either:

Other options include:

Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports on Terrorism (Federation of American Scientists (FAS))
CRS prepares background studies for Congress.

GAO Key Issues (U.S. General Accountability Office) 
Click the Homeland Security box to access information about countering overseas threats, Department of Homeland Security, national defense, and terrorism related information sharing.

Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL) (U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
Full-text documents cover all aspects of homeland security and emergency management from terrorist threats through natural disasters. Federal, state, and local governments, international organizations, and nonprofit groups produced the information. 

RAND®-MIPT (National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism) Knowledge Base

National Security/Terrorism Convictions (Syracuse University. Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC))
Summarizes convictions and prosecutions filed in U.S. courts for international and domestic terrorism, and terrorism financing.  Selected information is free, but the publisher requires modest fees for detailed reports on specific prosecutions/convictions.

September 11th Sourcebooks (National Security Archives)
A compilation of selected US documents about combating domestic terrorism covering the mid-1980's through the present. Five sections pertain to terrorism and Usama bin Laden; Congressional Research Service reports; General Accounting Office reports; Department of Defense directives, instructions and statements; and Presidential directives and executive orders. The National Security Archives collects and preserves declassified US government information.

Task Force on Terrorism and the Law - Report and Recommendations on Military Commissions (American Bar Association)
The American Bar Association outlines its thoughts on President Bush's idea of detaining suspected terrorists by military authorities and trying them before military commissions.

Terrorism in the United States [titles vary] (U.S. Department of Justice. Federal Bureau of Investigation) 
(see On terrorism... links)
The federal government prepares annual reports that describe terrorism in America.

US Department of Homeland Security
The Office of Homeland Security develops and coordinates national strategies to combat domestic terrorist threats or attacks, and natural disasters. Data pertain to emergencies and disasters; travel and transportation; immigration and borders; research; and threats and protection.

World Trade Center & Pentagon Attacks

Congressional Reports: Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 (U.S. Congress)
The declassified version of the report prepared by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees on the September 11 attacks.

National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States [National Commission on Terrorism]
An independent, bipartisan commission charged with investigating and reporting upon the September 11, 2001 attacks. View the Commission's Final Report at  Although the Commission concluded that the US is on the correct path, the report emphasizes areas that still need improvement.

September 11 Digital Archive (Center for History and New Media. George Mason University and City University of New York Graduate Center. American Social History Project)
Reproduces personal accounts; photographs; moving images; audio; documents; a guide to Web sites; and FAQs.

September 11th Resources (Special Libraries Association)
Topics pertain to building and rebuilding; changes in America since 9/11; charities and organizations established for 9/11; economic information; graphics, images, and maps; news; reports and evaluations; victims; and related Web sites

September 11, 2001 (Library of Congress. American Memory Project)
The Library of Congress compiled reactions, eyewitness accounts, and opinions to the September 11th events. Retrieve data by titles and subjects; and in different formats including written narratives, audios, photographs, and videos.

Television Archive: The September 11th Collection
Reproduces television news broadcasts between September 11 and 13, 2001.

Afghanistan and the Afghan War

Afghanistan (Pacifica Graduate Institute. Mythological Studies Department. Kathleen Jenks)
The Department's MYTH*ING LINKS project includes annotated and illustrated collections of Web resources relating to mythology, fairy tales, and sacred traditions in 4 parts.

  • Part 1: Afghan Cities & Regions, Ethnicities & Religions, Folk Traditions, Contemporary Arts, General Info
  • Part 2: Afghan History & Culture: Prehistoric, Pre-Islamic, & Islamic Up to the 18th Century
  • Part 3:  Afghan History & Culture: 18th Century and Beyond
  • Part 4:  Afghanistan: Pre- & Post-9/11

AFGHANISTAN: A Country Study (U.S Library of Congress. Federal Research Division)
Presents detailed background information about Afghanistan. Topics cover history from pre-Islamic times through the present; society and environment; and government and politics.

Afghanistan, the Taliban, and the US: Selected Internet Resources (University of California, Berkeley. Library)
A comprehensive guide that covers general information; Taliban; opposition groups; al-Qa'ida and Osama bin Laden; government statements; pacifist viewpoints; research & analysis; human rights; Afghans in diaspora; news sources; and online journals.

