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senate Bill S. 1189

Should the State Dept. Report to Congress About Whether Russia Qualifies as a ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’?

Argument in favor

Russian transgressions against international norms are only increasing in their boldness and frequency. The U.S. needs to take a harder stance against Russian aggression, and declaring Russia a state sponsor of terrorism opens up more avenues to respond with sanctions.

Kodiwodi's Opinion
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07/05/2020
I have voted yes on this but I am truly torn. I definitely believe Russia is and always has been a sponsor of of state terrorism and should flat out be labeled an enemy of the United States, I have great difficulty trusting any bill coming from Cory Gardner, Trumps great buddy. The timing of this bill is very suspicious as he is currently losing his Senate race in Colorado but the bill could do some very positive things toward ending Russian aggression towards the USA. In the end in terms of accountability, the more people who know and can say hey what are we doing about this, the better. So I have to say yes. I just wonder if Trump will go for it.
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KansasTamale's Opinion
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07/06/2020
THIS SHOULD NOT BE NECESSARY, BUT IT IS BECAUSE TRUMP’s BUNCH ARE NOT TELLING THE DEMOCRATS ANYTHING. Anything connected with a foreign entity and our government should be reported to Congress & of course to the Department of Security WHEN BARR IS GONE!!! IT should be a given that Congress is elected to protect & work FOR US- the American taxpayer. It’s their job - and maybe, just maybe, when the Republicans ARE NOT IN OFFICE ANYMORE the Congress & TRUMP & his minions are gone this legislation will no longer be necessary and it can be put away until needed again - hopefully NEVER.
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Candace's Opinion
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07/05/2020
Russia is SO sneaky and does NOT have our best interests at heart!
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Argument opposed

Declaring Russia a state sponsor of terror escalates hostilities against a major world power, and jeopardizes the few ongoing dialogues that the U.S. still has with Russia. There is little evidence to suggest that putting Russia on the state sponsors of terrorism list will do much to deter their aggression.

jimK's Opinion
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07/05/2020
Russia has sponsored domestic terrorism. Anybody paying attention knows this. What would be the purpose of legislation directing the State Department to notify the Congress of this? Shouldn’t our president know this from his day to day contact with the State Department and his detailed daily intelligence briefings? Shouldn’t the Congress be able to get such information from the President? This, to me, is the equivalent of passing legislation that your waiter must inform their restaurant’s manager or accountant if you walk out of the restaurant without paying for your meal. This is fairly obvious. If the State Department, Intelligence Services and/or the President are negligent in dealing with any matter of clear import to our military, our population, or our country’s obligations- that is a matter for Impeachment or censorship; there is no need to legislate each and every possible numbskull interaction between executive branch departments and Congress. The trump’s inability or unwillingness to proactively act to protect our service people from foreign adversary bounties when there is solid (but not perfect) intelligence supporting this - is well, just inexcusable by any measure. We do not need legislation to prove this. The trump’s lack of judgement or any proactive action is not excused because there was no prior legislation that states that the State Department must inform either him or the Congress. Facts are, this legislation will not keep the trump and his sycophants from ignoring it, and for a normal president, this legislation would never be needed in the first place!
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JunnaLayn's Opinion
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07/05/2020
Let's not start down that trail. Yes, we should punish Putin for paying killers to kill American Shoulders. The State Department should be doing everything humanly possible to repair diplomatic damage and then get help for We the People from whichever old allies will chance the support in hopes the administration will change in Nov. #TRE45ON!
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John's Opinion
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07/05/2020
What I really want investigated is Donald Trump’s connection with the Russians. I’m saying right now I’m predicting it that when this election is over Donald Trump will leave this country to avoid prosecution an investigation and quite possibly could end up in Russia or state bordering Russia.
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What is Senate Bill S. 1189?

This bill — the Stopping Malign Activities from Russian Terrorism (SMART) Act — would direct the State Dept. to report to Congress about whether Russia qualifies as a state sponsor terrorism. It would also report to Congress within 90 days about whether the following armed entities qualify as foreign terrorist organizations: entities in the Donbas region of Ukraine controlled or aided by Russia; and entities controlled by or associated with the Donetsk People’s Republic or Lugansk People’s Republic.

Impact

The government of Russia; Congress; and the State Dept.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1189

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced this bill to initiate a process for determining if Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism and would potentially lead to its designation as such:

“Vladimir Putin continues to try to cause grievous harm to international peace and stability, and I’m pleased today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced my critical legislation directing the State Department to consider naming Russia what they are - a state sponsor of terror. Putin’s Russia has invaded its neighbors Georgia & Ukraine, supports the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad and many of our adversaries around the globe, and is engaged in election meddling and active information warfare against Western democracies. Russia is also directly responsible for heinous terrorist acts, such as the downing of Malaysia Flight 17 over Ukraine in 2014 that killed 298 people, including an American citizen, and the chemical weapons attacks in the United Kingdom in 2018 that killed two people, including a British citizen. Unless Russia fundamentally changes its behavior, we must not repeat the mistakes of past Administrations of trying to normalize relations with a nation that continues to pose a serious threat to the United States and our allies.”

