Fact Sheet on Foreign Terrorist Organizations
October 5, 2001
The Secretary of State designates Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs),
in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury.
These designations are undertaken pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality
Act, as amended by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.
FTO designations are valid for two years, after which they must be redesignated
or they automatically expire. Redesignation after two years is a positive act
and represents a determination by the Secretary of State that the organization
has continued to engage in terrorist activity and still meets the criteria specified
In October 1997, former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright approved the
designation of the first 30 groups as Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
In October 1999, Secretary Albright re-certified 27 of these groups designations
but allowed three organizations to drop from the list because their involvement
in terrorist activity had ended and they no longer met the criteria for designation.
Secretary Albright designated one new FTO in 1999 (al Qaida) and another
in 2000 (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan).
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has designated two new FTOs (Real IRA
and AUC) in 2001.
In October 2001, Secretary Powell re-certified the designation of 26 of the
28 FTOs whose designation was due to expire, and combined two previously
designated groups (Kahane Chai and Kach) into one.
Current List of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations
(as of October 5, 2001)
Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
Abu Sayyaf Group
Armed Islamic Group (GIA)
Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
Gamaa al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group)
HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement)
Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM)
Hizballah (Party of God)
Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad)
Kahane Chai (Kach)
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK)
National Liberation Army (ELN)
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
The organization must engage in terrorist activity as defined in Section 212
(a)(3)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. (** - see below)
The organizations activities must threaten the security of U.S. nationals
or the national security (national defense, foreign relations, or the economic
interests) of the United States.
Effects of Designation
It is unlawful for a person in the United States or subject to the jurisdiction
of the United States to provide funds or other material support to a designated
Representatives and certain members of a designated FTO, if they are aliens,
can be denied visas or excluded from the United States.
U.S. financial institutions must block funds of designated FTOs and their
agents and report the blockage to the Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S.
Department of the Treasury.
Deters donations or contributions to named organizations
Heightens public awareness and knowledge of terrorist organizations
Signals to other governments our concern about named organizations
Stigmatizes and isolates designated terrorist organizations internationally
The Secretary of State makes decisions concerning the designation and redesignation
of FTOs following an exhaustive interagency review process in which all
evidence of a groups activity, from both classified and open sources,
is scrutinized. The State Department, working closely with the Justice and Treasury
Departments and the intelligence community, prepares a detailed "administrative
record" which documents the terrorist activity of the designated FTO. Seven
days before publishing an FTO designation in the Federal Register, the Department
of State provides classified notification to Congress. Under the statute, designations
are subject to judicial review. In the event of a challenge to a groups
FTO designation in federal court, the U.S. government relies upon the administrative
record to defend the Secretarys decision. These administrative records
contain intelligence information and are therefore classified.
FTO designations expire in two years unless renewed. The law allows groups to
be added at any time following a decision by the Secretary, in consultation
with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury. The Secretary may
also revoke designations after determining that there are grounds for doing
so and notifying Congress.
** The Immigration and Nationality Act defines terrorist activity to mean: any
activity which is unlawful under the laws of the place where it is committed
(or which, if committed in the United States, would be unlawful under the laws
of the United States or any State) and which involves any of the following:
(I) The highjacking or sabotage of any conveyance (including an aircraft, vessel,
(II) The seizing or detaining, and threatening to kill, injure, or continue
to detain, another individual in order to compel a third person (including a
governmental organization) to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit
or implicit condition for the release of the individual seized or detained.
(III) A violent attack upon an internationally protected person (as defined
in section 1116(b)(4) of title 18, United States Code) or upon the liberty of
such a person.
(IV) An assassination.
(V) The use of any-
(a) biological agent, chemical agent, or nuclear weapon or device, or
(b) explosive or firearm (other than for mere personal monetary gain), with
intent to endanger, directly or indirectly, the safety of one or more individuals
or to cause substantial damage to property.
(VI) A threat, attempt, or conspiracy to do any of the foregoing.
(iii) The term "engage in terrorist activity" means to commit, in
an individual capacity or as a member of an organization, an act of terrorist
activity or an act which the actor knows, or reasonably should know, affords
material support to any individual, organization, or government in conducting
a terrorist activity at any time, including any of the following acts:
(I) The preparation or planning of a terrorist activity.
(II) The gathering of information on potential targets for terrorist activity.
(III) The providing of any type of material support, including a safe house,
transportation, communications, funds, false documentation or identification,
weapons, explosives, or training, to any individual the actor knows or has reason
to believe has committed or plans to commit a terrorist activity.
(IV) The soliciting of funds or other things of value for terrorist activity
or for any terrorist organization.
(V) The solicitation of any individual for membership in a terrorist organization,
terrorist government, or to engage in a terrorist activity