Indiana State University Newsroom

Professor asked to speak at counterterrorism conference in Belgium

September 17, 2010

An Indiana State University expert on terrorism has been asked to participate in a European conference on combating terrorism.

The European Expert Network on Terrorism Issues requested Mark Hamm, ISU criminology professor, discuss lone wolf terrorists at the Sept. 19-21 conference in Brussels, Belgium. Hamm is the only American invited to present at the conference.

"This is a working group of counter terrorism people from around Europe that meet once a year," Hamm said. "This shows we're all in this together, worldwide. Wherever you go, people are perplexed."

Hamm, who has written two books on Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing, said McVeigh is seen as the classic case of lone wolf terrorism.

"They have no command or control group, but they do get a blessing from that group," Hamm explained about who are considered lone wolves.

However, Hamm questions if lone wolves do exist.

"Part of what I'm addressing is if Timothy McVeigh is a classic lone wolf then he wasn't alone. He had support," Hamm said.

Besides help from Terry Nichols, McVeigh would have needed help in constructing the bomb used to kill 168 people, including 19 children under the age of 6, according to Hamm.

McVeigh knew people from gun shows, the military, the Aryan Republican Army and others.

"He didn't just know people in the radical right, he was a gadfly," Hamm said. "He lived alone and traveled incessantly. He was traveling in circles where he met with someone who did have the skills to fuse the rounds on the ANFO (ammonia nitrate/fuel oil) bomb."

Hamm said he also suggests that fighting terrorism isn't a military matter, but a law enforcement one.

"Terrorism is the final crime in a series of crimes," Hamm said. "The military is not in a position to preempt a crime. Only law enforcement can do that."

Hamm's newest book, "The Spectacular Ones: Prisoner Radicalization and Sacred Terrorism" will be released in 2011.

Mark Hamm

Contact : Mark Hamm, Indiana State University, professor of criminology, at 812-237-2197 or

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or Jennifer.