The author, Bruce Hoffman, was for a long time a director at RAND Corporation in Washington, which he designates in his book as an “independent, objective, nonpartisan research institution” (p. xi).
As an external observer, researcher and author, I have followed with keen interest for many years the debate surrounding the phenomenon of terrorism: its definition, rationale, execution, effects and legal aspects.
I came initially across Hoffman’s book when I examined the activities of Germany’s Federal Center for Political Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, or BpB), which is not, as its name might suggest, a university institute or a department in the Ministry of Education, but a propaganda institution that belongs to the Ministry of the Interior). The BpB promotes Hoffman’s book (in its German translation) to German schools and universities as a textbook on terrorism. After reading that book, I spent long hours writing a detailed critical review of it in German, which is posted on the internet. I thought I had fulfilled thereby my civic duty.
Then I discovered that Bruce Hoffman was not only an author of junk science, but is periodically invited to comment on CNN, the Washington Post, the New York Times and other leading media, as an “expert” on terrorism. This discovery compelled me to share my exposure of Hoffman as a fraud with a larger audience, and particularly with unsuspecting potential buyers of his book. I do not…