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WaPo: Tracking Terrorist Assets Hobbled by Interagency Turf Battles and Untraceable Commodities

HeadlineJun 18, 2002

The Washington Post is reporting the Bush administration’s effort to track so-called terrorist assets has been hobbled by interagency turf battles and the fact that most of al-Qaeda’s money is not in banks but in untraceable commodities. Long before September 11, al-Qaeda operatives began shifting money out of bank accounts that could be traced and into untraceable gold and precious stones. The move went largely unrecognized, and now most of the organization’s financial network remains untouched. At the same time, the effort has been hindered by interagency turf battles. Some of the worst conflicts have been between the Customs Service within the Treasury Department and the FBI’s financial review group within the Justice Department. They have nearly identical investigative missions but have been so resistant to cooperation that, until recently, they would not even fill designated chairs at each other’s tables.

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