Terrorism and Organized Crime – Response to Pollard

By James P. Denney

Civil Integration and Response

Defense Science Board

in response to Pollard Analysis

The views and opinions expressed in the following essay are those of the contributor and not necessarily of the Terrorism Research Center.

While I agree that terrorism and crime are two separate issues my thoughts are that an alliance already exists between certain organized criminal groups and well funded terrorist organizations. The culture of crime, particularly violent or drug related, merely requires a facet adjustment to be labeled terrorism. While we may perceive no political motivation for acts committed by organized crime, the acts themselves may be internally politically motivated. There also remains the potential for mercenary acts of politically motivated terrorism carried out for money on behalf of state sponsored organizations. True, that while Columbia is an accurate example of a symbiotic relationship between criminal and political elements, a clear separation between the two remains.

Of concern is that, in certain arenas, terrorism is becoming a commodity with a market of it’s own and like other markets will develop periodic surges in activity. In this instance, the market place is global and hard currency is the medium by which transactions are conducted. It takes little imagination to foresee the outsourcing of terrorist activity to organized or disorganized crime in light of the minimal risk to be experienced by the perpetrator(s).

Profits are potentially huge, and unlike the politically motivated terrorist, criminals will not seek recognition for their actions. They will in fact attempt to remove any trace of their involvement. This allows the political terrorist to take credit, or responsibility for remote actions in the name of their cause with relative immunity from prosecution. Mercenary terrorism on the part of organized crime may represent a significant transnational threat to the United States in the not too distant future.

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