Crackdown on Terrorist Financial Network
Financial Crime Enforcement Network
November 7, 2001
1:52 P.M. EST
The United States is pressing the war against terror on every front. From the
mountains of Afghanistan to the bank accounts of terrorist organizations. The
first strike in the war against terror targeted the terrorists' financial support.
We put the world's financial institutions on notice: if you do business with
terrorists, if you support them or sponsor them, you will not do business with
the United States of America.
Today, we are taking another step in our fight against evil. We are setting
down two major elements of the terrorists international financial network, both
at home and abroad. Ours is not a war just of soldiers and aircraft. It's a
war fought with diplomacy, by the investigations of law enforcement, by gathering
intelligence and by cutting off the terrorists' money.
I want to thank Secretary Paul O'Neill for being here today and for being the
leader of this fine organization. I want to thank the Director, Jim Sloan, as
well. You're doing some imaginative work here at the Financial Crimes Enforcement
Network, and I want to thank all the fine Americans who are on the front line
of our war, the people who work here.
I want to thank Secretary Colin Powell for being here, as well. He's doing a
magnificent job of stitching together one of the greatest coalitions ever --
a coalition of nations that stands for freedom. And I want to thank our Attorney
General for coming -- the man whose job it is to make sure that any time we
find anybody inside our country who will threaten an American, threaten our
institutions, they will be brought to justice. And that's exactly what our nation
Acting on solid and credible evidence, the Treasury Department of the United
States today blocked the U.S. assets of 62 individuals and organizations connected
with two terror-supporting financial networks -- the Al Taqua and the Al Barakaat.
Their offices have been shut down in four U.S. states. And our G8 partners and
other friends, including the United Arab Emirates, have joined us in blocking
assets and coordinating enforcement action.
Al Taqua is an association of offshore banks and financial management firms
that have helped al Qaeda shift money around the world. Al Barakaat is a group
of money wiring and communication companies owned by a friend and supporter
of Osama bin Laden. Al Taqua and Al Barakaat raise funds for al Qaeda; they
manage, invest and distribute those funds. They provide terrorist supporters
with Internet service, secure telephone communications and other ways of sending
messages and sharing information. They even arrange for the shipment of weapons.
They present themselves as legitimate businesses. But they skim money from every
transaction, for the benefit of terrorist organizations. They enable the proceeds
of crime in one country to be transferred to pay for terrorist acts in another.
The entry point for these networks may be a small storefront operation -- but
follow the network to its center and you discover wealthy banks and sophisticated
technology, all at the service of mass murderers. By shutting these networks
down, we disrupt the murderers' work. Today's action interrupts al Qaeda's communications;
it blocks an important source of funds. It provides us with valuable information
and sends a clear message to global financial institutions: you are with us
or you are with the terrorists. And if you're with the terrorists, you will
face the consequences.
We fight an enemy who hides in caves in Afghanistan, and in the shadows within
in our own society. It's an enemy who can only survive in darkness. Today, we've
taken another important action to expose the enemy to the light and to disrupt
its ability to threaten America and innocent life.
I'm proud of the actions of our agencies. We're making a difference. We're slowly
but surely tightening the noose, and we will be victorious.
Now it's my honor to welcome the Secretary of Treasury, Paul O'Neill. (Applause.)