September 2001

Department of Justice (DOJ) issues interim regulation allowing detention without charge for 48 hours (or an additional "reasonable period of time") in the event of emergency.

DOJ instructs immigration judges to keep 9/11-related bond and deportation hearings closed, allowing no visitors, family or press and sealing all case records.

October 2001

President Bush signs the USA PATRIOT Act, which gives broad powers to conduct searches, use electronic surveillance, and detain suspected terrorists.

John Ashcroft issues an edict allowing INS to detain immigrants indefinitely, even if an immigration judge orders their release for lack of evidence.

November 2001

Creation of the first Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force, which will deny entry, detain, prosecute, and deport anyone suspected of terrorist activity. He also issues an executive order creating military tribunals to try non-citizens alleged to be involved in terrorism.

Ashcroft orders questioning of 5,000 men ages 18-33 who came from countries "connected to al Qaeda." Investigators are ordered to check immigration status and detain visa violations.

DOJ refuses to reveal identities and locations of 1,200 post-9/11 detainees.

FAA requires U.S. citizenship for airport security screeners. Out of 28,000 screeners nationwide, 10,000 are thought to be immigrants-- even green card holders may be disqualified.

December 2001

Operation Tarmac, a multi-agency sweep, arrests and deports more than 1,000 undocumented airport workers.

At Senate hearings on 9/11 detainees, Ashcroft testifies that those who question his policies are "aiding and abetting terrorism".

INS announces that it will send the names of 314,000 immigrants with deportation orders to the FBI for inclusion in the National Crime Information Center database. Law enforcement agencies begin to pursue the "Alien Absconders Apprehension Initiative," resulting in 758 arrests.

January 2002

DOJ adds to the "Absconders Apprehension Initiative" the names of 6,000 men from countries suspected of "connections to al-Qaeda".

600 suspected al-Qaeda and/or Taliban prisoners from the war in Afghanistan are transferred to Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The commander of the base suggests that some prisoners could end up staying there for decades.

John Poindexter begins running a new agency called the Information Awareness Office. Previously under Reagan, Poindexter received 5 felony convictions in Iran-Contra affair.

Salon reports details about the FBI's anthrax investigation. The FBI is casting a very wide net, even though all evidence shows that the anthrax strain could only be made in one of two places: USAMRIID in Maryland or US Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

February 2002

Social Security Administration begins sending "no-match" letters to more than 750,000 employers.

DOJ memo instructs federal antiterrorism officials to apprehend and interrogate thousands of undocumented immigrants with deportation orders.

March 2002

Congress and state legislatures begin considering measures to restrict immigrants' access to drivers' licenses.

DOJ announces interviews with 3,000 more Arabs and Muslims who are in the US as visitors or students.

The government says about 1,000 names are on a "no fly" list, and a second list subjects people to increased security every time they fly. A number of agencies, including the CIA, FBI, INS, and State Department, say they have added names to such lists, but no agency admits controlling the list.

US military internally announces the creation of a new global data collection system called Total Information Awareness. The existence of this program is not reported until August, and not widely known until November.

April 2002

Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel issues an opinion that local law enforcement agencies have authority to enforce immigration laws.

US begins transferring prisoners from the Afghan war from Camp X-Ray's metal cages to proper buildings at Camp Delta. Conditions in the new facility are considered more humane, but the prisoners are still not named, not allowed to contact their families, and are not given the rights of prisoners of war.

June 2002

Ashcroft announces a new requirement for certain non-immigrants deemed a national security risk to register and submit fingerprints and photographs upon arrival in the U.S., report to the INS at regular intervals, and notify an INS agent of their departure.

Arrest of Abdullah al-Mujahir, a.k.a. Jose Padilla, on alleged plot to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the US. Being a US citizen, he is declared an "enemy combatant," allowing him to be held indefinitely without indictment.

FBI Director Mueller testifies before the Congressional 9/11 inquiry: "To this day we have found no one in the United States except the actual hijackers who knew of the plot."

July 2002

DOJ announces that only 74 of the 752 people they acknowledge detaining on immigration charges after 9/11 are still in US custody. Hundreds more were detained for other reasons, but no numbers have been released. Though many were held for months, "the vast majority were never charged with anything other than overstaying a visa."

