Terrorist Financing

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Terrorism has been a major concern for the United States government for many years. Citizens of the United States have been immune to the terrorist attacks that are taking place overseas. When The World Trade Center was attacked using a car bomb in 1993, terrorism was brought upon the door steps of Americans. What was once a headline on the daily news has now became a reality in the life of the American citizen. An essential element in the strategy for the war on terrorism is to dismantle or disrupt the financial network used by terrorist. After the September 11 attack the Federal Government took several steps to combat terrorist financing, resulting with "More than $140 million in terrorist's assets have been frozen across the some 1,400 bank accounts worldwide." (Kaplan, 2006, Council on Foreign Relations) The United States government along with several other countries worked together and passed several laws to combat terrorist financing. After September 11, 2001, the thought of another attack weighed heavy on the minds of the federal investigators. Tracking and stopping the money flow to the terrorist may help stop another attack. We will examine the steps taken to minimize the cash flow to international terrorist organizations and the results of the actions implemented.

The Financial Anti-Terrorism Act was passed on October 17, 2001. The Financial Anti-Terrorism Act provides the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with the tools needed to control, monitor, investigate and prosecute the financial supporters of terrorism. The Financial Anti-Terrorism Act specified the procedures needed to obtain federal subpoenas for records of funds in correspondent bank accounts. It also gave federal jurisdiction over foreign money and money launderers using foreign banks. This Act required banks and financial institutions to form an anti-money laundering program.

On October 26, 2001, President George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act into effect combining the Financial Anti-Terrorism Act with the Uniting and Strengthening America Act of 2001 (USA Act) creating the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act was also inspired by the RICO Act, which was designed to prosecute racketeering and organized crime. The Patriot Act would change the laws effecting banking, money laundering and immigration, including amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which would turn out to be the most controversial. The main topic in the Patriot Act related to this paper is Title III, International money laundering abatement and anti-terrorist financing act of 2001. This portion of the Patriot Act expands the money laundering abatement to include international terrorism. The Patriot Act modifies the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) which was passed in congress in 1970. The combined Acts require a Currency Transfer Report of any cash transactions of $10,000 or more, either single or combined during the same business day and must be filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). A Monetary Instrument Log will be kept of monetary transaction of using money orders, cashier's checks, and traveler's checks totaling from $3,000 to 10,000 and file with the IRS. If any transaction where a customer seems to be avoiding the BSA reporting requirements a Suspicious Activity Report will be completed by the financial institution which are not allowed to notify the customer that a report is being made. The report will be filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network ("FinCEN"). Any transaction in violation of these requirements will obligate institutions to implement specific measures in identifying and freezing terrorist related funds. There are stiff penalties for individuals or institutions that fail to comply with the reporting process. While implementing these measures it exposed unknown weakness and deficiencies in the domestic and international banking system.

In October of 2001 the Treasury Department established Operation Green Quest....
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