Report of the National Commission on Terrorism

Pursuant to Public Law 277, 105th Congress

Surprise, when it happens to a government, is likely to be a complicated, diffuse, bureaucratic thing. It includes neglect of responsibility but also responsibility so poorly defined or so ambiguously delegated that action gets lost. It includes gaps in intelligence, but also intelligence that, like a string of pearls too precious to wear, is too sensitive to give to those who need it. It includes the alarm that fails to work, but also the alarm that has gone off so often it has been disconnected. It includes the unalert watchman, but also the one who knows he'll be chewed out by his superior if he gets higher authority out of bed. It includes the contingencies that occur to no one, but also those that everyone assumes somebody else is taking care of. It includes straightforward procrastination, but also decisions protracted by internal disagreement. It includes, in addition, the inability of individual human beings to rise to the occasion until they are sure it is the occasion-- which is usually too late. (Unlike movies, real life provides no musical background to tip us off to the climax.) Finally, as at Pearl Harbor, surprise may include some measure of genuine novelty introduced by the enemy, and possibly some sheer bad luck.

The results, at Pearl Harbor, were sudden, concentrated, and dramatic. The failure, however, was cumulative, widespread, and rather drearily familiar. This is why surprise, when it happens to a government, cannot be described just in terms of startled people. Whether at Pearl Harbor or at the Berlin Wall, surprise is everything involved in a government's (or in an alliance's) failure to anticipate effectively.

    Thomas C. Schelling,
    Forward to Pearl Harbor; Warning and Decision,
    by Roberta Wohlstetter


Six months ago, the National Commission on Terrorism began its Congressionally mandated evaluation of America's laws, policies, and practices for preventing and punishing terrorism directed at American citizens. After a thorough review, the Commission concluded that, although American strategies and policies are basically on the right track, significant aspects of implementation are seriously deficient. Thus, this report does not attempt to describe all American counterterrorism activities, but instead concentrates on problem areas and recommended changes. We wish to note, however, that in the course of our assessment we gained renewed confidence in the abilities and dedication of the Americans who stand on the front lines in the fight against terrorism.

Each of the 10 commissioners approached these issues from a different perspective. If any one commissioner had written the report on his or her own, it might not be identical to that which we are presenting today. However, through a process of careful deliberation, we reached the consensus reflected in this report.

Throughout our deliberations, we were mindful of several important points:

Terrorists attack American targets more often than those of any other country. America's pre-eminent role in the world guarantees that this will continue to be the case, and the threat of attacks creating massive casualties is growing. If the United States is to protect itself, if it is to remain a world leader, this nation must develop and continuously refine sound counterterrorism policies appropriate to the rapidly changing world around us.

Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III

Maurice Sonnenberg
Vice Chairman


International terrorism poses an increasingly dangerous and difficult threat to America. This was underscored by the December 1999 arrests in Jordan and at the U.S./Canadian border of foreign nationals who were allegedly planning to attack crowded millenium celebrations. Today's terrorists seek to inflict mass casualties, and they are attempting to do so both overseas and on American soil. They are less dependent on state sponsorship and are, instead, forming loose, transnational affiliations based on religious or ideological affinity and a common hatred of the United States. This makes terrorist attacks more difficult to detect and prevent.

Countering the growing danger of the terrorist threat requires significantly stepping up U.S. efforts. The government must immediately take steps to reinvigorate the collection of intelligence about terrorists' plans, use all available legal avenues to disrupt and prosecute terrorist activities and private sources of support, convince other nations to cease all support for terrorists, and ensure that federal, state, and local officials are prepared for attacks that may result in mass casualties. The Commission has made a number of recommendations to accomplish these objectives:

Priority one is to prevent terrorist attacks. U.S. intelligence and law enforcement communities must use the full scope of their authority to collect intelligence regarding terrorist plans and methods.

U.S. policies must firmly target all states that support terrorists.

Private sources of financial and logistical support for terrorists must be subjected to the full force and sweep of U.S. and international laws.

A terrorist attack involving a biological agent, deadly chemicals, or nuclear or radiological material, even if it succeeds only partially, could profoundly affect the entire nation. The government must do more to prepare for such an event.

The President and Congress should reform the system for reviewing and funding departmental counterterrorism programs to ensure that the activities and programs of various agencies are part of a comprehensive plan.



Executive Summary

1 The International Terrorism Threat is Changing

2 Good Intelligence is the Best Weapon Against International Terrorism

3 Pursue a More Aggressive Strategy Against Terrorism

4 Prepare to Prevent or Respond to Catastrophic Terrorist Attacks



  • Who are the international terrorists?

  • What are their motives and how do they get their support?

  • How can we stop them?

    The answers to these questions have changed significantly over the last 25 years. There are dramatically fewer international terrorist incidents than in the mid-eighties. Many of the groups that targeted America's interests, friends, and allies have disappeared. The Soviet bloc, which once provided support to terrorist groups, no longer exists. Countries that once excused terrorism now condemn it. This changed international attitude has led to 12 United Nations conventions targeting terrorist activity and, more importantly, growing, practical international cooperation.

    However, if most of the world's countries are firmer in opposing terrorism, some still support terrorists or use terrorism as an element of state policy. Iran is the clearest case. The Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Ministry of intelligence and Security carry out terrorist activities and give direction and support to other terrorists. The regimes of Syria, Sudan, and Afghanistan provide funding, refuge, training bases, and weapons to terrorists. Libya continues to provide support to some Palestinian terrorist groups and to harass expatriate dissidents, and North Korea may still provide weapons to terrorists. Cuba provides safehaven to a number of terrorists. Other states allow terrorist groups to operate on their soil or provide support which, while failing short of state sponsorship, nonetheless gives terrorists important assistance.

    The terrorist threat is also changing in ways that make it more dangerous and difficult to counter.

    International terrorism once threatened Americans only when they were outside the country. Today international terrorists attack us on our own soil. Just before the millennium, an alert U.S. Customs Service official stopped Ahmad Ressam as he attempted to enter the United States from Canada-- apparently to conduct a terrorist attack. This fortuitous arrest should not inspire complacency, however. On an average day, over one million people enter the United States legally and thousands more enter illegally. As the World Trade Center bombing demonstrated, we cannot rely solely on existing border controls and procedures to keep foreign terrorists out of the United States.

    Terrorist attacks are becoming more lethal. Most terrorist organizations active in the 1970s and 1980s had clear political objectives. They tried to calibrate their attacks to produce just enough bloodshed to get attention for their cause, but not so much as to alienate public support. Groups like the Irish Republican Army and the Palestine Liberation Organization often sought specific political concessions.

    Now, a growing percentage of terrorist attacks are designed to kill as many people as possible. In the 1990s a terrorist incident was almost 20 percent more likely to result in death or injury than an incident two decades ago. The World Trade Center bombing in New York killed six and wounded about 1,000, but the terrorists' goal was to topple the twin towers, killing tens of thousands of people. The thwarted attacks against New York City's infrastructure in 1993-- which included plans to bomb the Lincoln and Holland tunnels-- also were intended to cause mass casualties. In 1995, Philippine authorities uncovered a terrorist plot to bring down 11 U.S. airliners in Asia. The circumstances surrounding the millennium border arrests of foreign nationals suggest that the suspects planned to target a large group assembled for a New Year's celebration. Overseas attacks against the United States in recent years have followed the same trend. The bombs that destroyed the military barracks in Saudi Arabia and two U.S. Embassies in Africa inflicted 6,059 casualties. Those arrested in Jordan in late December had also planned attacks designed to kill large numbers.

    The trend toward higher casualties reflects, in part, the changing motivation of today's terrorists. Religiously motivated terrorist groups, such as Usama bin Ladin's group, al-Qaida, which is believed to have bombed the U.S. Embassies in Africa, represent a growing trend toward hatred of the United States. Other terrorist groups are driven by visions of a post-apocalyptic future or by ethnic hatred. Such groups may lack a concrete political goal other than to punish their enemies by killing as many of them as possible, seemingly without concern about alienating sympathizers. Increasingly, attacks are less likely to be followed by claims of responsibility or lists of political demands.

