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THE WAR ON TERRORISM:
Stopping The Flow of Money To Terrorists

09/25/03

Graphic for stopping the flow of money to terroristOn September 25, the FBI's new Counterterrorism chief John Pistole and other federal officials sat down with members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs to discuss how terror is financed across the world. Today's hearing, in fact, is the first in a series of hearings that seeks to identify gaps in banking laws and regulations that might be addressed by Congress. Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs E. Anthony Wayne from the Department of State and General Counsel David Aufhauser from the Department of Treasury also testified today.

Assistant Director Pistole responded specifically to a number of questions asked by the Committee.

First, how the FBI has used its longtime expertise in financial crime as a proactive means to stop terrorists. Beyond identifying and stopping terrorist acts of violence, it is "following the money"--tracking its flow and choking off the financial support to terrorists that is needed to carry out those acts of violence. The FBI Terrorist Financing Operations Section is dedicated precisely to identifying, disrupting, and dismantling all terrorist-related financial and fund-raising activities...coordinating and sharing information with U.S. government and financial sector officials...and using the FBI's international Legal Attaché network to coordinate with law enforcement and intelligence agencies around the world.

Second, that the FBI is working with its partners across the world to standardize expertise in financial investigations. Investigators from the FBI and agencies in the U.K., Switzerland, Canada, Germany, and Europol are now working on each other's forces to better coordinate joint investigations. FBI specialists are teaching a terrorist financing/money laundering crimes curriculum to investigators in 38 different countries--with subjects like handling evidence in document intensive investigations, major case management techniques, forensic examination tools, and methods of terrorist financing.

Third, that the FBI is closely partnered with private industry to permit real-time reports on suspicious financial transactions, carefully following all applicable legal procedures in getting access to the data.

Mr. Pistole further addressed proactive FBI projects to identify potential terrorists and terrorist-related financing activities, information sharing, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's efforts to stop the flow of terror financing, new proposed initiatives, and other related topics of interest.