The threat of lone-wolf terrorism

A terrorist expert with nearly 25 years of experience in the field recently revealed his views on the growing threat of lone-wolf terrorists.

Jeffrey D. Simon, who previously worked with the Rand Corporation, addresses the issue in a new book, "Lone Wolf Terrorism: Understanding the Growing Threat," which includes a discussion of the Norwegian terrorist Andres Breivik and the American U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan, according to Time.

Simon said that the most critical information to take away from his book is that lone wolves can be as dangerous as larger terrorist groups and cells that exist throughout the world.

"When we think about terrorism, the first thing that usually comes to mind is al Qaeda or similar types of groups," Simon said, Time reports. "Yet the individual terrorist has proven to be among the most innovative, creative, and dangerous in terrorism history."

Simon said that lone-wolf terrorists are capable of thinking "outside the box" because that is where they always are. They operate by themselves with no moderating force to stifle or limit their creativity.

"And since they work alone, they are much harder to identify than groups or even cells since there are no group members to arrest and learn about potential plots," Simon said, Time reports.

Simon said the threat of lone wolves is growing throughout the world. He said beyond the Breivik and Hasan cases, there is a growing sense that neo-Nazis and white supremacists have been involved in several recent plots in the United Kingdom and the United States. Lone-wolf attacks, however, have been planned and perpetrated from all parts of the political and religious spectrum, according to Time.

"The reason why the threat is growing can be traced to the impact of the Internet," Simon said, Time reports. "While there were significant lone wolves before the age of the Internet, the cyber-world has undoubtedly been a godsend for the individual terrorist. It has led to a proliferation of lone wolves and allowed for anybody with a laptop or smart phone to quickly become knowledgeable about terrorist tactics, targets, and weapons."