The purpose of this study was to analyze factors associated with the longevity (the ability to commit acts of terrorism and evade capture) of terrorists.
The study examined the extent of participatory involvement, recruitment decisions, communication methods, incident characteristics, financial stability, precursor conduct, and spatial variations among terrorists with
greater or lesser longevity.
Data analyzed included over 676 persons indicted in "officially designated" federal terrorism cases from 1980 to the present collected as part of the American Terrorism Study (ATS) and maintained in an Oracle relational database that included over 400 demographic, legal, behavioral, and spatial and temporal variables. Data on these 676 persons included information on 2,311 precursor activities and nearly 200 post-incident behaviors. Over 1,600 of these preparatory acts are now "date stamped" and linked to terrorist incidents.
At the time of the current project, the American Terrorism Study (ATS) included 1,140 case studies linked to 1,425 federal "terrorism-related" court cases involving 1,922 indictees. Data collection was complete on 605 terrorism incidents in the United States from 1980 to present. Analyses were limited to the 693 indicted individuals in the ATS who were linked to the planning or completion of a terrorist attack in the United States. All persons in the universe were selected.
Longitudinal: Cohort / Event-based
The 346 indicted persons in the American Terrorism Study (ATS) database who were linked to the planning or completion of a terrorist attack in the United States during 1980-2015 and for whom sufficient information to establish longevity (a "start" and "end" date of terrorist activity) was available.
The American Terrorism Study (ATS), 1980-2015
The data file (ICPSR_Data_FileEdit.sav) contains 15 variables covering the following topics:
- Longevity (number of days between date of first preparatory activity and date of neutralization)
- Participatory activity (number of meetings divided by number of incidents)
- Relevant Attorney General guidelines (Levi, Smith, Ashcroft, Mukasey)
- Loner/group involvement
- Sophistication level
Demographic variables include ideological category, gender, and level of education.