Dear Chairman Frank and Ranking Member Bachus:
In light of recent news that Times Square bomb suspect, Faisal Shahzad, utilized the informal banking system known as hawala networks to conceal funding, we are requesting that you consider holding a Financial Services Committee hearing on efforts to combat the international financing of terrorism.
Following the 2001 terrorist attacks, our government acted quickly to combat terrorist financing by freezing assets of terrorist financiers and support networks, prosecuting individuals and entities for providing material support, and training and coordinating with foreign governments. However, recent reports indicate that post-9/11 terrorist financing is evolving as those involved are: using less sophisticated means to move money and avoid official banking systems; exploiting new technology to transfer money electronically; and utilizing front organizations to circumvent sanctions and sophisticated money laundering schemes to cover-up terrorist financing activities.
We recently worked together to include language in Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 to urge completion of the terrorist financing report authorized in section 6303 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (P.L. 108-458). We feel this report will provide Congress with a long overdue update on U.S. efforts to track and disrupt terrorist financing. However, as recent events including the Times Square bombing attempt have illustrated, we cannot delay in evaluating our efforts to ensure proper coordination between government entities with jurisdiction over these activities, and keep pace with evolving trends in terrorist financing.
We thank you for you consideration of this request for a hearing on terrorist financing and look forward to working with you on this important matter.
Stephen F. Lynch
Member of Congress
Michael N. Castle
Member of Congress