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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 States.

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?

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