The Fatal Terror Attacks on American Soil Under Presidents Bush and Obama Side-by-Side

In order to compare the frequency of terror attacks in the United States under President George W. Bush with President Obama, Independent Journal Review logged every instance in which at least one person died on American soil.

The FBI defines domestic terrorism as acts committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States that are dangerous to human life, violate laws and:

“Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping.”

The list below does not include incidences in which law enforcement prevented an attack from taking place or in which victims were wounded, but not killed. Attacks on diplomatic facilities overseas are not included.

This list was compiled with data primarily from the FBI and the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), which is made available by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).

Domestic terror attacks are presented in chronological order and the number of fatalities are presented at the end of each year.

The Bush Presidency

US President George W. Bush (2nd R) and First Lady Laura Bush (R) stand during a moment of silence commemorating the 7 year anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the US from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, September 11, 2008 with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (2nd L), Defense Secretary Robert Gates (L) and others. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Image Credit: Jim Watson/Getty Images

1. September 11, 2001

The coordinated hijacking of four U.S. commercial airliners by 19 al-Qaeda affiliates resulted in the death of 2,996 people, making it the most deadly act of terrorism ever committed.

2. Anthrax Mailings, Fall of 2001

From September to November 2001, anthrax-tainted parcels mailed to Congressmen and journalists led to the death of five people. The message included in the letters read, in part, “Death to America. Death to Israel. Allah is Great.”

These deaths are the first known in the United States from a biological agent.

Year 2001 victim total: 3,001. Overall total: 3,020

3. Tampa, FL, January 5, 2002

Fifteen-year-old Charles Bishop stole a single engine airplane and crashed it into the 28th and 29th floors of the local Bank of America building. Although Bishop wrote a suicide letter sympathetic to the 9/11 hijackers, the Global Terrorism Database notes his mental state may prevent this incident from being considered terrorism proper.

Bishop is the only person who died in the incident.

TAMPA, UNITED STATES: A worker and police detectives examine 07 January 2002 the damage caused to the Bank of America building when Charles Bishop deliberately crashed a stolen Cessna plane 05 January into the Tampa, Florida skyscraper. Bishop, a 15-year old student pilot, was expressing "sympathy" toward terror suspect Osama bin Laden in a note found in the wreckage, according to police. The worker (at left) points to a blood stain in the top left corner of the opening. AFP PHOTO Peter MUHLY (Photo credit should read PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images)
A worker and police detectives examine the damage caused to the Bank of America building on January 7, 2002. Image Credit: Peter Muhly/Getty Images

4. LAX Ticket Counter Shooting, July 4, 2002

Hesham Mohamed Ali Hedayat began shooting randomly while standing in line at the Los Angeles International Airport. Two innocent people were killed and an investigation found that Hedayat was motivated by his religious and political beliefs.

Hedayat was shot dead by a security guard.

Year 2002 victim total: 2 deaths. Overall total: 4 deaths.

No such deaths occurred in 2003, 2004, or 2005.

5. Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, July 28, 2006

Naveed Afzal Haq forced his way into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and killed one of the women working there.

The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) includes this incident in its database, but notes it has reservations over calling it terrorism proper.

Year 2006 victim total: 1 death. Overall total: 1 death.

No such deaths occurred in 2007.

Total fatalities during Bush’s administration: 3,025

The Obama Presidency

US President Barack Obama speaks during an interfaith memorial service for the victims of the Dallas police shooting at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center on July 12, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. President Barack Obama attended a somber memorial Tuesday to five police officers slain in a sniper ambush in Dallas, as he seeks to unify a country divided by race and politics. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Image Credit: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

1. Unitarian Church Shooting, July 27, 2008

Jim Adkisson opened fire in a Knoxsville, TN, Unitarian-Universalist church that promoted progressive social work, killing two people. Adkisson said he was partly motivated by his “hatred of the liberal movement.”

Year 2008 victim total: 2 deaths. Overall total: 2 deaths.

2. Arivaca, AZ, May 30, 2009

Shawna Forde, Jason Eugene Bush, and Albert Robert Gaxiola broke into the family home of Raul Flores, and killed Flores and his nine-year-old daughter.

Ford and Bush are founding members of the Minuteman American Defense, an anti-illegal alien group. The attack was carried out to advance their cause, although the Floreses were U.S. citizens.

3. Wichita, KS, May 31, 2009

George Tiller, a late-term abortionist, was shot dead in the foyer of the Reformation Lutheran Church by anti-abortion gunman Scott Roeder.

4. Little Rock, AR, June 1, 2009

Abdulhakim Muhammad killed one soldier outside of a military recruiting station. He later claimed to be a member of al-Qaeda.

5. Washington, D.C., June 10, 2009

White supremacist James W. von Brunn killed one person, a security guard, when he fired upon civilians inside the National Holocaust Memorial Museum.

