TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

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TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

this effect, the Department of State maintains an official ‘Foreign Terrorist Organization’(FTO) list that specifies which groups the US Government believespromote terrorism. Under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death PenaltyAct of 1996 (8 USC § 1189), the Secretary of State can declare an organizationa FTO if:• The entity is foreign.• It engages in terrorist activity.• The terrorist activity threatens the security of the United States or itsnationals. 38Being placed on the FTO list results in severe penalties for the affected organizationand its members:• Anyone who provides “material support or resources” to the FTOmay be prosecuted and imprisoned for up to fifteen years.• The Secretary of the Treasury can immediately freeze the FTO’s fundswithin the United States.• The FTO’s members cannot enter the United States legally.The process to place individual groups on the FTO list can become politicized,as some policymakers have tried to broaden the list to incorporate fully staterunorganizations. In January 2007 the US Senate voted 76-22 in favor of anon-binding resolution to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps(IRGC), an Iranian state-run organization, a FTO. 39 Had the Department ofState declared the IRGC a FTO—it declined to do so—the US could have leviedsevere financial sanctions against the organization, as well as opened individualIranian government employees to worldwide US targeting operations.US Definitions of International TerrorismTitle 22 also defines international terrorism as, “terrorism involving citizensor the territory of more than one country.” The best-known transnational terroristgroup with a global agenda is al Qaeda, which has perpetrated attacksworldwide in pursuit of its articulated goal of establishing a pan-Islamic state.Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs | Harvard Kennedy School25

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