    The shift in terrorist motives has contributed to a change in the way some international terrorist groups are structured. Because groups based on ideological or religious motives may lack a specific political or nationalistic agenda, they have less need for a hierarchical structure. Instead, they can rely on loose affiliations with like-minded groups from a variety of countries to support their common cause against the United States.

    Al-Qaida is the best-known transnational terrorist organization. In addition to pursuing its own terrorist campaign, it calls on numerous militant groups that share some of its ideological beliefs to support its violent campaign against the United States. But neither al-Qaida's extremist politico-religious beliefs nor its leader, Usama bin Ladin, is unique. If al-Qaida and Usama bin Ladin were to disappear tomorrow, the United States would still face potential terrorist threats from a growing number of groups opposed to perceived American hegemony. Moreover, new terrorist threats can suddenly emerge from isolated conspiracies or obscure cults with no previous history of violence.

    These more loosely affiliated, transnational terrorist networks are difficult to predict, track, and penetrate. They rely on a variety of sources for funding and logistical support, including self-financing criminal activities such as kidnapping, narcotics, and petty crimes. Their networks of support include both front organizations and legitimate business and nongovernment organizations. They use the Internet as an effective communications channel.

    Guns and conventional explosives have so far remained the weapons of choice for most terrorists. Such weapons can cause many casualties and are relatively easy to acquire and use. But some terrorist groups now show interest in acquiring the capability to use chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) materials. It is difficult to predict the likelihood of a CBRN attack, but most experts agree that today's terrorists are seeking the ability to use such agents in order to cause mass casualties.

    Graphic: "The Biological Terrorist Spectrum"

    Still, these kinds of weapons and materials confront a non-state sponsored terrorist group with significant technical challenges. While lethal chemicals are easy to come by, getting large quantities and weaponizing them for mass casualties is difficult, and only nation states have succeeded in doing so. Biological agents can be acquired in nature or from medical supply houses, but important aspects of handling and dispersion are daunting. To date, only nation states have demonstrated the capability to build radiological and nuclear weapons.

    The 1995 release of a chemical agent in the Tokyo subway by the apocalyptic Aum Shinrikyo group demonstrated the difficulties that terrorists face in attempting to use CBRN weapons to produce mass casualties. The group used scores of highly skilled technicians and spent tens of millions of dollars developing a chemical attack that killed fewer people than conventional explosives could have. The same group failed totally in a separate attempt to launch an anthrax attack in Tokyo.

    However, if the terrorists' goal is to challenge significantly Americans' sense of safety and confidence, even a small CBRN attack could be successful.

    Moreover, terrorists could acquire more deadly CBRN capabilitiesfrom a state. Five of the seven nations the United States identifies as state sponsors of terrorism have programs to develop weapons of mass destruction. A state that knowingly provides agents of mass destruction or technology to a terrorist group should worry about losing control of the terrorists' activities and, if the weapons could be traced back to that state, the near certainty of massive retaliation. However, it is always difficult and sometimes dangerous to attempt to predict the actions of a state. Moreover, a state in chaos, or elements within such a state, might run these risks, especially if the United States were engaged in military conflict with that state or if the United States were distracted by a major conflict in another area of the world.

    Graphic: "Terrorism Becoming More Dangerous"

    The Commission was particularly concerned about the persistent lack of adequate security and safeguards for the nuclear material in the former Soviet Union (FSU). A Center for Strategic International Studies panel chaired by former Senator Sam Nunn concluded that, despite a decade of effort, the risk of "loose nukes" is greater than ever. Another ominous warning was given in 1995 when Chechen rebels, many of whom fight side-by-side with Islamic terrorists from bin Ladin's camps sympathetic to the Chechen cause, placed radioactive material in a Moscow park.

    Cyber attacks are often considered in the same context with CBRN. Respectable experts have published sobering scenarios about the potential impact of a successful cyber attack on the United States. Already, hackers and criminals have exploited some of our vulnerabilities. Certainly, terrorists are making extensive use of the new information technologies, and a conventional terrorist attack along with a coordinated cyber attack could exponentially compound the damage. While the Commission considers cyber security a matter of grave importance, it also notes that the measures needed to protect the United States from cyberattack by terrorists are largely identical to those necessary to protect us from such an attack by a hostile foreign country, criminals, or vandals.

    Not all terrorists are the same, but the groups most dangerous to the United States share some characteristics not seen 10 or 20 years ago:

    This changing nature of the terrorist threat raises the stakes in getting American counterterrorist policies and practices right.


    Obtaining information about the identity, goals, plans, and vulnerabilities of terrorists is extremely difficult. Yet, no other single policy effort is more important for preventing, preempting, and responding to attacks.

    The Commission has identified significant obstacles to the collection and distribution of reliable information on terrorism to analysts and policymakers. These obstacles must be removed.

    In addition, this information, often collected at great risk to agents and officers in the field, must be safeguarded. Leaks of intelligence and law enforcement information reduce its value, endanger sources, alienate friendly nations and inhibit their cooperation, and jeopardize the U.S. Government's ability to obtain further information.

    Eliminate Barriers to Aggressive Collection of Information on Terrorists

    Complex bureaucratic procedures now in place send an unmistakable message to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers in the field that recruiting clandestine sources of terrorist information is encouraged in theory but discouraged in practice.

    Inside information is the key to preventing attacks by terrorists. The CIA must aggressively recruit informants with unique access to terrorists' plans. That sometimes requires recruiting those who have committed terrorist acts or related crimes, just as domestic law enforcement agencies routinely recruit criminal informants in order to pursue major criminal figures.

    CIA has always had a process for assessing a potential informant's reliability, access, and value. However, the CIA issued new guidelines in1995 in response to concern about alleged serious acts of violence by Agency sources. The guidelines set up complex procedures for seeking approval to recruit informants who may have been involved in human rights violations. In practice, these procedures have deterred and delayed vigorous efforts to recruit potentially useful informants. The CIA has created a climate that is overly risk averse. This has inhibited the recruitment of essential, if sometimes unsavory, terrorist informants and forced the United States to rely too heavily on foreign intelligence services. The adoption of the guidelines contributed to a marked decline in Agency morale unparalleled since the 1970s, and a significant number of case officers retired early or resigned.

    Recruiting informants is not tantamount to condoning their prior crimes, nor does it imply support for crimes they may yet commit. The long-standing process in place before 1995 provided managers with adequate guidance to judge the risks of going forward with any particular recruitment.

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is responsible for investigating terrorism in the United States, also suffers from bureaucratic and cultural obstacles to obtaining terrorism information.

    The World Trade Center bombers and the foreign nationals arrested before the millennium sought to inflict mass casualties on the American people. These incidents highlight the importance of ensuring that the FBI's investigations of international terrorism are as vigorous as the Constitutionallows.

    The FBI's terrorism investigations are governed by two sets of Attorney General guidelines. The guidelines for Foreign Intelligence Collection and Foreign Counterintelligence Investigations (FI guidelines), which are classified, cover the FBI's investigations of international terrorism, defined as terrorism occurring outside the United States or transcending national boundaries. Domestic terrorism is governed by the Attorney General guidelines on General Crimes, Racketeering Enterprise and Domestic Security/Terrorism Investigations (domestic guidelines). The domestic guidelines would apply, for example, to an investigation of a foreign terrorist group's activities in the United States if the FBI does not yet have information to make the international connection required for the Fl guidelines.

    Both guidelines set forth the standards that must be met before the FBI can open a preliminary inquiry or full investigation. The domestic guidelines authorize a preliminary inquiry where there is information or an allegation indicating possible criminal activity. A full investigation may be opened where there is a reasonable indication of a criminal violation, which is described as a standard "substantially lower than probable cause."

    The domestic and Fl guidelines provide the FBI with sufficient legal authority to conduct its investigations. In many situations, however, agents are unsure as to whether the circumstances of a particular case allow the authority to be invoked. This lack of clarity contributes to a risk-averse culture that causes some agents to refrain from taking prompt action against suspected terrorists.

    In 1995, largely in response to the Oklahoma City bombing and indications that confusion was inhibiting investigations, the Department of Justice (DoJ) issued a memorandum to the FBI field offices attempting to clarify the circumstances that would merit opening a preliminary inquiry and full investigation under the domestic guidelines. Nonetheless, there is still considerable confusion among the FBI field agents about the application of the guidelines. Neither the DoJ nor the FBI has attempted to clarify the FI guidelines for international terrorism investigations.

