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Department of Justice Anti-Terrorism Efforts

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The following fact sheet on anti-terrorism efforts was released today by the Department of Justice:


The highest priority of the Department of Justice since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has been to protect Americans by preventing acts of terrorism.


The ability of the Department to identify and prosecute would- be terrorists, thereby thwarting their deadly plots, has improved dramatically over the past five years thanks to: a core set of structural reforms, the development of new law enforcement tools, and the discipline of a new mindset that values prevention and communication.


Working side by side with other federal agencies, as well as state and local law enforcement, the Justice Department has not rested in its efforts to safeguard America -- and to the credit of all who have stood watch, there has not been a terrorist attack on American soil in five years.


I. Protecting America Through Investigation and Prosecution


Prosecutors and civil attorneys at the Department of Justice have had great success in America's federal courtrooms since the attacks of Sept. 11, successfully identifying, prosecuting, and locking up hundreds of terrorists or would-be terrorists. As Attorney General Gonzales has said, "Prevention is the goal of all goals when it comes to terrorism because we simply cannot and will not wait for these particular crimes to occur before taking action."


-- Prosecuting and Incarcerating Terrorists


To disrupt terrorist threats, the Department has used a variety of charges in terrorism and terrorism-related prosecutions since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Charges have been brought in cases involving terrorist acts abroad against U.S. nationals; terrorist attacks against mass transportation systems; visa or document fraud; prohibitions against financing of terrorism; and participation in nuclear and weapons of mass destruction threats to the United States, among other charges.


-- Since the Sept. 11 attacks, and as of Aug. 31, 2006, 288 defendants have been convicted or have pleaded guilty in terrorism or terrorism-related cases arising from investigations conducted primarily after Sept. 11, 2001.


-- In addition to these convictions, there are approximately 168 other defendants who have been charged since Sept. 11, 2001, in connection with terrorism or terrorism-related investigations. Those cases are either still pending in federal courts, have not resulted in criminal convictions, or involve defendants who are fugitives or are awaiting extradition.


Notable cases include:


-- Richard Reid (District of Massachusetts) -- British national Richard Reid was sentenced to life in prison following his guilty plea in Jan. 2003 on charges of attempting to ignite a shoe bomb while on an airplane from Paris to Miami.


-- John Walker Lindh (Eastern District of Virginia) -- Lindh pleaded guilty in July 2002 to one count of supplying services to the Taliban and a charge that he carried weapons while fighting on the Taliban's front lines in Afghanistan against the Northern Alliance. Lindh was sentenced to 20 years in prison.


-- Lackawanna Six: Shafal Mosed, Yahya Goba, Sahim Alwan, Mukhtar Al-Bakri, Yasein Taher, Elbaneh Jaber (Western District of New York) -- Six defendants from the Lackawanna, N.Y. area pleaded guilty to charges of providing material support to al Qaeda, based on their attendance at an al Qaeda terrorist training camp. The defendants were sentenced to terms ranging from seven years to 10 years in prison.


-- Iyman Faris (Eastern District of Virginia) -- In Oct. 2003, Iyman Faris was sentenced to 20 years in prison for providing material support and resources to al Qaeda and conspiracy for providing the terrorist organization with information about possible U.S. targets for attack. Faris pleaded guilty in May 2003, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Oct. 28, 2003.


-- Ahmed Omar Abu Ali (Eastern District of Virginia) -- In Nov. 2005, a federal jury convicted Ali on all counts of an indictment charging him with terrorism offenses, including providing material support and resources to al Qaeda, conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States, conspiracy to commit air piracy and conspiracy to destroy aircraft. Ali was sentenced to 30 years in prison.


-- Ali Al-Timimi (Eastern District of Virginia) -- Al-Timimi was convicted in April 2005 on all 10 charges brought against him in connection with the "Virginia Jihad" case. Al-Timimi, a spiritual leader at a mosque in Northern Virginia, encouraged other individuals at a meeting to go to Pakistan to receive military training from Lashkar-e-Taibi, a designated foreign terrorist organization, in order to fight U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Al-Timimi was sentenced to life in prison.


