The Washington Post reports that four prominent Republicans — former New York mayor Rudy Guiliani, former Bush administration homeland security adviser Fran Townsend, former homeland security secretary Tom Ridge, and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey — spoke before “a forum of cheering Iranian exiles” in Paris to demand that President Obama “take the controversial Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK) opposition group off the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations and incorporate it into efforts to overturn the mullah-led government in Tehran”:
“Appeasement of dictators leads to war, destruction and the loss of human lives,” Giuliani declared. “For your organization to be described as a terrorist organization is just really a disgrace.”
The four GOP figures appeared at a rally organized by the French Committee for a Democratic Iran, a pressure group formed to support MEK.
Leaving aside the spectacle of prominent conservatives going abroad to criticize the administration’s foreign policy, there’s actually a real question here of whether Giuliani, Townsend, Ridge, and Mukasey have violated U.S. law in regard to “material support” for terrorism.
In June, the Supreme Court ruled in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project that “the First Amendment does not protect humanitarian groups or others who advise foreign terrorist organizations, even if the support is aimed at legal activities or peaceful settlement of dispute”:
In a case that weighed free speech against national security, the court voted 6 to 3 to uphold a federal law banning “material support” to foreign terrorist organizations. That ban holds, the court said, even when the offerings are not money or weapons but things such as “expert advice or assistance” or “training” intended to instruct in international law or appeals to the United Nations.
Read more at the Wonk Room.