A decade after the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, experts say that while the country has focused since 2001 on the threat from foreign terrorists, domestic operatives like Timothy McVeigh have not gone away and could be more dangerous than ever, says the Baltimore Sun. Officials at the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism say that what happened in Oklahoma City will happen again. The institute says that of 25 U.S. terrorist incidents recorded from 2003 through January, all but three were thought to have been carried out by militant domestic ecological groups, such as the Earth Liberation Front. The Southern Poverty Law Center counted 751 active hate groups operating inside the U.S. as of 2003.
Daniel Levitas, the Atlanta-based author of The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the Radical Right, said that while the movement is smaller than it was 10 years ago, “the people who remain are much more hardened in their beliefs and in their capacity for violence. In the wake of Sept. 11, I think most people have forgotten the fact that there are Americans who are just as fanatical and maniacal as al-Qaida. People have short memories.” FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism John E. Lewis told the Sun that counterterrorism remains the bureau’s top priority, and it does not differentiate the threats from domestic and international terrorism. Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said McVeigh “was the first one to carry out a mass murder that targeted the general population. That changed the whole climate. And I’m afraid it really changed it permanently. To make a big splash now, you have to kill 169.”