II. Developing New and Maximizing Law Enforcement Tools to Disrupt Terror Plots


Following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, it was clear law enforcement lacked the tools needed to detect and prevent terrorism. Terrorists possessed cutting-edge technology, while law enforcement struggled to use decades-old legal tools that could not keep up. In the past five years, the Justice Department worked closely with Congress to strengthen our nation's criminal laws against terror, to update the legal authorities needed to detect and disrupt terror, and to tear down the walls preventing intelligence and law enforcement from gathering, sharing, and "connecting the dots" that could be the key to protecting America from another attack. Some of the most significant changes in this area since Sept. 11 follow, including a discussion of the legal and constitutional affirmations given to these programs by federal courts.


Transforming the FBI To Meet the New Threat


Over the past five years, the FBI has fundamentally transformed its operations to cultivate detailed information on terrorism in America. In order to disrupt terrorists before they are able to strike, the FBI overhauled its counterterrorism operations, expanded intelligence capabilities, modernized business practices and technology, and improved coordination with its partners. Some of the most significant adjustments include:


-- Established a number of operational units that provide new or improved capabilities to address the terrorist threat. These include the 24/7 Counterterrorism Watch and the National Joint Terrorism Task Force to manage and share threat information; the Terrorism Financing Operation Section to centralize efforts to stop terrorist financing; document/media exploitation squads to exploit material found both domestically and overseas for its intelligence value; deployable "Fly Teams" to lend counterterrorism expertise wherever it is needed; the Terrorism Reports and Requirements Section to disseminate FBI terrorism- related intelligence to the Intelligence Community; and the Counterterrorism Analysis Section to assess the indicators of terrorist activity from a strategic perspective.


-- Realigned organizational structure to create five branches, including the National Security Branch, Criminal Investigations Branch, Human Resources Branch, Science and Technology Branch, and Office of the Chief Information Officer.


-- Increased the FBI budget by nearly 200 percent to $6 billion since 2001, and added nearly 6,700 new positions.


-- Enhanced FBI-wide intelligence capabilities by increasing the number of Special Agents assigned to Counterterrorism and doubled the number of Intelligence Analysts to 485 and tripled the number of linguists to 700.


-- Consolidated Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and Counterproliferation initiatives under a new WMD directorate.


-- Dramatically improved information sharing through improved intelligence products: Number of Intelligence Information Reports increased from zero before Sept. 11 to 20,281 today; Intelligence Assessments increased from zero before Sept. 11 to 827 today; Intelligence Bulletins from increased zero before Sept. 11 to 399 today.




The USA PATRIOT Act, which passed both Houses of the Congress with an overwhelming bipartisan majority and was signed into law by President Bush on Oct. 26, 2001, has been an integral part of the federal government's successful prosecution of the war against terrorism. Thanks to the Act, law enforcement has been able to identify terrorist operatives, dismantle terrorist cells, disrupt terrorist plots and capture terrorists before they have been able to strike. The expiring provisions of the Act, including critical information sharing provisions, were reauthorized on March 9, 2006, allowing investigators to continue to use these vital authorities.


The USA PATRIOT Act provided vital enhancements to our ability to protect against terrorism and other serious crimes. The Act has helped protect America in the following ways:


-- Helped bring down the "wall" that prevented effective information sharing and cooperation between law enforcement and intelligence personnel.


-- Allowed federal agents to better track sophisticated terrorists trained to evade detection.


-- Updated investigative tools to reflect new technologies and new threats.


-- Allowed law enforcement officials to obtain a search warrant from a single court regardless of where a terrorist- related activity occurred.


-- Gave national security investigators tools comparable to those used in ordinary criminal cases for years.


-- Increased the penalties for those who commit certain terrorist crimes and those who support them.


-- The USA PATRIOT Act Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 reauthorized all expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, added dozens of additional safeguards to protect Americans' privacy and civil liberties, strengthened port security, and provided tools to combat the spread of methamphetamine.


Examples of the use of tools and information sharing provided by the USA PATRIOT Act include the following:


-- In New Jersey, Hemant Lakhani was convicted of attempting to sell shoulder-fired missiles to terrorists for use against American targets. Lakhani was captured in recorded conversations saying he supported use of the missiles for shooting down American commercial airliners, and that Usama bin Laden "straightened them all out" and "did a good thing." Three other defendants involved in money transfers related to the illegal missile deal have pleaded guilty. The Lakhani investigation would not have been possible had American, Russian and other foreign intelligence and law enforcement agencies not been able to coordinate and share the intelligence they had gained from various investigative tools.


