MEK Is Not a Terrorist Group
The material-support statute is fine; the designation is the problem.


He then went a bit beyond us, and beyond his unsuccessful lawsuit, and called for revising the statute also to permit provision of food and shelter via terrorist organizations, apparently based on the disclosure in the Times that corporations have been permitted by our government to sell — at profit, no less — chewing gum, popcorn, and cigarettes to state sponsors of terrorism. The reasoning here is apparently that if it’s okay to sell chewing gum to terrorists, it’s okay to give them concrete they can use not only for shelter but also to fashion bunkers, or to give them the spigot controlling the flow of food and medicine so they can enhance their power and prestige. For what it’s worth, we do not believe that Professor Cole has unearthed an insufferable anomaly in the law or in its administration. Notably, neither in his lawsuit nor in his op-ed did Professor Cole challenge the designation FTO as applied to the proposed beneficiaries of his client’s ministrations. We have challenged, emphatically and with reasoned argument, that designation as applied to MEK.

The material-support statute doesn’t need revision to accommodate non-existent defects. What it does need — and does not often enough get for fear of offending some Muslim organizations — is rigorous enforcement against accurately designated organizations, of which MEK is not one.

Why, you may ask, did this critique not appear in the pages of The Newspaper of Record (TNOR)? Good question. The editors of TNOR deemed a much shorter version of this article too long for their letters column, and declined to publish it as an op-ed article because, they claim, TNOR has a policy of not publishing op-ed articles in response to other op-ed articles. We are grateful to the editors of National Review for the privilege of this space, and of course to Professor Cole for his unsolicited support, even though we decline to enlist in his crusade.

— Michael B. Mukasey was attorney general of the United States from 2007 to 2009; Tom Ridge was homeland security adviser to Pres. George W. Bush from 2001 to 2003, and homeland security secretary from 2003 to 2005; Rudolph W. Giuliani was mayor of New York City from 1993 to 2001; Frances Fragos Townsend was homeland security adviser to Pres. George W. Bush from 2004 to 2008.