18 U.S.C.
United States Code, 2011 Edition
Title 18 - CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
PART I - CRIMES
CHAPTER 115 - TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES
From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov

CHAPTER 115—TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES

Sec.
2381.
Treason.
2382.
Misprision of treason.
2383.
Rebellion or insurrection.
2384.
Seditious conspiracy.
2385.
Advocating overthrow of Government.
2386.
Registration of certain organizations.
2387.
Activities affecting armed forces generally.
2388.
Activities affecting armed forces during war.
2389.
Recruiting for service against United States.
2390.
Enlistment to serve against United States.
[2391.
Repealed.]

        

Amendments

1994—Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330004(13), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2142, struck out item 2391 “Temporary extension of section 2388”.

1953—Act June 30, 1953, ch. 175, §5, 67 Stat. 134, added item 2391.

§2381. Treason

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 807; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330016(2)(J), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §§1, 2 (Mar. 4, 1909, ch. 321, §§1, 2, 35 Stat. 1088).

Section consolidates sections 1 and 2 of title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed.

The language referring to collection of the fine was omitted as obsolete and repugnant to the more humane policy of modern law which does not impose criminal consequences on the innocent.

The words “every person so convicted of treason” were omitted as redundant.

Minor change was made in phraseology.

Amendments

1994—Pub. L. 103–322 inserted “under this title but” before “not less than $10,000”.

§2382. Misprision of treason

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States and having knowledge of the commission of any treason against them, conceals and does not, as soon as may be, disclose and make known the same to the President or to some judge of the United States, or to the governor or to some judge or justice of a particular State, is guilty of misprision of treason and shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than seven years, or both.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 807; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330016(1)(H), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §3 (Mar. 4, 1909, ch. 321, §3, 35 Stat. 1088).

Mandatory punishment provision was rephrased in the alternative.

Amendments

1994—Pub. L. 103–322 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $1,000”.

§2383. Rebellion or insurrection

Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 808; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330016(1)(L), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §4 (Mar. 4, 1909, ch. 321, §4, 35 Stat. 1088).

Word “moreover” was deleted as surplusage and minor changes were made in phraseology.

Amendments

1994—Pub. L. 103–322 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $10,000”.

§2384. Seditious conspiracy

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 808; July 24, 1956, ch. 678, §1, 70 Stat. 623; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330016(1)(N), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §6 (Mar. 4, 1909, ch. 321, §6, 35 Stat. 1089).

Amendments

1994—Pub. L. 103–322 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $20,000”.

1956—Act July 24, 1956, substituted “$20,000” for “$5,000”, and “twenty years” for “six years”.

Effective Date of 1956 Amendment

Section 3 of act July 24, 1956, provided that: “The foregoing amendments [amending this section and section 2385 of this title] shall apply only with respect to offenses committed on and after the date of the enactment of this Act [July 24, 1956].”

§2385. Advocating overthrow of Government

Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or

Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or

Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof—

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

If two or more persons conspire to commit any offense named in this section, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

As used in this section, the terms “organizes” and “organize”, with respect to any society, group, or assembly of persons, include the recruiting of new members, the forming of new units, and the regrouping or expansion of existing clubs, classes, and other units of such society, group, or assembly of persons.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 808; July 24, 1956, ch. 678, §2, 70 Stat. 623; Pub. L. 87–486, June 19, 1962, 76 Stat. 103; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330016(1)(N), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §§10, 11, 13 (June 28, 1940, ch. 439, title I, §§2, 3, 5, 54 Stat. 670, 671).

Section consolidates sections 10, 11, and 13 of title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed. Section 13 of title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., which contained the punishment provisions applicable to sections 10 and 11 of title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., was combined with section 11 of title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., and added to this section.

In first paragraph, words “the Government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein” were substituted for “any government in the United States”.

In second and third paragraphs, word “such” was inserted after “any” and before “government”, and words “in the United States” which followed “government” were omitted.

In view of these changes, the provisions of subsection (b) of section 10 of title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., which defined the term “government in the United States” were omitted as unnecessary.

Reference to conspiracy to commit any of the prohibited acts was omitted as covered by the general conspiracy provision, incorporated in section 371 of this title. (See reviser's note under that section.)

Words “upon conviction thereof” which preceded “be fined” were omitted as surplusage, as punishment cannot be imposed until a conviction is secured.

The phraseology was considerably changed to effect consolidation but without any change of substance.

Amendments

1994—Pub. L. 103–322 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $20,000” in fourth and fifth pars.

1962—Pub. L. 87–486 defined the terms “organizes” and “organize”.

