New U.S. Powers Help Target Terrorist Financing, Treasury Official Says
12 Sep 2019

The U.S. plans to use expanded counterterrorism powers to target foreign financial institutions that facilitate terrorist financing, leaders of terrorist groups and those participating in terrorist training over the internet, a U.S. Treasury Department senior official said.

“Foreign financial institutions should be on notice that the U.S. government will fully utilize this new authority if they are found to be, in any way, facilitating the malign activities of U.S. designated terrorist groups, their members and their supporters,” Sigal Mandelker, the Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in prepared remarks for a speech Wednesday at the International Institute for Counterterrorism’s annual summit in Israel.

The Trump administration this week unveiled details of an updated counterterrorism executive order that significantly expanded U.S. counterterrorism powers. The Trump administration also imposed sanctions on dozens of individuals and entities allegedly involved with terror groups.

Treasury and the U.S. State Department have blacklisted about 400 people and entities under antiterror authorities over the past two years, representing nearly one-third of all such designations since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The Trump administration has used sanctions as a primary foreign-policy tool across the geopolitical spectrum.

With the newly updated executive order, the U.S. expanded secondary sanctions for all individuals and entities that have been designated as terrorists by the U.S., Ms. Mandelker said in the speech.

This allows the U.S. government to target foreign financial institutions that allegedly facilitate significant financial transactions for terrorists, which includes money services businesses, cryptocurrency exchangers and administrators, in addition to banks, she said.

Secondary sanctions threaten to cut off non-U.S. parties’ access to the U.S. markets unless they stop activities with the sanctioned entities or individuals.

The executive order also expanded the U.S. government’s ability to swiftly target alleged leaders and officials of terrorist groups and those participating in terror training over the internet and other telecommunications platform, in addition to those participating in terror training camps, she said.

By Mengqi Sun and Ian Talley, The Wall Street Journal, 11 September 2019

Read more at The Wall Street Journal

Photo: David [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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