Since Gardner first introduced this bill, there have been reports that Russia offered bounties to Afghan militants to kill U.S. troops.

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ordered State Department officials to make the case for declaring Russia a state sponsor of terrorism after a former Russian spy and his daughter with poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent on British soil in 2018, but abruptly ended the initiative. Explaining the abrupt halt to Tillerson’s initiative, a U.S. official told ProPublica: “There are a lot of issues that we have to work on together with Russia. Designating them would interfere with our ability to do that.”

U.S. officials say that the State Department’s reluctance at the time to impose the terror designation was not a product of Trump administration sympathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Instead, it reflected an ambivalent, and sometimes contradictory, policy towards Russia on terrorism issues stretching back over a dozen years.

Even as Washington has grown more concerned about an array of Russian security threats, it has continued to seek Moscow’s cooperation in combating terrorism. Although this approach has yielded few victories, advocates of the policy argue that it has been one of the few areas of common ground in which cooperation remains possible during a period of increasing confrontation. David McKean, a former director of policy planning at the State Department, frames the situation thus:

“Russia is clearly a bad actor on the world stage. But terrorism is an area where we have to keep trying to talk to them. They can either play a negative role or not play a negative role — or occasionally play a positive role.”

The Brookings Institute’s Daniel Byman agrees that adding Russia to the State Department’s official list of sponsors of terror would be counterproductive:

“Russia is indeed a sponsor of terrorism. But designating it as such would be counterproductive, and a closer look at the question shows the limits of designation as a tool of U.S. foreign policy… The case for adding Russia is surprisingly straightforward… Yet for now at least, adding Russia to the list would be a mistake... Although various Russian actions can be considered ‘terrorism,’ most don’t neatly fit the category. In Syria, Russia is backing a murderous regime that slaughters its own civilians, even to the point of using chemical weapons against them. But such support, while abhorrent, is not really terrorism. Even for Moscow’s actions that involve non-state groups or clandestine violence, terms like ‘subversion,’ ‘influence campaigns,’ and ‘revolutionary war’ fit better.”

This legislation was reported by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee favorably without a written report and has the support of one cosponsor, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ).


Of NoteState sponsors of terrorism are those countries determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism. Currently the State Department lists four countries as state sponsors of terrorism: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) (2017), Iran (1984), Sudan (1993), and Syria (1979). The sanctions imposed as a result of this designation are applied pursuant to the Export Administration Act, the Arms Export Control Act, and the Foreign Assistance Act which collectively fall into four major categories:

  • Restrictions on U.S. foreign aid to the country;

  • A ban on defense exports and sales;

  • Controls placed on exports of items that can be used for civilian or military purposes; and

  • Miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Kremlin via Wikimedia / Public Domain)

