The nexus with transnational organized crime is increasingly a focus for security planners in their analyses of terror groups. Their approach is best described by the phrase “methods, not motives.” While the mo- tives of terrorists and organized criminals remain divergent most often, our research indicates this is not always the case. For that reason, this report argues that such a general approach has become too restrictive and can be misleading since the interaction between terrorism and organized crime is growing deeper and more complex all the time. In short, the lines of separation are no longer unequivocal.
The report analyzes the relationship between international organized crime and terrorism in a systematic way in order to highlight the shortcomings of the “methods, not motives” argument. In so doing, the re- port considers the factors that most closely correspond to crime-terror interaction and identifies those regions of developed and developing states most likely to foster such interactions. Likewise, the paper will suggest an evolutionary spectrum of crime-terror interactions that serves as a common basis for discussion of such often-used terms as “nexus.”
The report is the product of a recently concluded and peer-reviewed 18-month NIJ-sponsored research project, and includes empirical evidence drawn from numerous case studies developed in the course of the research program.