Bermuda Post

Sunday, Mar 26, 2023

Fall of Afghanistan Finds FBI Without Terrorist Financing Section

Fall of Afghanistan Finds FBI Without Terrorist Financing Section

The loss of Afghanistan has potentially opened a door for al-Qaida and other blacklisted groups to expand their fundraising networks, and brought the FBI’s closure of its Terrorist Financing Operations Section two years ago into stark relief, sources told ACAMS

In early 2019, the FBI quietly folded TFOS, an independent section formed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks to track the finances of terrorist groups and their supporters, into other sections of the bureau’s counterterrorism division as part of a broader, internal reorganization and shift in investigative priorities.

Compliance officers, former TFOS officials and other individuals familiar with the matter said that closing the section and reassigning its personnel risked depriving the federal government of critical financial intelligence, and severing relationships with well-placed contacts in U.S. and global financial institutions.

Several other individuals described the decision as a simple administrative shift that neither frayed the FBI’s ties to the banking industry nor diminished the bureau’s ability to pinpoint remittances, wires and other transfers of funds to terrorist groups.

The FBI did not publicly announce the restructuring, and compliance officers who worked regularly with TFOS told that they received only brief and informal notice of the closure, if any notice at all.

Most sources spoke to on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. An FBI spokesperson declined to comment on the reshuffle or the internal deliberations that preceded it.

Jeff Ross, a former senior official with the Treasury and Justice departments, said the demise of TFOS began years ago and involved the FBI’s counterterrorism division—and the larger national security branch that oversees it—increasingly chipping away at the section’s independence and resources.

“TFOS was extraordinarily effective at the start in feeding financial intelligence and analysis to field offices,” said Ross, who regularly dealt with the section during his career in government. “It could do anything it wanted. After you’ve diluted it, marginalized it down from a section, who’s going to do that work?”

‘Speak the language’

TFOS achieved notable success during its 17 years, but the concept of a standalone, dedicated counterterrorist-financing unit rose from a failure: namely, the U.S. government’s to synthesize key financial, travel and logistical details on the 19 al-Qaida hijackers and their handlers into a larger, more comprehensive picture in time to stop them.

A predecessor, the Financial Review Group, or FRG, was formed days after the attacks “to bring order to a chaotic financial analysis in which,” according to the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, “every FBI field office conducted its own investigation as though it were the originating office.”

By April 2002 the group had evolved into TFOS, whose existence signified a strategic shift by the FBI: instead of limiting financial investigations to the pursuit of white-collar criminals, the bureau would task its new, standalone section with overseeing all federal probes into how terrorists raise, move and spend funds.

From the beginning, the new section bore something of a unique profile.

Unlike most sections at the FBI’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., TFOS had an operational mission to conduct investigations independent of the bureau’s 56 field offices, in addition to supplying training, expertise and technical assistance to them.

TFOS also coordinated investigations with U.S. intelligence agencies, regulators and foreign counterterrorism personnel, but the section’s largest returns came from years of building relationships with compliance professionals at large U.S. banks and other institutions, whom investigators could call on at all hours for help in an ongoing case.


Related Articles

Bermuda Post
In a dramatic U-turn against His Government: Judicial Overhaul Legislation Must Be Halted, Says Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
Powell: Silicon Valley Bank was an 'outlier'
Donald Trump arrested – Twitter goes wild with doctored pictures
NYPD is setting up barricades outside Manhattan Criminal Court ahead of Trump arrest.
Credit Suisse's Scandalous History Resulted in an Obvious Collapse - It's time for regulators who fail to do their job to be held accountable and serve as an example by being behind bars.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman tours potential migrant housing in Rwanda as asylum deal remains mired in legal challenges
Paris Rioting vs Macron anti democratic law
'Sexual Fantasy' Assignment At US School Outrages Parents
Credit Suisse to borrow $54 billion from Swiss central bank
Russian Hackers Preparing New Cyber Assault Against Ukraine
Jeremy Hunt insists his Budget will get young parents and over-50s back into work
If this was in Tehran, Moscow or Hong Kong
Nashville police officer, and a female driver shooting one another
TRUMP: "Standing before you today, I am the only candidate who can make this promise: I will prevent World War III."
Mexican President Claims Mexico is Safer than the U.S.
A brief banking situation report
Lady bites police officer and gets instantly reaction
We are witnessing widespread bank fails and the president just gave a 5 min speech then walked off camera.
Donald Trump's asked by Tucker Carlson question on if the U.S. should support regime change in Russia?.
'No relation to the American SVB': India's SVC Bank acts to calm depositors amid brand name confusion.
Good news: The U.S. government is now guaranteeing all deposits, held by, Silicon Valley Bank, and the funds are available as of today
Silicon Valley Bank exec was Lehman Brothers CFO
In a potential last-ditch effort, HSBC is considering a rescue deal to save Silicon Valley Bank UK from insolvency
BBC Director General, Tim Davie, has apologized, but not resigned, yet, following the disruption of sports programmes over the weekend
Elon Musk Is Planning To Build A Town In Texas For His Employees
The Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse effect is spreading around the world, affecting startup companies across the globe
City officials in Berlin announced on Thursday that all swimmers at public pools will soon be allowed to swim topless
Fitness scam
Market Chaos as USDC Loses Peg to USD after $3.3 Billion Reserves Held by Silicon Valley Bank Closed.
A primitive judge in Australia sparked outrage when he told a breastfeeding woman to leave his courtroom for being “a distraction"
Barcelona is feeling the heat as they face corruption charges over payments to former vice-president of Spain's referees' committee, Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira
Senator Tom Cotton: If the Mexican Government Won’t Stop Cartels from Killing Americans, Then U.S. Government Should
Banking regulators close SVB, the largest bank failure since the financial crisis
The unelected UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, an immigrant himself, defends new controversial crackdown on illegal migration
Old clip of Bill Gates saying Ukraine is a big, fat, corrupt sinkhole is going viral
Man’s penis amputated by mistake after he’s wrongly diagnosed with a tumour
In a major snub to Downing Street's Silicon Valley dreams, UK chip giant Arm has dealt a serious blow to the government's economic strategy by opting for a US listing
How do stolen goods end up on Amazon, eBay and Facebook Marketplace?
It's the question on everyone's lips: could a four-day workweek be the future of employment?
Is Gold the Ultimate Safe Haven Asset in Times of Uncertainty?
Spain officials quit over trains that were too wide for tunnels...
Don Lemon, a CNN anchor, has provided a list of five areas that he believes the black community needs to address.
Hello. Here is our news digest from London.
Corruption and Influence Buying Uncovered in International Mainstream Media: Investigation Reveals Growing Disinformation Mercenaries
Givenchy Store in New York Robbed of $50,000 in Merchandise
European MP Clare Daly condemns US attack on Nord Stream
Former U.S. President Carter will spend his remaining time at home and receive hospice care instead of medication
Tucker Carlson called Trump a 'demonic force'
US Joins 15 NATO Nations in Largest Space Data Collection Initiative in History
White House: No ETs over the United States