Terrorist group counterintelligence
Mobley, Blake William.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Georgetown University, 2008.; Includes bibliographical references. Most terrorist groups do not survive past their first few years of existence. All terrorist groups, even those that survive for decades, face a basic and constant existential threat: discovery of their activities, personnel, and plans by government law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Why do some terrorist groups manage this threat better than others? What accounts for the variation in terrorist group counterintelligence capabilities? Answers to these questions have profound implications for homeland security and international counterterrorism efforts.; The study examines how three core variables: a terrorist group's organizational structure, its access to controlled territory and its level of popular support, affect the terrorist group's counterintelligence strengths and vulnerabilities. Thirty-three terrorist groups are examined in a large typological framework while additional case studies provide an in-depth focus on Al Qaeda, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), Fatah, Black September, and the Egyptian Islamic Group (Gemaa al-Islamiyya).; The study shows that terrorist groups inevitably face predictable, though often subtle, counterintelligence dilemmas that challenge their ability to function effectively. Contrary to popular belief, the dissertation shows that hierarchical and tightly organized terrorist organizations are frequently superior to decentralized or 'network' terrorist organizations in their counterintelligence capabilities, and therefore are in many cases better suited for long-term survival. Additionally, the study shows that most terrorist group leaders crave publicity, which frequently undermines the terrorist group's need to maintain secrecy and security. This research offers numerous policy prescriptions for more efficiently exploiting terrorist counterintelligence vulnerabilities. Incorporating these insights into current counterterrorism efforts promises to add inventive methods for monitoring and eliminating terrorist groups.