Fact sheet released by the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State, December 11, 1997.
U.S. action on the 25 recommendations from the Paris Terrorism Ministerial, July 30, 1996:
A. Improving Cooperation and Capabilities
1. Strengthen internal cooperation among government agencies which deal with different aspects of counterterrorism.
Action taken: The U.S. has strengthened its team approach to counterterrorism, which combines diplomacy, law enforcement, intelligence, and other U.S. assets. This team approach was effective in responding to the Lima hostage crisis, the Kansi case, and other contingencies.
2. Expand training of counterterrorism personnel.
Action taken: $2 million in additional funds enabled the State Department to expand its Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program in FY 1997. The augmented funding provided for six new training programs for critical regions such as the Middle East. Increased training continues in FY 1998.
3. Intensify consultations to improve the capability of governments to respond to terrorist attacks against public transport.
Action taken: The U.S. held intensive discussions with transport and security experts of the Eight on counterterrorism methodologies for different forms of ground transportation. The U.S. encouraged the Eight to improve formats of passenger and cargo manifests to aid investigations and urged international agreement for secure stamping of vehicle identification numbers.
4. Accelerate research, development, and consultation on methods for detecting explosives and for tracing their origins.
Action taken: The U.S. has increased funding for explosives detection methods, which will be presented to technical experts of the Eight on December 11-12. The U.S. is also pursuing a scientific study of marking agents for various kinds of explosives with a view toward enacting regulations requiring manufacturers to use such markers. Consultations with partners in the Eight on possible applications of the results would proceed after completion of the U.S. study.
B. Deterrence, Prosecution, and Punishment of Terrorists
5. Act against terrorist front organizations.
Action taken: The Secretary of State designated 30 groups as foreign terrorist organizations on October 8, 1997. As a result, U.S. persons are prohibited from providing material support or resources to such organizations, their assets in U.S. financial institutions are blocked, and their representatives and members are excludable from the U.S. In addition, by Executive Order, the U.S. prohibits transfers of funds from American sources to designated Middle Eastern terrorist organizations, even if such organizations or their affiliates also conduct charitable activities.
6. Prevent terrorist use of electronic or wire communications.
Action taken: On October 13, 1997, a Presidential commission recommended means of preventing terrorist and criminal acts against public and private electronic and digital communications and infrastructure in the United States.
7. Adopt effective legal controls over terrorist devices.
Action taken: Extensive U.S. laws and regulations restrict the export of munitions and dual-use items to terrorist states. Through the Eight and other channels we are encouraging other countries to adopt similar measures.
8. Strengthen punishments for terrorist acts.
Action taken: The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, signed by the President in April 1996, increased the sentencing levels applicable to terrorist crimes and enhanced U.S. authority to penalize funding for terrorist groups.
9. Prosecute terrorists and their supporters.
Action taken: Ramzi Yousef was convicted in November 1997 of masterminding the World Trade Center bombing. Also in November, Mir Aimal Kansi was convicted of slaying two CIA employees. Timothy McVeigh was convicted in June 1997 of the Oklahoma City bombing. Kansi and McVeigh were sentenced to death.
10. Refrain from supporting terrorists.
Action taken: Recent laws, regulations, and executive orders have strengthened our ability to prevent any form of material support, active or passive, to terrorists. The U.S. is encouraging other countries to adopt similar measures.
11. Accelerate consultations on law enforcement access to encrypted data.
Action taken: The U.S. has actively participated in the OECD discussions which led to the adoption of international guidelines on encryption technology. The U.S. is now working with its partners in the Eight as well as other states on a more detailed international regime that will ensure the availability of encryption technology while providing necessary access for law enforcement, with safeguards to protect the privacy of communications.
C. Asylum, Borders, and Travel Documents
12. Improve travel barriers to terrorists.
Action taken: The U.S. has implemented an improved technology to print counterfeit-proof passports. It has also recently installed in consular sections of all U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide an electronic link to a comprehensive data base in Washington that contains the names of suspected criminals, terrorists, and other wrongdoers. Use of this database is reducing the chance that terrorists will obtain U.S. visas.
