WASHINGTON – Attorney General John Ashcroft asked the State Department on Monday to list nine foreign groups and companies as terrorist organizations.
The listing would prohibit any noncitizen members from entering the United States.
Under a broad anti-terrorism law President Bush signed last year, groups that finance or support terrorists can be listed as terrorist organizations. The State Department has final authority over which groups to include on the list.
The department already has listed 39 groups. Some of the nine suggested by Ashcroft for listing have been under U.S. surveillance for months.
"Designating these nine groups as terrorist organizations will help secure our borders against those who would come to the United States to commit terrorist acts or to raise funds to finance terrorist operations," Ashcroft said.
"Americans have always welcomed the freedom-loving people of the world to our shores. But terrorists must not be allowed to use our hospitality as a weapon."
The groups proposed for by Ashcroft for listing:
— Al Taqwa Trade, Property and Industry Co. Ltd., also known as Himmat Establishment
— Bank Al Taqwa Ltd.
— Nada Management Organization
— Youssef M. Nada & Co. Gesellschaft
— Ummah Tameer E-nau
— Loyalist Volunteer Force
— Ulster Defence Association/Ulster Freedom Fighters
— Afghan Support Committee
— Revival of Islamic Heritage Society
In November 2001, a U.S.-coordinated sweep in Liechtenstein against Osama bin Laden's alleged financial network included a search of Al Taqwa Trade, Properties and Industry Co. Ltd., government officials have said. Bin Laden is the alleged head of the al-Qaida terror network, which the government blames for the Sept. 11 attacks.
Al Taqwa is linked to a company based in Lugano, Switzerland, that the United States said is suspected of being affiliated with bin Laden.