Date of Award:

2014

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Political Science

Advisor/Chair:

Jeannie Johnson

Abstract

This thesis analyzes the Sovereign Citizens Movement—considered a domestic terrorist organization by the FBI— to determine if the label “terrorist organization” is appropriately applied, and then to assess the effectiveness of government protocols. The Sovereign Citizens Movement is a loose organization of individuals who adhere to an anti-government ideology. In most cases their actions are limited to fraudulent activity; however there have been individuals who resorted to violence in their engagements with government officials. This thesis concludes that the label “terrorist organization” does not describe the movement well, but that it is more likely that some individuals extrapolate the ideology and choose violence on their own, making them lone-wolf terrorists. Another conclusion of this thesis is that there needs to be a regular set of protocols established for all government agencies for interacting with Sovereigns. The method created by Rob Finch and Kory Flowers, which incorporates both law enforcement officials and legal professionals, provides the most effective way to interact with Sovereigns.

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