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How domestic terrorism differs from international terrorism

Terrorism has become a term that Americans today may be more familiar with than ever before. But, not all terrorism happens on the soil of other nations as acts that can be alleged to be forms of terrorism may well take place on domestic ground. Just what is domestic terrorism and how does it differ from international terrorism?

The American Civil Liberties Union explains that the differentiation of domestic from international terrorism only came to be with the advent of the Patriot Act. This act did not establish a new form of crime but simply added to the existing realm of what may be considered terrorism.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there are several criteria that describe acts of terror. Some of these are the same for alleged domestic or international terrorist acts. One of these is the belief that a defendant or defendants consciously intended to force the government to act in some way in response to a kidnapping, assassination or a form of mass destruction. The purported conscious intimidation or coercion of federal policy or of people not in the military also characterizes both forms of terrorism.

Where the definition of domestic terrorism veers from that of international terrorism is based upon where a specific act takes place. As the name implies, acts that are alleged to be domestic terrorism must happen within the United States or its territories. Many activists participating in activities with the goal of protecting certain freedoms may be the subject of domestic terrorist charges.

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