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Ten Years Later: Progress & Challenges In Combating Terrorist Financing Since 9/11

Thursday, September 1, 2011  
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Ten Years Later

By: David S. Cohen, Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence for the US Department of the Treasury

In the 10 years since 9/11, efforts to combat the financing of terrorism have played an increasingly crucial role in our nation’s broader counterterrorism strategy. Terrorist organizations rely on financing and support networks to sustain operations and launch attacks, and since 2004, Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) has developed a comprehensive approach to identifying, disrupting and deterring the funding and support networks of terrorist organizations.

The U.S. Treasury Department remains the only finance ministry in the world with an office dedicated to combating the financing of terrorism. We have achieved some major successes in our efforts to isolate terrorist organizations from the formal financial system, dismantle terrorist support networks and deter would-be donors. But we have much more to do.

Next week, Treasury will host a symposium, "Ten Years Later: Progress and Challenges in Combating Terrorist Financing Since 9/11,” to bring together current and former senior U.S. counterterrorism officials, national security experts and other private sector leaders to discuss accomplishments of the United States and the international community in the past decade, emerging trends in terrorist financing today, and innovative policy responses to counter those trends.

In addition to remarks from Secretary Geithner and myself, John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, will deliver the keynote address. Anchoring the symposium are two panel discussions, which will bring together some of the United States’ and international community’s preeminent counterterrorism experts, including National Counterterrorism Center Director Matt Olsen; State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator Daniel Benjamin; former Homeland Security Advisors to President Bush Fran Townsend and Kenneth Wainstein; and former Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey.

The first panel, Ten Years Later: Today’s Terrorist Financing Landscape, led by Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis Leslie Ireland, will discuss the ways in which terrorist financing methods have evolved since 9/11, with a particular focus on how al-Qa’ida and its affiliates are currently raising, moving and storing funds and where permissive fundraising environments exist today.

The second panel, Combating Terrorist Financing: Progress, Challenges and the Way Forward, moderated by Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing Danny Glaser, will discuss policy responses to address terrorist financing, including the development of an international framework to address terrorist financing, current U.S. efforts to combat terrorist financing and possible responses to emerging terrorist financing sources and methods, such as kidnapping-for-ransom.

In regards to participating online, you can watch the event live at and submit questions in advance of the event on Facebook and Twitter (#CFTSymposium) or by email to with the subject line "Symposium Question.”

For more information on the symposium and to view the latest agenda, please click here.

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