How 9/11 Changed the Prosecution of Terrorism

  • Christopher A. Shields
  • Kelly R. Damphousse
  • Brent L. Smith
Part of the The Day that Changed Everything? book series (911)


September 11 impacted U.S. counterterrorism policy in several key areas, and through the end of 2008 it continues to do so. Policy changes implemented after the attack had a dramatic impact on how the federal government investigates and prosecutes those suspected of engaging in terrorism. Perhaps the most profound policy change occurred when the United States redirected its domestic antiterrorism policy from its earlier focus of infiltrating and beheading terrorist organizations to the more proactive goals of intercepting and disrupting terrorist groups before their members could successfully launch attacks. That change resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of cases the government prosecuted after 9/11. The shift also changed the types of cases the government prosecuted and, ostensibly, its success in gaining convictions.


Terrorist Group Defense Strategy Attorney General Conviction Rate Diffusion Case 
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  1. Portions of this research were funded by the National Institute of Justice (Grant Number 1999-IICX-0005 and Grant Number 2006-IC-IX-0026) and the Oklahoma City National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (Grant Number MIPT 106–113–2000–064) through the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security The opinions presented here do not represent the official position of the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the MIPT, or the NIJ.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Matthew J. Morgan 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher A. Shields
    • 1
  • Kelly R. Damphousse
    • 2
  • Brent L. Smith
    • 3
  1. 1.Terrorism Research CenterUniversity of ArkansasUSA
  2. 2.College of Arts and SciencesUniversity of OklahomaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Terrorism Research Center in Fulbright CollegeUniversity of ArkansasUSA

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