Both the State Department and the United Nations make the calls on terrorists. When their information indicates that a person or organization has a terrorist agenda, DOS makes what is called a designation and the U.N, "lists" - i.e. that entity is added to their terrorist list. State Department designations are made public in press releases. Designation sets forth a panoply of legal options against the entity, none of which are military I should add, as exemplified by this one from October 4, 2012.
That is the way it works. These are the folks listed by the U.N. as of now. If you go to this website, you can see all the entities designated by the State Department. Related press releases are here.
Terrorist Designations of Ansar al-Sharia as an Alias for Al-Qaida in the Arabian PeninsulaMedia Note
Office of the SpokespersonWashington, DCOctober 4, 2012
The Department of State amended the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and E.O. 13224 designations of al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula to include the new alias, Ansar al-Shari’a (AAS). The Department of State previously designated AQAP as an FTO and under E.O. 13224 on January 19, 2010.
AAS – which is based in Yemen and is a separate entity from Ansar al-Shari’a in Libya – was established to attract potential followers to shari’a rule in areas under the control of AQAP. However, AAS is simply AQAP’s effort to rebrand itself, with the aim of manipulating people to join AQAP’s terrorist cause. AAS has publicly stated that the particular brand of shari’a they hope to implement is the same as that espoused by the Afghan Taliban and the Islamic State of Iraq, a militant umbrella group and designated Foreign Terrorist Organization that includes al-Qa’ida in Iraq.
AAS has taken responsibility for multiple attacks against Yemeni forces. One such attack, which took place in May 2012, killed more than 100 Yemeni soldiers in a suicide bombing during a parade. In March 2012, a series of attacks and armed assaults by AAS in southern Yemen killed 100 people, many of whom were Yemeni soldiers.
The consequences of adding the new alias for AQAP include a prohibition against knowingly providing material support or resources to, or engaging in transactions with, Ansar al-Shari’a, and the freezing of all property and interest in property of the organization that are in the United States, or come within the United States, or the control of U.S. persons. The Department of State took these actions in consultation with the Departments of Justice and Treasury.
In addition, today the United Nations 1267/1989 Al-Qa’ida Sanctions Committee listed AAS. As a consequence the group now faces a worldwide assets freeze, a travel ban, and an arms embargo. The actions taken today against AAS support the U.S. effort to degrade the capabilities of its parent organization, AQAP. We are determined to eliminate AQAP’s ability to execute violent attacks and to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat their networks.
Late last month there was great pressure upon Hillary Clinton to delist an Iranian organization known as MEK which she ultimately did delist.
There were good reasons for this as witnessed by the statement and by this article, however that is not the point of this post. The point is that if you wade through that list of press releases, you see some forty designations by Secretary of State Clinton. Compared with the previous administration, where I counted nine, that is huge! Several of those designations, certainly not all, are Al Qaida related.
Delisting of the Mujahedin-e KhalqMedia Note
Office of the SpokespersonWashington, DCSeptember 28, 2012
The Secretary of State has decided, consistent with the law, to revoke the designation of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and its aliases as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under the Immigration and Nationality Act and to delist the MEK as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224. These actions are effective today. Property and interests in property in the United States or within the possession or control of U.S. persons will no longer be blocked, and U.S. entities may engage in transactions with the MEK without obtaining a license. These actions will be published in the Federal Register.
With today’s actions, the Department does not overlook or forget the MEK’s past acts of terrorism, including its involvement in the killing of U.S. citizens in Iran in the 1970s and an attack on U.S. soil in 1992. The Department also has serious concerns about the MEK as an organization, particularly with regard to allegations of abuse committed against its own members.
The Secretary’s decision today took into account the MEK’s public renunciation of violence, the absence of confirmed acts of terrorism by the MEK for more than a decade, and their cooperation in the peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf, their historic paramilitary base.
The United States has consistently maintained a humanitarian interest in seeking the safe, secure, and humane resolution of the situation at Camp Ashraf, as well as in supporting the United Nations-led efforts to relocate eligible former Ashraf residents outside of Iraq.
With the foreign policy debate coming up, I wanted to point out that killing Osama Bin Laden hardly amounts to Al Qaida or terrorists in general being "on the run." If anything they might be multiplying (see Lara Logan on this). Either that or our Hillary is one helluva terrorist hunter. Possibly both premises are true. But I thought I would toot a heads-up. If, on Monday night, anybody tries to tell you the bad guys are gone, don't believe it. They are not. Someone in the administration happens to know that, even if the White House, on the subject of terrorist threats, claims to know nothing and appears to be telling the truth. Someone is finding the terrorists and freezing their assets. If they are on the run, it is from her.
So, OK, I give up. I will not disappoint my friends, colleagues, comrades in the battle. Here's our Joan of Arc at Georgetown U. yesterday.