Laundry Bag

Morgan, Hudson
April 2003
New Republic;4/14/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 14, p16
Last month, the U.S. Treasury Department announced the formation of an executive office dedicated to combating terrorist financing. As far back as October 2001, in the USA Patriot Act, Congress furnished Treasury with anti-money-laundering "special measures" to prosecute terrorist financing in countries with lax banking regulations--such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates--and even to bar any bank, charity, business, or country that represents a money-laundering risk from using U.S. markets. But, for all of the administration's noise about starving terrorists of funding, Treasury has invoked its new powers just twice in the past 18 months--against Ukraine and Nauru, and neither case was related to terrorist financing. Crafted to harness U.S. economic clout as a weapon in the war on terrorism, the Patriot Act's anti-laundering special measures--bundled in "Section 311"--represent potentially seminal national security legislation. The Patriot Act authorized Treasury to seal those channels by requiring domestic and foreign financial institutions--banks, charities, securities firms, currency exchanges, pawnbrokers, casinos, and even jewel dealers--to tighten their anti-laundering controls.


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