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House Task Force Urges 'Continued Vigilance' to Combat Terror Financing
The Weekly Standard
By J.P. Carroll
The Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing of the House Financial Services Committee released a report Tuesday highlighting the methods terrorist groups use to secure money and prescribing ways for the United States to combat them.
The report, which was the product of a bipartisan group created by Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling in March last year, suggests that much work remains to combat terror financing despite many advances in preventing terrorists from acquiring the funding necessary to commit attacks in the post-9/11 era. To illustrate the seriousness of the national security challenge stemming from taking on terror finance, the task force specifically details the manner in which major terrorist groups have secured funding for their activities.
There is a particular emphasis in the report on the fundraising activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria, ISIS in Syria, Hezbollah in Latin America, Al-Shabaab in Somalia, and FARC in Colombia. Another important group of actors cited in the report are the world's three remaining state sponsors of terror: Iran, Sudan, and, Syria.
The many ways the report shows through research and expert testimony how terrorist organizations have secured funding for themselves are both revealing and surprising. In the case of ISIS, which is known for its savage slaughter of innocent civilians broadcast online, the terrorist group has become something of a black market Christie's or Sotheby's.
While ISIS is infamous for its use of oil as a revenue stream, the terrorist group has diversified and is raising significant amounts of money from the sale of stolen antiquities. The radical Islamist terrorist group profits so extensively from stolen antiquities that the task force held a hearing dedicated to the matter April 19 titled "Preventing Cultural Genocide: Countering the Plunder and Sale of Priceless Cultural Antiquities by ISIS."