A Special TRAC Terrorism Report:
A Word about the Data
In the last few years, the federal effort to prevent terrorism and punish terrorists has become one of the government’s most important jobs. By its very nature, however, the scope and effectiveness of this effort is hard for the public to understand, partly because of the necessary secrecy that shrouds aspects of the struggle.
Three weeks ago, after an aggressive FOIA campaign, TRAC obtained under court order 131 computer tapes with data that offer the American people the most up-to-date and complete view ever available about how the government is enforcing the law against international and domestic terrorists.
The data -- the most recent of which cover the first nine months of the Bush administration -- have been collected routinely by federal prosecutors for many years. Following long-established rules, assistant U.S. Attorneys all over the country are required to record information about every individual matter that the government’s many investigative agencies bring to them for prosecution.
Presented here are selected findings about the 1,338 referrals from October 1, 1996 through September 30, 2001 that were classified by federal prosecutors as involving "domestic terrorism” or "international terrorism.” How many of the matters did the assistant U.S. Attorneys decline to prosecute? Why were they declined? Which went forward to court? How many defendants were found guilty? How many not guilty? What were the sentences? Which investigative groups were identified as the "lead agency.” What districts around the country had the most referrals?
Related information drawn from other sources is available on such subjects as the anti-terrorism spending by the FBI and the special warrants granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
For further details, the referral-by-referral files can be directly queried on TRAC’s subscription services. The subscription services also provide comprehensive data on all other types of criminal matters from immigration to official corruption, civil rights to weapons offenses, civil suits by and against the government, tax enforcement, the staffing of most executive branch agencies and federal spending