The United States

The US Federal Code provides that it is an offense to carry out an act of terror, to assist with such an act, and to knowingly provide material support to foreign terrorist organizations. Although the definitions of acts of terrorism were legislated without specific reference to cyberspace or the internet, they may in fact be applicable in these contexts under certain circumstances, as in the Federal Code’s criminalization of the destruction of communication systems, acts against mass transportation systems, terrorist training and financing as acts of terror. Nonetheless, many online extremist activities that may have been so characterized are protected under the First Amendment of the right to free speech. In addition, while the US Federal Code outlaws the provision of material support to foreign terrorist organizations, it does not prohibit such support to domestic terrorist organizations. 

STRATEGIES, POLICIES AND LAWS

National Strategy for Counterterrorism of the United States of America (2018)

The report describes a new approach to combating and preventing terrorism. It also recognizes terrorist threats that the United States face within and beyond its borders.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Strategy (2018)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Strategy sets out a strategy  to improve national cybersecurity risk management by “increasing security and resilience” as well as “decreasing illicit cyber activity”, “improving responses to cyber incidents” and “fostering a more secure and reliable cyber ecosystem”.

National Cyber Strategy (2018)

The National Cyber Strategy ensures the security of the cyberspace by protecting networks, systems, functions and data. It also  preserves peace and security by “strengthening the ability to deter and, if necessary, punish those who use cyber tools for malicious purposes”.

National Security Strategy of the United States of America (2017)

The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (2017) describes ways to protect the country from national security threats and emphasizes the importance of combatting terrorism. It also discusses ways to tackle security issues that may emerge as a result of the ‘Cyber Era.’ 

U.S. Code § 2339A – Providing material support to terrorists within the US

The U.S. Code § 2339A makes it an offence to knowingly “provide material support or resources in preparation for, or in carrying out”, an offence identified as a federal crime of terrorism.

U.S. Code § 2399C – Prohibitions against the financing of terrorism

The U.S. Code  § 2399C  makes it an offense to “provide or collect funds…”, or conspire to fund, terrorist activity.

U.S. Code § 2399D – Receiving military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization

The U.S. Code  § 2399D  makes it an offense to receive “military type training” from a foreign terrorist organization”. “The term “military-type training” includes training in means or methods that can cause death or serious bodily injury, destroy or damage property, or disrupt services to critical infrastructure, or training on the use, storage, production, or assembly of any explosive.”

Communications Decency Act – Section 230(c)

This act includes a provision that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider”.

Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of (2004)

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 broadly affects United States federal terrorism laws. 

USA PATRIOT ACT (2001)

The  Patriot Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001) was signed in response to the September 11 attacks. Section 814 of the Act deals with cyber-terrorism, increasing certain penalties for computer fraud and abuse when it involves a federally protected computer.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978 establishes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of intelligence between “foreign powers” and “agents of foreign powers”. According to the Act, the definition of “foreign powers” includes “a group engaged in international terrorism”.

INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS

Multilateral

Bilateral

KEY INSTITUTIONS

Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism

The Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism is a bureau of the United States Department of State which creates strategies and policies to fight terrorism and ensures cooperation with foreign governments.

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

The CIA gathers, analyzes and assesses foreign intelligence to help the U.S President and other government officials in making recommendations regarding national security.

Countering Violent Extremism Task Force

The Countering Violent Extremism Task Force, which was created to implement the US government’s 2011 CVE Strategy, brings together experts from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).

Department of Justice (DOJ)

The Department of Justice is a federal executive department of the U.S. government, responsible for the enforcement of  the law.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)  

The FBI is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States.

National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)

The National Counterterrorism Center is a United States government organization that analyzes databases of suspected terrorists and participates in domestic and foreign counterterrorism efforts.

Office of Terrorism Prevention Partnerships (OTPP)

The Office of Terrorism Prevention Partnerships provides resources to communities in an effort to promote community awareness on violent extremism and terrorism.

National Security Agency (NSA)

The National Security Agency is a national-level intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense.

US Department of Homeland and Security (DHS)

The Department of Homeland and Security is a cabinet department of the U.S. federal government which works to prevent terrorism, secure cyberspace and enforce border and immigration laws.

SECONDARY SOURCES

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