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National Political Convention Project

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Law Research  Papers

National Political Convention Project Guidelines

This assignment requires the student to conduct an analysis of Al Qaeda planned and actual biennial attacks and patterns of operations that coincide with the U.S. national biennial political campaigns. The analysis anticipates that the terrorist organization desires to carry out attacks inside America and against Americans, as well as against American interests abroad.

Your Role and Assignment: For this project, you will assume the role of an Intelligence Analyst assigned to a State Fusion Center. A Fusion Center is a collaborative effort of multiple agencies that provide resources, expertise, and information with the goal of maximizing the ability to detect, prevent, investigate, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity. Fusion centers conduct analysis and facilitate information sharing to assist law enforcement and homeland security partners in preventing, protecting against, and responding to crime and terrorism. State and major urban area fusion centers serve as primary focal points for the receipt, analysis, gathering, and sharing of threat-related information among federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) partners. Fusion centers are located in states and major urban areas throughout the country and are uniquely situated to enable law enforcement personnel to gather and share threat-related information.

Given certain trend information, in your intelligence analyst role you have been tasked with gathering specific information regarding specific past attacks by Al Qaeda. You will note the majority of listed incidents appear to have occurred during the six months and in the immediate eight week period preceding the biennial elections. Gathering and collecting covers the acquisition of raw information through activities such as interviews of confidential and other sources, surveillances, intercepts, forensics, and liaison relationships. Information can be gathered from open sources and other more sophisticated sources. You are being requested to use open sources for this assignment. Open source intelligence is publicly available and accessible information appearing in electronic or print form and includes radio, television, newspapers, journals, the internet, commercial databases, drawings, graphics, and videos. The use of Wikipedia or any other “Wiki” sources are strictly prohibited for this assignment. Keep in mind that trend analysis does not predict future events but it can be a powerful tool for strategic planning by creating plausible and detailed scenarios or views of what might occur. The information you develop will be used in conjunction with other intelligence being gathered and analyzed incident to planning and preparing security and counterterrorism efforts for an upcoming National Political Convention in the U.S. Intelligence indicates an attack is being planned consistent with the following:

When? For purposes of this exercise, during the six months immediately preceding the national elections and during each subsequent national biennial election.

Where? New York and Washington, D.C. and for purposes of this exercise any National Political Convention cities due to the financial/economic/military and political symbolisms.

How? Primarily Explosives, but possibly the use of other modalities of Weapons of Mass Destruction, i.e., CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives). Suicide attacks are given emphasis; person-borne, vehicle-borne, and aerial vehicles.

Who? Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (according to intelligence analysts, Al Qaeda’s Yemen-based branch, which calls itself Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), does not consider the United States a key target. However, attacking the United States would be a significant “force multiplier” by drawing broader publicity, and assisting recruitment efforts.)

Why? To continue one of Al Qaeda’s tactics of attempting to influence U.S. biennial elections in favor of “war hawks” by launching terrorist surges in activities during the year and more significantly during the final months of national political campaigns. From 1998 to 2012 Al Qaeda consistently attempted to magnify the issue of terrorism in the political arena and sway U.S. elections by launching its most stunning surges of terrorist attacks in the midst of campaign seasons.

You are being provided the following partial listing of locations that have experienced past surge attacks or plotted attacks by Al Qaeda during U.S. biennial election years. Specific plotted or failed attacks are listed for the same periods.

August 1998:  Bombing of U.S. Embassy in Tanzania  Bombing of U.S. Embassy in Kenya

October 2000: Bombing of USS COLE after failed Jan. attempt on USS Sullivans

June 2002:  Bomb outside American consulate in Karachi, Pakistan October 2002: Nightclub bombing in Bali, Indonesia    June 2004:  American kidnapping and execution in Riyadh, Saudi, Arabia October October 2004:  Sinai Bombings

August 2006:  Transatlantic Airlines Plot   September 2008: American Embassy attack in Sana’a   October 2010: Plot to send air cargo bomb parcels to U.S.

May 2012:  Foiled plot to bomb U.S. bound flight(s) September 2012: Benghazi U.S. Consulate Attack

You must research, gather, and collect the following detailed and specific information for each separate and distinct actual and planned attack listed. details your findings and conclusion. Your Conclusion must include your identified commonalities and any discerned patterns of operations in the actual, planned and failed attacks. Your briefing must be suitable for use in planning and preparing future security and counterterrorism activities associated with future National Political Conventions.

Your research and written narrative must rely upon a minimum of six separate and distinct sources, and at a minimum address and include the following for each of the twelve incidents:


 Identify Each Incident as Actual or Planned or Failed Attack

 Location of Actual or Planned/Failed Attack, e.g., city, country, etc.

 Venue of Actual or Planned/Failed Attack, e.g. embassy, consulate, street level- business district, etc.

 Date(s) of Actual or Planned/Failed Attack

 Responsible party, AQAP, etc.

 Weapon(s) Used in Each Incident, e.g., IED, rocket, firearms, etc.

 Weapon Delivery Method in Each Incident, e.g., person-borne, vehicle-borne, air craft, water vessel, shipped, etc.

 Number of Casualties Broken Down by Injuries and Fatalities in Each Incident

 Breakdown of Victims by Nationality in Each Incident, e.g., American, Australian, German, etc.

 Breakdown of Victim Status in Each Incident – civilian population, tourists, police, military, political, embassy personnel, etc.

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