Newly proposed Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS) program would mean the US would have a higher percentage of citizen informants (4%) than the former East Germany through Stasi secret police. Later the plan is dropped after intense protest.

National Strategy for Homeland Security released, would allow the military to operate within the country's borders

Florida becomes first state to sign agreement with DOJ to allow state law enforcement officials to enforce immigration laws.

Ashcroft proposes implementation of a 50-year-old requirement that foreigners alert the government within 10 days of changing addresses.

August 2002

Ashcroft announces plan to promote the VICTORY Act, which contains some of the provisions of PATRIOT II, which were rejected after the leak of the plan.

FBI names a non-Muslim as a "person of interest" in the anthrax attacks, the first person to be so named. An FBI forensic linguistics expert says the anthrax mailer was probably someone with high-ranking US military and intelligence connections.

Federal judge rules that the Bush administration must reveal the identities of the hundreds of people secretly arrested after the 9/11 attacks within 15 days. Two weeks later, the judge agrees to postpone the release of the names until an appeals court can rule on the matter. The appeals court still has not ruled, so the names remain secret.

September 2002

DOJ asks more than 200 colleges to provide information on their Middle Eastern students.

Special Registration program begins for non-citizens from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, and Sudan.

The State Department's propaganda office, closed in 1996, is reopened. Called the Counter-Disinformation Team, this office claims to aim its propaganda only overseas.

October 2002

FBI Director Mueller says in a speech, "There is a continuum between those who would express dissent and those who would do a terrorist act. Somewhere along that continuum we have to begin to investigate.''

4 prisoners are freed from Guantanamo Bay, the first of the 600 or so prisoners there to be released. The four elderly Afghan men are released because they were determined not to be involved in al-Qaeda and posed no security threat. BBC reports that virtually none of the prisoners in Guantanamo have any useful information.

November 2002

US tightens immigration restrictions for 18 countries. All males over age 16 coming to the US from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates or Yemen must register with the US government and be photographed and fingerprinted at their local INS office.

The Washington Post reports that the US is using an obscure statute to detain and investigate terrorism suspects without having to charge them with a crime. At least 44 people, some of them US citizens, have been held as "material witnesses." Some have been held for months, and some have been held in maximum-security conditions.

December 2002

Hundreds of Iranian and other Middle Eastern nationals arrested and held in California when they come forward to comply with Special Registration.

A federal judge in New York rules that Jose Padilla has the right to meet with a lawyer to contest "enemy combatant" status. However, the ruling makes it very difficult to overturn such a status. The government only need show that "some evidence" supports its claims.

Justice Department announces that only six of the 765 people detained on immigration charges after 9/11 are still in US custody. Almost 500 of them were deported to their home countries. Additionally, more were arrested on material witness warrants, but the government won't say how many. None in any of the categories have been charged with any terrorist acts.

January 2003

Special Registration deadline announced for men from North Korea, UAE, Morocco, Afghanistan, and nine other countries. Two more rounds of registrations will follow. Protests against the program grow.

It is reported that 22 cities representing 3.5 million residents have passed resolutions criticizing the Patriot and Homeland Security Acts. Another 70 cities have such resolutions in the works. Many of the resolutions provide some legal justification for local authorities to resist cooperating in the federal war on terrorism when they deem civil liberties and Constitutional rights are being compromised.

February 2003

The Center for Public Integrity obtains leaked copy of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act or PATRIOT II. Proposed provisions include:
1) Power to deport any foreign national, even people who are legal permanent residents. No crime need be asserted, no proof offered, and the deportation can occur in complete secrecy.
2) Secret arrests in terrorism investigations.
3) The citizenship of any US citizen can be revoked, if they are members of or have supported any group the attorney general designates, either then or at a later date, as terrorist.

March 2003

Tom Ridge announces "Operation Liberty Shield", which requires the automatic and continued detention of all people seeking political asylum from 34 Muslim countries.

FBI conducts almost 11,000 "voluntary interviews" with Iraqi Americans and Iraqi nationals.