    The Department of Justice applies the statute governing electronic surveillance and physical searches of international terrorists in a cumbersome and overly cautious manner.1

    Pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the FBI can obtain a court order for electronic surveillance and physical searches of foreign powers, including groups engaged in international terrorism, and agents of foreign powers.

    Applications from the FBI for FISA orders are first approved by the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR) in the Department of Justice before being presented to a judge of the FISA Court for approval. OIPR has not traditionally viewed its role as assisting the FBI to meet the standards for FISA applications in the same way that the Criminal Division of DoJ assists the FBI investigators to meet the standards for a wiretap. For instance, the Criminal Division works with the investigating agents to identify and develop ways to obtain the type of information needed for a particular application to satisfy statutory requirements. OIPR has traditionally not been that proactive.

    The Commission heard testimony that, under ordinary circumstances, the FISA process can be slow and burdensome, requiring information beyond the minimum required by the statute. For example, to obtain a FISA order, the statute requires only probable cause to believe that someone who is not a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States is a member of an international terrorist organization. In practice, however, OIPR requires evidence of wrongdoing or specific knowledge of the group's terrorist intentions in addition to the person's membership in the organization before forwarding the application to the FISA Court. Also, OIPR does not generally consider the past activities of the surveillance target relevant in determining whether the FISA probable cause test is met.

    Graphic: "Application Process for Electronic Surveillance or Search of Foreign Terrorist Targets Within the U.S.

    During the period leading up to the millennium, the FISA application process was streamlined. Without lowering the FISA standards, applications were submitted to the FISA Court by DoJ promptly and with enough information to establish probable cause.

    The risk of personal liability arising from actions taken in an official capacity discourages law enforcement and intelligence personnel from taking bold actions to combat terrorism.

    FBI special agents and CIA officers in the field should be encouraged to take reasonable risks to combat terrorism without fear of being sued individually for officially authorized activities. However, government representation is not always available to such agents and officers when they are sued. As a result, FBI special agents and CIA officers are buying personal liability insurance, which provides for private representation in such suits.

    By recent statute, federal agencies must reimburse up to one half of the cost of personal liability insurance to law enforcement officers and managers or supervisors.

    Provide Resources and Capabilities to Exploit Fully Information on Terrorists

    Terrorists are using the same modern computer and communications technology as the rest of us, resulting in more information being collected. For example, a raid on a terrorist hideout is increasingly likely to result in the seizure of their computers. Instead of just finding a few handwritten notebooks and address books, counterterrorism authorities are faced with dozens of CD-Roms and hard drives. While there may well be information stored away in an encrypted file that could prevent the next terrorist attack, it is far more difficult to find that one file quickly out of the hundreds that may be stored on the terrorists' computers. To determine what is relevant,counterterrorism agencies must be able to process volumes of information-- this can mean decrypting it, translating it, and perhaps making sense of conversations using code words. Until the information is in plain English, it is almost impossible to determine whether it is relevant to a terrorism operation.

    The ability to exploit information collected-- process it into understandable information and prioritize it-- is essential to an effective global counterterrorist program. Intelligence derived from modern communications sources can provide indispensable warning and supports all aspects of the government's counterterrorism program, including military and law enforcement operations. Such intelligence is a necessary complement to that derived from human sources.

    Unfortunately, this is an area where the United States, like other nations, is having trouble keeping pace with the information revolution.The National Security Agency (NSA) is America's most important asset for technical collection of terrorism information, yet it is losing its capability to target and exploit the modern communications systems used by terrorists, seriously weakening the NSA's ability to warn of possible attacks. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence established a Technical Advisory Group whose recent report on NSA cites significant and expanding technology gaps.

    Similarly, the FBI's ability to exploit the increasing volume of terrorism information has been hampered by aging technology. To address these deficiencies, the FBI has identified specific technology needs including improved technical means for using legal wiretap authorities; enhanced data storage and retrieval systems; and counterencryption equipment.

    The Counterterrorist Center (CTC) in CIA is also suffering from inadequate resources. As a result, the Center has had to cut back or eliminate plans for an increased operational tempo to meet the globalization of terrorism and for development and acquisition of technology designed to assist in combating terrorists.

    All U.S. Government agencies face a drastic shortage of linguists to translate raw data into useful information. This shortage has a direct impact on counterterrorism efforts. The process is further complicated by initially affording all data collected under FISA or pursuant to ongoing terrorist investigations the highest level of classification, thereby restricting access to personnel possessing the necessary security clearance. In many instances involving unique dialects, this requirement leaves material unprocessed while a worldwide search is conducted to identify the single appropriately cleared linguist.

    The difficulty faced by the U.S. Government in coordinating linguistic capabilities with operational requirements highlights the need for a centralized coordinating and policy oversight body to mobilize linguists to prepare for an emergency surge requirement. The Foreign Language Executive Committee (FLEXCOM), located within the Community Management Staff of the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), possesses the capability but lacks the designated authority to carry out these functions.

    Promote the Flow of Terrorism Information From Law Enforcement to Policymakers and Analysts

    As the federal law enforcement community becomes more involved in the response to international terrorism, it is collecting information that is important to policyrnakers and to intelligence community analysts. For a variety of reasons, the information is not always shared.

    Law enforcement agencies are traditionally reluctant to share information outside of their circles so as not to jeopardize any potential prosecution. The FBI does promptly share information warning about specific terrorist threats with the CIA and other agencies. But the FBI is far less likely to disseminate terrorist information that may not relate to an immediate threat even though this could be of immense long-term or cumulative value to the intelligence community, in part because investigators lack the training or time to make such assessments. The problem is particularly pronounced with respect to information collected in the FBI's field offices in the United States, most of which never reaches the FBI headquarters, let alone other U.S. Government agencies or departments.

    Moreover, certain laws limit the sharing of law enforcement information, such as grand jury or criminal wiretap information, with the intelligence community. These laws are subject to differing interpretations, so that in some cases it is unclear whether the restrictions apply.

    The CIA, which faces the same challenge to disseminate useful information rapidly, has dedicated personnel, called reports officers, located overseas and at its headquarters. Their primary mission is to review, prioritize, and distill collected information for timely distribution.

    The FBI should have its own reports officers who can provide usable and timely terrorist-related information to the U.S. intelligence community and policyrnakers consistent with statutory restrictions. The FBI reports officers could concentrate exclusively on real-time review and dissemination of intelligence generated by the FBI investigations. To develop an understanding of the needs of the intelligence community, these officers should be rotated through appropriate agencies regularly.


    Since the 1980s, the United States has based its counterterrorism policy on four pillars:

    The government uses multiple tools to pursue this strategy. Diplomacy is an important instrument, both in gaining the assistance of other nations in particular cases and convincing the international community to condemn and outlaw egregious terrorist practices. Law enforcement is often invaluable in the investigation and apprehension of terrorists. Military force and covert action can often preempt or disrupt terrorist attacks. But meeting the changing terrorist threat requires more aggressive use of these tools and the development of new policies and practices.

    Law enforcement is designed to put individuals behind bars, but is not a particularly useful tool for addressing actions by states. The Pan Am 103 case demonstrates the advantages and limitations of the law enforcement approach to achieve national security objectives. The effort to seek extradition of the two intelligence operatives implicated most directly in the bombing gained international support for economic sanctions that a more political approach may have failed to achieve. The sanctions and the resulting isolation of Libya may have contributed to the reduction of Libya's terrorist activities. On the other hand, prosecuting and punishing two low-level operatives for an act almost certainly directed by Qadafi is a hollow victory, particularly if the trial results in his implicit exoneration.

    Strengthen Efforts to Discourage All State Support for Terrorism

    The United States should strengthen its efforts to discourage the broad range of assistance that states provide to international terrorists. A key focus of this initiative must be to reduce terrorists' freedom of movement by encouraging countries to stop admitting and tolerating the presence of terrorists within their borders. Nations should bar terrorist groups from activities such as training, recruiting, raising funds, or hiding behind political asylum.

