National Political Convention Project Guidelines
This assignment requires the student to conduct an analysis of Al Qaeda planned and actual
biennial attacks and patterns of operations that coincide with the U.S. national biennial
political campaigns. The analysis anticipates that the terrorist organization desires to carry
out attacks inside America and against Americans, as well as against American interests
Your Role and Assignment:
For this project, you will assume the role of an Intelligence Analyst assigned to a State
Fusion Center. A Fusion Center is a collaborative effort of multiple agencies that provide
resources, expertise, and information with the goal of maximizing the ability to detect,
prevent, investigate, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity. Fusion centers conduct
analysis and facilitate information sharing to assist law enforcement and homeland security
partners in preventing, protecting against, and responding to crime and terrorism. State and
major urban area fusion centers serve as primary focal points for the receipt, analysis,
gathering, and sharing of threat-related information among federal, state, local, tribal, and
territorial (SLTT) partners. Fusion centers are located in states and major urban areas
throughout the country and are uniquely situated to enable law enforcement personnel to
gather and share threat-related information.
Given certain trend information, in your intelligence analyst role you have been tasked with
gathering specific information regarding specific past attacks by Al Qaeda. You will note the
majority of listed incidents appear to have occurred during the six months and in the
immediate eight week period preceding the biennial elections. Gathering and collecting
covers the acquisition of raw information through activities such as interviews of confidential
and other sources, surveillances, intercepts, forensics, and liaison relationships. Information
can be gathered from open sources and other more sophisticated sources. You are being
requested to use open sources for this assignment. Open source intelligence is publicly
available and accessible information appearing in electronic or print form and includes radio,
television, newspapers, journals, the internet, commercial databases, drawings, graphics,
and videos. The use of Wikipedia or any other “Wiki” sources are strictly prohibited for this
assignment. Keep in mind that trend analysis does not predict future events but it can be a
powerful tool for strategic planning by creating plausible and detailed scenarios or views of
what might occur. The information you develop will be used in conjunction with other
intelligence being gathered and analyzed incident to planning and preparing security and
counterterrorism efforts for an upcoming National Political Convention in the U.S.
Intelligence indicates an attack is being planned consistent with the following:
When? For purposes of this exercise, during the six months immediately
preceding the national elections and during each subsequent national
Where? New York and Washington, D.C. and for purposes of this exercise any
National Political Convention cities due to the
financial/economic/military and political symbolisms.
How? Primarily Explosives, but possibly the use of other modalities of
Weapons of Mass Destruction, i.e., CBRNE (Chemical, Biological,
Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives). Suicide attacks are given emphasis;
person-borne, vehicle-borne, and aerial vehicles.
Who? Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (according to intelligence analysts,
Al Qaeda’s Yemen-based branch, which calls itself Al Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), does not consider the United States a key
target. However, attacking the United States would be a significant
“force multiplier” by drawing broader publicity, and assisting
Why? To continue one of Al Qaeda’s tactics of attempting to influence U.S.
biennial elections in favor of “war hawks” by launching terrorist surges
in activities during the year and more significantly during the final
months of national political campaigns. From 1998 to 2012 Al Qaeda
consistently attempted to magnify the issue of terrorism in the political
arena and sway U.S. elections by launching its most stunning surges
of terrorist attacks in the midst of campaign seasons.
You are being provided the following partial listing of locations that have experienced past
surge attacks or plotted attacks by Al Qaeda during U.S. biennial election years. Specific
plotted or failed attacks are listed for the same periods.
August 1998: Bombing of U.S. Embassy in Tanzania
Bombing of U.S. Embassy in Kenya
October 2000: Bombing of USS COLE after failed Jan. attempt on USS Sullivans
June 2002: Bomb outside American consulate in Karachi, Pakistan
October 2002: Nightclub bombing in Bali, Indonesia
June 2004: American kidnapping and execution in Riyadh, Saudi, Arabia October
October 2004: Sinai Bombings
August 2006: Transatlantic Airlines Plot
September 2008: American Embassy attack in Sana’a
October 2010: Plot to send air cargo bomb parcels to U.S.
