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Modern Criminal Justice - Terrorism

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By the 1980s domestic and international terrorism began to capture the public's attention. Ted Kaczynski (1942–), known as the Unabomber, began mailing bombs to selected individuals in 1980, killing and maiming a number of people. He continued off and on for over a decade before he was captured. The nation was stunned in June 1995 when Timothy McVeigh (1968–2001) set off a deadly car bomb, destroying a five-story federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 265 men, women, and children.

International terrorism struck American soil in February 1993 with a bombing in the underground parking of the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City that killed six and injured some one thousand. The cost of security grew, as did the rise of private police and security businesses.

Terrorism struck a deadlier blow, again at the WTC, on September 11, 2001. Two airliners hijacked by Middle Eastern terrorists struck the two high-rise office buildings, bringing them down and killing 2,800 people. Another airliner struck the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C., killing over 180. A fourth hijacked airliner crashed in rural Pennsylvania, killing over forty people while on its way to another planned target, most likely the White House or U.S. Capitol Building.

Fear of international terrorism dramatically increased. In reaction to the 2001 attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act in 2002 and created a new federal department, the Department of Homeland Security. The new department, working with the Department of Justice, pursued security measures to guard against future terrorist crimes. The Justice Department focused on tracking illegal aliens in the United States and Enron executives being sworn in prior to testifying before the Senate hearings in 2002. (AP/Wide World Photos) monitoring any suspicious activity brought to its attention. (See chapter 10 on terrorism for more information.)


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