    Iran remains the most active state supporter of terrorism.Despite the election of reformist President Khatami in 1997, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Ministry of Intelligence and Security have continued to be involved in the planning and execution of terrorist acts. They also provide funding, training, weapons, logistical resources, and guidance to a variety of terrorist groups. In 1999, organizations in Tehran increased support to terrorist groups opposed to the Middle East peace process, including Lebanese Hizballah and Palestinian rejectionist groups such as the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS), the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC). Iran continues to assassinate political dissidents at home and abroad. The Iranians responsible for terrorism abroad are often also responsible for political oppression and violence against reformers within Iran. So a firm stance against Iranian-sponsored terrorism abroad could assist the reformers.

    The Department of State's 1999 "Patterns of Global Terrorism" provides the following account of Iranian support for terrorism:

    • Iran's security forces conducted several bombings against Iranian dissidents abroad.

    • Iran has increasingly encouraged and supported-- with money, training, and weapons-- terrorist groups such as Hizballah, HAMAS, the PIJ, and Ahmed Jibril's PFLP-GC.

    • Iran continues to provide a safehaven to elements of PKK, a Kurdish terrorist group that has conducted numerous terrorist attacks in Turkey and against Turkish targets in Europe.

    • Iran also provides support to terrorist groups in North Africa and South and Central Asia, including financial assistance and training.

    There are indications of Iranian involvement in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, in which 19 U.S. citizens were killed and more than 500 were injured. In October 1999, President Clinton officially requested cooperation from Iran in the investigation. Thus far, Iran has not responded.

    International pressure in the Pan Am 103 case ultimately succeeded in getting some degree of cooperation from Libya. The U.S. Government has not sought similar multilateral action to bring pressure on Iran to cooperate in the Khobar Towers bombing investigation.

    Syria has not ceased its support for terrorists.

    The Syrian Government still provides terrorists with safehaven, allows them to operate over a dozen terrorist training camps in the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, and permits the Iranian Government to resupply these camps. Since its designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, Syria has expelled a few terrorist groups from Damascus, such as the Japanese Red Army, but these groups already were of marginal value to Syrian foreign policy. Meanwhile, Damascus continues to support terrorist groups opposed to the peace process. Although Syria recently made a show of "instructing" terrorists based in Damascus not to engage in certain types of attacks, it did not expel the groups or cease supporting them. This suggests Syria's determination to maintain rather than abandon terrorism.

    The U.S. Government has not designated Afghanistan as a state sponsor of terrorism because it does not recognize the Talliban regime as the Government of Afghanistan.

    In 1996, the Taliban regime gained control of the capital of Afghanistan and began asserting its control over much of the country. Since then it has provided a safehaven to terrorist groups and terrorist fugitives wanted by U.S. law enforcement, including Usama bin Ladin-- who is under indictment for his role in the bombings of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. The Taliban also supports the training camps of many of these terrorist groups.

    In 1996, Congress enacted a law that authorizes the President to designate as "not cooperating fully" states whose behavior is objectionable but not so egregious as to warrant designation as a "state sponsor of terrorism." This law has not been effectively used.

    Some countries use the rhetoric of counterterrorist cooperation but are unwilling to shoulder their responsibilities in practice, such as restricting the travel of terrorists through their territory or ratifying United Nations conventions on terrorism. Other states have relations with terrorists that fall short of the extensive criteria for designation as a state sponsor, but their failure to act against terrorists perpetuates terrorist activities. Newer terrorist groups, many of which are transnational in composition and less influenced by state agendas, can take advantage of such states for safehaven.

    To address these categories of countries, in 1996 Congress authorized the President to designate countries as "not cooperating fully with U.S. antiterrorism efforts" and to embargo defense sales to such states. To date, only Afghanistan has been so designated, and that designation arose from the legal difficulty of putting Afghanistan on the state sponsor list without appearing to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government.

    Two other countries that present difficulties for U.S. counterterrorism policy are Pakistan and Greece. Both are friendly nations and Greece is a NATO ally.

    Pakistan has cooperated on counterterrorism at times, but not consistently. In 1995, for example, Pakistan arrested and extradited to the United States Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who masterminded the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. In December 1999, Pakistan's cooperation was vital in warding off terrorist attacks planned for the millennium. Even so, Pakistan provides safehaven, transit, and moral, political, and diplomatic support to several groups engaged in terrorism including Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM), which has been designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization(FTO). HUM is responsible for kidnapping and murdering tourists in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Moreover, as part of its support for Usama bin Ladin,HUM has threatened to kill U.S. citizens.

    Greece has been disturbingly passive in response to terrorist activities. It is identified by the U.S. Government as "one of the weakest links in Europe's effort against terrorism" (Patterns of Global Terrorism, 1999. U.S. Departmentof State.) Since 1975 there have been 146 terrorist attacks against Americans or American interests in Greece. Only one case has been solved and there is no indication of any meaningful investigation into the remaining cases. Among the unresolved cases are the attacks by the Revolutionary Organization 17 November which has claimed responsibility for the deaths of 20 people, including four Americans, since 1975. Greek authorities have never arrested a member of 17 November, which is a designated FTO. The Turkish leftist group, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front(DHKP-C), also an FTO, has murdered four Americans since 1979 and maintains an office in Athens despite United States protests. Last year, senior Greek Government officials gave assistance and refuge to the leader of the Kurdish terrorist group, the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).

    The U.S. Government should vigorously use the "Not Cooperating Fully" category, naming countries-- even friends and allies-- whose behavior is objectionable but does not justify designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. This designation could be used to warn countries that may be moving toward designation as a state sponsor.

    To give this threat teeth, the U.S. Government should adopt more stringent sanctions for states in this category. For example, the Department of State's Visa Waiver Program (VWP) permits citizens of qualifying countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for 90 days without obtaining a U.S. visa. Today there are 29 countries participating in the VWP. Countries that are "Not Cooperating Fully" with U.S. antiterrorism efforts should be barred from participation in the VWP. The "Not Cooperating Fully" category could also be used as a "halfwayhouse" for states that have reduced support for terrorism enough to justify removal from the state sponsors list but do not yet deserve to be completely exonerated.

    Implement a Broader Approach to Stop Non-State Support for Terrorists

    Today's terrorists rely less on direct state sponsorship and more on private financial and logistical support. Many terrorist groups secretly exploit the resources of international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), companies, and wealthy individuals. For example, bin Ladin and other extremists have used the Afghanistan-based NGO Maktab al-Khidamat for finan cial and logistical support. By penetrating an NGO, terrorists gain not only access to funding and international logistics networks, but also the legitimacy of cover employment with a humanitarian organization.

    To date, the focus of the U.S. Government's efforts to disrupt private support to terrorists has been on prosecutions under provisions of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). This law requires the Secretary of State to designate groups that threaten U.S. interests and security as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. There are 28 organizations on the most recent list, issued in October of 1999 by the Secretary of State. Current practice is to update the FTO list every two years, although the threat from terrorist groups can change at a faster pace.

    The FTO designation makes it a crime for a person in the United States to provide funds or other material support (including equipment, weapons, lodging, training, etc.) to such a group. There is no requirement that the contributor know that the specific resources provided will be used for terrorism. In addition, American financial institutions are required under the law to block funds of FTOs and their agents and report them to the government.

    Foreign Terrorist Organizations as of October 8, 1999

    Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
    Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)
    Armed Islamic Group (GIA)
    Aum Shinriykyo
    Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
    HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement)
    Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM)
    Hizballah (Party of God)
    Gama'a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group, IG)
    Japanese Red Army (JRA)
    Kahane Chai
    Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
    Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE)
    Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK, MKO, NCR, and many others)
    National Liberation Army (ELN)
    Palestine Islamic Jihad-Shaqaqi Faction (PIJ)
    Palestine Liberation Front-Abu Abbas Faction (PLF)
    Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
    Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC)
    Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
    Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17 November)
    Revolutionary People's Liberation Army/Front (DHKP/C)
    Revolutionary People's Struggle (ELA)
    Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso, SL)
    Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA)

    The FTO designation process correctly recognizes that the current threat is increasingly from groups of terrorists rather than state sponsors. In addition to deterring contributions to terrorist organizations, FTO designation serves as a diplomatic tool. It provides the State Department with the ability to use a "carrot and stick" approach to these groups, providing public condemnation and a potential for redemption if the groups renounce terrorism.