1956—Act July 24, 1956, substituted “$20,000” for “$10,000”, and “twenty years” for “ten years” in the paragraph prescribing penalties applicable to advocating overthrow of government and inserted provisions relating to conspiracy to commit any offense named in this section.

Effective Date of 1956 Amendment

Amendment by act July 24, 1956, as applicable only with respect to offenses committed on and after July 24, 1956, see section 3 of act July 24, 1956, set out as a note under section 2384 of this title.

§2386. Registration of certain organizations

(A) For the purposes of this section:

“Attorney General” means the Attorney General of the United States;

“Organization” means any group, club, league, society, committee, association, political party, or combination of individuals, whether incorporated or otherwise, but such term shall not include any corporation, association, community chest, fund, or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes;

“Political activity” means any activity the purpose or aim of which, or one of the purposes or aims of which, is the control by force or overthrow of the Government of the United States or a political subdivision thereof, or any State or political subdivision thereof;

An organization is engaged in “civilian military activity” if:

(1) it gives instruction to, or prescribes instruction for, its members in the use of firearms or other weapons or any substitute therefor, or military or naval science; or

(2) it receives from any other organization or from any individual instruction in military or naval science; or

(3) it engages in any military or naval maneuvers or activities; or

(4) it engages, either with or without arms, in drills or parades of a military or naval character; or

(5) it engages in any other form of organized activity which in the opinion of the Attorney General constitutes preparation for military action;


An organization is “subject to foreign control” if:

(a) it solicits or accepts financial contributions, loans, or support of any kind, directly or indirectly, from, or is affiliated directly or indirectly with, a foreign government or a political subdivision thereof, or an agent, agency, or instrumentality of a foreign government or political subdivision thereof, or a political party in a foreign country, or an international political organization; or

(b) its policies, or any of them, are determined by or at the suggestion of, or in collaboration with, a foreign government or political subdivision thereof, or an agent, agency, or instrumentality of a foreign government or a political subdivision thereof, or a political party in a foreign country, or an international political organization.


(B)(1) The following organizations shall be required to register with the Attorney General:

Every organization subject to foreign control which engages in political activity;

Every organization which engages both in civilian military activity and in political activity;

Every organization subject to foreign control which engages in civilian military activity; and

Every organization, the purpose or aim of which, or one of the purposes or aims of which, is the establishment, control, conduct, seizure, or overthrow of a government or subdivision thereof by the use of force, violence, military measures, or threats of any one or more of the foregoing.

Every such organization shall register by filing with the Attorney General, on such forms and in such detail as the Attorney General may by rules and regulations prescribe, a registration statement containing the information and documents prescribed in subsection (B)(3) and shall within thirty days after the expiration of each period of six months succeeding the filing of such registration statement, file with the Attorney General, on such forms and in such detail as the Attorney General may by rules and regulations prescribe, a supplemental statement containing such information and documents as may be necessary to make the information and documents previously filed under this section accurate and current with respect to such preceding six months’ period. Every statement required to be filed by this section shall be subscribed, under oath, by all of the officers of the organization.

(2) This section shall not require registration or the filing of any statement with the Attorney General by:

(a) The armed forces of the United States; or

(b) The organized militia or National Guard of any State, Territory, District, or possession of the United States; or

(c) Any law-enforcement agency of the United States or of any Territory, District or possession thereof, or of any State or political subdivision of a State, or of any agency or instrumentality of one or more States; or

(d) Any duly established diplomatic mission or consular office of a foreign government which is so recognized by the Department of State; or

(e) Any nationally recognized organization of persons who are veterans of the armed forces of the United States, or affiliates of such organizations.

(3) Every registration statement required to be filed by any organization shall contain the following information and documents:

(a) The name and post-office address of the organization in the United States, and the names and addresses of all branches, chapters, and affiliates of such organization;

(b) The name, address, and nationality of each officer, and of each person who performs the functions of an officer, of the organization, and of each branch, chapter, and affiliate of the organization;

(c) The qualifications for membership in the organization;

(d) The existing and proposed aims and purposes of the organization, and all the means by which these aims or purposes are being attained or are to be attained;

(e) The address or addresses of meeting places of the organization, and of each branch, chapter, or affiliate of the organization, and the times of meetings;

(f) The name and address of each person who has contributed any money, dues, property, or other thing of value to the organization or to any branch, chapter, or affiliate of the organization;

(g) A detailed statement of the assets of the organization, and of each branch, chapter, and affiliate of the organization, the manner in which such assets were acquired, and a detailed statement of the liabilities and income of the organization and of each branch, chapter, and affiliate of the organization;

