Statements and Announcements

Letter from Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich to Senator Leahy and Senator Sessions Regarding Statistics Relating to the Prosectuation of Terrorism, Terrorism-related Crimes and Incarceration of Terrorists by the Bureau of Prisons

The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy
Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Jeff Sessions
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Sessions:

I am writing in response to requests by a number of Members of the Committee for information about statistics maintained by the Department of Justice relating to prosecution of terrorism and terrorism-related crimes, as well as the incarceration of terrorists by the Bureau of Prisons.

The Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division (NSD) (and its predecessor section in the Criminal Division) has maintained a chart of international terrorism and terrorism-related prosecutions since September 11, 2001. A copy of that chart, which currently includes just over 400 defendants, and a brief introduction describing its contents, is enclosed with this letter. This chart was initially developed and has since been maintained and regularly updated on a rolling basis by career federal prosecutors. The bulk of the data included in the chart was generated, and relates to prosecutions that occurred, during the prior Administration. In fact, the data was cited publicly by the prior Administration on repeated occasions, including:

  • In a book entitled "Preserving Life & Liberty: The Record of the U.S. Department of Justice 2001 - 2005," released in February 2005, the Department said, "Altogether, the Department has brought charges against 375 individuals in terrorism-related investigations, and has convicted 195 to date." 1
  • In its February 2008 budget request for Fiscal Year 2009, the Department of Justice said, "Since 2001, the Department has increased its capacity to investigate terrorism and has identified, disrupted, and dismantled terrorist cells operating in the United States. These efforts have resulted in the securing of 319 convictions or guilty pleas in terrorism or terrorism-related cases arising from investigations conducted primarily after September 11, 2001, and zero terrorist attacks on American soil by foreign nationals from 2003 through 2007."

Please note that the chart includes only convictions from September 11, 2001 to March 18, 2010. It does not include defendants whose convictions remain under seal, nor does it include defendants who have been charged with a terrorism or terrorism-related offense but have not been convicted either at trial or by guilty plea. Finally, it does not include convictions related solely to domestic terrorism.

The NSD chart includes the defendant's name, district, charging date, charges brought, classification category, conviction date, and conviction charges, as well as the sentence and the date it was imposed, if the defendant has been sentenced. As the introduction to the NSD chart explains, the data includes convictions resulting from investigations of terrorist acts planned or committed outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States over which Federal criminal jurisdiction exists and those within the United States involving international terrorists and terrorist groups. NSD further divides these cases into two categories. The first includes violations of federal statutes that are directly related to international terrorism and that are utilized regularly in international terrorism matters, such as terrorist acts abroad against U.S. nationals and providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. There have been more than 150 defendants classified in this category since September 11, 2001. The second category includes a variety of other statutes (like fraud, firearms offenses, false statements, or obstruction of justice) where the investigation involved an identified link to international terrorism. There have been more than 240 individuals charged in such cases since September 11, 2001. Examples of the international terrorism nexus identified in some of these cases have also been provided for your review.