Unfunding Terror: The Legal Response to the Financing of Global Terrorism
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- terrorism; terrorism prevention; terrorism finance; Criminal Law; Law; Military, War, and Peace
The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of 2,973 innocent civilians required as much as $500,000 to stage. At the time, al Qaeda was operating on an annual budget of between $30 and $50 million. However, despite the obvious fact that terrorists need money to terrorize, preventing the financing of terrorism was not a priority for the United States or the international community prior to 9/11. Jimmy Gurule, former Under Secretary for Enforcement in the US Department of the Treasury, provides the first book-length, comprehensive analysis of the legal regime that evolved following the terrorist attacks. The book begins with a discussion of how shutting down the pipelines of funding is as important as dismantling the terrorist cells themselves.Next, the book covers the various means and methods used by terrorist groups to raise money, and examines how money is transferred globally to finance their lethal activities. The principal components of the legal strategy to disrupt the financing of terrorism are then discussed and evaluated. Unfortunately, the author concludes that the legal regime has met with mixed results, and finds that the sense of urgency to deprive terrorists of funding that existed following 9/11 has since dissipated. As a result, international efforts to freeze terrorist assets have dramatically declined. Moreover, the US Department of Justice has suffered several embarrassing and disappointing legal defeats in prosecuting major terrorist financiers.The author therefore provides numerous recommendations to Congress, the Executive Branch, and the UN Security Council for strengthening the legal regime to deny terrorists the money needed to wage global jihad, acquire weapons of mass destruction, and launch another terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11. "Unfunding Terror" fills an important gap in the literature and will be essential reading for counter-terrorism experts, law enforcement and national security officials, policy makers, academics and all those interested in the global war on terror.