Country Report on Counterterrorism: United States of America

Sudha Setty, Western New England University School of Law


The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 led to profound changes in societal viewpoints, political agendas, and the legal authorization to combat terrorism. The United States continues to struggle with keeping its population safe while maintaining the principles of democracy and the rule of law essential to the nation’s character. The U.S. response to terrorism has been multifaceted and expansive, reflective of the U.S. role in global security; debate over these matters will continue for the foreseeable future.

This report, prepared at the behest of the American Society of Comparative Law and forthcoming in the American Journal of Comparative Law, offers summary, analysis and critique of many aspects of counterterrorism law, including the definition of terrorism and designation of terrorist organizations; application of international law; criminal law treatment of terrorism, including financing and material support; investigative powers of intelligence and law enforcement agencies; treatment of immigrants; executive power and the CIA targeted killing program; detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects; and access to courts and the treatment of classified information