Sessions: More Than 580 Convicted of Terrorism, Terrorism-Related Charges Since 9/11

By Melanie Arter | September 11, 2018 | 3:45pm EDT
Attorney General Jeff Sessions (Screenshot)

( – Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Department of Justice has convicted more than 580 people for terrorism or terrorism-related charges since 9/11.

Speaking at a DOJ ceremony to commemorate the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Sessions said he is “exceedingly proud of the relentless and effective work” of the DOJ’s National Security Division and the entire DOJ.

He said the DOJ “was at the center of much of the country’s” 9/11 response.

“The country faced unpresented security and legal challenges. At the time, we had no National Security Division. Much of the work was done by the Criminal Division. Some of you here this morning were here on 9/11, too. You participated firsthand. We are grateful for the work that you did in the difficult days that followed. Today we are better equipped, better prepared and better organized. We have better laws, but there is more to be done as our adversaries have not abandoned their goals,” Sessions said.

“The terrorist threat did not begin on 9/11. Neither did it end on September 12th. Over the last 17 years, terrorists have been able to inflict other, smaller attacks upon us and our allies, from San Bernardino to Orlando to Brussels,” the attorney general said.

“Since 9/11, this department has secured the convictions of over 580 defendants for terrorism or terrorism-related charges. Over the last five years, we have charged more than 160 foreign fighters, homegrown violent extremists, and ISIS supporters in more than 45 districts. This past Christmas, the FBI arrested a man who wanted to conduct a terrorist attack in San Francisco, and we are not letting up. The FBI currently has ongoing investigations in all 50 states,” he said.

Sessions said he was “amazed at how effective” his team has been in preventing terrorist attacks and “prosecuting terrorists before they can carry out their murderous aims.”

“Seventeen years ago, few would have predicted that we would go so long without another attack on the scale of what happened on 9/11,” the attorney general said.

Sessions said the terrorism threat has changed since 9/11.

“I meet with the FBI Director, his counterterrorism team, and our National Security Division three mornings a week to discuss the terrorist threat and how it has changed. Today it is often online. A terrorist in Alexandria, Egypt can contact a sympathizer in Alexandria, Virginia in a matter of seconds,” he said.

“They can plot attacks that can be carried out in a matter of hours, and so—now more than ever—we have to stay one step ahead of the terrorists at all times. After all, they only have to succeed once. We have to succeed every time,” Sessions added.

The attorney general said the goal today is to prevent terrorism, not just punish or prosecute terrorists.

“It is not enough to prosecute terrorism or punish terrorist acts after the fact. The national, post-9/11 goal is to prevent terrorism. We must be vigilant. The terrorists are still targeting us. Some seek to infiltrate this country. Others plot from afar. They all want to intimidate us and control us. They reject our culture—our free speech, our freedom of religion, and our democratic republic,” he said.

“They seek acquiescence and inaction, but we will meet them with resolve. They seek to impose on us their speech codes, their religion, and their ideology, but they will fail. We will not yield. We will never yield our freedom, our individual moral autonomy, or our country. We will steadfastly defend our institutions and our way of life,” Sessions added.


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