The Obama Administration had come up with several unnecessary and misleading classifications of terrorists, including “terrorist-inspired,” “terrorist-enabled,” etc., to classify those who do not act in conspiracy with others, but who may or may not be inspired or encouraged by others.
Terrorism is not a conspiracy per se, but a strategy of committing a war crime by targeting innocent civilians for intimidation to force the populace to accept the demands of the terrorist. Therefore, a terrorist is a terrorist, whether he acts in a conspiracy with others or alone, whether he is inspired by others or not. An act of terrorism is no less terrorism, regardless of whether it is committed by one person or more. In other words, an act of terrorism committed by a sole terrorist does not qualify the word terrorism.
The Unabomber was an example of a terrorist who acted alone. Another example would be a militant Islamist who commits a terrorist act alone as an act of violent jihad (Islamic holy war). Whether he were inspired by someone else’s writing or preaching or even encouraged by someone else is irrelevant as to whether he were a terrorist or his action were an act of terrorism.
The Administration’s classifications are not helpful toward understanding terrorism and seem to minimize the threat of those who commit terrorism alone by focusing too much only on terrorist organizations or cells.