The United States Penal Code 2339 criminalizes any assistance of sorts to a terrorist by offering material support or aid in their activities. Under Penal Code 2339A, it is illegal to conceal information, regarding the location or source of terror material. The act also illegalizes ownership or deceitful acquisition of any such material that would aid and abate a criminal under the various sections of the United States Penal Code. Indeed, terrorism is a major crime and so is assisting a criminal who intends to cause malicious harm through terror. Under Code 2339B, the law defines the terms material support as any assistance, whether tangible or not that may be of help to a criminal. In terror investigations, close relatives and friends of the suspects are warned of this criminal act and asked to cooperate by law enforcement. This helps in identifying their whereabouts or motives (Gurulé, 2010).
Terror is often orchestrated with the intent to actualize a series of attacks on a nation. This means that every incidence of terror has to be investigated like an initial attack in a bigger plot or scheme. It is thus common for law enforcement to link every criminal mastermind to other people assisting in their act. For instance, where bombs are manufactured and exploded in crowds such as the Boston Attack of 2013, there has to be leads that can assist in the investigation. Such leads include; people who sold the bomb manufacturing equipment, the people who drove the perpetrator to the crime scene, as well as anyone who may have had information of the impending attack (Bethlehem, 2012). This helps law enforcement unmask other impending attacks and prevent them from being executed. Failure to cooperate with law enforcement in such an effort is thus a criminal offence punishable under the United States Penal Code.
Bethlehem, D. (2012). Self-defense against an imminent or actual armed attack by nonstate actors. American Journal of International Law, 106(4), 769-777.
Gurulé, J. (2010). Unfunding terror: the legal response to the financing of global terrorism. Edward Elgar Publishing.
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