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Coordinator for Counterterrorism, United States Office

Coordinator for Counterterrorism, United States Office

The Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism is a section of the United States Department of State charged with coordinating efforts to improve cooperation between the U.S. government and its foreign counterparts in battling terrorism. The coordinator, an ambassador, is the primary functionary of the federal government for developing and implementing America's counterterrorism policy.

Four Principles of U.S. Counterterrorism Policy

In forming specific policies for tactical purposes, the coordinator considers four strategic principles of U.S. counterterrorism policy:

  1. The government makes no concessions to, or agreements with, terrorists;
  2. Terrorists must be brought to justice for their crimes;
  1. States that sponsor terrorists and terrorism must be isolated and pressured so as to force a change of behavior; and
  2. The counterterrorism capabilities of countries allied with the United States, and those that require assistance in fighting terrorism, must be bolstered.

Under provisions of the U.S. Patriot Act of 2001 (8U.S.C. 1182), Section 411, the secretary of state may, in consultation with the attorney general of the United States, designate certain terrorist organizations on a "terrorist exclusion list" (TEL). Organizations listed on the TEL may be prevented from entering the country, and in certain circumstances may be deported. Before the secretary of state places an organization on the TEL, he or she must find that its members commit or incite terrorist activity, gather information on potential targets for terrorist activity, or provide material support to further terrorist activity. Under the terms of the statute, "terrorist activity" means all unlawful activity that involves hijacking or sabotage of an aircraft, vessel, or vehicle; hostage-taking; a violent attack on a person protected under international law; assassination; or the use of firearms, biological or chemical agents, nuclear devices, or other weapons to endanger individuals or damage property for purposes other than mere personal gain.

On December 5, 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell, in consultation with Attorney General John Ashcroft, placed more than three dozen groups on the TEL. These represented a range of ideologies and areas of operation, including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda, the Continuing Irish Republican Army, and the Japanese Red Army. Included also were front organizations such as the al-Hamati Sweets Bakeries, a Yemeni company considered to have ties with the Islamist terror organization al-Qaeda.



Nelson, Scott Bernard. "U.S. Offers $5M in Financial War on Terrorism." Boston Globe. (November 14, 2002): C1.


Coordinator for Counterterrorism. United States Department of State. <> (February 22, 2003).


Department of State, United States
FEST (United States Foreign Emergency Support Team)
Terrorist Organization List, United States
United States, Counter-Terrorism Policy

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