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Terrorism is the use of force or violence against persons or property in violation of the criminal laws of the United States for purposes of intimidation, coercion, or ransom. Various types of terrorism exist, categorized by the mechanism for causing violence against people and property.

A chemical threat of terrorism involves the use of chemical agents, such as vapors, aerosols, liquids, and solids that are toxic to people, animal, or plants.

Biological agents are organisms or toxins that can kill or incapacitate people, livestock, and crops. Three basic groups of biological agents are most likely to be used for terrorism, they are bacteria, viruses, and toxins. Biological agents could be spread to residents by a spray into the air, by infecting animals that carry the disease to humans, and by contaminating food and water.

Radiological terrorism uses a Radiological Dispersion Device (RDD), to spread radiation across an area. The device contaminates an explosive piece of equipment, such as a bomb, with radioactive material. The radioactive materials in an RDD are widely used in medicine, agriculture, industry, and research and are easier to obtain than other higher grade materials.

Explosive devices are one of the most common weapons used by terrorists because of the easily accessible knowledge on the internet. Explosives are highly portable and easily detonated, which provides the means for attacks on public places, on city streets, and in financial, religious, political, and social institutions.