FBI Testimony on our Use of the "Material Support" Statute
You've heard the expression "it
takes a village to raise a child"? It's just as true, when you think
about it, about "raising" terrorists.
bomber stands a complex network of people and organizations that
have to fund the enterprise; train, house, feed, support, and arm the
terrorist; coordinate the plot internationally; talk to each other via
phone or email about it; raise operating funds from suspecting and unsuspecting
donors; open bank accounts; buy weapons; buy airline tickets; lease cars;
rent apartments or motel rooms, arrange logistics...in fact, buy and
pay for every single dimension of bringing off a murderous plot.
And that's the
Today's terrorist cells
are notoriously difficult to penetrate, much less join. But these complex
and myriad networks need money and communications to operate, and these
very networks leave trails that can be traced back to the cells...which
leads to identifying the leadership...which leads to breaking up plots
and preventing acts of terrorism.
That's why Assistant
Director Gary Bald--joined by Assistant Attorneys General Christopher Wray
and Daniel J. Bryant of the Department of Justice--testified before the
Senate Judiciary Committee today on "Joining
Terrorist Groups: An Examination of the Material Support Statute."
A little history. The
Material Support Statute--which prohibits support in any form and in any
measure to all who encourage, plan, or engage in terrorism--has been an
important tool for many years in assisting law enforcement with its investigations
of terrorism. In fact it was used to break up a terrorist cell in North
Carolina months prior to 9/11/01. But in the wake of the horrific 9/11
attacks, the application of this statute was broadened by the USA PATRIOT
Act specifically to help prevent acts of terrorism.
How broadened? To
include criminalizing the "facilitating" roles mentioned above:
identifying the people who raise and move funds, provide the training,
recruit the terrorists, and procure the supplies. And to stiffen the criminal
penalties for engaging in these activities. In Mr. Bald's words, "it
is this type of terrorist who is the most prevalent in the United States."
In his testimony, Mr.
Bald addresses very specific questions--including the categories of "Material
Support" cases--and he describes in detail 11 recent and pretty eyepopping
investigations that have resulted in shutting down support structures for
terrorism across America.
We highly recommend
you read Mr. Bald's testimony and
judge for yourself how necessary and effective this legislative tool is
in keeping terrorists out of America's communities.