May 2012: Foiled plot to bomb U.S. bound flight(s)
September 2012: Benghazi U.S. Consulate Attack
You must research, gather, and collect the following detailed and specific information for
each separate and distinct actual and planned attack listed. You must produce a minimum
2700-word APA style and formatted written narrative that details your findings and
conclusion. The paper must be typewritten, double-spaced, standard margins, and follow
the APA style and format. The paper will be submitted through Turnitin.com. No previously
submitted papers, articles, reports or projects, in whole or part, to any university or college
will be accepted. It is expected that this will be your original work. No more than 15% of
your entire document can be quoted. Your Conclusion must include your identified
commonalities and any discerned patterns of operations in the actual, planned and failed
attacks. Your briefing must be suitable for use in planning and preparing future security and
counterterrorism activities associated with future National Political Conventions. Your
research and written narrative must rely upon a minimum of six separate and distinct
sources, and at a minimum address and include the following for each of the twelve
Identify Each Incident as Actual or Planned or Failed Attack
Location of Actual or Planned/Failed Attack, e.g., city, country, etc.
Venue of Actual or Planned/Failed Attack, e.g. embassy, consulate, street level-
business district, etc.
Date(s) of Actual or Planned/Failed Attack
Responsible party, AQAP, etc.
Weapon(s) Used in Each Incident, e.g., IED, rocket, firearms, etc.
Weapon Delivery Method in Each Incident, e.g., person-borne, vehicle-borne, air
craft, water vessel, shipped, etc.
Number of Casualties Broken Down by Injuries and Fatalities in Each Incident
Breakdown of Victims by Nationality in Each Incident, e.g., American, Australian,
Breakdown of Victim Status in Each Incident – civilian population, tourists, police,
military, political, embassy personnel, etc.
You will be graded with the following criteria:
Evidenced resourcefulness in gathering and collecting information.
High level of detail in describing and explaining each incident.
Conclusion reflects high level of critical analysis and critical thinking.
Conclusion is clearly stated, rational, logical and well-reasoned.
Writing and grammar skills are appropriate to the graduate level.
Resources are completely and appropriately cited and referenced using APA Style.
Suitability for use in planning and preparing future security and counterterrorism
activities associated with future National Political Conventions and relates the overall
subject matter to the SLU core value of responsible stewardship.
The final National Political Convention Scenario Paper is due to the Dropbox no later than
Friday 11:59 PM EST/EDT of Module 8. (This Dropbox basket is lined to Turnitin.)
Grading Rubric: Following is the grading rubric to be used in evaluating the National
Political Convention Project.
Exceptional corresponds to an A (93-100%). Performance is outstanding; significantly
above the usual expectations.
Proficient corresponds to a grade of B to A- (83-92%). Skills and standards are at the level
Basic corresponds to a C to B- (73-80%). Skills and standards are acceptable but
improvements are needed to meet expectations well.
Novice corresponds to a D (65 – 72%). Performance is weak; the skills or standards are not
sufficiently demonstrated at this time.
0 This criterion is missing or not in evidence.
0 Novice Basic Proficient Exceptional
The paper extensively and
critically develops the issue,
clearly articulates the student’s
findings, and provides a coherent
conclusion that is clearly stated,
rational, logical and well-reasoned
20 1 – 5
10 11 -15 16 – 20
resourcefulness in gathering and
collecting “open source”
information using multiple sources
20 1 – 5
10 11 – 15 16 -20
High level of detail in describing
and explaining each identified al
Qaeda terrorist incident or event
20 1 – 5
10 11 – 15 16 – 20
Writing and grammar skills are
appropriate to the graduate level
and sources are completely and
appropriately cited and referenced
APA style and format
20 1 – 5
10 11 – 15 16 – 20
Suitable for use in planning and
preparing future security and
associated with future National
Political Conventions and relates
the overall subject matter to the
SLU Core Value of Responsible
20 1 – 5
10 11 – 15 16 – 20