Designation of Foreign Terrorist Organizations*
(October 19, 2004)
Foreign Terrorist Organizations are foreign organizations that are designated by the Secretary of State in accordance with section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended. FTO designations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business.
The Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism in the State Department (S/CT) continually monitors the activities of terrorist groups active around the world to identify potential targets for designation. When reviewing potential targets, S/CT looks not only at the actual terrorist attacks that a group has carried out, but also at whether the group has engaged in planning and preparations for possible future acts of terrorism or retains the capability and intent to carry out such acts.
Once a target is identified, S/CT prepares a detailed "administrative record," which is a compilation of information, typically including both classified and open sources information, demonstrating that the statutory criteria for designation have been satisfied. If the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, decides to make the designation, Congress is notified of the Secretary’s intent to designate the organization and given seven days to review the designation, as the INA requires. Upon the expiration of the seven-day waiting period, notice of the designation is published in the Federal Register, at which point the designation takes effect. An organization designated as an FTO may seek judicial review of the designation in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit not later than 30 days after the designation is published in the Federal Register.
FTO designations expire automatically after two years, but the Secretary of State may redesignate an organization for additional two-year period(s), upon a finding that the statutory criteria continue to be met. The procedural requirements for designating an organization as an FTO also apply to any redesignation of that organization. The Secretary of State may revoke a designation or redesignation at any time upon a finding that the circumstances that were the basis for the designation or redesignation have changed in such a manner as to warrant revocation, or that the national security of the United States warrants a revocation. The same procedural requirements apply to revocations made by the Secretary of State as apply to designations or redesignations. A designation may also be revoked by an Act of Congress, or set aside by a Court order.
Legal Criteria for Designation
(Reflecting Amendments to Section 219 of the INA in the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001)
Legal Ramifications of Designation
Other Effects of Designation
Current List of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations
* Section 212(a)(3)(B) of the INA defines "terrorist activity" to mean: "any activity which is unlawful under the laws of the place where it is committed (or which, if committed in the United States, would be unlawful under the laws of the United States or any State) and which involves any of the following:
(I) The highjacking or sabotage of any conveyance (including an aircraft, vessel, or vehicle).
(II) The seizing or detaining, and threatening to kill, injure, or continue to detain, another individual in order to compel a third person (including a governmental organization) to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the individual seized or detained.
(III) A violent attack upon an internationally protected person (as defined in section 1116(b)(4) of title 18, United States Code) or upon the liberty of such a person.
(b) explosive, firearm, or other weapon or dangerous device (other than for mere personal monetary gain), with intent to endanger, directly or indirectly, the safety of one or more individuals or to cause substantial damage to property.
Other pertinent portions of section 212(a)(3)(B) are set forth below:
As used in this chapter [chapter 8 of the INA], the term ‘engage in terrorist activity’ means in an individual capacity or as a member of an organization–
(aa) a terrorist activity;
(bb) a terrorist organization described in clause (vi)(I) or (vi)(II); or
(cc) a terrorist organization described in clause (vi)(III), unless the solicitor can demonstrate that he did not know, and should not reasonably have known, that the solicitation would further the organization’s terrorist activity;
(aa) for the commission of a terrorist activity;
(bb) to any individual who the actor knows, or reasonably should know, has committed or plans to commit a terrorist activity;
(cc) to a terrorist organization described in clause (vi)(I) or (vi)(II); or
(dd) to a terrorist organization described in clause (vi)(III), unless the actor can demonstrate that he did not know, and should not reasonably have known, that the act would further the organization’s terrorist activity.
This clause shall not apply to any material support the alien afforded to an organization or individual that has committed terrorist activity, if the Secretary of State, after consultation with the Attorney General, or the Attorney General, after consultation with the Secretary of State, concludes in his sole unreviewable discretion, that that this clause should not apply."
"(v) Representative Defined
As used in this paragraph, the term ‘representative’ includes an officer, official, or spokesman of an organization, and any person who directs, counsels, commands, or induces an organization or its members to engage in terrorist activity.
As used in clause (i)(VI) and clause (iv), the term ‘terrorist organization’ means an organization--
** Section 140(d)(2) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1988 and 1989 defines "terrorism" as "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents."
Addition of Al-Manar to the Terrorist Exclusion List, New Designation of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and Amended Designation of the Zarqawi-led Foreign Terrorist Organization Jam’at al Tawhid wa’al-Jihad to Reflect new Aliases
On December 17, 2004, the Federal Register published information on the following: the addition of Al-Manar to the Terrorist Exclusion List, the new designation of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), and the amended FTO designation of the Zarqawi-led organization known as Jam’at al Tawhid wa’al-Jihad to reflect new aliases of the organization. Designations of Foreign Terrorist Organizations and additions of groups to the Terrorist Exclusion List, part of ongoing U.S. efforts against terrorism, enhance our ability to isolate and take appropriate action against terrorist organizations.
On December 14, 2004, the global satellite television operation, Al-Manar, was designated under section 212(a)(3)(B)(vi)(II) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, placing it on the Terrorist Exclusion List. As a result of this designation, aliens are inadmissible to the United States if they engage in a range of statutorily specified activities involving Al-Manar. The Deputy Secretary of State made the decision to designate Al-Manar in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security.
The FTO designation of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and amended designation of the Zarqawi-led FTO Jam’at al Tawhid wa’al-Jihad to reflect new aliases will enhance the United States’ ability to take action against these organizations in accordance with U.S. law. U.S. law makes it illegal for persons in the United States, or persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, to provide material support to FTOs. It permits the U.S. Government to require U.S. financial institutions to block assets held by them, and makes aliens inadmissible to the United States if they engage in a range of statutorily specified activities involving the organization. After a thorough review of these groups’ terrorist activities, and from the basis of law and from the basis of evidence, the Deputy Secretary of State made the decision to make these designations in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury.
On December 8, 2004, the Deputy Secretary of State designated the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended. The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) emerged in 1995 among Libyans who had fought against Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Originally organized to overthrow the Qadhafi regime and install a Shari'a-based government, the LIFG has subsequently embraced the global jihadist agenda of al-Qaida. Its leadership has had a close association with al-Qaida. Some senior members of LIFG are believed to be or have belonged to al-Qaida’s senior command structure, and now are part of the support network of the broader international jihadist movement. LIFG members have been directly or indirectly implicated in a number of terrorist activities, particularly in North Africa. LIFG actively targets Libya and is believed to have been involved in planning and facilitating the May 2003 bombings in Casablanca, Morocco. The LIFG constitutes the most serious threat to U.S. interests and personnel in Libya.
The Zarqawi-led FTO, Jam’at al-Tawhid wa’al Jihad, was initially designated as an FTO on October 15, 2004. Two days later on October 17, the group’s leader Abu-Mus’ab al-Zarqawi pledged his group’s allegiance to al-Qaida and its leader, Usama bin Laden. Following this pledge, Zarqawi’s group issued statements on October 20 on jihadist websites claiming responsibility for recent anti-U.S. attacks in Iraq. In these statements, the group used a new name, TANZIM QA’IDAT AL-JIHAD FI BILAD AL-RAFIDAYN, which is understood to mean the base of organized jihadist operations in Iraq. Under the leadership of Zarqawi, the organization continued to engage in terrorist activities and claimed responsibility for the October 24th massacre of 49 unarmed, out-of-uniform Iraqi soldiers and the October 26th kidnapping and beheading of Japanese citizen Shosei Koda. We have accordingly amended the FTO designation to add the new alias and other related aliases.
Source: U.S. State Department