1996 Terrorism in the United States Report
United States soil was the site of three terrorist incidents during 1996. The pipe bomb explosion during the Summer Olympic Games in Centennial Olympic Park that killed two and the robberies and bombings carried out in April and July 1996 by members of a group known as the Phineas Priesthood underscored the ever-present threat that exists from individuals determined to use violence to advance particular causes.
The FBI successfully prevented five planned acts of domestic terrorism in 1996. These preventions thwarted attacks on law enforcement officials, prevented planned bombings of federal buildings, and halted plots to destroy domestic infrastructure. The explosion of TWA Flight 800 over the Atlantic Ocean near Long Island, New York, on July 17, 1996, resulted in initial speculation that a terrorist attack may have been the cause and served to highlight the potential danger terrorists pose to U.S. civil aviation. The FBI, along with the National Transportation Safety Board, devoted significant resources to the criminal investigation throughout 1996. Evidence did not implicate a criminal or terrorist act by year’s-end. Threats from domestic terrorism continue to build as militia extremists, particularly those operating in the western United States, gain new adherents, stockpile weapons, and prepare for armed conflict with the federal government. The potential for domestic right-wing terrorism remains a threat. Special interest groups also endure as a threat that could surface at any time.
International terrorists threaten the United States directly. U.S. persons and property are targeted by state sponsors of international terrorism, formalized terrorist groups and loosely affiliated international radical terrorists