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ACLU Falsely Claims U.S. Has Successfully Prosecuted 400 Terrorists in Civilian Court

5:44 PM, Mar 29, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney for the ACLU's National Security Project, tells Fox News:

Federal courts have successfully prosecuted more than 400 terrorists; military commissions have prosecuted only three.

This claim has been debunked by the mythbusters over at...the ACLU. As Andy McCarthy has pointed out, "On its website, the ACLU pronounces that only 39 cases tried in federal courts were related to terrorism and the median sentence was just eleven months. As the organization elaborates in a "Myth v. Reality" feature:" 

Myth: The Patriot Act’s "new powers have allowed authorities to charge more than 400 people in terrorism investigations since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and convict more than half.”

Reality:  …The government’s numbers are also severely inflated.  The “400 convictions” claim overstates actual number of convictions and omits a number of key facts related to these numbers. A list obtained by the Justice Department defines only 361 cases defined as terrorism investigations from September 11, 2001 to September 2004. 31 of the entries on the list were blacked out. Only 39 of these individuals were convicted of crimes related to terrorism. The median sentence for these crimes was 11 months. This figure indicates that the crime that the government equated with terrorism was not serious. A study conducted by TRAC at Syracuse University notes that “despite the three-and-a-half-fold increase in terrorism convictions, the number who were sentenced to five years or more in prison has not grown at all from pre-9/11 levels.” The convictions were more commonly for charges of passport violations, fraud, false statements, and conspiracy. Moreover, the median prison time for a serious offense, such as providing material support to a terrorist organization was only 4 months. [Footnotes omitted — if you want to see them, go to the ACLU link above.]

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