Serial 2203

FBI Airtel

Date 5/22/79

TO: DIRECTOR, FBI (89-4286)
FROM: SAC, WFO (89-00)
EXTRATERRITORIAL JURISDICTION – CONGRESSIONAL ASSASSINATION STATUTE

Enclosed for the Bureau is the original and five copies of a self-explanatory LHM.

The Bureau is requested to disseminate enclosed LHM to the US Department of Justice to obtain an opinion of policy on extraterritorial jurisdiction.

[Page 2 is carbon copy of Page 1]

[Page 3]

United States Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington, DC 20535

May 22, 1979

EXTRATERRITORIAL JURISDICTION –
CONGRESSIONAL ASSASSINATION STATUTE

The murder of Congressman Leo J. Ryan in Guyana caused an investigation to be conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to identify those persons who murdered the Congressman and/or who conspired either in Guyana or in the United States to kill him. The US Department of Justice advised that the Congressional Assassination Statute provides for extraterritorial prosecutive jurisdiction which allows the United States Government to prosecute persons identified as the assassins or co-conspirators who are located outside the United States should they be extradited to this country.

In the May 21, 1979, edition of the Washington Post, Jack Anderson’s column dealt with an alleged plot by drug dealers to kill members of the US House of Representatives delegation on a fact-finding mission in Southeast Asia. The helicopter carrying the Representatives was to be gunned down over the Burmese jungles.

This scenario is similar to the situation in which Congressman Ryan was murdered, but with more evidence of a preconceived conspiracy. The position of the US Department of Justice concerning extraterritorial prosecutive jurisdiction of the Congressional Assassination Statute would indicate that the FBI should also investigate this conspiracy.

The problems and obstacles associated with such an investigation are immense. The probability of the successful completion of an investigation of a conspiracy wholly outside the United States is unclear.

The position of the USDJ concerning extraterritorial jurisdiction should be clarified and the responsibility of the FBI in this area should be defined. If it is determined that the FBI has investigative responsibility in this area, guidelines

[Page 4]

EXTRATERRITORIAL JURISDICTION –
CONGRESSIONAL ASSASSINATION STATUTE

should be established concerning when and by whom investigation should be initiated. It should not be necessary for a Congressman to be killed before an investigation is begun if information concerning the conspiracy is available beforehand.

[Page 5 – referenced Jack Anderson column]

[Pages 6-17 are four additional copies of pages 2-4]

Originally posted on November 8th, 2020.

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