Disrupting Terror Group Finances to Research Paper

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Financial and law enforcers, military and reporting of intelligence are carried out by respective agencies drawn on limited coordination efforts (Whitmore, 2002). While agencies can pull and push intelligence data, these structures lack a centralized system for collecting intelligence. This limits the ability to conduct a meta-analysis of data across inter-agencies systems. Lack of proper coordination efforts reduces the usefulness of financial intelligence thus making it difficult to link the financial intelligence with other useful information. Critics claim that financial evidence is useful in supporting a case; it does not lead to prevention of terrorism attacks (Linden, 2007).

However, a centralized system of coordination may be an effective way of exploring financial data through linking it with other useful information. This can be made useful if the agencies improve their overall understanding of the financial networks of terrorists. The new homeland security departments are signals that there are efforts for a coordinated on the formation of dominance unit. However, these processes have not integrated collection of intelligence and analysis by international agencies. In general, the primary purpose of integrating such financial intelligence is to facilitate the warning of terrorist attacks, increasing interdiction of law enforcement and heightening the degree of war fighting intelligence (United States Marine Corps & John, 2007).

The Law Enforcement Aspects of the Finances of Terrorists

It is illegal to provide material support to terrorists because it predicates committing other crimes like money laundering, fundraising fraud, evading tax and fraud. Typical judicious enforcement of crime statutes associated with the white-collar may be an effective tactic against terrorists and their financial supporters in two ways (Lormel, 2002).

One, illegal financial activity that connects finance and law enforcement authorities may be used as evidence in international investigations. Some businesses or government might fail to recognize that one is involved in terrorism, but the financial crime provide an obvious evidence of wrongdoing that can solidify resolve to investigate or attack these people. Good example is what was initially a cigarette smuggling and racketeering that now is now Hezbollah cell discovered in North Carolina. Investigation led to the accusation of more than twenty terrorist supporters (Amos & Petraeus, 2009).

Two, imprisoning these terrorists and their supporters through prosecution for their financial crimes may be the most effective way just as Al Capone was jailed for tax evasion. Sometimes, obtaining a conviction on specified acts related to terrorism audit trials from financial crimes may be substantively proved in court. This may lead to prosecution without compromising sensitive intelligence. Up to now, accusations and complaints have been filed against individuals related to terrorism for different financial crimes. They include bank fraud, credit card fraud, money laundering, embezzlement, and many other non-financial crimes like perjury (Linden, 2007).

Finally, the U.S. officials blocked all Enaam Arnout assets as they had identified Arnout as a suspect to the criminal investigations. Accusations came from the FBI of Arnout involvement in terrorists' activities and his links with Osama Bin Laden. This was shared with Bosnia authorities after conducting a no-notice search of the eight locations affiliated with BIF on Bosnia, on which they found computers and other unquestionable materials linking Osama Bin Laden with Enaam Arnout (Center for Excellence Defense against Terrorism, 2008).

The government of America has established joint coordination groups in key regions such as Bosnia. These groups are headed by regional commanders who provide assistance in breaking down the nature of multiple agencies involved in collecting and analyzing intelligence. Studies indicate that the joint groups have the responsibility of representing the agencies, civilian department and ensures that intelligence information is shared among the integrity community. The group provides timely, collaborative, and regular daily working relationships between operational planners in the military and civilian community. The Arnout scenario is an indication that coordination between inter-agencies is an effective way of achieving success in fighting terrorism (USA international business publication, 2002).

Summary of Findings

Trailing the transfer of money among people involved in terrorist groups and their associates indicates that there are relationships, associations, and networks within terrorist organizations. The existence of such financial networks offers an extremely tangible complement to these relationships that originate from open source, signal and some forms of intelligence. The intelligence service can use a coordinated mechanism of gathering, reporting and analyzing the financial networks of terrorists. This will help them provide authorities with information to identify and locate terrorist organizations and networks that support them financially (Whitmore, 2002).

Many of the activities that terrorists engage in to raise funds are illegal, and it would be illegal for any individual to be involved with such activities. This is regardless of whether the individual was associated with terrorism. Terrorist organizations and their associates frequently engage in illegal fundraising, tax evasion, money laundering, fraud, and violation of international currencies. Therefore, prosecuting of individuals who commit financial crimes can effectively aid in coordinating the efforts of intelligence services. Further, it can facilitate in carrying out global investigations that may lead to imprisonment of terrorists (USA international business publication, 2002).

The current war against terrorism organizations demonstrates the importance of the need to use the above approaches to fight global terrorism. This includes blocking and freezing of assets, trailing financial transactions to gather intelligence and prosecution of terrorists and their associates. Actions associated with these approaches and their impacts of their implementation have been reported to be extremely effective in disrupting the financial networks of terrorists, assisting in identifying the global networks of terrorists and finally leading to the apprehension of terrorists. The above frameworks for understanding terror group finances have drawn vital points that must be mentioned (Whitmore, 2002).

Majority of assets belonging to terrorists is planted outside the U.S.; therefore, actions on their finances must be carried out and implemented at the global level in order to be more effective (Zagaris, 2008). This means that there must be intense global cooperation by underdeveloped countries as they develop mechanisms for monitoring finances in the developing countries. In the Bosnia case, there was joint coordination that provided an example that was recognized by international organizations and peace keep in forces. The efforts by the coordination team of Bosnia demonstrated a multiethnic collaboration towards fighting terrorists. Officials from the U.S. participated fully in the Bosnia team of countering terrorism. This situation was unique, and it enhanced cooperation within the government of Bosnia. Further, it assisted in integrating numerous agencies from the U.S. who were involved in providing, military, intelligence services, and law enforcement operations (Gunaratna, 2007).


War on terrorists' finances has drawn a salient point: actions that are taken in the above dimensions can hinder the effectiveness of other strategies of fighting terrorists (Lormel, 2002). For instance, when the finances of an individual have been frozen or blocked, the individual becomes aware that he is a terror suspect. This may make the individual stop being involved in any activities that are likely to incriminate him and would generate effective intelligence. While intelligence agencies are cooperating to facilitate the effectiveness of their actions, the participation of multiple agencies results into a non-effective unified strategy. Law officials must understand that decisions that result into complex issues such as moving from investigating to monitoring suspects and gathering information to apprehend and prosecute suspects is an issue that draws different decisions from multiple agencies (United States Marine Corps & John, 2007).


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Gunaratna, R. (2007). Inside Al Qaeda -- Global Network of Terror, New York: Columbia

Linden, E. (2007). Focus on Terrorism, Volume 9. New York: Nova Publishers

Lormel, D. (2002). Terrorism Financing Operations Sections. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Muller, R & Uriel, R (2007). The Evil of Terrorism: Diagnosis and Countermeasure. New York,

NY: Charles C. Thomas Publisher

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Counterinsurgency Field Manual. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

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