Terror Plots

Listed below are all of the terror plots we identified, organized by the key methods used to initiate the investigations. On the right are plots in which the initiating or key role was played by the bulk collection of American telephone metadata by the NSA under Section 215, NSA surveillance of non-U.S. persons overseas under Section 702, and NSA surveillance under an unclear authority. On the left are plots that were initiated by tips from members of an extremist’s family or local community, through the use of an undercover informant, through intelligence operations or routine law enforcement in which the NSA did not play a key role, by the self-disclosure of extremist activity on the part of the extremist in question, or by tips regarding suspicious activity from individuals who are not part of an extremist’s family or local community Plots have also been divided into those where the method used to initiate the investigation is unclear and could have been started by any of the methods listed above or other investigative means. In some of these cases, the plot may be too recent to have developed a public record large enough to identify which investigative tools were used. The final category shows plots where a violent incident occurred prior to the extremist’s apprehension or death.

Community/Family Tip


Other Non-NSA Intelligence provided by CIA, FBI etc.

Routine Law Enforcement

Militant Self Disclosed by Publicizing His Extremist Activity

Suspicious Activity Report


Plot Not Prevented Prior to Incident