WWS Calendar

UP TO THE MINUTE: United States of Jihad: Investigating America's Homegrown Terrorists

Oct 6, 2016 04:30PM to 06:00PM
Audience: 
Open to the Public
Speaker(s): 
Peter Bergen, Vice President, New America; CNN National Security Analyst; author, "United States of Jihad"

An analysis of “homegrown” Islamist terrorism from 9/11 to the present will be the subject of a book talk on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, at Robertson Hall, Dodds Auditorium, on the Princeton University campus. The event is free and open to the public. The Woodrow Wilson School's “Up to the Minute” events keep the Princeton community up to date on world events, drawing on the expertise of the School’s faculty and visitors.

The discussion, “United States of Jihad,” will be presented by author Peter Bergen, CNN national security analyst and vice president of New America. A book sale and signing will follow the discussion.

Bergen is a print and television journalist, author, documentary producer and vice president at New America, where he directs the International Security and Fellows programs; a professor of practice at Arizona State University; a fellow at Fordham University’s Center on National Security; and CNN’s national security analyst. He has held teaching positions at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Since 9/11, more than 300 Americans—born and raised in Minnesota, Alabama, New Jersey and elsewhere—have been indicted or convicted of terrorism charges. Some have taken the fight abroad: An American was among those who planned the attacks in Mumbai, and more than 80 U.S. citizens have been charged with ISIS-related crimes. Others have acted on American soil, as with the attacks at Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon and in San Bernardino.

In “United States of Jihad,” Bergen examines several cases and delves into who these people are, their backgrounds, what motivates them, and how the internet and social media have been used to radicalize and recruit Americans to jihad.

Many of these individuals, he asserts, are from middle- to upper-class families and are well educated. The challenges are in identifying these individuals and preventing attacks, especially among lone wolf terrorists. The author contends that the problem for counterterrorism officials in recent years was not that they lacked information, “but that they didn’t adequately understand or share the information.”