Council on Foreign Relations Press
Task Force Report No. 40B
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.
The report cites minimal progress in efforts to halt terrorist financing, and concludes that much more needs to be done. A string of terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda inside Saudi Arabia beginning in May 2003 prompted more comprehensive Saudi action against terrorism. At that time, Saudi Arabia announced new laws, regulations, and institutions to monitor money-laundering, charities, the financial-services sector, and the government began subjecting its anti-money-laundering regime to international scrutiny.
The report makes several positive findings, but it also highlights many important unresolved issues. In particular, Saudi Arabia has not fully implemented its new laws and regulations and, as a result, opportunities for the witting or unwitting financing of terrorism persist. Moreover, there is no evidence that Saudi Arabia has taken public punitive actions against any individual for financing terror. Saudi Arabia has yet to make a demand for personal accountability part of its efforts to combat terrorist financing and, more broadly and fundamentally, to delegitimize terror funding. Most troubling, Saudi Arabia continues to export radical extremism. “Saudi Arabia,” the report says, “funds the global propagation of Wahhabism, a brand of Islam that, in some instances, supports militancy. . . . We are concerned that this massive spending is helping to create the next generation of terrorists.” The report offers specific recommendations to address these concerns.
Task Force Members:
THOMAS J. BIERSTEKER is Henry R. Luce Professor and Director at the Watson Institute of Brown University.
RICHARD A. CLARKE is the Chairman of Good Harbor Consulting, LLC, and former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counterterrrorism at the White House.
DAVID COHEN is the Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence of the New York City Police Department, and former Deputy Director for Operations of the Central Intelligence Agency.
W. BOWMAN CUTTER is the Managing Director of Warburg Pincus, and former Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Affairs.
STUART E. EIZENSTAT is a Partner at Covington and Burling, former Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Undersecretary of State, and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union.
MALLORY FACTOR is a Vice Chair of this task force, and is also the Chairman of Mallory Factor, INC.
MICHAEL R. FENZEL is the Chairman of the Council for Emerging National Security Affairs (CENSA), and former Director for Transnational Threats for the National Security Council.
MAURICE R. GREENBERG is a Chair of this task force, as well as Chairman and CEO of the American International Group.
GEOFFREY KEMP is the Director of Regional Strategic Programs at The Nixon Center, and former Senior Director of Near East and South Asian affairs for the National Security Council.
MATTHEW LEVITT is a senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and a former Counterterrorism Analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
STEWART J. PAPERIN is the Executive Vice President of Soros Foundations.
RICHARD A. SMALL is the Managing Director of Global Anti-Money Laundering for Citigroup, and is the former Deputy Associate Director of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
MAURICE SONNENBERG is a senior International Adviser at Bear, Stearns and Co., senior International Adviser at Manatt Phelps and Phillips, LLP, and former Vice Chairman for the National Commission on Terrorism.
TODD D. STERN is a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, LLP, former Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury, and Staff Secretary of the White House.
WILLIAM F. WECHSLER is a codirector of this task force, as well as Vice President of Greenwich Associates, former Director for Transnational Threats at the National Security Council, Special Adviser to the Secretary of the Treasury, and former Chair of the Interagency Group charged with disrupting al-Qaeda's financial network.
NATHAN WINER is a partner at Alston and Bird, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Law Enforcement Affairs
LEE S. WOLOSKY is a codirector of this task force, as well as a counsel at Boies, Schiller and Flexner, LLP, Adjunct Professor of International Affairs at Columbia University, and former Director for Transnational Threats at the National Security Council.