The Legal Response to the Financing of Global Terrorism
Chapter 1: The Evolution of the Legal Framework to Deprive al Qaeda of Funding
[T]he number and seriousness of acts of international terrorism depend on the ﬁnancing that terrorists may obtain. . . . [E]xisting multilateral legal instruments do not expressly address such ﬁnancing.1 International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, December 9, 1999 THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that took the lives of 2,973 innocent civilians required as much as $500,000 to stage.2 Money was needed to pay for recruitment, ﬂight training, transportation, communications, and other related expenses. The FBI estimates that in 2001 al Qaeda, the jihadi terrorist organization responsible for the mass killings, was operating on an annual budget between $30 and 50 million.3 At the organizational level, al Qaeda needs money to bribe government oﬃcials and acquire a safe haven, to pay for training camps, weapons, travel, false identiﬁcation documents, and the printing and distribution of propaganda materials, and also to ﬁnance the terrorist activities of like-minded jihadi terrorist groups. Simply stated, the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon could not have occurred without substantial funding. However, despite the obvious fact that terrorists need money to terrorize, prior to 9/11 preventing the ﬁnancing of terrorism was not a priority for the United States or the international community.4 A comprehensive legal framework to combat terrorist ﬁnancing had not been developed. There were no serious ﬁnancial interdiction eﬀorts against al Qaeda, the Taliban and aﬃliated terrorist organizations. Criminal enforcement actions against deep-pocket donors...
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