Terrorist Material Support: An Overview of 18 U.S.C. 2339A and 2339B

New FAS Report.

The Supreme Court recently held that the forms of material support in the challenge before it were not unconstitutionally vague nor was their proscription inconsistent with the First Amendment’s freedom of speech and freedom of association requirements. Violations of either section are punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years. Although neither section creates a civil cause of action for victims, treble damages and attorneys fees may be available for some victims under 18 U.S.C. 2333. Section 2339B has two extraterritorial jurisdiction provisions. One is general (there is extraterritorial jurisdiction over an offense under this section) and the other descriptive (there is extraterritorial jurisdiction over an offender under this section if the offender is a U.S. national, etc.). Section 2339A has no such provisions, but is likely applicable at a minimum when an offender or victim is a U.S. national; the offense has an impact in the United States; the offense is committed against U.S. national interests; or the offense is universally condemned.

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