-- In a Chicago-area investigation in 2003, a court-authorized delayed-notification search warrant allowed investigators to gain evidence of a plan to ship unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) components to Pakistan, and to gain that evidence without prompting the suspects to flee. The UAVs would have been capable of carrying up to 200 pounds of cargo, potentially explosives, while guided out of line of sight by a laptop computer. Delayed- notice of a search of e-mail communications provided investigators information that allowed them to defer arresting the main suspect, who has since pleaded guilty, until all the shipments of UAV components had been located and were known to be in Chicago.


Using the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act as a Key Tool in the War on Terror


Since Sept. 11, 2001, use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has been a key tool in fulfilling the Department's mission to fight terrorism and protect our national security. Over the past five years, the Department has significantly increased the coverage obtained under FISA, reflecting both the increased focus on counterterrorism and counterintelligence investigations and the improvement in the operation of the FISA process:


-- From 2001 to 2005, court-approved FISA applications to conduct electronic surveillance or physical search increased by over 122 percent from 934 in 2001 to 2,072 in 2005.


-- Based on current operations, FISA's use as an effective tool for collecting foreign intelligence is projected to continue to increase by 10 percent or more in 2006.


-- Since 2004, the number of pending non-emergency, non- expedite FISA requests has been reduced by approximately 60 percent.


-- The number of days it takes to process FISA requests for electronic surveillance or physical search has declined about 35 percent since 2004.


-- The Office of Intelligence Policy and Review's attorney staff has tripled in size and more will be added in the near future.


-- Standardized pleadings and automating parts of the drafting process have made FISA filings shorter, more concise, and quicker to produce.


-- New legislation proposed by U.S. Senator Arlen Specter would grant the FISA Court jurisdiction to issue an order approving a program of terrorist surveillance authorized by the President, subject to certain requirements, and would also allow for oversight by the Intelligence Committees of Congress.


Utilizing the Terrorist Surveillance Program


-- The Terrorist Surveillance Program is an essential tool for the intelligence community in the War on Terror. In the ongoing conflict with al-Qaeda and its allies, the President has the primary duty under the Constitution to protect the American people. Officials in the intelligence community have made numerous statements about the effectiveness of this program in protecting America.


-- The program is very narrow in scope, focusing on communications with al Qaeda where one end of the phone call is outside of the United States.


-- The program is lawful. It has been reviewed by a number of lawyers within the Administration, including lawyers at the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Justice, and is reviewed periodically for its continued effectiveness and to ensure that it remains lawful, and respectful of Americans' civil liberties.


Upheld in Court


In fighting a new kind of war requiring the use of new tools, inevitable legal challenges have been brought in our federal courts. On a number of occasions, the courts have upheld that the tools and methods we have used are consistent with the Constitution and the rule of law.


-- Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, (U.S. 2004) -- Upheld the President's authority to detain U.S. citizens as enemy combatants when they are captured abroad in active zones of combat, under the Authority to Use Military Force (AUMF), subject to deferential judicial review. As the Supreme Court said, "The United States may detain, for the duration of these hostilities, individuals legitimately determined to be Taliban combatants who 'engaged in an armed conflict against the United States.' If the record establishes that United States troops are still involved in active combat in Afghanistan, those detentions are part of the exercise of "necessary and appropriate force," and therefore are authorized by the AUMF."


-- Holy Land Found. for Relief & Dev. v. Ashcroft (D.C. Cir 2003) -- Upheld Treasury Department/Office of Foreign Asset Control designation of purported charity as "specially designated global terrorist" based on support to Hamas. As the court said, "The law is established that there is no constitutional right to fund terrorism."