A fallen soldiers memorial is seen in front of the podium where the memorial service that US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will attend for the thirteen victims of the shooting rampage by US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan on November 10, 2009 in Fort Hood, Texas. Hasan, an army psychiatrist, killed 13 people and wounded 30 in a shooting at the military base on November 5, 2009. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A fallen soldiers memorial in Fort Hood, TX. Image Credit: Jim Watson/Getty Images

6. Ft. Hood, TX, November 5, 2009

Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire on fellow soldiers on the military base, killing 13. While in prison, he petitioned to be made a citizen of ISIS.

Year 2009 victim total: 18 deaths. Overall total 18 deaths.

7. Austin, TX, February 18, 2010

Joseph Stack flew his private plane into the Internal Revenue Service building, killing himself and one innocent person.

8. The Pentagon, March 4, 2010

John Patrick Bedell non-fatally injured two police officers at the entrance of the Pentagon but was himself mortally wounded. Bedell was apparently motivated by anti-government sentiments, but it is unclear whether he was on the right or left side of the political spectrum.

9. Silver Spring, MD, September 1, 2010

James Lee took three hostages at the Discovery Communications headquarters building. Lee disapproved of the network’s television programming on overpopulation. The hostages survived but Lee was killed by police.

Year 2010 victim total: 1 death. Overall total: 4 deaths.

No such deaths occurred in 2011.

10. Wisconsin Sikh Temple, August 5, 2012

Wade Michael Page, a member of a white supremacist organization, gunned down six people before he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Year 2012 victim total: 6 deaths. Overall total: 7 deaths.

11. Boston Marathon Bombing, April 2013

Brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev detonated two bombs made from a pressure cooker, nails, and BBS near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Three spectators were killed in the attack and hundreds were injured.

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 15: A runner sits near Kenmore Square after two bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Two people are confirmed dead and at least 23 injured after two explosions went off near the finish line to the marathon. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
A runner sits near Kenmore Square after two bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. Image Credit: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was also killed later.

After a multi-day manhunt, Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police and Dzhokhar was apprehended.

12. LAX Airport, November 1, 2013

Paul Ciancia opened fire on Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents, killing one before he was captured.

Year 2013 victim total: 5 deaths. Overall total: 6 deaths.

13. Kansas City, KS, April 13, 2014

Frazier Glenn Cross opened fire on civilians outside a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement home. Two people were killed in the first attack and one person in the second.

Cross is a former Ku Klux Klan member and shouted “Heil Hitler” as he was arrested.

14. Seattle, WA, April 27, 2014

Ali Muhammad Brown killed one civilian, stating that his motivation was to punish the United States for its involvement in the Middle East.

15. Seattle, WA, June 1, 2014

In a second attack, Ali Muhammad Brown killed two civilians, prompted by the same motivation.

16. Cumming, GA, June 6, 2014

Dennis Marx, self-identifying as a member of the Sovereign Citizen movement, opened fire on a county courthouse before he was killed by law enforcement. One county deputy suffered non-life threatening injuries.

17. Las Vegas, NV, June 8 2014

Two anti-government gunmen, Jerad and Amanda Miller, ambushed police officers at a restaurant and attacked a Walmart. Both gunmen, two officers, and a bystander were killed.

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 09: Executive Director of the Injured Police Officers Fund Minddie Lloyd holds a sign with images of two slain police officers during a vigil outside CiCi's Pizza on June 9, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department says officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo were shot and killed yesterday at the restaurant by Jerad Miller and his wife Amanda Miller. Police say the Millers then went into a nearby Wal-Mart where Amanda Miller killed Joseph Wilcox before the Millers killed themselves. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Images of two slain police officers on June 9, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Image Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

18. West Orange, NJ, June 25, 2014

Assailants, including Ali Muhammad Brown from the two Seattle attacks, killed a bystander to punish the United States for its involvement in the Middle East. Brown was convicted of terrorism. Charges against two other suspects were dropped.

19. Blooming Grove, PA, September 12, 2014

Eric Frein, an anti-government gunman, killed one state trooper at the Blooming Grove barracks.

20. New York City, NY, October 23, 2014

Zale Thompson, a Muslim convert, was killed after he non-fatally attacked a police patrol with a hatchet.

21. Austin, TX, November 28, 2014

Larry McQuilliams opened fire on three government and security buildings in the same day before being shot by police. Authorities suspect he was motivated by anti-government sentiment.

22. Morganton, NC, December 18, 2014

Justin Nojan Sullivan was charged with the killing of his neighbor as part of his plan to carry out an ISIS-inspired attack.

23. New York City, NY, December 20, 2014

Ismaaiyl Brinsley opened fire on NYC police officers while they were sitting in their vehicle to avenge the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Two police officers were killed in the attack.

Year 2014 victim total: 14 deaths. Overall total: 19 deaths.

24. New Orleans Airport, March 20, 2015

An assailant, identified as Richard White, attacked TSA agents with wasp killer spray and a machete at a security checkpoint. White was killed by responding agents.