April 2003

A list of 54 nationalities is subject to port of entry ID procedures used by Bureau of Customs and Border Control inspectors. They are Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Bhutan, Brazil, Congo, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Yemen (Sanaa), Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen (Aden), and Yemen (South Republic of).

June 2003

U.S. Border Patrol steps up Arizona border militarization with "Operation Triple Strike." It relies on racial profiling of people passing through Phoenix's Sky Harbor airport.

DOJ Inspector General testifies on the detention and treatment of Sept. 11 detainees and says that some detainees suffered serious rights violations.

Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal (CLEAR) Act is a House bill that would, along with Homeland Security Enhancement Act, require state and local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration laws.

July 2003

Sen. Orrin Hatch drafts the Vital Interdiction of Criminal Terrorist Organizations Act (VICTORY) which would outlaw hawalas (informal money transfer systems) often used in the Middle East, India and other parts of Asia.

ACLU reaches an unprecedented settlement in a federal lawsuit charging the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of racial profiling.

August 2003

By this month, three states and more than 140 cities, counties and towns pass resolutions criticizing the PATRIOT Act.

September 2003

Since September 2002, 93,741 people registered through Point of Entry registration, and 83,519 men and boys registered through the first round of special registration. Of the registrants, 13,799 people put into removal proceedings and 2,870 were detained.

October 2003

Sen. Patrick Leahy introduces a bill to provide more congressional oversight over PATRIOT and "sunset" other PATRIOT provisions in 2005.

November 2003

Bill introduced by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) declares the "inherent authority" of local and state officers to enforce immigration law, including the authority to detain non-citizens.

January 2004

DHS deploys the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US VISIT), which collects "biometric identifiers," at 115 airports and 15 seaports.

Bush delivers a statement of principles on immigration reform aimed at reducing the potential national security threat of 8 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

February 2004

In November 2003, DHS told the New York Times that "of those registered under NSEERS, 11 had 'links to terrorism." In February 2004, ICE spokesman Garrison Courtney said that of those 11, "at least some were removed for immigration violations; he said he was 'not sure' if there were any criminal convictions."

While a District Court ordered that the INS could not legally deport Keyse Jama to Somalia until they establish a government accepting his return, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the INS could deport Jama.

End Racial Profiling Act introduced by Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), aims to prohibit racial profiling in law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels.

March 2004

Ruling against the U.S. in a case brought by Mexico, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) finds that the U.S. violated the rights of Mexican nationals on death row. The ruling affirms the right of foreign citizens prosecuted in the U.S. to talk to their consular officials.

June 2004

Ashcroft testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which wants to investigate the number of recently disclosed memos from his department's lawyers providing legal arguments that inflicting pain on detainees does not always constitute torture.

Supreme Court rules that although Bush can detain U.S. citizen Yaser Hamdi, he should have a fair opportunity to challenge his detention. In another decision, justices rule that the 600 detainees in Guantanamo Bay have the right to access U.S. courts to challenge their confinement.

ACLU files lawsuit under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) demanding the release of information about detainees held overseas by the US. Among the documents released are an FBI memo stating that Defense Department interrogators impersonated FBI agents and used "torture techniques" against a detainee at Guantanamo.

July 2004

Palestinian activist and WBAI reporter Farouk Abdel-Muhti dies of sudden heart attack from complications created while in detention. Farouk was detained for two years and denied essential medicines.

August 2004

ACLU of Northern California files FOIA requests with the FBI and local Joint Terrorism Task Forces seeking documents related to the questioning of recent immigrants and U.S. citizens of Arab and Muslim descent, as well as any documents on the surveillance of political and religious activity. This follows reports of an aggressive surveillance plan focused on Muslims.

September 2004

A London-Washington flight is diverted to Bangor, after it is discovered that Yusuf Islam, formerly pop singer Cat Stevens, is on the flight. DHS then deports Islam, saying he is on the no-fly list due to connections with terrorism.

December 2004

Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) is passed. Bill authorizes 40,000 new immigrant detention beds by 2010, tripling the current immigrant detention system.

February 2005

Lynne Stewart, legal cousel for Ahmed Abdel Sattar, convicted.

Yusuf Islam wins defamation charges against British papers over his being on no-fly list.