    There is little doubt that all groups currently on the list belong there. But the exclusion, for example, of the Real Irish Republican Army, which carried out the Omagh car bombing in Northern Ireland in 1998 killing 29 people and injuring more than 200, raises questions about completeness of the list.This diminishes the credibility of the FTO list by giving the impression that political or ethnic considerations can keep a group off the list.

    Rather than relying heavily on the FTO process, the U.S. Government should take a broader approach to cutting off the flow of financial support for terrorism from within the United States. Anyone providing funds to terrorist organizations or activities should be investigated with the full vigor of the law and, where possible, prosecuted under relevant statutes, including those covering money laundering, conspiracy, tax or fraud violations. In such cases, assets may also be made subject to civil and criminal forfeiture.

    In addition, the Department of the Treasury could use its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) more effectively. OFAC administers and enforces economic sanctions. For example, any U.S. financial institution holding funds belonging to a terrorist organization or one of its agents must report those assets to OFAC. Under OFAC's regulations, the transfer of such assets can be blocked. OFAC's capabilities and expertise are underutilized in part because of resource constraints.

    Other government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service and Customs, also possess information and authority that could be used to thwart terrorist fundraising. For instance, the IRS has information on nongovernmental organizations that may be collecting donations to support terrorism, and Customs has data on large currency transactions. But there is no single entity that tracks and analyzes all the data available to the various agencies on terrorist fundraising in the United States.

    In addition to domestic efforts, disrupting fundraising for terrorist groups requires international cooperation. A new United Nations convention, the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, provides a framework for improved cooperation. Each signing party is to enact domestic legislation to criminalize fundraising for terrorism and provide for the seizure and forfeiture of funds intended to support terrorism. The parties are to cooperate in the criminal investigation and prosecution of terrorism fundraising, and in extraditing suspects.

    Of the large number of foreign students who come to this country to study, there is a risk that a small minority may exploit their student status to support terrorist activity. The United States lacks the nationwide ability to monitor the immigration status of these students.

    In spite of elaborate immigration laws and the efforts of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the United States is, cle facto, a country of open borders. The Commission found that the massive flows of people across U.S.borders make exclusion of all foreign terrorists impossible. There are more than 300 million legal crossings each year at the U.S./Mexican land border alone. Millions more stream through our airports.

    Beyond the millions who legally come and go, over four million persons reside illegally in the United States. About half of them entered the country without inspection, meaning they crossed U.S. borders between inspection stations or entered by small boat or aircraft. Roughly another two million people entered the United States with a valid visitor's visa, but overstayed their visa and remained here to live. That said, of the millions who come here to live or visit only a minuscule portion of all foreigners in the United States attempt to harm the country in any way.

    While the problems of controlling America's borders are far broader than just keeping out terrorists, the Commission found this an area of special concern. For example, thousands of people from countries officially designated as state sponsors of terrorism currently study in the United States. This is not objectionable in itself as the vast majority of these students contribute to America's diversity while here and return home with no adverse impact on U.S. national security. However, experience has shown the importance of monitoring the status of foreign students. Seven years ago, investigators discovered that one of the terrorists involved in bombing the World Trade Center had entered the United States on a student visa, dropped out, and remained illegally. Today, there is still no mechanism for ensuring the same thing won't happen again.

    One program holds promise as a means of addressing the issue. The Coordinated Interagency Partnership Regulating International Students (CIPRIS), a regional pilot program mandated by the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIR/IRA) collects and makes readily available useful and current information about foreign student visa holders in the United States. For example, CIPRIS would record a foreign student's change in major from English literature to nuclear physics. The CIPRIS pilot program was implemented in 20 southern universities and is being considered for nationwide implementation after an opportunity for notice and comment. The Commission believes that CIPRIS could become a model for a nationwide program monitoring the status of foreign students.

    Congress provided for the expedited expulsion of terrorists with procedures for the use of secret evidence.The protections contained in these procedures have not been used. 2

    The 1993 World Trade Center bombing brought to light the problem of international terrorists entering and operating in the United States and illustrated the importance of removing suspected terrorists from the United States.

    In 1996, Congress established the Alien Terrorist Removal Court (ATRC). The legislation authorized use of classified information in cases involving the expulsion of suspected terrorists, but the law provided several protections for the accused, including the requirement that the alien be provided an unclassified summary of the classified evidence and appellate review by federal courts. For aliens legally admitted for permanent residence, the law allowed the use of special attorneys who hold security clearances (cleared counsel) who are permitted to review secret evidence on behalf of an alien and challenge its veracity.

    The ATRC has never been used. Rather, pursuant to other statutes and case law, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has acted to remove aliens based on classified evidence presented to an immigration judge without disclosure to the alien or defense counsel.

    The U.S. Government should not be confronted with the dilemma of unconditionally disclosing classified evidence or allowing a suspected terrorist to remain at liberty in the United States. At the same time, resort to use of secret evidence without disclosure even to cleared counsel should be discontinued, especially when criminal prosecution throughan open court proceeding is an option.

    Without international cooperation, the United States cannot protect its national infrastructure from the cyber threat.

    Cyber crime already has been recognized as a serious and growing problem. In response, the government has passed new laws, set new security requirements, established new centers, promoted partnerships with the private sector, and supported the exchange of information and research.

    In addition to domestic efforts, the United States must seek international cooperation. Cyber criminals and terrorists using the Internet are unrestrained by national borders. Therefore, the U.S. Government must make every effort to establish international agreements and cooperation to prevent or respond to a cyber-terrorist attack.

    Improve Executive and Legislative Branch Review of Counterterrorism Activities

    The United States does not have a single counterterrorism budget. Instead, counterterrorism programs exist in the individual budgets of 45 departments and agencies of the Federal Government. The National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure, and Counterterrorism (currently a member of the President's staff) is responsible for ensuring that the counterterrorism programs in these departments and agencies meet the President's overall counterterrorism objectives. To discharge this responsibility, the National Coordinator established a process to set priorities, develop counterterrorism initiatives and review their funding in agency budgets. This process is an efficient means of balancing counterterrorism program requirements against other agency priorities, but it has a significant drawback. The National Coordinator has no role in the critical step when the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) decides what agency programs will be funded and at what levels. This decision is conveyed to the agencies when budget revisions are passed back to the agencies (called passbacks).

    The Commission believes that whoever coordinates the national counterterrorism effort on behalf of the President should also have the authority to ensure that the President's counterterrorism objectives are reflected in agency budgets. That means the coordinator should participate with OMB in the passback of counterterrorism budget submissions, as well as in the final phase of the budget process when agencies appeal OMB's decisions.

    Congressional responsibility for reviewing the President's counterterrorism budget is divided among several committees and sub-committees, making coordinated review more difficult.

    Key Congressional Committees
    With Oversight Responsibility for

    Armed Services
    Foreign Relations
    Governmental Affairs

    Armed Services
    Government Reform
    International Relations

    One of the essential tasks for the national counterterrorism coordinator is to prepare a comprehensive counterterrorism plan and budget. Similarly, Congress should develop mechanisms for coordinated review of the President's counterterrorism policy and budget, rather than having each of the many relevant committees moving in different directions without regard to the overall strategy.

    As a first step, the Commission urges Congress to consider holding joint hearings of two or more committees on counterterrorism matters. In addition, to facilitate executive-legislative discussion of terrorism budget issues, the House and Senate Appropriations committees should each assign to senior staff responsibility for cross-appropriations review of counterterrorism programs.

    Finally, the Commission notes the importance of bipartisanship both in Congress and in the executive branch when considering counterterrorism policy and funding issues.


    A terrorist attack in the United States using a biological agent, deadly chemicals, or nuclear or radiological material, even if only partially successful, would profoundly affect the entire nation, as would a series of conventional attacks or a single bombing that caused thousands of deaths. Given the trend toward more deadly terrorist attacks and indications that mass casualties are an objective of many of today's terrorists, it is essential that America be fully prepared to prevent and respond to this kind of catastrophic terrorism.

