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41 N.D.L.S. J. of Legis. 189 (2015)


Anti-terrorism Act (“ATA”), 18 U.S.C. § 2333(a), provides a private right of action for any United States national injured by an act of international terrorism. The purpose of the statute is to deter acts of terrorism by punishing terrorists and their financial supporters “where it hurts them most: at their lifeline, their funds.” However, the threat of a large civil monetary judgment is unlikely to have a deter- rent effect on foreign terrorists or terrorist organizations that “are unlikely to have assets, much less assets in the United States.” As a result, ATA lawsuits have been filed almost exclusively against secondary actors, such as charitable organizations and other legal entities operating in the United States that provided material support to international terrorists. The vast majority of ATA claims have targeted financial institutions unsuccessfully. To date, only one bank has been held liable under the ATA.

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