Publications & Resources
The Enemy Within - Violent Extremism in the United States
By Jerome Kahan
The Enemy Within, a PBS FRONTLINE special TV broadcast in 2006,
exposed the unpleasant fact that there was an enemy within our midst
composed of a network of Islamic extremists living in a small town
in California that sought "to encourage, to energize, to activate
extremist Islamic sentiments, to carry out acts on behalf of
these terrorist groups and their extremist beliefs" here in
the United States. In addition to these so-called home-grown terrorists,
who have grown in numbers since the PBS special, the enemy within
also includes an expanding group of extremists of all stripes capable
of carrying out violent attacks on the nation's people and property
in the name of their causes, which are not related to the jihadist
terrorist ideologies, Surprising as it may seem, given the plethora
of security dangers we face, the Obama administration has identified
violent extremism as the "pre-eminent" threat to the United
Who exactly are these enemies in our midst? What dangers do they
pose? What are the reasons individuals become violent extremists?
How can we counter these threats? Are there roles for citizens as
well as federal agencies and local police in rooting out and prosecuting
these hidden hazards? This article will address these issues and
draw some conclusions.
Who is the Enemy?