Congress authorized the Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) Program in 1983 as part of a major initiative against international terrorism. Since that time ATA has provided training for over 31,000 students from 127 countries. The ATA Program provides training and related assistance to law-enforcement and security services of selected friendly foreign governments. Assistance to the qualified countries focuses on the following objectives:
Enhancing the antiterrorism skills of friendly countries by providing training and equipment to deter and counter the threats of terrorism.
Strengthening the bilateral ties of the United States with friendly, foreign governments by offering concrete assistance in areas of mutual concern.
Increasing respect for human rights by sharing with civilian authorities modern, humane, and effective antiterrorism techniques.
ATA courses are developed and customized in response to terrorism trends and patterns. The training can be categorized into four functional areas: Crisis Prevention, Crisis Management, Crisis Resolution, and Investigation. Countries needing assistance are identified on the basis of the threat, or actual level of terrorist activity they face.
Antiterrorist assistance and training, which begins with a comprehensive, in-country assessment, can take many forms, including airport security, crime-scene investigations, chemical and biological attacks, and courses for first responders. Most of this training is conducted overseas to maximize its effectiveness, and even more courses are being conducted in country under ATA's new "Fly-Away" concept.
ATA programs may also take the form of advisory assistance, such as police administration and management of police departments, how to train police instructors or develop a police academy, and modern interview and investigative techniques. Equipment or bomb-sniffing dogs may also be included in the assistance package.
The post-September 11 era has shifted the focus of ATA outreach to the newly identified frontline nations. These include Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Uzbekistan, and Yemen. The United States delivered 80 courses to these frontline nations in 2002.
ATA has also identified specific areas in which courses will be added or expanded to enhance the antiterrorism capabilities in frontline and other countries. These include medical response to mass casualties, advanced police tactical intervention, physical security, border controls, and operations to deal with weapons of mass destruction such as mail security, customs/immigration inspection, disaster response, and urban search and rescue.
The ability of the United States to assist friendly governments with mastering the detection and prevention of terrorist activities will clearly enhance the mutual security of all the participating nations. Detecting and eliminating terrorist cells at the root before their violence can cross borders and oceans will ensure a safer world for all nations.
In the wake of the September 11 attacks, government officials of these frontline countries expressed greater interest in receiving antiterrorism assistance. ATA has increased efforts to familiarize ambassadors, regional security officers, and other US officials with the program offerings. The success of these efforts is evidenced by the fact that every frontline nation has requested antiterrorist assistance in some form. US diplomats report that the ability of the United States to offer immediate, specific, and intensive training, along with technical tools and equipment, has succeeded in breaking down barriers and building trust.
ATA is responding to the growing demand for training and services, not only by expanding course selection, but also by pursuing development of the Center for Antiterrorism and Security Training (CAST). ATA is already offering training at the Louisiana State Police Academy (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), the DOE Nonproliferation and National Security Institute (Albuquerque, New Mexico), the FBI Academy (Quantico, Virginia), and in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Rewards for Justice Program
The Rewards for Justice Program is one of the most valuable US Government assets in the fight against international terrorism. Established by the 1984 Act to Combat International Terrorism, Public Law 98-533, the Program is administered by the US Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
Under the Program, the Secretary of State may offer rewards of up to $5 million for information that prevents or favorably resolves acts of international terrorism against US persons or property worldwide. Rewards also may be paid for information leading to the arrest or conviction of terrorists attempting, committing, and conspiring to commit, or aiding and abetting in the commission of such acts.
The USA Patriot Act of 2001 authorizes the Secretary to offer or pay rewards of greater than $5 million if he determines that a greater amount is necessary to combat terrorism or to defend the United States against terrorist acts. Secretary Powell has authorized a reward of up to $25 million for information leading to the capture of Usama Bin Ladin and other key al-Qaida leaders.
In November 2002, the State and Treasury Departments announced a $5 million rewards program that will pay for information leading to the disruption of any terrorism financing operation.
Diplomatic Security has fully supported the efforts of the private business sector/citizens to establish a Rewards for Justice Fund, a nongovernmental, nonprofit 501 C (3) charitable organization administered by a group of private US citizens. One hundred percent of all donated funds will be used to supplement reward payments only. Diplomatic Security has forged a strong relationship with the private business and US citizen representatives of the Rewards for Justice Fund. Diplomatic Security has embarked on a much closer relationship with the US public and private business in the US Government's continuing efforts to bring those individuals responsible for the planning of the September 11 attacks to justice and preventing future international terrorist attacks against the United States at home or abroad.
International Terrorism: US Hostages, US Policy
The US Government will make no concessions to individuals or groups holding official or private US citizens hostage. The United States will use every appropriate resource to gain the safe return of US citizens who are held hostage. At the same time, it is US Government policy to deny hostage takers the benefits of ransom, prisoner releases, policy changes, or other acts of concession.
It is internationally accepted that governments are responsible for the safety and welfare of persons within the borders of their nations. Aware of both the hostage threat and public security shortcomings in many parts of the world, the United States has developed enhanced physical and personal security programs for US personnel and established cooperative arrangements with the US private sector. It has also established bilateral assistance programs and close intelligence and law-enforcement relationships with many nations to prevent hostage-taking incidents or resolve them in a manner that will deny the perpetrators benefits from their actions. The United States also seeks effective judicial prosecution and punishment for hostage takers victimizing the US Government or its citizens and will use all legal methods to these ends, including extradition. US policy and goals are clear, and the US Government actively pursues them alone and in cooperation with other governments.
