Scholars studying counterterrorism laws internationally, particularly across the Arab world, often note the ambiguity of these laws. Few, however, have taken stock of the causes and consequences of these ambiguities. This article explores the questions: What makes counterterrorism laws distinctly amenable to autocratic instrumentalization? What are the mechanisms that allow counterterrorism laws to be used as a means to bolster authoritarian stability? Furthermore, what are the consequences of this instrumentalization on social and political life? This article seeks to answer these questions by focusing on the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s Anti-terrorism Law of 2006 and its 2014 Amendments. The author argues that counterterrorism laws are a unique tool due to their distinctive emphasis on prevention and pre-criminality. As a result, counterterrorism laws are often prone to ambiguities, which permit their expansion and instrumentalization. This article discusses how counterterrorism laws’ inherent ambiguity shape how these laws are articulated, enforced and experienced.