Combating Terrorist Financing


Advances and Challenges Fifteen Years After 9/11

Adam Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, US Department of the Treasury
October 20, 2016

Preventing extremist groups from accessing financial resources is a powerful tool in the fight against global terrorism, said Adam Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the US Department of the Treasury. In a discussion moderated by Professor Eliot Cohen, Director of Strategic Studies, Szubin explained that the Treasury combats terrorist financing by working with our international counterparts to make the global financial system more transparent.

While sanctions may be the best known method of combating financing, they are by no means the only tool, Szubin said. Selecting the best method to counter terrorist funds depends on how the group in question is financed. Terrorist groups that make money from exploiting the territory and people under their control are most impacted by measures like military action, which removes them from their sources of revenue. On the other hand, groups that are financed by external donors are most effectively addressed if donors are prevented from accessing the international financial system. Treasury also often works with foreign partners to help them develop the capacity needed to curtail financing in their respective countries. Questions from the audience focused on how other nations react to the United States using its unique position in the financial world to take these actions against terrorism.