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On July 24, 2003, the final report of the Joint Intelligence Committee investigation into the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was released. The committee recommended that the FBI, as well as other law enforcement agencies, should:
Consider prevention of terrorist attacks as the FBI's number one priority.
Improve information sharing within the intelligence community through the TTIC.
Improve coordination between the NSA, FBI, and CIA.
Improve technology to target terrorists and identify terrorist threats better.
Establish an Office of Intelligence.
Increase the number of resources allocated to counterterrorism analysis.
Improve information sharing with state and local law enforcement
Establish the national JTTF.
Expand recruitment of vital language skills.
Increase efforts to infiltrate terrorist organizations operating in the United States.
Improve counterterrorism training.
Have stronger accountability.
The Counter-Terrorism Training Coordination Working Group convened by the U.S. DOJ's Office of Justice Programs works to examine the counterterrorism tools available to law enforcement and first-responder communities. Recognizing that sharing information is essential to the coordination of efforts to support state and local counterterrorism training, the Counter-Terrorism Training and Resources for Law Enforcement Web site was created.
The Web site serves as a single point of access to counterterrorism trainingopportunities and related materials available across the federal government and from private and nonprofit organizations. Working group participants include the following:
Bureau of Justice Assistance
Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
National Institute of Justice
Office for Domestic Preparedness
Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services
Department of Homeland Security
Office of Justice Programs
Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education
U.S. Army Military Police School
U.S. Customs Service
U.S. Department of Labor
On July 31, 2003, John S. Pistole, deputy assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI testified before the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. Pistole stated that identifying, tracking, and dismantling the financial structure supporting terrorist groups is critical to dismantling the organizations successfully and preventing future terrorist attacks. As is the case in most investigations, locating and following the money plays a critical role in identifying those involved in the criminal activity, establishing links among them, and developing evidence of their involvement in the activity.
The Terrorist Financing Operations Section (TFOS) of the FBI is both an operational and coordinating entity with proactive and reactive responsibilities. As a coordinating entity, the TFOS is responsible for ensuring that a unified approach is pursued in investigating terrorist financing networks. The TFOS achieves this directive by:
Coordinating the financial aspects of FBI field office and Legat terrorism investigation
Establishing overall initiatives, policy, and guidance on terroristfinancing matters
Participating in the National Security Council's Policy Coordinating Committee (PCC) on Terrorist Financing
Coordinating national liaison with the financial services sector
Cooperating in and coordinating criminal terrorist-financing investigations with the DOJ
Providing support and training to field offices to include the designated terrorism financing coordinator (TFC)
The FBI, working in coordination with other agencies of the U.S. government, has participated in numerous cases involving the funding of terrorism, including the following:
An FBI joint terrorism task force in Charlotte, North Carolina, used racketeering statutes to obtain convictions that disrupted and dismantled a Hizballah procurement and fundraising cell. Twenty-six individuals were arrested for crimes including immigration fraud, visa fraud, cigarette smuggling, interstate transportation of stolen property, fraud, bank fraud, bribery, money laundering, racketeering, and providing material support to a terrorist organization.
The FBI coordinated with the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) to justify the blocking of Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) assets and the closing of its U.S. offices, shutting down HAMAS's largest fundraising entity in the United States. The HLF had been linked to the funding of HAMAS terrorist activities, and in 2000, HLF raised $13 million.
Offices of the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF), a U.S.based charity, were shut down and its assets and records blocked following an OFAC and FBI investigation that determined that the charity was being used to funnel money to al Qaida. In February 2003, Enaam Arnaout, the head of BIF, pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy, admitting he fraudulently obtained charitable donations in order to provide financial assistance to persons engaged in violent activities overseas.
As a result of information developed by the FBI, a foreign security service, in conjunction with U.S. intelligence community agencies, apprehended one of the most significant money launderers associated with Osama bin Laden for funneling $67 million through international accounts to al Qaida and the Taliban.
A criminal case against Sami Al-Arian, the alleged U.S. leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the World Islamic Studies Enterprise has forced the closure of several front companies suspected of funneling money to support PIJ operations against Israel. In August 2002, the investigation led to the deportation of Mazen Al-Najjar, the brother-in-law of Sami Al-Arian and a known PIJ member. In February, following a 50-count indictment for RICO and material support of terrorism violations, the FBI arrested Al-Arian and three other U.S.-based members of the PIJ, including Sameeh Hammoudeh, Hatim Naji Fariz, and Ghassan Ballout. The FBI also executed seven search warrants associated with this action.
TFOS has provided this operational support in the al Qaida sleeper cell cases in Buffalo, New York, and Portland, Oregon, as well as in the Richard Reid, John Walker Lindh, Jose Padilla, Al Haramain, PIJ, and Mohamed Almoayad cases, among many others. This type of operational support has also been provided to divisions investigating NGOs, such as the HLF, BIF, and the Global Relief Foundation.
TFOS has engaged in extensive coordination with authorities of numerous foreign governments in terrorist-financing matters, leading to joint investigative efforts throughout the world. These joint investigations have successfully targeted the financing of several overseas al Qaida cells, including those located in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Spain, and Italy. Furthermore, with the assistance of relationships established with the central banks of several strategic countries, successful disruptions of al Qaida financing have been accomplished in counties such as the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Indonesia.
The FBI conducted a detailed financial investigation/analysis of the 19 hijackers and their support network following the September 11, 2001, attacks. This investigation initially identified the al Qaida funding sources of the 19 hijackers in the United Arab Emirates and Germany. The financial investigation also provided the first links between Ramzi Binalshibh and the 9/11 operation.
A continuing investigation, in coordination with the PENTTBOMB Team, has traced the origin of the funding of 9/11 back to financial accounts in Pakistan, where high-ranking and well-known al Qaida operatives played a major role in moving the money forward, eventually into the hands of the hijackers located in the United States.
As part of the 9/11 financial investigation, thousands of individuals and organizations were investigated in the United States and abroad to determine whether they played any part in supporting the hijackers or the operation. Although the vast majority of these individuals and organizations was cleared, this process of elimination resulted in numerous other quality terrorism investigations being initiated, as well as criminal charges against hundreds of individuals for fraud and other criminal activity.
At the request of a foreign liaison service, TFOS traced financial transactions in a near real-time manner that led to the location of a terrorist cell and prevention of a terrorist act.
Since 9/11, the United States has frozen $36.3 million in terrorist assets, while other countries have frozen an estimated $97 million, for a total of over $133 million.
U.S. authorities issued blocking orders on the assets of 281 terrorists, terrorist organizations, and terrorist supporters, effectively denying them access to the U.S. financial system.
Federal law-enforcement officials have arrested over 61 individuals, indicted 43, and convicted 12 in connection with terrorist-financing investigations.
U.S. government agencies, which include the FBI's TFOS, deployed trainers and advisors on missions to countries around the world to assist with the drafting of legislation to combat terrorist financing, strengthen bank supervision in identifying suspicious transactions, and address other financial crimes and corruption.
Since 9/11, over 120 countries have introduced new terrorist-related legislation, and approximately 80 countries established Financial Investigation Units.
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