(h) A detailed description of the activities of the organization, and of each chapter, branch, and affiliate of the organization;

(i) A description of the uniforms, badges, insignia, or other means of identification prescribed by the organization, and worn or carried by its officers or members, or any of such officers or members;

(j) A copy of each book, pamphlet, leaflet, or other publication or item of written, printed, or graphic matter issued or distributed directly or indirectly by the organization, or by any chapter, branch, or affiliate of the organization, or by any of the members of the organization under its authority or within its knowledge, together with the name of its author or authors and the name and address of the publisher;

(k) A description of all firearms or other weapons owned by the organization, or by any chapter, branch, or affiliate of the organization, identified by the manufacturer's number thereon;

(l) In case the organization is subject to foreign control, the manner in which it is so subject;

(m) A copy of the charter, articles of association, constitution, bylaws, rules, regulations, agreements, resolutions, and all other instruments relating to the organization, powers, and purposes of the organization and to the powers of the officers of the organization and of each chapter, branch, and affiliate of the organization; and

(n) Such other information and documents pertinent to the purposes of this section as the Attorney General may from time to time require.

All statements filed under this section shall be public records and open to public examination and inspection at all reasonable hours under such rules and regulations as the Attorney General may prescribe.

(C) The Attorney General is authorized at any time to make, amend, and rescind such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out this section, including rules and regulations governing the statements required to be filed.

(D) Whoever violates any of the provisions of this section shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

Whoever in a statement filed pursuant to this section willfully makes any false statement or willfully omits to state any fact which is required to be stated, or which is necessary to make the statements made not misleading, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 808; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330016(1)(I), (L), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §§14–17 (Oct. 17, 1940, ch. 897, §§1–4, 54 Stat. 1201–1204).

Section consolidates sections 14–17 of title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., as subsections (a), (b), (c), and (d), respectively, of this section, with necessary changes of phraseology and translation of section references.

Words “upon conviction” which preceded “be subject” were omitted as surplusage, as punishment cannot otherwise be imposed.

Amendments

1994—Pub. L. 103–322 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $10,000” in penultimate par. and for “fined not more than $2,000” in last par.

§2387. Activities affecting armed forces generally

(a) Whoever, with intent to interfere with, impair, or influence the loyalty, morale, or discipline of the military or naval forces of the United States:

(1) advises, counsels, urges, or in any manner causes or attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty by any member of the military or naval forces of the United States; or

(2) distributes or attempts to distribute any written or printed matter which advises, counsels, or urges insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty by any member of the military or naval forces of the United States—


Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

(b) For the purposes of this section, the term “military or naval forces of the United States” includes the Army of the United States, the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, and Coast Guard Reserve of the United States; and, when any merchant vessel is commissioned in the Navy or is in the service of the Army or the Navy, includes the master, officers, and crew of such vessel.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 811; May 24, 1949, ch. 139, §46, 63 Stat. 96; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330016(1)(L), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147; Pub. L. 109–163, div. A, title V, §515(f)(2), Jan. 6, 2006, 119 Stat. 3236.)

Historical and Revision Notes

1948 Act

Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §§9, 11, 13 (June 28, 1940, ch. 439, title I, §§1, 3, 5, 54 Stat. 670, 671).

Section consolidates sections 9, 11, and 13 of title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., with only such changes of phraseology as were necessary to effect consolidation.

The revised section extends the provisions so as to include the Coast Guard Reserve in its coverage.

Words “upon conviction thereof” were omitted as unnecessary, as punishment cannot be imposed until conviction is secured.

Reference to conspiracy to commit any of the prohibited acts was omitted as covered by the general law incorporated in section 371 of this title. (See reviser's note under that section.)

Minor changes were made in arrangement and phraseology.

1949 Act

This section [section 46] inserts the words, “Air Force,” in subsection (b) of section 2387 of title 18, U.S.C., in view of the establishment in 1947 of this separate branch of the armed services.

Amendments

2006—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 109–163 substituted “Navy Reserve” for “Naval Reserve”.

1994—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 103–322 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $10,000” in last par.

1949—Subsec. (b). Act May 24, 1949, made section applicable to the Air Force.

Transfer of Functions

For transfer of authorities, functions, personnel, and assets of the Coast Guard, including the authorities and functions of the Secretary of Transportation relating thereto, to the Department of Homeland Security, and for treatment of related references, see sections 468(b), 551(d), 552(d), and 557 of Title 6, Domestic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of November 25, 2002, as modified, set out as a note under section 542 of Title 6.