13. Prevent terrorist abuse of asylum.
Action taken: A comprehensive revision in 1996 of the Immigration and Nationality Act strengthened the ability of U.S. immigration officials to exclude and deport individuals suspected of terrorist activities. This new law will reduce chances for terrorists to abuse the right of asylum.
D. International Treaties and Other Arrangements
14. Ratify international conventions.
Action taken: The U.S. has ratified all ten anti-terrorism conventions. As President of the Eight, the U.S. has spearheaded the diplomatic effort of the Eight to persuade other governments to become parties to these conventions by the year 2000.
15. Develop and enhance mutual legal assistance procedures.
Action taken: Since the Paris ministerial, the U.S. has negotiated mutual legal assistance treaties (MLATs) with a number of governments as a basis for faster and more effective legal cooperation. During that period, three MLATs entered into force and eight new MLATs were signed.
16. Expand extradition arrangements.
Action taken: The U.S. has extradition treaties with over 100 nations. New or updated extradition treaties continue to be negotiated with a number of countries.
17. Promote an international terrorist bombing convention. Seek ICAO action to establish international bomb detection standards and to heighten airport security.
Action taken: The UN's Sixth Committee recommended that the General Assembly adopt an International Convention on Suppression of Terrorist Bombings. ICAO has made important progress in improving airport security since the Paris Ministerial. Following a U.S. proposal at Paris, explosives experts have devised uniform and strict international standards for bomb detection. We expect ICAO to approve these standards, as well as other heightened security measures for airports, at a plenary meeting.
18. Implement biological weapons controls.
Action taken: At the request of the U.S. and in response to the recommendation of the Eight, the Biological Weapons Convention signatories reaffirmed, at their Review Conference in November, their commitment to prohibit the development, possession, or use of biological toxins for terrorist or criminal activity. The U.S. has increased controls over potentially dangerous biological agents. The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act expanded the definition of biological substances controlled under earlier laws. It also mandated stringent regulations governing the security and transfer of biological substances used for research purposes.
E. Terrorist Fundraising
19. Prevent terrorist fundraising.
Action taken: By Executive Order as well as recently enacted law, the U.S. bars financial assistance to designated foreign terrorist organizations, including those which, in addition to terrorist activities, conduct charitable work. The Executive Order and the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 also enable the U.S. Treasury Department to seize assets and block transfers to designated terrorist organizations. The U.S is encouraging similar standards internationally.
20. Intensify information exchange on the international movement of funds for terrorist purposes.
Action taken: U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are engaged in an active exchange (with our partners in the Eight and with other nations) of information concerning terrorist fundraising. Representatives from the FBI and the Justice and Treasury Departments made a presentation in Luxembourg at the November 17-18 seminar on the Financing of Terrorism.
21. Adopt regulatory measures to impede the movement of terrorists' funds.
Action taken: U.S. regulatory measures are already in place, and the U.S. is encouraging other nations to adopt similar policies.
F. Improve Information Exchange on Terrorism
22. Facilitate information exchange via central authorities.
Action taken: To expand the scope and quality of counterterrorism information exchanged with cooperating law enforcement agencies in the Eight and elsewhere, the U.S. is actively negotiating new mutual legal assistance treaties.
23. Intensify exchange of basic information on persons and groups suspected of terrorist-linked activities.
Action taken: Following the Paris ministerial, the U.S. Coordinator of Counterterrorism, together with colleagues from U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies, conducted intensive consultations with dozens of counterparts from the Eight and other countries. In these consultations, terrorist organizations, activities, and other modes of operating and communications systems were discussed. Such exchanges also occur on a daily basis among U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies and their foreign counterparts.
24. Intensify the exchanges of operational information on suspect persons and groups.
Action taken: The U.S. is leading efforts to protect major events, such as the Olympic Games, against terrorist attacks. We invited counterterrorism experts from the Eight and other countries planning to host major international events to a conference in Honolulu September 3-5, 1997. The U.S. has also made a significant contribution to the Eight's Directorate of Competences on counterterrorism capabilities.
25. Accelerate exchanges of information.
Action taken: The U.S. is exploring ways to accelerate information exchanges, including by establishing an FBI database for forensic information on terrorism. The FBI is offering our partners in the Eight the opportunity to participate in the database project.
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