Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Following the money - the FBI's Terrorist Financing Operations Section

When a organization launches a major initiative, it often takes money to launch that initiative. This rule applies whether you're talking about a company launching a social media campaign, or a terrorist group launching an attack. In its post-9/11 goal of fighting terrorism, the FBI often must track the latter, which is where its Terrorist Financing Operations Section comes into play. A story about the TFOS can be found here.

Within the FBI, TFOS is responsible for following the money, providing financial expertise on our terrorism investigations, and centralizing efforts to identity extremists and shut down terrorism financing in specific cases. More recently, TFOS has adopted a broader strategy to identity, disrupt, and dismantle all terrorist-related financial and fundraising activities. A key element is using financial intelligence to help identify previously unknown terrorist cells, recognize potential terrorist activity/planning, and develop a comprehensive threat picture.

But as part of its story, the FBI provided some numbers that show just how easy it is to commit a terrorist act.

The dollar amounts can be small—for example, the Oklahoma City bombing cost a little over $4,000 to carry out, the attack on the USS Cole about $10,000, and the London subway bombings around $14,000.
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