Counter-Terrorism Policies & Practices

Since the attacks of September 11th, the nation has grappled with how to bring suspected terrorists to justice effectively and consistent with our laws and values.  The policies of both the Bush and Obama administrations have raised serious constitutional concerns.  These have included claiming unreviewable executive authority to detain individuals indefinitely without charge, denying prisoners a meaningful opportunity to challenge the legality of their detention, and, at least in some cases, trying suspected terrorists before military tribunals rather than in federal court.

The Constitution Project’s Liberty and Security Committee has been in the forefront on many of these issues, working to safeguard the most basic rights for Guantanamo detainees, promoting reliance on our traditional federal courts as the proper forum for prosecuting the vast majority suspected terrorists, and challenging the overbroad application of laws prohibiting material support for designated terrorist organizations.

In addition, our Task Force on Detainee Treatment  conducted a thorough two-year investigation into the detention and treatment of suspected terrorists across several administrations and multiple geographic theatres.  The Task Force released its report, the most comprehensive examination yet published, on April 16, 2013.  It is available at

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