Federal judge orders deportation of Abdel Jabber Hamdan, detained since August 2003. Says Hamdan "should have known" the funds he raised for Holy Land Foundation was going to Hamas and other Palestinian organizations.

SC Federal judge orders that government must either charge Jose Padilla with a crime, or release him.

March 2005

US withdraws from Optional Protocol of Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1969). World Cou rt will now have no power to hear cases brought by countries on behalf of detained non-citizens in the US.

NPR reports DHS has placed electronic monitoring bracelets on the ankles of 1,700 immigrants as part of an experimental program.

Justice Dept. Inspector General reports "a disturbing pattern of discriminatory and retaliatory actions" against Muslim inmates at a federal prison.

UK passes new law allowing house arrest without trial. It comes in time to cover 8 terror suspects who are being released from Belmarsh.

Pentagon announces it will transfer more Guantanamo prisoners to other countries.

April 2005


Gonzalez defends Patriot Act during hearings on whether to let 16 provisions expire by December 2005.

NYT reports White House has "extraordinary restrictions" on information about CIA detention & interrogation of terrorist suspects.

16 year old Bangladeshi girl Tashnuba Hyder & Guinean girl Adama Bah detained on "terrorist charges."

5 American Muslims sue DHS over harassment and searches at US-Canada border

Cherif Bassiouni, DePaul University professor who investigated abuse and torture of Afghan prisoners and discovered use of 14 fire bases for detainees, loses UN human rights monitor post after intensive lobbying by US.

Portland, Oregon, announces it will pull its police officers out of the FBI-run antiterrorism task force.

May 2005

Adama Bah

Government drops all terrorism charges against two detained teen girls. The Guinean girl, Adama Bah, is released. The Bangladeshi girl, Tashnuba H, is ordered to return to Bangladesh with her whole family.

Congress approves Real ID Act (requiring citizenship or legal residence for drivers license), construction of a wall on San Diego-Mexico border, and tightening of rules for asylum.

Spain reports that more than 85% of illegal immigrants have filed for amnesty under a program seeking to legalize illegal population if they do not have criminal record and have a willing employer.

New Ipswich Police Chief W. Garrett Chamberlain uses criminal trespass charges to arrest undocumented immigrants. Rep. Tom Tancredo, who later calls for "bombing Mecca" awards him "American Patriot Award."

June 2005

Andres Serrano Torture Chic for NYT

NYT Magazine asks if torture is justified in "ticking time bomb" scenario: "By the coldest cost-benefit calculation, a dead detainee is a disaster he cannot be a source of actionable intelligence, only fury." The article is illustrated by staged torture photos by Andres Serrano of "Piss Christ" fame.

Washington Post study finds that only 10% of those prosecuted for terrorism since 9/11 were convicted of crimes related to that or national security. The remaining 90% were acquitted or convicted of lesser crimes such as immigration violations or false statements.

Strasbourg-based Council of Europe report criticizes UK anti-terror regulations, including house arrest for suspected terrorists, detention of foreign nationals without charge and admission of "evidence" obtained by torture provided it was not committed by UK officials.

July 2005

London Bus Bombing

After viewing video of London bombings, House votes by 275-171 margin to extend Patriot Act indefinitely, including 16 clauses that were to expire this year.

Akifur Rahman sues Homeland Security over repeated detention and questioning at LAX, O'Hare, and Montreal. DHS says his name is a "near match" on watch list.

5 EU nations pass new measures, including fingerprinting visa applicants and setting tighter visa quotas. G-5 nations will make a joint list of countries, focusing on Africa, Middle East and Asia.

Kyl-Corryn Bill calls for mass deportation of 10-12 million illegals inside US, at a cost estimates to be in Billions.

UN reports "very, very serious" allegations that US is secretly detaining terrorism suspects on prison ships.

August 2005

Leeds Raid

London Metropolitan police release figures showing 600% rise in hate crimes directed at Muslims since the bombings.

British Transport Police say ethnic minorities were now more likely to be stopped and searched. Home Office statistics from 2004 already show Asians 1.9 times more likely to be searched.

Two New York politicians say Middle Easterners should be targeted for searches on city subways, contending police are "wasting time" with random checks.