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Combating Terrorism: U.S. Government Should Improve Its Reporting on Terrorist Safe Havens

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2011
51 pages
This review by the U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) assesses the extent to which the U.S. State Department has identified and assessed terrorist safe havens in its "Country Reports on Terrorism," as well as the extent to which the U.S. Government has identified efforts to deny terrorists safe haven consistent with reporting requirements.
The study found that although the State Department identifies existing terrorist safe havens in the annual "Country Reports on Terrorism," it does not assess them with the level of detail recommended by Congress. In August 2010, the State Department identified 13 terrorist safe havens; however, none of the assessments in this report included information on one of the four elements recommended by Congress, i.e., the actions taken by countries identifies as having terrorist safe havens to prevent trafficking in weapons of mass destruction through their territories. Also, approximately 25 percent of the assessments in the report lack information on another element recommended by Congress, i.e., the actions taken by safe haven countries to cooperate with U.S. antiterrorism efforts. Further, the U.S. Government has not fully addressed congressionally mandated reporting requirements regarding efforts to deny safe haven to terrorists. Based on its findings, the GAO recommends that the State Department and the National Security Council improve reporting on assessments of and U.S. efforts to address terrorist safe havens. The State Department concurred with this recommendation on assessments and partially concurred with the recommendation on U.S. efforts to address terrorist safe havens, citing other reports it completes that are related to counterterrorism; however, the additional reports cited by the State Department do not constitute a government-wide list of U.S. efforts to address terrorist safe havens. The National Security Council reviewed the report, but did not provide comments on the recommendations.