DOJ Fact Sheet on CT Efforts

* Fact Sheet: Justice Department Counter-Terrorism Efforts Since 9/11

DOJ has created a new fact sheet summarizing its counterterrorism activities since 9/11 (see here: Fact Sheet: Justice Department Counter-Terrorism Efforts Since 9/11).  The short documents lists major terrorism prosecutions, significant organizational developments, and a few other interesting odds-and-ends (including a brief discussion of efforts to prevent radicalization within prisons).  Also note this excerpt from the introduction, which implicitly responds to criticism that DOJ should wait longer before intervening with arrests when investigating terrorism suspects:

In each of these cases, the Department has faced critical decisions on when to bring criminal charges, given that a decision to prosecute a suspect exposes the Government’s interest in that person and effectively ends covert intelligence investigation. Such determinations require the careful balancing of competing interests, including the immediate incapacitation of a suspect and disruption of terrorist activities through prosecution, on the one hand; and the continuation of intelligence collection about the suspect’s plans, capabilities, and confederates, on the other; as well as the inherent risk that a suspect could carry out a violent act while investigators and prosecutors attempt to perfect their evidence.

While it might be easier to secure convictions after an attack has occurred and innocent lives are lost, in such circumstances, the Department would be failing in its fundamental mission to protect America and its citizens, despite a court victory. For these reasons, the Department continues to act against terror threats as soon as the law, evidence, and unique circumstances of each case permit, using any charge available. As Attorney General Mukasey has stated: “[W]hen it comes to deciding whether and when to bring charges against terrorists, I am comfortable knowing this: I would rather explain to the American people why we acted when we did, even if it is at a very early stage, than try to explain why we failed to act when we could have, and it is too late.”

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