In light of recent news that Times Square bomb suspect, Faisal Shahzad, utilized informal financing networks to conceal funding of his attempted bombing and may have received financing from foreign terrorist groups, Delaware Congressman Mike Castle and Representative Stephen Lynch (D-MA) yesterday submitted a letter to Financial Services Committee Chairman, Barney Frank (D-MA) and Financial Services Committee Ranking Member, Spencer Bachus (R-AL) requesting a Financial Services Committee hearing on U.S. efforts to combat the international financing of terrorism.
Rep. Castle said, "The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 spoke to the importance of understanding basic terror financing streams. Since then, however, terrorist organizations are adapting to these hurdles by using less sophisticated means to move money and avoid official banking systems, thereby making it harder to trace and prevent these funds from reaching terrorist hands. Recent events, including the Times Square bombing attempt, have demonstrated that our efforts must keep pace with evolving trends in terrorist financing."
“The recent attempted bombing in Times Square only underscores the need to redouble our efforts to combat international terrorist financing,” Rep. Lynch said. “Informal financing networks can be insidious and difficult to track. As terrorist organizations develop new ways to hide and launder money, we must evaluate and strengthen our terrorist financing strategy.”
Reps. Castle and Lynch have consistently worked to address this issue. In March 2009, Rep. Castle wrote to the President to request that the report required by the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act to evaluate and make recommendations on U.S. efforts to fight terror financing be issued, but received no response. Additionally, in July 2009, Reps. Castle and Lynch introduced H.R. 3387, the Post-9/11 Terrorist Financing Review Act, legislation similar to language they offered as an amendment and was included in the House-passed version of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010.
A copy of the most recent hearing request letter submitted by Reps. Castle and Lynch is below:
May 19, 2010
The Honorable Barney Frank The Honorable Spencer Bachus
Chairman Ranking Member
Financial Services Committee Financial Services Committee
2129 Rayburn HOB B371A Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515 Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Frank and Ranking Member Bachus:
In light of recent news that Times Square bomb suspect, Faisal Shahzad, utilized the informal banking system known as hawala networks to conceal funding, we are requesting that you consider holding a Financial Services Committee hearing on efforts to combat the international financing of terrorism.
Following the 2001 terrorist attacks, our government acted quickly to combat terrorist financing by freezing assets of terrorist financiers and support networks, prosecuting individuals and entities for providing material support, and training and coordinating with foreign governments. However, recent reports indicate that post-9/11 terrorist financing is evolving as those involved are: using less sophisticated means to move money and avoid official banking systems; exploiting new technology to transfer money electronically; and utilizing front organizations to circumvent sanctions and sophisticated money laundering schemes to cover-up terrorist financing activities.
We recently worked together to include language in Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 to urge completion of the terrorist financing report authorized in section 6303 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (P.L. 108-458). We feel this report will provide Congress with a long overdue update on U.S. efforts to track and disrupt terrorist financing. However, as recent events including the Times Square bombing attempt have illustrated, we cannot delay in evaluating our efforts to ensure proper coordination between government entities with jurisdiction over these activities, and keep pace with evolving trends in terrorist financing.
We thank you for you consideration of this request for a hearing on terrorist financing and look forward to working with you on this important matter.
Stephen F. Lynch Michael N. Castle
Member of Congress Member of Congress