…you already know.
Direct action is not about intelligence. Done properly (and it is possible to do this) it is an extremely rare combination of guts, apathy, foresight, and discipline. Apathy is needed because at certain times in the field, one is totally committed and needs to just bang rather than thinking of consequences.
Individually, the steps of any mission are quite easy. When put together though, very few men alive can do them without permission. A good DAA who gets away with it is one in 100 million, the rarest type available.
There are such men alive today, but few will be able to detect their work, as it tends to float below the radar. A big part of getting away with it in the long term is calculating the heat ahead of time, and managing it, BEFORE it gets out of control.
…and so, we come to our main cases.
To become a graduate student in a hard science requires an elite level of intelligence. However, that alone does not guarantee DA success.
In this case from 1991, a 28 year old Chink named Gang Lu, a Physics doctorate, tried homicide.
And in this case, a math grad student tried homicide with a hammer.