Brennan Center Files FOIA Request Seeking Terrorism Data Maintained By the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys

The Brennan Center for Justice, in conjunction with Charles Kurzman, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Justice seeking records of terrorism-related cases in the National Caseload Data maintained by the Executive Office for United States Attorneys.

January 23, 2018

On January 17, 2018, the Brennan Center for Justice, in conjunction with Charles Kurzman, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Justice seeking records of terrorism-related cases in the National Caseload Data maintained by the Executive Office for United States Attorneys.

Recent Congressional testimony by the director of the FBI revealed that over the previous year, the federal government has made approximately 176 arrests related to domestic terrorism. In comparison, the federal government has publicly charged 145 people in recent years in terrorism cases related to the self-proclaimed “Islamic State,” according to the Deputy Attorney General.

Detailed information on international terrorism-related prosecutions, including the names of defendants, has been released periodically by the Department of State. And on January 16, a report on individuals convicted of “international terrorism and terrorism-related offenses” was released by the DOJ, in attempt to justify the President’s “Muslim ban.” But similar information about domestic terrorism-related prosecutions has not been disclosed by the DOJ.

There is an urgent need to determine if or how the DOJ prosecutes instances of domestic terrorism differently than instances of domestic terrorism. The Brennan Center and Prof. Kurzman are requesting docket numbers for domestic terrorism cases, to allow the examination of criminal complaints and other public court documents. Release of this information will allow for comparison of potential differences in terrorism prosecutions, including what activities the DOJ considers terrorism, what charges are brought, and what sentences are sought. 

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