What is the definition material support?
The definition in the USAID certification states that material support includes: “currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel, transportation, and other physical assets, except medicine or religious materials.” The prohibitions on providing training, expert advice or assistance and personnel are particularly relevant in the context of the FCA cases to date, in that the primary allegations involve peacebuilding activities. The Supreme Court’s Humanitarian Law Project decision in 2010 found that these activities, even in the context of peacebuilding, can be deemed material support of terrorism. However, there is a great deal of “gray area” in what is considered material support. A Department of Justice guidance document addressing online activities to counter violent extremism states that, “The Government’s position on this is issue clear: the material support statutes do not prohibit legitimate, independent efforts to counter violent extremism.” It notes that the “Department of Justice has never prosecuted an individual or group for a legitimate effort to persuade others not to engage in violence…”