The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) includes this incident in its database but notes it has reservations over calling it terrorism proper.

25. Garland, TX, May, 3, 2015

Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi opened fire at a conference center that was hosting an exhibition of cartoon of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. The assailants were killed in the attack.

GARLAND, TX - MAY 4: Members of the FBI Evidence Response Team investigate the crime scene outside of the Curtis Culwell Center after a shooting occurred the day before, on May 04, 2015 in Garland, Texas. During the "Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest," on May 03, Elton Simpson of Phoenix, Arizonia and Nadir Soofi opened fire, wounding a security guard. Police officers shot and killed Simpson at the scene. The provocative cartoon event was billed by organizers as a free speech event while critics deemed it to be anti-Islamic. (Photo by Ben Torres/Getty Images)
The FBI investigates the crime scene outside of the Curtis Culwell Center on May 4, 2014. Image Credit: Ben Torres/Getty Images

26. Charleston, SC, June 17, 2015

Dylann Roof opened fire on parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, killing nine. Roof admitted he was there to “kill black people.”

27. Chattanooga, TN, September 16, 2015

Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez killed five military personnel during a shooting rampage at the Navy Operational Support Center and an Army recruiting office. Abdulazeez was ultimately killed but he had expressed admiration of anti-American extremists in the past.  

28. Lafayette, LA, September 23, 2015

John Russell Houser opened fire at a movie screening, killing two, before killing himself. Houser said he carried out the attack with the intention of harming the United States economy.

29. Merced, CA, November 4, 2015

Faisal Mohammad attacked students on the University of California – Merced campus. He was shot and killed by police officers while no civilians were killed. A manifesto demonstrated Mohammad’s jihadist intentions and admiration of ISIS.

30. Colorado Springs, CO, November 27, 2015

Robert Lewis Dear, an anti-abortion activist, opened fire on a Planned Parenthood clinic, killing three people. He was captured by SWAT team members after a five-hour standoff.

31. San Bernardino, CA, December 2, 2015

Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple who were Muslim radicals, killed 14 people at a holiday party. The assailants were later killed in a shootout with police.

SAN BERNARDINO, CA - DECEMBER 07: People hold candles as they attend a vigil held at the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors headquarters to remember those injured and killed during the shooting at the Inland Regional Center on December 7, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. FBI and other law enforcement officials continue to investigate the mass shooting that left 14 people dead and another 21 injured on December 2nd. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
People hold candles at a vigil for the victims in San Bernardino, CA. Image Credit:  Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Year 2015 victim total: 33 deaths. Overall total: 41 deaths.

The Global Terrorism Database does not include data on terrorist attacks in 2016. But incidents that occurred in 2016 and are still being investigated are included below:

32. Columbus, OH, February 11, 2016

Mohammad Barry attacked an Ohio restaurant with a Jewish proprietor, Nazareth Restaurant and Deli, with a machete. No civilians were fatally wounded but Barry was killed by police.

33. Orlando, FL, June 12, 2016

In a 911 call on the night Omar Mateen killed 49 people at a gay nightclub, he pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS. Police eventually killed the gunman.

34. Bristol, TN, July 9, 2016

Lakeem Keon Scott killed one woman when he shot indiscriminately at passing cars on a Tennessee highway. Scott, who was apprehended by police, said he was motivated by the recent killings of black men by law enforcement.

35. Dallas, TX, July 9, 2016

Shooter Micah Xavier Johnson killed five police officers near the end of a peaceful protest against recent police shootings of black men. Johnson told officers he wanted to kill white people in general, but white police officers in particular.

The gunman was later killed that night by a robot deployed by police. It is being considered by several analysts to be an anti-police terror attack.

DALLAS, TX - JULY 13: Police officers salute during funeral services for slain Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) police officer Brent Thompson at the Potter's House Church on July 13, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. DART police officer Brent Thompson was one of five Dallas police officers who were shot and killed by a sniper during a Black Lives Matter march in Dallas. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Police officers salute during funeral services for a slain police officer in Dallas, TX. Image Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

36. Baton Rouge, LA, July 17, 2016

Three police officers were killed by lone gunman Gavin Long. Police eventually shot Long dead. The assailant had joined radical black nationalist groups and posted online his belief in revolution.

Year 2016 victim total: 58 deaths. Overall total: 62 deaths.

Total fatalities during Obama’s administration to date: 159

While there were a greater number of people killed as a result of terror attacks in the United States under the Bush administration, the number of fatalities on one attack–on 9/11–was unusually large.

The frequency of attacks that resulted in at least one person dead was higher under the Obama administration.

What do you think?

9 points
Upvote Downvote

People Are Flipping Out Over the Optical Illusion in a Pic of Mike Pence’s Family at Chili’s

12-Year-Old Boy Arrested in Baton Rouge Linked to ‘Ambush’ Plot to Kill Police Officers