Center for American Progress

RELEASE: New Strategies Are Required to Confront Modern Terrorist Financing, CAP Report Argues
Press Release

RELEASE: New Strategies Are Required to Confront Modern Terrorist Financing, CAP Report Argues

Washington, D.C. — In the years following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States developed very effective tools for blocking financial flows to terrorist groups, such as Al Qaeda, that rely on donations. However, efforts to disrupt the financial base of terrorist groups that control territory—such as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS—and state-backed groups, such as Hezbollah, have been less successful.

In a new report released today, the Center for American Progress examines the current state of counter terror financing efforts and recommends new strategies to choke off funding and other resources for a new breed of terrorist groups that are now destabilizing the Middle East.

“The programs to disrupt terror financing that were put in place after 9/11 have been very successful at defending the international financial system against abuse,” said Hardin Lang, CAP Senior Fellow and co-author of the report. “However, terrorist groups like ISIS—which extract resources from the lands and people that they control—pose a new set of challenges. In order to confront these challenges, the U.S. government will need to mobilize the full spectrum of tools available across the interagency.”

The report makes recommendations for better use of current government capabilities—which range from diplomatic pressures and financial sanctions on state actors, such as Iran, to military strikes against ISIS. The report recommends the use of a task force model in order to mobilize relevant agencies at the operational level and disrupt the funding and support of the most dangerous terrorist groups. That task force should use impact-based metrics that are specific to the ways and means of the targeted terrorist groups. The U.S. government should strengthen financial diplomacy through the use of specific USA PATRIOT Act authorities and create a so-called white list of financial institutions approved to do business in a certain country in order to mitigate unintended consequences.

Click here to read the report.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at [email protected] or 202.481.7141.