    Over the past few years, the U.S. Government has taken a number of positive steps. Several Presidential Directives have effected major changes in organizational responsibilities and improved cooperation. The Department of Health and Human Services' Strategic Plan, the Attorney General's Five-Year Plan, the establishment of a military Joint Task Force for Civil Support, and improvement in first responders' capabilities are valuable efforts, but there is still more to do.

    There is a risk that, in preventing or responding to a catastrophic terrorist attack, officials may hesitate or act improperly because they do not fully understand their legal authority or because there are gaps in that authority.

    There is some statutory authority that does not now exist that should be considered for catastrophic conditions. For example:

    The Constitution permits extraordinary measures in the face of extraordinary threats. To prevent or respond to catastrophic terrorism, law enforcement and public health officials have the authority to conduct investigations and implement measures that temporarily exceed measures applicable under non-emergency conditions. These may include cordoning off of areas, vehicle searches, certain medical measures, and sweep searches through areas believed to contain weapons or terrorists.

    Determining whether a particular measure is reasonable requires balancing privacy and other rights against the public interest in coping with a terrorist threat which may lead to massive casualties. Advance preparation is the best way to deal successfully with a terrorist incident without jeopardizing individuals' Constitutional rights.

    The U.S. Government's plans for a catastrophic terrorist attack on the United States do not employ the full range of the Department of Defense's (DoD's) capabilities for managing large operations. Additionally, the interagency coordination and cooperation required to integrate the DoD properly into counterterrorism planning has not been accomplished.

    The Department of Defense's ability to command and control vast resources for dangerous, unstructured situations is unmatched by any other department or agency. According to current plans, DoD involvement is limited to supporting the agencies that are currently designated as having the lead in a terrorism crisis, the FBI and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). But, in extraordinary circumstances, when a catastrophe is beyond the capabilities of local, state, and other federal agencies, or is directly related to an armed conflict overseas, the President may want to designate DoD as a lead federal agency. This may become a critical operational consideration in planning for future conflicts. Current plans and exercises do not consider this possibility.

    An expanded role for the DoD in a catastrophic terrorist attack will have policy and legal implications. Other federal agencies, the states, and local communities will have major concerns. In preparing for such a contingency, there will also be internal DoD issues on resources and possible conflicts with traditional military contingency plans. These issues should be addressed beforehand.

    Effective preparation also requires effective organization. The DoD is not optimally organized to respond to the wide range of missions that would likely arise from the threat of a catastrophic terrorist attack. For example, within DoD several offices, departments, Unified Commands, the Army, and the National Guard have overlapping responsibilities to plan and execute operations in case of a catastrophic terrorist attack. These operations will require an unprecedented degree of interagency coordination and communication in order to be successful.

    There are neither plans for the DoD to assume a lead agency role nor exercises rehearsing this capability. Hence, these demanding tasks would have to be accomplished on an ad hoc basis by the military.

    The interagency program and plan for exercising the government's preparedness to respond to a catastrophic terrorist attack is inadequate.

    In addition to DoD exercises, a realistic interagency exercise program,with full participation by all relevant federal agencies and their leaders, is essential for national preparedness to counter a catastrophic terrorist attack. In June 1995, the President established an interagency counterterrorist Exercise Subgroup and program which included preparation for a catastrophic terrorist attack. However, not all federal agencies have participated in or budgeted for these exercises.

    Additionally, in September 1998, Congress funded and mandated the Department of Justice and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to conduct a counterterrorism and consequence management exercise, called TOPOFF, involving relevant federal agencies and their senior leadership, with select state and local governments participating, to evaluate the U.S. Government's preparedness for a catastrophic terrorist incident. However, sufficient funding was not provided and there is no requirement to exercise on a regular schedule.

    Given the urgency of near-term needs, long-term research and development (R&D) projects on technologies useful to fighting terrorism will be short-changed unless Congress and the President can agree on special procedures and institutional arrangements to work on research that is risky and has more distant payoffs.

    Research and Development spending for new technologies to cope with catastrophic terrorism has significantly increased over the past three years. Most of the funds, however, are targeted on near-term improvements to meet immediate needs for better detectors, more vaccines, and requirements of first responders.

    To prevent or cope with terrorist attacks in the future, in particular attacks using CBRN agents, the U.S. Government must make greater use of America's dominance in science and technology. No other country, much less any subnational organization, can match U.S. scientific and technological prowess in biotechnology and pharmaceutical production and quality control, electronics, computer science and other domains that could help overcome and defeat the technologies used by future terrorists. But this kind of R&D requires time-- five to ten years or more-- to develop new ideas, test hypotheses, craft preliminary applications, and test them. Developing mass production for successful applications further delays getting products into the hands of users.

    The following list illustrates, but by no means exhausts, the type of projects that could constitute a long-term R&D program:

    • New sensors to detect nuclear weapons in transit (e.g., gamma-ray imaging systems, including stimulation to elicit detectable emissions).

    • High power ultraviolet beams to destroy BW agents and to clean up contaminated areas.

    • New types of "tripwires" suitable for many different entry-points (e.g., explosive-sniffers, body scanner), and their proto-typing for mass-production.

    • Advanced development of anti-virals for smallpox.

    The Commission considered several institutional arrangements to manage long-term R&D. One option is establishing a large program at one of the Department of Energy (DoE) or other national laboratories to conduct in-house research, contract for external research, initiate prototyping for production, and involve qualified outside experts. This last task is particularly important in the fields of biotechnology and pharmaceutical production techniques. The goal would be to attract talented biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry scientists and engineers to work with the government for one or two years on high priority projects.

    Current controls on transfers of pathogens that could be used in biological terrorism are inadequate and controls on related equipment are nonexistent. In addition, current programs of the Department of Health and Human Services are not adequate to ensure physical security of pathogens or to monitor disease outbreaks overseas.

    Terrorists, without serious risk of detection, could obtain pathogens from domestic natural sources, steal them, or import them into the United States. Most pathogens in the United States are tightly controlled, but regulation of laboratories as well as of dangerous agents during transport are designed to prevent accidents, not theft. Moreover, these controls are not as rigorous as controls over nuclear material.

    Creating pathogens small and sturdy enough to disperse broadly over a target population for an effective period of time remains, fortunately, a complex process. Thus, regulating the sophisticated equipment required to turn pathogens into weapons could hamper terrorist efforts to acquire this capability.

    However, no regulatory scheme is foolproof. Moreover, contagious diseases do not require sophisticated dispersion devices. Thus, it is important to have the ability to detect outbreaks of infectious diseases and to distinguish bioterrorist attacks from natural outbreaks. Some detection and analytical systems are in place domestically, but the international community's ability to distinguish natural disease from terrorism lags far behind even these modest U.S. efforts.

    Appendix A: Transmittal Letters

    Commission Letter to the President of the United States

    Commission Letter to the President of the Senate

    Commission Letter to the Speaker of the House

    Original letters of transmittal were also sent to the following:

    The Honorable Strom Thurmond
    The President Pro Tempore
    United States Senate
    Washington, D.C. 20510

    The Honorable Trent Lott
    Republican Leader
    United States Senate
    Washington, D.C. 20510

    The Honorable Tom Daschle
    Democratic Leader
    United States Senate
    Washington, D.C. 20510

    The Honorable Richard A. Gephardt
    Democratic Leader
    United States House of Representatives
    Washington, D.C. 20515


    Commission History

    The National Commission on Terrorism was established by Section 591of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriation Act, 1999 (as contained in the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999 (P.L. 105-277). The legislation called for the appointment of 10 commissioners, three selected by the Majority Leader of the Senate, three by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and two each by the Minority Leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives.

    Congress gave the Commission six months to review the laws, regulations, directives, policies and practices for preventing and punishing international terrorism directed against the United States, assess their effectiveness, and recommend changes. The Commission held 14 plenary meetings, generally meeting twice per month. During its meetings, the Commission was briefed by both government witnesses and outside experts. A number of Commissioners met with representatives of the governments of Canada, Egypt, France, Israel, Jordan, Poland, and the United Kingdom to address various international terrorism issues, including cooperation between those countries and the United States. Several Commissioners participated in non-plenary meetings dealing with particular issues, and Commission staff interviewed additional witnesses. (See List of Witnesses at Appendix D)

    Charter Legislation

    PUBLIC LAW 105-277 - OCT 21, 1998
    (Page 112 STAT. 2681-210; H.R. 4328)

    SEC. 591.