Afghanistan Web Links (United States Institute of Peace)
The United States Institute of Peace is a nonpartisan group created by Congress to promote peaceful resolution of international conflicts. Highlights cover general resources; government agencies and international organizations; Islamic area studies; maps and guides; media and news sources; political resources; and selected documents.

News Focus: Afghanistan (United Nations)

Reproduces data issued by the UN about the Afghan situation, including Security Council reports and resolutions. A link to Afghanistan & the United Nations presents background data about the country that emphasizes the second half of the 20th Century. ( )

Understanding Afghanistan: Land in Crisis (National Geographic)
View news; bibliographic references that include live links; a Webcast; and maps.

War on Terrorism Resource Guides (East Carolina University. David Durant, Government Documents Librarian)
Separate sections cover the attack on America; Osama bin Laden and al-Qa'ida; Saddam Hussein and Iraq; News and Analysis; Afghanistan and the Taliban; and Post-Saddam Iraq.

Disaster Assistance

Counter-Terrorism (U.S. Department of Justice. Bureau of Justice Assistance)
Links lead to state and local training materials, emergency management information, and resources for evaluating, planning, and improving responses to possible incidents.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE TO TERRORISM: SELF-STUDY (U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA))
A self-study course designed for first responders.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, an office within the larger Department of Homeland Security, responds to natural disasters and other emergency rescue operations relating to chemical spills; fire; hazardous materials; nuclear and radioactive releases; and terrorism. Consult the Risk Management Series for advice about minimizing hazardous events and emergencies.(

Managing The Emergency Consequences of Terrorist Incidents : Interim Planning Guide For State and Local Governments (U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA))
Provides a framework for local planners who are preparing emergency plans. FEMA hopes this will improve federal, state, and local interactions, and demonstrate planning and operational challenges.

Office of Emergency Management (OEM)  (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER)
Provides leadership to prevent, prepare for and respond to health and environmental emergencies by cooperating with other federal offices, state and local agencies, and industry. Topics cover current news; laws and regulations; policy guidance; publications; links to databases.

Responding to Terrorism Victims: Oklahoma City and Beyond (U.S. Department of Justice.
Office of Justice Programs)
Identifies the special measures needed to protect the rights and meet the needs of victims of a large-scale terrorist attack involving mass casualties.

State Emergency Management Office (New York State)
The New York State Emergency Management Office coordinates activities relating to natural disasters and other emergencies.

State Offices and Agencies of Emergency Management (U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Federal Emergency Management Agency)

Biological and Chemical Terrorism

Chemical & Biological Weapons (CBW): All CNS nonproliferation content on chemical & biological weapons (Center for Nonproliferation Studies)
Covers the characteristics and capabilities of chemical and biological weapons; proliferation; defense against their use; and terrorism. Additional information deals with the Americas; Middle East and Africa; Europe and the former Soviet states; and East Asia.

Federation of American Scientist (FAS)
A group of nuclear scientists formed FAS in 1945 to promote humanitarian uses of science and technology while addressing broad spectrums of national security issues. Three particularly usefuL Web sites are:

Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC))
Describes the Centers for Disease Control's bioterrorism program. Data cover news; emergency response; planning and training; laboratories; specific biologic and chemical agents and related diseases; National Pharmaceutical Stockpile Program; and emergency contacts.

Understanding Islam

Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys (U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities)
Presents materials about Muslim people, places, and history in the U.S. and around the world.

Islamic Studies, Islam, Arabic, and Religion (University of Georgia. Virtual Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of the Islamic World (VCISIW))
Professor Alan Godlas of the University of Georgia presents an overview of Islam and related subjects. Sections cover Muhammad; Islamic sects; Islam in the modern world; Islamic women, populations, and culture; and recent events in Afghanistan and the Taleban.

Muslim Americans: A Guide to Online Resources (American Library Association. Association of College and Research Libraries)
Links cover organizations, reports, public opinion polls, the media, and U.S. government sources.  The article originally appeared in College & Research Libraries News (May 2012,  73:5), 268-272.