Low-Tech Terrorism

We fear weapons of mass destruction in terrorist hands. Yet the greater danger continues to from terrorists' older tools—the gun and the bomb.

Issue: March-April 2014

AMONG THE MORE prescient analyses of the terrorist threats that the United States would face in the twenty-first century was a report published in September 1999 by the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, better known as the Hart-Rudman commission. Named after its cochairs, former senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman, and evocatively titled New World Coming, it correctly predicted that mass-casualty terrorism would emerge as one of America’s preeminent security concerns in the next century. “Already,” the report’s first page lamented, “the traditional functions of law, police work, and military power have begun to blur before our eyes as new threats arise.” It added, “Notable among these new threats is the prospect of an attack on U.S.

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