Feds tighten definition of “supporting” terror

December 14, 2009

The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has amended language in its rules about what constitutes material support of terrorism.  The added definition is fairly thorough:

The term financial, material, or technological support, as used in § 594.201(a)(4)(i) of this part, means any property, tangible or intangible, including but not limited to currency, financial instruments, securities, or any other transmission of value; weapons or related materiel; chemical or biological agents; explosives; false documentation or identification; communications equipment; computers; electronic or other devices or equipment; technologies; lodging; safe houses; facilities; vehicles or other means of transportation; or goods. ‘‘Technologies’’ as used in this definition means specific information necessary for the development, production, or use of a product, including related technical data such as blueprints, plans, diagrams, models, formulae, tables, engineering designs and specifications, manuals, or other recorded instructions.

OFAC’s notice in the federal register says that they were not legally required to obtain public input to adopt this rule.  But they did provide phone and fax numbers for further information.

So, to seek clarification on some of the above wording, I tried to contact OFAC.  I have no fax access at the moment, so I tried their non-toll-free phone numbers only to get somebody’s voicemail repeatedly.  Later I found an OFAC email address, but I have not received a response to the email I sent them on Dec. 2.

Anyway, one question I had was whether the provision of medical care to a terrorist considered to be material support of terrorism?  It’s not a purely theoretical question.  Foreign insurgent jihadists who are wounded by U.S. military forces will seek medical attention by sympathetic entities.  If we know which entities provide their care, would we seek to block their assets or transactions?

Time for a follow-up email…

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