- Centurion Member
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- Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 7:42 pm
- Location: United States
It is definitely hard to imagine terrorists using credit cards.
I went to a tax law conference a few years ago where one of the main speakers, a former US Treasury official, discussed terror financing (as well as money laundering and tax evasion).
One thing he said is that terrorists definitely try to keep their finances under the radar. They deal in cash when possible and do their deposit/withdrawal banking with members of extended Arab families that generally aren't hostile to Americans, but certainly aren't about to happily share their clients' business with the government. A lot of their dealings are based on trusting other Arabs. If a potential Arab customer wants to do business with a banking family, but that customer lacks a mutual friend with the family, they don't do business. You can imagine how little information they will give to a bunch of non-Arab IRS agents.
It can be difficult to track terrorist dealings through these families because a customer could either be:
A. A terrorist - a small minority
B. A small-time tax dodger - more likely
C. Someone who just doesn't trust the US banking system - also common
That is, of everyone who deals with this particular "shadow banking" system, only a small minority are actually intent on violent crime. Even if you know A is a terrorist, and you know that A is doing business with B, and B is doing business with C, you don't know if B or C are terrorists or just breaking banking laws they don't care about.
Our Treasury department agents are trained to investigate things like mysterious electronic transfers of millions of dollars to the Cayman Islands. But cracking into the small-figure dealings of banking families that have little-to-no paper trail is a lot harder.
To prevent any misunderstandings/angry comments from idiots, I am not saying all terrorists are Arabs, nor that anything more than a tiny, tiny minority of Arabs are terrorists.
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