US Government Responsibilities When Private US Citizens Are Taken Hostage
Based upon past experience, the US Government concluded that making concessions that benefit hostage takers in exchange for the release of hostages increased the danger that others will be taken hostage. US Government policy is, therefore, to deny hostage takers the benefits of ransom, prisoner releases, policy changes, or other acts of concession.
At the same time, the US Government will make every effort, including contact with representatives of the captors, to obtain the release of hostages without making concessions to the hostage takers.
Consequently, the United States strongly urges US companies and private citizens not to accede to hostage-taker demands. It believes that good security practices, relatively modest security expenditures, and continual close cooperation with embassy and local authorities can lower the risk to US citizens living in high-threat environments.
The US Government is concerned for the welfare of its citizens but cannot support requests that host governments violate their own laws or abdicate their normal enforcement responsibilities.
If the employing organization or company works closely with local authorities and follows US policy, US Foreign Service posts can be involved actively in efforts to bring the incident to a safe conclusion. This includes providing reasonable administrative services and, if desired by local authorities and the US entity, full participation in strategy sessions. Requests for US Government technical assistance or expertise will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The full extent of US Government participation must await an analysis of each specific set of circumstances.
The host government and the US private organizations or citizen must understand that if they wish to follow a hostage-resolution path different from that of US Government policy, they do so without US Government approval. In the event a hostage-taking incident is resolved through concessions, US policy remains steadfastly to pursue investigation leading to the apprehension and prosecution of hostage takers who victimize US citizens.
Under current US law, 18 USC 1203 (Act for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Hostage Taking, enacted October 1984 in implementation of the UN convention on hostage taking), seizure of a US citizen as a hostage anywhere in the world is a crime, as is any hostage-taking action in which the US Government is a target or the hostage taker is a US national. Such acts are, therefore, subject to investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and to prosecution by US authorities. Actions by private persons or entities that have the effect of aiding or abetting the hostage taking, concealing knowledge of it from the authorities, or obstructing its investigation may themselves be in violation of US law.
US Terrorism Lists: Prevention, Punishment, Pressure
The US Government has established four primary counterterrorism "lists" to serve as tools in the fight against terrorism: The State Sponsors of Terrorism, Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO), Executive Order 13224, and the Terrorist Exclusion (TEL) list. Each list has its individual mechanisms, but they all serve to prevent terrorism, punish terrorists and their supporters, and pressure changes in the behavior of designated states and groups.
Because these lists are a means to fight terrorism, rather than an end in themselves, they are not designed or intended to be immutable. The US Government encourages states and organizations to take the necessary actions to get out of the terrorism business. The bar for a state or group being removed from a US terrorism list is and must be high—it must end all involvement in any facet of terrorism, including passive support, and satisfy all US counterterrorism concerns.
State Sponsors of Terrorism
The Secretary of State is authorized to designate a government as a "State Sponsor of Terrorism" if that government "has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism." United States law requires the imposition of various sanctions on a state so designated. A number of US laws and sanctions affect countries whose governments have been designated as state sponsors of terrorism. The four main categories of sanctions include a ban on arms-related exports and sales; restrictions on exports of dual-use items; prohibitions on official US Government economic assistance (except humanitarian assistance), including a requirement that the US Government oppose multilateral bank assistance; and imposition of miscellaneous trade and other restrictions, including a prohibition on imports and liability in US courts for officials of that country that engage in terrorist activity. Inclusion on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list also targets a country for other sanctions laws that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with state sponsors. Currently, there are seven countries on the list: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.
Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs)
The Secretary of State is authorized to designate as FTOs groups that conduct international terrorism and threaten the interests of the United States. Designation allows the US to block designees' assets in US financial institutions; criminalizes witting provision of material support to designated groups; and blocks visas for members of FTOs without having to show that the individual was involved in specific terrorist activities. FTO designation also sends a strong signal that any group that engages in terrorism regardless of its purported goals will be condemned and penalized for its actions. (The list of FTOs can be found in Appendix B.)
Executive Order 13224-Terrorist Financing
President Bush signed Executive Order 13224 on 23 September 2001, to give the US Government a strong tool for eliminating the financial supporters and networks of terrorism. EO 13224 enables the US Government to block designees' assets in any financial institution in the United States or held by any US person. It also expands US Government authority to permit the designation of individuals and organizations that provide support or financial or other services to, or associate with, designated terrorists. EO 13224 designations have allowed the US Government, as well as Coalition partners acting in concert, to block tens of millions of dollars intended to bankroll the murderous activities of al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.
A complete listing of individuals and entities covered under EO 13224 can be found at: www.ustreas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/sanctions/terrorism.html
USA Patriot Act: Terrorist Exclusion List
President Bush on 26 October 2001 signed into law a comprehensive counterterrorism bill (Public Law 107-56, also known as USA PATRIOT). The new law strengthened enforcement tools and made improvements to the last major terrorism bill, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. The Patriot USA Act also created a Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL) with immigration consequences for groups named therein. Designation on the TEL allows the US Government to exclude or deport aliens who provide material assistance to, or solicit it for, designated organizations, giving the Department of State and US law-enforcement agencies a critical tool for bolstering homeland security.
Terrorist Exclusion List Designees
Designated on 5 December 2001
Designated on 6 November 2002