WASHINGTON--The killing of Osama Bin Laden on Sunday by U.S. special forces in Pakistan triggered concerns about whether his death will spawn attacks by homegrown jihadist terrorists.
That's one finding in a report just issued by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, "Osama bin Laden's Death: Implications and Considerations."
Read the report, a compelling overview of policy questions raised by the attack here:
crs report bin laden.pdf
It is unknown how OBL's death will affect (al-Qaida) AQ-inspired homegrown jihadist terrorists targeting the United States. On May 2, 2011, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI, the Bureau) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a joint bulletin indicating that OBL's death may motivate revenge or publicity seeking homegrown jihadists to attack the United States. However, it is unlikely that his death will significantly change the counterterrorism investigative efforts of the FBI, the lead agency for investigating the federal crime of terrorism.
Regarding the nature of homegrown jihadist terrorism, at least four issues may emerge from OBL's death:
• Will homegrown jihadist plotting increase?
• How will his death affect the radicalization of people interested in violent jihad
who live in the United States?
• How will it shape the popularity of surviving key jihadist intermediaries who
inspire U.S. residents to radicalize and turn to jihadist terrorism? Intermediaries
such as Anwar al-Aulaqi have allegedly influenced people involved in a number
of recent homegrown terrorist plots.
• Finally, because OBL's death potentially affects the radicalization process, it may
be of value to assess the Administration's progress toward developing and
implementing a domestic counter-radicalization strategy. It has not been entirely
settled which agencies have what responsibilities when it comes to identifying
domestic radicalization and interdicting attempts at terrorist recruitment.