-- Center for National Security Studies v. United States Department of Justice (D.C. Cir 2003) -- Upheld the government's decision to withhold from public release a comprehensive list of all detainees in the war on terror when that list could tip off our enemies to the progress of our anti-terror investigation. As the court said, "America faces an enemy just as real as its former Cold War foes, with capabilities beyond the capacity of the judiciary to explore. . . . we hold that the government's expectation that disclosure of the detainees' names would enable al Qaeda or other terrorist groups to map the course of the investigation and thus develop the means to impede it is reasonable."


-- Khaled El-Masri v. Tenet (E.D. Va. 2006) -- Upheld assertion of state secrets privilege and dismissed suit challenging alleged CIA seizure and detention abroad.


-- In Re Sealed Case No. 02-001 (Foreign Intel. Ct. of Rev.) - - Upheld new intelligence sharing procedures that removed artificial barriers that hampered the ability of law enforcement and intelligence agents to coordinate efforts to prevent terrorist attacks. As the court said, "Ultimately, the question becomes whether FISA, as amended by the Patriot Act, is a reasonable response based on a balance of the legitimate need of the government for foreign intelligence information to protect against national security threats with the protected rights of citizens. We ... believe firmly... that FISA as amended is constitutional because the surveillances it authorizes are reasonable."


-- Al-Marri v. Wright (D.S.C. 2006) -- Upheld the detention of alien enemy combatant within the United States; Alien failed to rebut the government's classification and detention of him as an enemy combatant.


III. Establishing Partnerships To Keep America Safe


In order to defeat complex terrorist networks, the Department has increased its partnerships to enhance cooperation at every level of government to better prevent terrorist attacks. These efforts include:


-- Coordinating with Our State and Local Partners


-- Increased the number of Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) from 35 to 101 since 2001, and established a National JTTF with representatives from 40 agencies.


-- Increased agents and police officers on JTTFs from under 1,000 before 2001 to nearly 4,000 today.


-- Established the FBI Office of Law Enforcement Coordination headed by a former police chief.


-- Participating in state and regional intelligence fusion centers and other regional multi-agency intelligence centers, including the National Counterterrorism Center and the National Gang Intelligence Center; the Terrorist Screening Center; and the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force.


Following the Sept. 11 attacks, the Department's Community Relations Service (CRS) responded to more than 500 incidents across the country, bringing together law enforcement, local officials, and Arab, Muslim and Sikh community members, along with other members of the civil rights community, to address mutual concerns and encourage cooperation.


-- Coordinating with Our International Counterparts


Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Department has leveraged international law enforcement cooperation to prevent terrorists from freely roaming the globe and to bring them to justice. Principally in this area, the Department has:


-- Expanded the number of FBI Legal Attaché offices in foreign countries from 44 on Sept. 11, 2001, to more than 60 today.


-- Analysts have been placed in eight Legal Attaché offices since Sept. 11, 2001: Amman, Jordan; Baghdad, Iraq; Berlin, Germany; London, England; Mexico City, Mexico; Paris, France; Rome, Italy; and Tel Aviv, Israel.


-- Responded to hundreds of formal requests from our partners around the world for assistance in terrorism investigations though our global network of mutual legal assistance treaties (MLATs).


-- Shared thousands of pieces of threat-related information with our international partners.


-- Provided critical evidence to other countries for use in terrorism-related prosecutions and received critical evidence from other countries for use in terrorism-related prosecutions in the U.S.


-- Trained over 486 Iraqi jurists and prosecutors in courses developed and/or delivered by the Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development (OPDAT) Resident Legal Advisors in Iraq, through May 17, 2006.


-- Trained more than 80,000 Iraqi Police cadets and 44,000 former-regime police in basic police skills and concepts, including policing in a democracy and human rights, to date, through the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP). Additionally, there are more than 20,000 Iraqi police graduates of ICITAP's specialized, advanced, and management training courses.


IV. Combating the Dangerous Spread of Radicalization


Though the Department has achieved success on many fronts in the War on Terror, new fronts have emerged through the efforts of terrorists and terrorist sympathizers to radicalize others. These efforts are taking place on the Internet, in neighborhoods, and in prisons. The Department has established several programs to combat these new threats.


-- Curbing Radicalization in America's Prisons


The Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) understand the importance of controlling and preventing the recruitment of inmates in our federal prison facilities into terrorism. These efforts include:


-- Housing the most dangerous and sophisticated international terrorists under the most restrictive conditions allowed in order to ensure that they cannot influence others, gain reinforcing prestige, or use other inmates to send or receive messages.


