Terrorist Organization Designation Questioned in Civil Litigation


Terrorism Expert WitnessThis is a piece of anti-terrorism civil litigation targeting a European paramilitary organization and its network of agencies and operators in South Dakota. In representing some of the victims of the groups’ insurgencies in the past decade, this case required an expert who could comment on the designation of the paramilitary organization as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US Government, discussing its relationship to defining better-known Middle Eastern networks as terrorists. Additionally, expertise was needed to asses the additional designation of past major paramillitary members and central institutions, under the Specially Designated Global Terrorist Organization list, and explain why both groups were designated.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you familiar with both US Government terrorism designations?
  • 2. Can you opine as to exactly how these designation decisions are made and what they mean?

Expert Witness Response E-099239

The Treasury Department generally designates individuals or entities to the Specially designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, or SDN, list. Alternatively, the Department of State generally designates larger terrorist organizations as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, or FTOs, though it occasionally also designates individuals to the SDN list. Typically, the State Department would have designated the overall organization as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) before Treasury designated individual groups and institutions to the SDN list.

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