    (a) Establishment of National Commission on Terrorism.

    (1) Establishment. -There is established a national commission on terrorism to review counter-terrorism policies regarding the prevention and punishment of international acts of terrorism directed at the United States. The commission shall be known as "The National Commission on Terrorism".

    (2) Composition.-The commission shall be composed of 10 members appointed as follows:

    (3) Qualifications.-The members should have a knowledge and expertise in matters to be studied by the commission.

    (4) Chair.-The Speaker of the House of Representatives, after consultation with the majority leader of the Senate and the minority leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall designate one of the members of the Commission to serve as chair of the Commission.

    (5) Period of appointment: vacancies.- Members shall be appointed for the life of the Commission. Any vacancy in the Commission shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

    (6) Security clearances.-All Members of the Commission should hold appropriate security clearances.

    (b) Duties.-

    (1) In general.-The commission shall consider issues relating to international terrorism directed at the United States as follows:

    (2) Report.-Not later than 6 months after the date on which the Commission first meets, the Commission shall submit to the President and the Congress a final report of the findings and conclusions of the commission, together with any recommendations.

    (c) Administrative Matters.-

    (1) Meetings.-

    (2) Authority of individuals to act for commission.-Any member or agent of the commission may, if authorized by the commission, take any action which the commission is authorized to take under this section.

    (3) Powers.-

    (4) Pay and expenses of commission members.-

    (5) Staff and administrative support.-

    (d) Termination of Commission.- The commission shall terminate 30 days after the date on which the commission submits a final report.

    (e) Funding.-There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.



    L. Paul Bremer III, Chairman is the Managing Director of Kissinger Associates. During a 23-year career in the American diplomatic service, Ambassador Bremer served in Asia, Africa, Europe and Washington, D.C. He was Ambassador to the Netherlands from 1983 to 1986. From 1986-1989, he served as Ambassador-at-Large for Counter-Terrorism, where he was responsible for developing and implementing America's global polices to combat terrorism.

    Maurice Sonnenberg, Vice Chairman, is the senior international advisor to the investment banking firm of Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. and the senior international advisor to the law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. He is a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. He recently served as a member of the U.S. Commission on Reducing and Protecting Government Secrecy and as the senior advisor to the U.S. Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

    Richard K. Betts is Leo A. Shifrin Professor of War and Peace Studies in the political science department, Director of the Institute of War and Peace Studies, and Director of the International Security Policy program in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He is also Director of National Security Studies and Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and author of Surprise Attack: Lesson for Defense Planning.

    Wayne A. Downing, General, U.S. Army, retired in 1996 after a 34-year career, where he served in a variety of command assignments in infantry, armored, special operations and joint units culminating in his appointment as the Commancler-in-Chief of the U.S. Special Operations Command. Since retirement, he was appointed to assess the 1996 terrorist attack on the U.S. base at Khobar Towers, Saudi Arabia, and to make recommendations to protect people and facilities world wide from terrorist attack. General Downing serves on several boards and panels in both the private and government sectors.

    Jane Harman just completed a year as Regents Professor at U.C.L.A. where she taught at the Department of Political Science and Center for International Relations. Harman represented California's 36th Congressional District from 1992-1998 where she served on the National Security, Science and Intelligence Committees. Prior government experience includes Senate Counsel, White House Deputy Cabinet Secretary and DoD Special Counsel. Harman is currently seeking election to her former seat.

    Fred C. Iklé is a Distinguished Scholar, Center for Strategic & International Studies. Dr. Iklé is Chairman of the Board of Telos Corporation and a Director of the Zurich-American Insurance Companies and of CMC Energy Services. Prior to joining the Center, Dr. Iklé served as Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and Director for the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

    Juliette N. Kayyem is an Associate of the Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She writes and teaches courses on counter-terrorism policy and the law. Ms.Kayyem has most recently served as a legal advisor to the Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice and as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

    John F. Lewis, Jr. is Director of Global Security for Goldman, Sachs & Co., New York. Previously, he was Assistant Director-in-Charge of the National Security Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr. Lewis managed the FBI's national counterintelligence and counterterrorism programs. Mr.Lewis has held a variety of positions, including an appointment as Director of Intelligence and CI Programs, National Security Staff and previous Chairman of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Committee on Terrorism.

    Gardner Peckham is Managing Director of the government relations firm of Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey with a practice focused on international trade, defense and foreign policy issues. Prior to joining the firm, Mr.Peckham served as Senior Policy Advisor to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. He also held several other senior positions in Congress and during the Bush Administration served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and Director for Legislative Affairs at the National Security Council Staff.

    R. James Woolsey is a partner at the law firm of Shea & Gardner with a practice in the fields of civil litigation, alternative dispute resolution, and corporate transactions; he also serves on several corporate boards. Previous to returning to the firm, Mr. Woolsey served as Director of Central Intelligence. His U.S. Government service includes Ambassador to the Negotiations on CFE, Under Secretary of the Navy, and General Counsel of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services. He has served on many Presidential and Congressional delegations, boards, and commissions.


    Suzanne E. Spaulding, Executive Director
    Margaret A. Glatz, Executive Assistant
    Hyon J. Kim, General Counsel
    Barbara Barnes
    Gina M. Bennett
    LTC Rudolph R. Cohen, Jr., USA
    Goldie R. Flowers
    Burley P. Fuselier, Jr.
    Kevin P. Giblin
    John W. Ivicic
    Philip S. Kosnett


    Donald R. Hamilton
    Bonnie Jenkins
    Brian M. Jenkins
    Barry Kellman
    William M. Wise
    Mona Yacoubian

    APPENDIX D: Individuals Interviewed by the Commission

    The following is a list of individuals interviewed by Commission members or staff. The Commission also met with officials of the governments of Canada, France, Israel, Jordan, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

    Ambassador Morton Abramowitz
    Carnegie Foundation

    Yonah Alexander
    Director and Senior Fellow
    Center for Counter Terrorism
    Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

    Charles E. Allen
    Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Collection
    Central Intelligence Agency

    David Argoff
    Associate Dean
    Foreign Service Institute
    Department of State

    Richard Armitage
    Former Assistant Secretary of Defense
    Department of Defense

    Andrew Arthur
    Associate General Counsel
    Immigration and Naturalization Service

    James A. Baker
    Deputy Counsel, Operations
    Office of Intelligence Policy and Review
    Department of Justice

    Steve L. Basha
    Associate Chief Counsel (Enforcement)
    U.S. Customs Service

    Peter Bass
    Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy
    Sanctions and Commodities
    Department of State

    John Bellinger, III
    Counsel for National Security Matters
    Criminal Division
    Department of Justice

    Pam Berkowski
    Special Assistant to the Secretary of
    Defense for Consequence Management
    Department of Defense

    Nicole Bibbins
    Special Assistant
    Office of the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
    Department of State

    Robert Blitzer
    Former Section Chief
    Domestic Terrorism
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Douglas 0. Bowman
    Associate General Counsel
    Central Intelligence Agency

    M. E. (Spike) Bowman
    Associate General Counsel
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Lisa Burnett
    Associate Director
    Office of International Affairs
    Criminal Division
    Department of Justice

    Ambassador Morris Busby
    Former Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
    Department of State

    Stephen L. Caldwell
    National Security & International Affairs Division
    General Accounting Office

    Stephen A. Cambone
    Director of Research
    Institute of National Strategic Studies
    National Defense University

    W. Seth Carus
    Senior Research Professor
    Center for Counterproliferation
    National Defense University
    Department of Defense

    James Castello
    Associate Deputy Attorney General
    Department of Justice

    Frank J. Cilluffo
    Center for Strategic and International Studies

    William E. Clark
    Office of Management and Budget
    Department of Health and Human Services

    Floyd Clarke
    Vice President for Corporate Compliance
    McAndrews & Forbes

    Richard A. Clarke
    National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counterterrorism
    National Security Council

    Patrick Clawson
    Washington Institute for Near East Policy

    Owen B. (Bill) Cooper
    General Counsel
    Immigration and Naturalization Service

