Terrorism and Illicit Finance as Essay

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S. interests. What is different is that we have names and faces to go with that warning."3 This emphasis on recognizing the adaptability

3 Dennis C. Blair, Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, 2010).

of the terrorist is central to the government's overall response, in terms of both planning and execution, as evidenced by findings presented in the wealth of threat assessment material released to the public each year.

With the oft mentioned terrorist training camps and secret underground bases littered throughout the Middle East long since located and reduced to rubble, jihadists the world over have increasingly turned to the internet to lure potential borrowers and launder funds on a global scale.4 the last Homeland Security Threat Assessment, delivered to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 2008 and covering the period from that date through 2013, stated unequivocally that "radicalization among some American Muslims is occurring via independent, decentralized networks that bring together extremists and susceptible youth attracted by virtual, ideological, and institutional factors. Increasingly, the Internet is transforming Islamic radicalization into a bottom-up phenomenon without linkages to state, regional, or national identity or group affiliation."5 the increasingly anonymous nature of terrorist networks and their global operations has allowed religious zealots to appeal directly to secular Muslims who do not adhere to the jihadi worldview, taking advantage of these individual's need to obtain loans despite the law of Islamic finance as a viable method of laundering money. Working under the guise of online secrecy, terrorist operatives are now operating as veritable loan sharks within the secular Muslim communities of many Middle Eastern nations, offering high-interest loans to

4 Donato Masciandaro. Global Financial Crime: Terrorism, Money Laundering, and Off Shore Centres, (Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2004).

5 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland security threat assessment: Evaluating threats 2008-2013, (Government Printing Office, 2008).

those in need of emergency funds, while extracting penalty payments and other illicit financial gains from unwitting borrowers.

In addition to the concealed menace of terrorist organizations gaining financial power through illicit means, terrorist networks seeking to inflict harm on the U.S. And its interests have adopted another invasive method of launching demoralizing and disturbing attacks. The federal government's tactical wing, including the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, have expressed nearly universal alarm as to the threat of cyberterrorism attacks detrimentally affecting the nation's essential banking, investment, and financial infrastructure. The latest Threat Assessment identifies "nation states, terrorist networks, organized criminal groups, individuals, and other cyber actors with varying combinations of access, technical sophistication and intent" while warning that these threats are highly likely "to target elements of the U.S. information infrastructure for intelligence collection, intellectual property theft, or disruption" because "terrorist groups and their sympathizers have expressed interest in using cyber means to target the United States and its citizens."6 an attack on Wall Street's server system or a major lending institution's databases could prove to be disastrous, threatening to cripple the capitalist economic system of free exchange while destabilizing the entire global economy. Through the combination of usury, money laundering, and nefarious actions in the financial market, terrorist networks that have seen their capacity to launch jihad are still able to undermine American interests both at home and abroad.

6 Ibid.


Bennetch, Paul. 2012. "Terrorism expert: al-Qaida's 9/11 tactics an 'abject failure'." Cornell Chronicle [Ithaca, NY] 13 Mar 2012. Retrieved from http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/March12/BergenCover.html

Blair, Dennis C. 2010. United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, Retrieved from http://intelligence.senate.gov/100202/blair.pdf

Esposito, Richard, Matthew Cole, and Brian Ross. 2009. Officials: U.S. Army Told of Hasan. ABC World News. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/fort-hood-shooter- contact-al-qaeda-terrorists-officials/story?id=9030873

Holt, B. 2010. Islamic wealth management. Unpublished raw data, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, CA.

Masciandaro, D. 2004. Global financial crime: Terrorism, money laundering, and off shore centres. Ashgate Publishing Ltd.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Intelligence and Analysis. 2008. Homeland security threat assessment: Evaluating threats 2008-2013. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Retrieved from http://info.publicintelligence.net/DHS-Threats2008- 2013.pdf[continue]

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