-- Working with other law enforcement agencies and the intelligence community to enhance the screening process for inmates and individuals who enter federal prisons.


-- Improving security awareness regarding religious materials used in correctional facilities, and improved supervision of religious services areas and activities to include constant supervision of inmate-led groups and provision of Islamic teachings and study-guides prepared by Islamic chaplains who are full-time BOP staff.


-- Enhancing requirements for religious staff and volunteers. Full-time BOP chaplains must meet significant requirements for academic training, experience, thorough background checks, and a demonstrated willingness and ability to provide and coordinate religious programs for inmates of all faiths.


-- Outreach to the Muslim, Arab and Sikh Communities


Following the Sept. 11 attacks, the Department of Justice placed a strong focus on promoting cultural understanding of Arabs, Muslims and Sikhs, who became new targets of backlash discrimination. Federal law enforcement has worked hard on behalf of those who are, or are perceived to be, Muslim or of Arab, Middle-Eastern, or South Asian origin.


-- Since Sept. 11, the Department of Justice has investigated over 700 incidents involving violence or threats against individuals who are Muslim, or of Arab, Middle-Eastern or South Asian origin and brought Federal charges against 35 Defendants, yielding 32 convictions to date.


-- With the help of the Justice Department in many cases, state and local authorities have brought more than 150 bias crime prosecutions since Sept. 11, 2001.


V. Protecting the Privacy and Civil Liberties of Americans


As an agency responsible for enforcing laws, the Department strives to be a model for ensuring that Americans' privacy and civil liberties are adequately protected in all of the Department's counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts.


-- On Feb. 21, 2006, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales appointed Jane C. Horvath as the Department's first Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer (CPCLO), who actively participates in Department policymaking, ensuring regard for privacy and civil liberties at the earliest stages of Departmental proposals.


-- The Privacy and Civil Liberties Office works closely with the Department's Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA) to review bills concerning individual privacy matters, civil liberties issues, the collection of personal information, agency disclosure policies, or information sharing with the Department's partners.


-- The Privacy and Civil Liberties Office actively participates in public outreach activities, which include efforts sponsored by the Department's Civil Division to Arab, Muslim and Sikh communities.


-- The CPCLO works closely with the President's Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Together, they actively work with the Terrorist Screening Center, the Directorate of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security to address terrorist watch list redress issues.


VI. Looking Forward: Making America Safe


As the Attorney General has said, "We are safer today, but not yet safe." Despite tireless efforts by the Department at home and abroad to track, investigate, and prosecute terrorists; collaborate with state, local, and international law enforcement; and stem the tide of radicalization, the following are just some of the programs the Department is working to establish in the fight to prevent future terrorist attacks.


-- The Department of Justice's National Security Division


The USA PATRIOT Act Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 authorizes the Attorney General to reorganize the Department of Justice by placing the Department's primary national security elements under the leadership of a new Assistant Attorney General for National Security, fulfilling a recommendation of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.


-- This reorganization will bring together under one umbrella the attorneys from the Criminal Division's Counterterrorism and Counterespionage Sections and the attorneys from the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR), with their specialized expertise in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and other intelligence matters.


-- Establishing the National Security Division of the Justice Department will be another important step to ensure that those fighting terrorism on a daily basis are doing so in the most efficient way possible. The Attorney General hopes to complete the stand up of the new Division as soon as Mr. Wainstein is confirmed by the full Senate.


-- On March 13, 2006, the President nominated Ken Wainstein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, to serve as the first Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division.


Comprehensive Immigration Reform


Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Administration has made great progress in securing ports of entry and the border, implementing initiatives consistent with recommendations of the 9/11


Commission, and increasing the number of Border Patrol agents. The President has proposed a comprehensive plan to address illegal immigration, which includes the following elements:


-- Since the President took office in 2001, the Administration has increased funding for border security by 66 percent to more than $7.6 billion.


-- The Department supports the President in urging swift passage of a comprehensive plan in Congress. Any proposal must address all aspects of the broken immigration system and come up with a rational way to approach it. Congress has an obligation to act.

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