So I’ve truly labored a bit in counterterrorism earlier than. I’m hardly a lawyer and solely know what I used to be informed, however principally that is how I perceive it:
The US authorities has distinctions between home and worldwide terrorism, however these distinctions usually are not as intuitive as you would possibly anticipate. US residents who’ve by no means left the nation and who perform a terrorist act inside the US might be charged in finishing up an act of worldwide terrorism if they are often confirmed to have been doing so on behalf of a global group. Omar Mateen falls into this class, as a result of he pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State earlier than taking pictures up Pulse nightclub.
Understanding this distinction is necessary, as a result of US legislation makes membership in a terrorist group a criminal offense, even when the individual doesn’t truly perform a terrorist assault. This might trigger points with constitutional protections for the liberty of affiliation, which the Supreme Courtroom has dominated is implied within the First Modification, though it isn’t particularly acknowledged. The federal government makes an attempt to skirt these conflicts by solely designating worldwide terrorist organizations, and solely investigating home terrorists for express terrorist exercise past membership in a corporation.
Once more, I don’t fake to be the be all finish all the federal authorities’s place on legal guidelines and actions surrounding terrorism. That’s simply the way it was defined to me, and it makes a sure diploma of sense. What I can say for certain is that the federal government’s counterterrorism instruments completely exploded after 9/11, and we needs to be very cautious about advocating for turning these instruments for home use. If/after we break the barrier between worldwide and home terrorism to the extent that free affiliation is not a assured proper in all circumstances, we must always all be anxious. It’s a straightforward sufficient train to take a look at one thing just like the Klan and name them terrorists and say they need to all be locked up, however think about as an alternative that sort of authority getting used towards a special group for malicious causes, which shouldn’t be too laborious to think about this administration doing. What in the event that they designated BLM a terrorist group, or hell, even the DNC? It’d be a tougher promote, for certain, however probably satisfactory if they’ll cite precedent of ruling that we don’t have common freedom of affiliation. They appear to be testing the waters with this with “antifa” presently, which doesn’t seem like an actual group with precise members so to talk, nevertheless it’s a harrowing thought.