AKA

Stopping Malign Activities from Russian Terrorism Act

Official Title

A bill to require the Secretary of State to determine whether the Russian Federation should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism and whether Russian-sponsored armed entities in Ukraine should be designated as foreign terrorist organizations.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Foreign Relations
    IntroducedApril 11th, 2019
    I have voted yes on this but I am truly torn. I definitely believe Russia is and always has been a sponsor of of state terrorism and should flat out be labeled an enemy of the United States, I have great difficulty trusting any bill coming from Cory Gardner, Trumps great buddy. The timing of this bill is very suspicious as he is currently losing his Senate race in Colorado but the bill could do some very positive things toward ending Russian aggression towards the USA. In the end in terms of accountability, the more people who know and can say hey what are we doing about this, the better. So I have to say yes. I just wonder if Trump will go for it.
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    Russia has sponsored domestic terrorism. Anybody paying attention knows this. What would be the purpose of legislation directing the State Department to notify the Congress of this? Shouldn’t our president know this from his day to day contact with the State Department and his detailed daily intelligence briefings? Shouldn’t the Congress be able to get such information from the President? This, to me, is the equivalent of passing legislation that your waiter must inform their restaurant’s manager or accountant if you walk out of the restaurant without paying for your meal. This is fairly obvious. If the State Department, Intelligence Services and/or the President are negligent in dealing with any matter of clear import to our military, our population, or our country’s obligations- that is a matter for Impeachment or censorship; there is no need to legislate each and every possible numbskull interaction between executive branch departments and Congress. The trump’s inability or unwillingness to proactively act to protect our service people from foreign adversary bounties when there is solid (but not perfect) intelligence supporting this - is well, just inexcusable by any measure. We do not need legislation to prove this. The trump’s lack of judgement or any proactive action is not excused because there was no prior legislation that states that the State Department must inform either him or the Congress. Facts are, this legislation will not keep the trump and his sycophants from ignoring it, and for a normal president, this legislation would never be needed in the first place!
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    They’ve been putting a bounty on American soldiers and attacking our elections for over 5 years, only a compromised “president” wouldn’t stand up to that. TRE45ON! REAL republicans are standing up to that, only the trumplicans turn their backs on their country. The blue tsunami is coming. Real republicans are voting blue this year to end the reign of the racist in chief.
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    White Supremacy’s terrorism causes more problems in the US. Clean up terror at home before overseas. Congress does have oversight of the Executive Branch including all Departments so they have oversight over State Department (investigate, impeach, confirm appointments, appropriations, authorization & budget). So, Congress is well within its rights to investigate and take actions as necessary (appropriations, authorizations, budget). Just hope they deal with White Supremacy first with Department of Justice & Homeland Security. All three departments should have their budgets defunded for not taking action on terrorism both domestic & foreign. https://www.loc.gov/law/help/parliamentary-oversight/unitedstates.php https://history.house.gov/Institution/Origins-Development/Investigations-Oversight/ https://www.usa.gov/branches-of-government
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    Let's not start down that trail. Yes, we should punish Putin for paying killers to kill American Shoulders. The State Department should be doing everything humanly possible to repair diplomatic damage and then get help for We the People from whichever old allies will chance the support in hopes the administration will change in Nov. #TRE45ON!
    Like (31)
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    THIS SHOULD NOT BE NECESSARY, BUT IT IS BECAUSE TRUMP’s BUNCH ARE NOT TELLING THE DEMOCRATS ANYTHING. Anything connected with a foreign entity and our government should be reported to Congress & of course to the Department of Security WHEN BARR IS GONE!!! IT should be a given that Congress is elected to protect & work FOR US- the American taxpayer. It’s their job - and maybe, just maybe, when the Republicans ARE NOT IN OFFICE ANYMORE the Congress & TRUMP & his minions are gone this legislation will no longer be necessary and it can be put away until needed again - hopefully NEVER.
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    Why? Do we need a report? Is ice made of water? Do bears poo in the woods? Isn’t this well known?
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    Russia is SO sneaky and does NOT have our best interests at heart!
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    We already have proof from intelligence agencies that Russia has acted as a terrorist group. I clearly don’t understand the need for the Department of State to also clarify this? Like NoHedges I would like to know more, please.
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    What I really want investigated is Donald Trump’s connection with the Russians. I’m saying right now I’m predicting it that when this election is over Donald Trump will leave this country to avoid prosecution an investigation and quite possibly could end up in Russia or state bordering Russia.
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    "If the “Proof Is in the Pudding” where is the Proof? I’d also would like more information on the bill to require the Secretary of State to determine whether the Russian Federation should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism and whether Russian-sponsored armed entities in Ukraine should be designated as foreign terrorist organizations. The odds are that they may support elements construed to be terrorist by the USA BUT the USA 🇺🇸 may support elements construed to be terrorist by Russia 🇷🇺. Who is more right the USA 🇺🇸 OR Russia 🇷🇺? SneakyPete. 5*24*19
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    Absolutely. Putting a bounty on American soldiers’ heads is just the tip of a very, very dark iceberg.
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    Look I lived through the tail end of the Cold War, they have shot at and played games with hostages for as long as I can remember. They moved weapons to Cuba and we where one shot away from war, they killed more Jewish people then Hitler and even today they attack other cultures and the world looks at the other way. Putin even stated he wants the old USSR back.
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    The heads of both houses as well as their intelligence commuters do receive closed door briefings from The Department Of State as well as the various intelligence agencies in a regular basis! There is no need for open congressional hearings or briefings on sensitive intelligence! And quit picking on Russia! Hi after The Peoples Republic Of China as the Democrat Party is their Lap Dog!
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    Of course they should, and already should have done so. However, with Pompeo as Sec of State he will do the bidding of his boss, Trump, and more than likely not do so.
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    You mean....they don't report to Congress already? If I know Russia "qualifies"....they GOTTA know and saying "Russia qualifies as a State Sponsor of Terrorism" is kinda like saying, "the sky is blue"
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    We need criminal laws that specifically address penalties for coercion. Other countries have done this why can’t we? Rather than seek to punish Russia for their actions, which will matter little to Russia, why don’t we seek to strengthen and protect America from all future attacks both external and internal?
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    The only terrorists I’m worried about stopping are Antifa and the BLM organization.
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    Cory Gardener is in political trouble in his re-election bid, hence the timing of this bill. Russia has been fomenting terrorism for many years but never before Trump have we had a President who has aided and abetted Russia’s terroristic activities. Gardener is one of Trump’s biggest supporters, so why this bill now except as an attempt by Gardener to boost his re-election chances, knowing full well this bill will never become law. Even if it were to make it to Trump’s desk he would veto it. The United States has numerous reasons to maintain some semblance of a relationship with Russia. Designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, as Gardener already knows they are, would disrupt those necessary relationships. We have other tools to contend with Russia. To do so we need a President and an administration that is willing to confront them rather than aid and abet their terrorist activities. This bill is about Cory Gardener’s re-election, nothing more, nothing less.
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    This is redundant, we already know they are engaged in these activities. I really don’t want to hear more of pompeo’s lies. This administration has enabled and encouraged putin, they all have a commonality- authoritarianism. Ciry Gardner is covering his complicit ass! No.
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