Coast Guard transferred to Department of Transportation and functions, powers, and duties, relating to Coast Guard, of Secretary of the Treasury and of other offices and officers of Department of the Treasury transferred to Secretary of Transportation by Pub. L. 89–670, Oct. 15, 1966, 80 Stat. 931, which created Department of Transportation. See section 108 of Title 49, Transportation.

Functions of all officers of Department of the Treasury and functions of all agencies and employees of such Department transferred, with certain exceptions, to Secretary of the Treasury, with power vested in him to authorize their performance or performance of any of his functions, by any of such officers, agencies, and employees, by Reorg. Plan No. 26, of 1950, §§1, 2, eff. July 31, 1950, 15 F.R. 4935, 64 Stat. 1280, set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees. Such plan excepted from transfer functions of Coast Guard and Commandant thereof when Coast Guard is operating as a part of the Navy under section 1 and 3 of Title 14, Coast Guard.

§2388. Activities affecting armed forces during war

(a) Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully makes or conveys false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies; or

Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully causes or attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or willfully obstructs the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, to the injury of the service or the United States, or attempts to do so—

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

(b) If two or more persons conspire to violate subsection (a) of this section and one or more such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be punished as provided in said subsection (a).

(c) Whoever harbors or conceals any person who he knows, or has reasonable grounds to believe or suspect, has committed, or is about to commit, an offense under this section, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

(d) This section shall apply within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States, and on the high seas, as well as within the United States.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 811; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330016(1)(L), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Based on sections 33, 34, 35, 37 of title 50, U.S.C., 1940 ed., War and National Defense (June 15, 1917, ch. 30, title I, §§3, 4, 5, 8, 40 Stat. 219; Mar. 3, 1921, ch. 136, 41 Stat. 1359; Mar. 28, 1940, ch. 72, §2, 54 Stat. 79).

Sections 33, 34, 35, and 37 of title 50, U.S.C., 1940 ed., War and National Defense, were consolidated. Sections 34, 35, and 37 of title 50, U.S.C., 1940 ed., War and National Defense, are also incorporated in sections 791, 792, and 794 of this title, to which they relate.

Minor changes were made in phraseology.

Amendments

1994—Pub. L. 103–322 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $10,000” in last par. of subsec. (a) and in subsec. (c).

Repeals

Section 7 of act June 30, 1953, ch. 175, 67 Stat. 134, repealed Joint Res. July 3, 1952, ch. 570, §1(a)(29), 66 Stat. 333; Joint Res. Mar. 31, 1953, ch. 13, §1, 67 Stat. 18, which had provided that this section should continue in force until six months after the termination of the National emergency proclaimed by 1950 Proc. No. 2914 which is set out as a note preceding section 1 of Appendix to Title 50, War and National Defense.

Repeal of Extensions of War-time Provisions

Section 6 of Joint Res. July 3, 1952, repealed Joint Res. Apr. 14, 1952, ch. 204, 66 Stat. 54, as amended by Joint Res. May 28, 1952, ch. 339, 66 Stat. 96. Intermediate extensions by Joint Res. June 14, 1952, ch. 437, 66 Stat. 137, and Joint Res. June 30, 1952, ch. 526, 66 Stat. 296, which continued provisions until July 3, 1952, expired by their own terms.

§2389. Recruiting for service against United States

Whoever recruits soldiers or sailors within the United States, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction thereof, to engage in armed hostility against the same; or

Whoever opens within the United States, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction thereof, a recruiting station for the enlistment of such soldiers or sailors to serve in any manner in armed hostility against the United States—

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 811; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330016(1)(H), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §7 (Mar. 4, 1909, ch. 321, §7, 35 Stat. 1089).

Mandatory punishment provision was rephrased in the alternative.

Minor changes were made in phraseology.

Amendments

1994—Pub. L. 103–322 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $1,000” in last par.

§2390. Enlistment to serve against United States

Whoever enlists or is engaged within the United States or in any place subject to the jurisdiction thereof, with intent to serve in armed hostility against the United States, shall be fined under this title 1 or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 812; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330016(1)(B), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2146.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §8 (Mar. 4, 1909, ch. 321, §8, 35 Stat. 1089).

Mandatory punishment provision was rephrased in the alternative.

Minor changes were made in phraseology.

Amendments

1994—Pub. L. 103–322, which directed the amendment of this section by striking “fined not more than $100” and inserting “fined under this title”, was executed by substituting “fined under this title” for “fined $100”, to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

1 See 1994 Amendment note below.

[§2391. Repealed. Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330004(13), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2142]

Section, added June 30, 1953, ch. 175, §6, 67 Stat. 134, related to temporary extension of section 2388 of this title.