In recent years, terrorists have used in increasing numbers weapons of mass destruction against civilian populations and non-combatant military personnel. Examples of such terrorist activities include: the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City; the 1995 bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City; the 1995 attacks against the Tokyo subway system with poison gas; and the 1996 bombing of United States military housing in Saudi Arabia. Over the past decade, Congress has enacted a number of statutes that provide criminal jurisdiction over the use of biological (§ 175), chemical (§ 2332c), nuclear (§ 831), and other weapons of mass destruction (§ 2332a). All of these statutes cover the use and threatened use of such weapons of mass destruction committed within the United States. In addition, there is extraterritorial jurisdiction whenever the perpetrator of the offense is a national of the United States, or a United States national, including property of the United States Government in most instances, is a victim of the offense.
Updated May 19, 2015