Terrorist threats against US interests may be domestic or international in scope. International terrorism is generally conducted to protest US foreign policy, or draw international attention to a social cause. Al-Qaeda was formed as an organization that was protesting the US military presence in the Middle East, which they viewed as a threat to Islam (Pape, 2003, p.7). When a US group conducts a terrorist act on US soil, it is considered to be domestic terrorism. Domestic terrorists are generally extremists that have radicalized views on social programs and policies.
Until recently, domestic terrorism was classed as a criminal act, and was investigated and prosecuted as a crime. More recent legislation has differentiated the criminal act from the terrorist act, and the law has made special investigation and prosecuting provisions available to law enforcement. Law enforcement has expanded powers to gather intelligence, collect evidence, and the labeling of an act as terrorism carries stiffer penalties than a simple crime.
International terrorists can be labeled as 'enemy combatants' and forfeit certain rights to due process, and may be held without being charged or tried. ...