The Terrorist-Criminal Nexus

Title:                      The Terrorist-Criminal Nexus

Author:                 Jennifer L Hesterman

Hesterman, Jennifer L. (2013). The Terrorist-Criminal Nexus: An Alliance of International Drug Cartels, Organized Crime, and Terror Groups. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis

LCCN:    2012050913

HV5825 .H443 2013


  • “We are currently faced with a new national security challenge that is both vexing and complex. The once clear lines between the international drug trade, terrorism, organized crime, domestic terror, and Mexican drug cartels are blurring as groups increasingly join forces to further individual interests and goals. The synergistic potential of the alliance between nonstate actors and terrorists is alarming. Factor in a rise in domestic terror and cartel activity spilling over U.S. borders and the resulting impact to America is grave. This text highlights the often disregarded, misunderstood, or obscured criminal/terrorist nexus threat to the U.S. Destroying the myth that such liaisons don’t exist due to differing ideologies, the book provides a thought-provoking and new look at the complexity and phenomena of the criminal/terrorist nexus.”– Provided by publisher.
  • “Chapter 1 A Poisonous Brew While organized crime is not a new phenomenon today, some governments find their authority besieged at home and their foreign policy interests imperiled abroad. Drug trafficking, links between drug traffickers and terrorists, smuggling of illegal aliens, massive financial and bank fraud, arms smuggling, potential involvement in the theft and sale of nuclear material, political intimidation, and corruption all constitute a poisonous brew–a mixture potentially as deadly as what we faced during the Cold War : R. James Woolsey Former Director, CIA Al Qaeda works with the mafia. The mafia works with outlaw motorcycle gangs. Biker gangs work with white supremacists. Surprised? Ten years ago, when I wrote my first book on this subject, the number of experts who would acknowledge that a nexus may exist between terrorists and criminals could be counted on one hand. In fact, Mr. Woolsey’s statement above was made in 1994, long before most people heard of al Qaeda, human trafficking and loose nukes. Unfortunately, the “poisonous brew” is becoming more toxic with time. Transnational organized crime is escalating, the cartels are global and undeterred, and the list of State Department Foreign Terrorist Organizations continues to grow. Transnational crime is a growing U.S. national security concern, and it threatens us in new, provoking ways. For example, Americans formerly viewed drug use as a law enforcement or health issue. Only very recently has drug trafficking been established as a global crime with a corresponding national security threat”– Provided by publisher.


Date Posted:      October 15, 2015

Reviewed by Joseph Sinai[1]

In this important study of the convergence between terrorist and criminal organizations, the author demonstrates how these organizations operate with a sophistication that is usually associated with multinational corporations, although, unlike legitimate businesses, their operations are clandestine and criminal in nature. The author, a retired US Air Force Colonel, and an expert on national security, is well placed to examine how these issues intersect through the case studies of al Qaeda; Hezbollah, FARC, drug cartels, violent gangs, as well as domestic US groups such as the Sovereign Citizens.

[1] Sinai, Joseph C. in The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies (20, 1, Spring/Summer 2013, p. 106). Joseph Sinai, Ph.D. Dr. Joshua Sinai is a Washing~ ton-based educator and consultant on terrorism and counterterrorism studies. He can be reached at:

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One Response to The Terrorist-Criminal Nexus

  1. Pingback: Fountainhead of Jihad | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

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