The "FTO List" and Congress: Sanctioning Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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This report provides Congress with an overview of the nature and status of the designated foreign terrorist organizations FTO list, as a potential tool in overseeing the implementation and effects of U.S. legislation designed to sanction terrorists. It centers on the list of terrorist groups that are formally designated by the Secretary of State pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act AEDPA of 1996. These groups are often collectively referred to as the FTO list. FTO list designations, which last for 2 years and must be renewed, occur after an interagency process involving the departments of State, Justice, Homeland Security, and the Treasury. Since the designations can be challenged in court, they require a detailed administrative record often based on classified information. An organization that is placed on the FTO list is subject to financial and immigration sanctions, potentially including the blocking of assets, the prosecution of supporters who provide funds, refusal of visas, and deportations of members. There have been a number of designations and changes since the list was established, but it currently includes 36 organizations. The FTO list is often confused with some of the other terrorist lists that are maintained by the U.S. Government the Specially Designated Terrorists SDTs list, the Specially Designated Global Terrorists SDGT list, and the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons SDN list, a master list that contains the other lists. All of these are summarized and maintained by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Treasury Department. Lastly, the Terrorist Exclusion List TEL, which relates to immigration and is pursuant to Section 411 of the USA Patriot Act of 2001, is maintained by the State Department. The report concludes with a discussion of potential policy options for Congress regarding the AEDPA and the FTO list.
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