In the News

Freezing bank accounts and tracing assets

Akshaya Kumar and Ken Sofer write about using the international financial system as a foreign policy tool.

Authors

  • Akshaya Kumar
  • Ken Sofer

Pundits and policymakers alike increasingly push the narrative that America’s influence is waning and that it lacks the leadership to get anything done internationally. Despite the rhetoric plastered across editorial columns, a quiet, but ruthlessly effective effort is targeting and punishing international criminal actors and regimes on America’s newest front lines: the international financial system.

The little-known Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC – housed within the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence – has grown from a policy afterthought to one of the most valuable tools in America’s national security toolbox in under a decade. Under presidents Bush and Obama, OFAC’s ability to trace assets, freeze bank accounts, and disrupt financial transactions has advanced U.S. interests in situations where we otherwise have limited leverage.

The above excerpt was originally published in The Hill. Click here to view the full article.

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Authors

Akshaya Kumar

Policy Analyst, Satellite Sentinel Project Coordinator

Ken Sofer

Senior Policy Adviser