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Law and Terrorism  

A research primer designed to assist students with research projects in connection with Professor Setty's Law and Terrorism class
Last Updated: Nov 20, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Georgetown Law Center on National Security and the Law

Current events from the Georgetown Law Center on National Security and the Law

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The Best Defense

"The Best Defense" is curated by Thomas Ricks, a journalist who has written about the United States Military for both the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. At present he is a senior fellow at the Center for New American Security, a think tank studying national security issues.

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Researching Law and Terrorism

"A democracy must sometimes fight terror with one hand tied behind its back. Even so, a democracy has the upper hand. The rule of law and the liberty of an individual constitute important components in its understanding of security. At the end of the day, they strengthen its spirit and this strength allows it to overcome its difficulties."

Aharon Barak, President, Supreme Court of Israel, quoted in Less Safe, Less Free.


The information contained in this guide is designed to assist you in your research in the area of Law and Terrorism. We have divided the Guide into secondary sources, including articles and books, primary sources, databases and useful websites. We start with secondary sources to reinforce a basic research precept that it is efficient to start with a good secondary source that pulls together for you the various laws, regulations, concepts, and cases that may be involved in this quickly expanding area of law.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to use the contact information at the right, drop by the Reference Desk, call the Reference Desk (ext. 1458) or use the chat box, also located to the right. We welcome any suggestions on how to improve this resource.

Good luck with your research!


Statutory Definitions of Terrorism

As used in 22 U. S. C. Section 2656f(d), terrorisism has the following definitions:

(1) the term “international terrorism” means terrorism involving citizens of the territory of more than 1 country;


(2) the term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents;


(3) the term “terrorist group” means any group practicing, or which has significant subgroups which practice, international terrorism;


(4) the terms “territory” and “territory of the country” mean the land, waters, and airspace of the country; and


(5) the terms “terrorist sanctuary” and “sanctuary” mean an area in the territory of the country—


(A) that is used by a terrorist or terrorist organization—

(i) to carry out terrorist activities, including training, fundraising, financing, and recruitment; or

(ii) as a transit point; and

(B) the government of which expressly consents to, or with knowledge, allows, tolerates, or disregards such use of its territory and is not subject to a determination under—

(i) section 2405(j)(1)(A) of the Appendix to title 50;

(ii) section 2371 (a) of this title; or

iii) section 2780 (d) of this title.


As used in 50 U. S. C. Section 1801(c), "international terrorism" means activities that—

(1) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or any State;


(2) appear to be intended—

(A) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(B) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(C) to affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping; and


(3) occur totally outside the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to coerce or intimidate, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum.

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Monday-Thursday 9:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
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Librarians who staff the Reference Desk are available to help you plan your research strategy and to help you find resources that might be useful in your project. You may set up an appointment to speak with a Librarian about your research needs. The Law Library offers two types of electronic reference service for our law students: email and chat. To use email reference service, please contact Renee Rastorfer. The chat reference service is available during all scheduled reference hours, unless otherwise publicized. The buddy name of the Law School Library is WNELawChat. We are monitoring AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger. See the "Chat With a Librarian" Box above. Click here to learn more about reference chat service.


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