Thursday, June 6, 2013

Terrorism and Intelligence Legislation You Should Know About But Don't

Now that this NSA story has spawned the insane amount of nonsensical and baseless conjecture on my Twitter feed, I thought I'd take a moment and educate everyone on intelligence and terrorism legislation they should already know about but don't for various reasons.

  • Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989
  • Executive Order 12947 signed by President Bill Clinton Jan. 23, 1995, Prohibiting Transactions With Terrorists Who Threaten To Disrupt the Middle East Peace Process, and later expanded to include freezing the assets of Osama bin Laden and others.
  • Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995
  • US Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (see also the LaGrand case which opposed in 1999-2001 Germany to the US in the International Court of Justice concerning a German citizen convicted of armed robbery and murder, and sentenced to death)
  • Executive Order 13224, signed by President George W. Bush Sept. 23, 2001, among other things, authorizes the seizure of assets of organizations or individuals designated by the Secretary of the Treasury to assist, sponsor, or provide material or financial support or who are otherwise associated with terrorists. 66 Fed. Reg. 49,079 (Sept. 23, 2001).
  • 2001 Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools for Intercepting and Obstructing Terrorism Act (USA PATRIOT Act)(amended March 2006) (the Financial Anti-Terrorism Act was integrated to it) - I don't have enough energy to discuss the Patriot Act. All you need to know is that it gives the US government very broad powers in order to combat terrorism.
  • Homeland Security Act of 2002, Pub. L. 107-296.
  • Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act (SAFETY Act) of 2002
  • REAL ID Act of 2005 - Perhaps one of the most controversial pieces of legislation from the Bush era, it set forth certain requirements for state driver's licenses and ID cards to be accepted by the federal government for "official purposes", as defined by the Secretary of Homeland Security. It also outlines the following: 
    • Title II of the act establishes new federal standards for state-issued driver licenses and non-driver identification cards.
    • Changing visa limits for temporary workers, nurses, and Australian citizens.
    • Funding some reports and pilot projects related to border security.
    • Introducing rules covering "delivery bonds" (similar to bail bonds but for aliens who have been released pending hearings).
    • Updating and tightening the laws on application for asylum and deportation of aliens for terrorist activity.
    • Waiving laws that interfere with construction of physical barriers at the borders
  • Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act of 2006 - The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) prohibits any person from engaging in certain conduct "for the purpose of damaging or interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise." and extends to any act that either "damages or causes the loss of any real or personal property" or "places a person in reasonable fear" of injury. 
  • Military Commissions Act of 2006 - The United States Military Commissions Act of 2006, also known as HR-6166, was an Act of Congress signed by President George W. Bush on October 17, 2006. The Act's stated purpose was "To authorize trial by military commission for violations of the law of war, and for other purposes." It was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2008 but parts remain in order to use commissions to prosecute war crimes.
  • National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 - The second most controversial piece of legislation from the War on Terror authorizes "the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.
    (b) Covered Persons- A covered person under this section is any person as follows:
    (1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
    (2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.
    (c) Disposition Under Law of War- The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
    (1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
    (2) Trial under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code (as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (title XVIII of Public Law 111-84)).
    (3) Transfer for trial by an alternative court or competent tribunal having lawful jurisdiction.
    (4) Transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.
    (d) Construction- Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
    (e) Authorities- Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.
    (f) Requirement for Briefings of Congress- The Secretary of Defense shall regularly brief Congress regarding the application of the authority described in this section, including the organizations, entities, and individuals considered to be ‘covered persons’ for purposes of subsection (b)(2).
  • Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-5 requires all federal and state agencies establish response protocols for critical domestic incidents in line with the National Incident Management System.


Monday, June 3, 2013


I often dish out a lot of criticism towards he Department of Homeland Security. However, it is not without understanding the sheer vastness of what their work undertakes. I often peruse their site (and so should you) to gain insight into what they face. This site has always been a great information source and has been very responsive towards citizen queries. Though, I'm sure some would disagree. After you take a look, I highly recommend giving their site a look.

Department of Homeland Security Site:

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