Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) today was named Democratic Chairman of the Task Force on Terrorism and Proliferation Financing, an active bipartisan coalition in the effort to track and disrupt the financing of terrorist activity.
Lynch has been one of the Democrats’ most active members on the task force, which had been led by former Congresswoman Sue Kelly (R-NY) for the past two years.
The task force will monitor national and international efforts to track and stop the flow of funds to terrorist groups and work to strengthen international anti-terrorist finance strategy.
Congressman Lynch will be joined by Co-Chairman and Founder of the Task Force on Terrorism and Proliferation Financing, Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA), who has been a leader in Congress on this issue.
Congressman Lynch, who also serves on the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Relations, said, “While there was great support and some important progress in our anti-terorrist efforts in the months following the September 11th attacks, we have seen some signs of backsliding and some resistance to anti-money laundering efforts in some areas in the Middle East.”
“We still have a lot of work to do before we can accurately monitor and disrupt funding for terrorist groups around the world,” continued Lynch. “Some nations' banks have actively partnered with the United States to expose terrorist financing; others have been reluctant to help. This is a global problem that requires the participation of every nation, and we must be willing to work harder to encourage that cooperation.”
Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said, “I am pleased that Congressman Lynch has taken the initiative to head up this important task force. The issue of terrorist financing is critical in our fight against terrorism, both at home and abroad. The strong link between the Financial Services Committee and the task force will ensure that all aspects of terrorism financing will be explored and investigated. Again, I commend Congressman Lynch and the members of the task force for their willingness to take on this important issue and I look forward to working with them during the 110th Congress”.
Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA) said, “I look forward to working with my colleague, Rep. Stephen Lynch, on anti-terrorist financing matters. The Task Force serves a forum where Members can bring to the forefront the issue of terrorist financing. We cannot win the war on terror unless the global community works to cut off the flow of funds terrorists use and receive. Certain terrorist acts do not require vast amounts of funding; however, the costs of indoctrination, recruitment, and sustainability are quite high. If these rogue, terror groups have no financial support, it is difficult for them to continue to operate effectively.”
In its Final Report, the 9/11 Commission asserted that, “[v]igorous efforts to track terrorist financing must remain front and center in U.S. counterterrorism efforts.” However, according to the Report Card on implementation of the Commission's recommendations, our efforts against terrorist financing are currently hampered by “turf battles” between competing government agencies and an overall lack of leadership.
Congress has taken significant steps towards utilizing terrorist financing as a viable intelligence tool as well as disrupting the financing of terrorist activities. Nevertheless, terrorists' proven ability to move money through innovative means necessitates continued progress in this critical counterterrorism area.
Congressman Lynch noted that trade negotiations with other nations are an ideal opportunity to insist that our trade partners establish Financial Intelligence Units, or FIUs, that will monitor activity in those nations. Lynch said that he will make it a priority of the Task Force to bring greater oversight to the international banking industry.