Terrorist Links to Other Crimes

Terrorist organizations require substantial outside resources to function and are often involved in other types of domestic and transnational crime. NIJ-funded researchers have worked to untangle the complex interplay between terrorism, organized crime, white collar crime, and money laundering.

White collar crimes —like identification fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion—give terrorists the financial means to plan and carry out attacks. Multiagency cooperation and communication are necessary to most effectively investigate and prosecute these types of crimes.

While communication, cooperation, and coordination are keys to a successful investigation, they are often difficult to establish without dedicated and committed individuals who are willing to “think outside of the box.” For example, convictions against members of Jamaat al-Fuqra (a fundamentalist Sufi-militant Islamic sect) resulted from the willingness of Colorado Department of Labor and Employment investigators to pursue aspects of a fraudulent worker compensation claim typically outside their agency's mandate.

Methods and Motives: Exploring Links Between Transnational Organized Crime and International Terrorism. (American University) Analyzes the overlap between international organized crime and terrorist groups to develop watch points and indicators of convergence, using open source information and intelligence analysis tools.

Crimes Committed by Terrorist Groups. (Indiana State University) Examines how offenders create criminal opportunities, comparing domestic right-wing terrorist groups to international groups. Assesses distinguishing features of terrorist-oriented criminality and promising ways to reduce or eliminate criminal opportunities.

Identifying Links Between White Collar Crime and Terrorism for the Enhancement of State and Local Law Enforcement Investigation and Prosecution. (National White Collar Crime Center) Identifies and describes the relationship between whitecollar crime and terrorism using a detailed case study for use in training law enforcement and prosecutors to recognize and deter terrorist activities in the U.S.

Informal Value Transfer Systems, Terrorism, and Money Laundering. (Temple University)
NIJ's partnership with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to study the organization and function of informal value transfer (hawala) systems and enforcement and regulatory strategies to disrupt them. U.S. Customs data were also analyzed to assess suspicious trade diversion transactions in support of terrorist objectives.

Terrorist Finance and the Nexus With Transnational Organized Crime: Commodities Trade and the Social Organization of al Quaeda Groups. (Northeastern University) Studies the role of the commodities trade in funding terrorist groups. The markets in gold, precious stones, tobacco, and alcohol are examined for trade diversion and smuggling to transfer funds without leaving traces of the transaction. The project will identify the relationships between terrorists and the legitimate sector, and effective financial controls that will limit access to those markets that support terrorist groups.

Using Data Mining To Identify Patterns in Hostile Surveillance. (Research Triangle Institute) By examining the feasibility of using the data mining process to generate useful information from "suspicious activity reports," this project's objective is to determine whether a complex set of suspicious activity reports can be explored and modeled to make recommendations for terrorism prevention and deterrence efforts.

Date Created: November 8, 2007