    A. Heather Coyne
    Program Examiner
    Office and Management and Budget

    Martha Crenshaw
    Wesleyan University

    M. Deborah Cryan
    Terrorism Analyst
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Harvey Dalton
    Legal Counsel
    Office of General Counsel
    Department of Defense

    Robert 0. Davis
    Deputy Counsel, Policy
    Office of Intelligence Policy and Review
    Department of Justice

    Todd M. Davis
    Assistant General Counsel
    Office of General Counsel
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Raymond J. Decker,
    National Security & International Affairs Division
    General Accounting Office

    James X. Dempsey
    Senior Staff Counsel
    Center for Democracy and Technology

    Dorothy E. Denning
    Georgetown University

    Sidney D. Drell
    Hoover Institute
    Stanford University

    Ronnie L. Edelman
    Principal Deputy Chief
    Terrorism and Violent Crime Section
    Criminal Division
    Department of Justice

    Dr. Edward Eitzen, COL, USA
    Chief, Operational Medicine Division
    U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Disease
    Department of Defense

    Steve Emerson

    Gerald L. Epstein
    Senior Policy Analyst
    Office of Science and Technology Policy
    National Security Council

    Ambassador Nabil Fahmy
    Egyptian Ambassador to the United States

    Richard A. Falkenrath
    John F. Kennedy School of Government
    Harvard University

    George C. Fidas
    Deputy National Intelligence Officer
    for Economic and Global Issues
    Central Intelligence Agency

    Louis Freeh
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Stephen B. French
    Department of Defense

    Robert M. (Bob) Gates
    Former Director of Central Intelligence

    John Gearson
    Kings College, UK

    Lisa Gordon-Hagerty
    Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction Preparedness
    National Security Council

    Margaret Gullota
    Section Chief, Language Services
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg
    Assistant Secretary for Plans and Evaluations
    Department of Health and Human Services

    Philip Heymann
    James Barr Ames Professor of Law
    Harvard Law School
    Harvard University

    Bruce R. Hoffman
    RAND Corporation

    Michael Jakub
    Office of the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
    Department of State

    Stephen Jennings
    Assistant Section Chief
    International Terrorism
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Larry Johnson
    Former Terrorism Analyst
    Department of State

    Steven B. Kashkett
    Office of the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
    Department of State

    Thomas Knowles,
    Section Chief, International Relations Branch
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Michael B. Kraft
    Office of the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
    Department of State

    Ellen Laipson
    Vice Chairperson
    National Intelligence Council
    Central Intelligence Agency

    Judge Royce C. Lamberth
    Presiding Judge
    U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

    Dr. John LaMontange
    Deputy Director
    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
    Department of Health and Human Services

    Walter Laqueur
    Center for Strategic and International Studies

    Elisa L. Liang
    Associate Deputy Attorney General
    Department of Justice

    L. Lewis Libby
    Former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense
    Department of Defense

    Dr. Scott Lillibridge
    Director, Center for Disease Control
    Department of Health and Human Services

    CAPT Michael Lohr, USN
    Legal Counsel, Joint Staff
    Department of Defense

    Ambassador Ted MacNamara
    Former Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
    Department of State

    Frederic F. Manget
    Associate General Counsel
    Central Intelligence Agency

    COL David E. McCracken, USA
    Chief, Special Operations Division,
    Joint Staff

    Department of Defense Ariel Merari
    Harvard University
    Joseph Morton
    Director, Office of Threat Analysis
    Department of State

    Art Muirhead
    Regional Policy Office
    Department of State

    Brian M. Murtagh
    Deputy Chief
    Terrorism and Violent Crime Section
    Criminal Division
    Department of Justice

    Robert Newberry
    Deputy Assistant Secretary of
    Defense for Special Operations
    and Low Intensity Conflict
    Department of Defense

    Gregory Nojeim
    Legislative Counsel
    American Civil Liberties Union

    Phylis Oakley
    Former Director
    Bureau of Intelligence and Research
    Department of State

    John Parachini
    Center for Nonproliferation Studies
    Monterey Institute for International Studies

    Robert Pecha
    Defense Intelligence Agency
    Department of Defense

    Mary Ann Peters
    Deputy Chief of Mission, Canada
    Department of State

    Thomas Pickard
    Deputy Director
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering
    Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
    Department of State

    Paul R. Pillar
    Federal Executive Fellow
    The Brookings Institute

    Alan R. Pino
    Central Intelligence Agency

    Dennis Pluchinsky
    Branch Chief
    International Threat Analysis
    Diplomatic Security Service
    Department of State

    Oliver (Buck) Ravell
    Former Associate Deputy Director
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

    John R. Reingruber
    Department of Defense
    Technical Services Working Group Coordinator
    Department of Defense

    James Reynolds
    Chief, Terrorism and Violent Crime Section
    Criminal Division
    Department of Justice

    Chris Ridder
    Legal Counsel
    Department of Defense

    Elizabeth Rindskopf
    Former General Counsel
    Central Intelligence Agency

    Brad Roberts
    Institute for Defense Analyses

    Michael Rolince
    Section Chief
    International Terrorism
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Lorelei St. James
    National Security & International Affairs Division
    General Accounting Office

    Robert Satloff
    Washington Institute for Near East Policy

    Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, USAF (Ret)
    Former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

    Jo Browning Seeley
    Central Intelligence Agency

    Howard Shapiro
    Former General Counsel
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Ambassador Michael A. Sheehan
    Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
    Department of State

    Brian Sheridan
    Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict
    Department of Defense

    Dr. Kenneth Shine
    National Academy Institute of Medicine

    James Smyser
    Legal Counsel
    Department of Defense

    L. Britt Snider
    Inspector General,
    Central Intelligence Agency

    Thomas G. Snow
    Deputy Director
    Office of International Affairs
    Criminal Division
    Department of Justice

    Charles E. Sparks
    Director, Field Management,
    Diplomatic Security
    Department of State

    John C. Spiegel
    Regional Officer
    Office of the Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
    Department of State

    Brenda Sprague
    Director, Language Services
    Department of State

    Deborah Stafford
    Unit Chief
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Mark Steinitz
    Intelligence and Research Bureau
    Department of State

    Jessica Stern
    John F. Kennedy School of Government
    Harvard University

    Michael S. Swetnam
    Potomac Institute of Policy Studies

    George J. Tenet
    Director of Central Intelligence
    Central Intelligence Agency

    Ambassador Patrick Theros
    Former Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
    Department of State

    Victoria Toensing
    Former Chief Criminal Division
    Department of Justice

    Ms. Randy Toledo
    Associate Director
    Office of International Affairs
    Criminal Division
    Department of Justice

    Dr. Kevin Tonat, CDR, USN
    U.S. Public Health Service
    Office of Emergency Preparedness
    Department of Health and Human Services

    Mary B. Troland
    Deputy Director
    Office of International Affairs
    Criminal Division
    Department of Justice

    Jonathan Tucker
    Center for Nonproliferation Studies
    Monterey Institute of International Studies

    Michael Turner
    Director, Strategic Investigations
    U.S. Customs Service

    BG Robert Wagner, USA
    Current Operations, Joint Staff
    Department of Defense

    Dale L. Watson
    Assistant Director, Counterterrorism
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

    William H. Webster
    Former Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation
    and former Director of Central Intelligence

    Michael A. Wermuth
    RAND Corporation

    Roger Weiner
    Criminal Division
    Department of Justice

    Ambassador Philip Wilcox
    Former Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
    Department of State

    Professor Paul Wilkinson
    University of St. Andrews

    Michael J. Woods
    Unit Chief
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

    Edwin L. Worthington
    Federal Bureau of Investigation

    The Commission also received written comments from the following:

    Abraham H. Foxman
    National Director
    Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith

    Richard H. Solomon
    United States Institute of Peace

    Mr. Salan Al-Marayati
    Executive Director
    Muslim Public Affairs Council

    Kit Gage
    National Coordinator
    National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom

    David A. Harris
    Executive Director
    The American Jewish Committee

    Frances N. Heiser
    Palm Coast, Florida

    Hala Maksoud, Ph.D.
    American-Arab Anti-DiscriminationCommittee