In this policy paper, Michael Jacobson, a senior fellow in The Washington Institute's Stein Program on Terrorism, Intelligence, and Policy, says that despite new British initiatives to combat terrorist financing following the July 2005 terrorist subway and bus attacks in London and the disrupted terrorist plot to blow up U.S.-bound planes flying from Heathrow airport in August 2006, the efforts of the European Union (EU) to do the same lack consistency and effect. He says bureaucratic obstacles limit European efforts to designate terrorist entities and freeze their assets.
Notes of remarks by Matthew Levitt at a recent Washington Institute policy forum on combating terrorism financing in which he said that in addition to publicly reported interventions to disrupt the financing of terrorist activities, the US government and its allies are also conducting equally productive anti-terror activities through diplomacy, law enforcement, covert activity, and intelligence collection.
Speakers: David D. Aufhauser, Sue E. Eckert, and John B. Taylor Presider: Maurice Sonnenberg
Three experts discuss the sources of terrorist funds, what efforts are underway to track and freeze terrorist assets, and how effectively terrorist organizations are using the global financial system to support their activities.
A lower-profile but still crucial aspect of global anti-terror efforts involves unraveling the networks that have funded attacks from New York to Bali. Terrorists have proven adept at maintaining financial links intact.
Governments have frozen some $140 million in terrorists' assets since the 9/11 attacks, yet terrorist groups have adapted to remain financially viable. To keep up, governments, too, must change their tactics.
Stopping the ability of terrorists to finance their operations is a key component of the U.S. counterterrorism strategy. To accomplish this, the Administration has implemented a three-tiered approach based on (1) intelligence and domestic legal and regulatory efforts; (2) technical assistance to provide capacity-building programs for U.S. allies; and (3) global efforts to create international norms and guidelines. Effective implementation of this strategy requires the participation of, and coordination among, several elements of the U.S. Government. This report provides an agency-by-agency survey of U.S. efforts.
Authors: Alfred B. Prados and Christopher M. Blanchard
This report reviews allegations of Saudi involvement in terrorist financing together with Saudi rebuttals, discusses the question of Saudi support for religious charities and schools (madrasas) abroad, discusses recent steps taken by Saudi Arabia to counter terrorist financing (many in conjunction with the United States), and suggests some implications of recent Saudi actions for the war on terrorism.
While “al-Qaeda’s current and prospective ability to raise and move funds with impunity has been significantly diminished...al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations still have ready access to financial resources, and that fact constitutes an ongoing threat to the United States.” So warns this independent Task Force report, a follow-on to the Council’s 2002 report that concludes individuals and organizations based in Saudi Arabia were the most important source of Qaeda funding.
After an initially robust attempt to curtail financing for international terrorism, the Bush administration’s current efforts are strategically inadequate to assure the sustained results needed to protect U.S. security. This is the core finding of a bipartisan commission chaired by Maurice R. Greenberg, chairman and chief executive officer of AIG, and directed by two former National Security Council officials who are experts in the field, William F. Wechsler and Lee S. Wolosky.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.