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Title: Forensic Analysis of Terrorist Counter-Financing to Combat Nuclear Proliferation

The single greatest threat to U.S. homeland security remains the proliferation of nuclear weapons, especially among terrorists and other non-state actors who are not governed by the Non-Proliferation Treaty. One of the most important tools for combating terrorism among such rogue actors is counter-financing. Without funding, terrorists cannot acquire, maintain, or deploy nuclear weapons. According to the official report of the 9/11 Commission, counter-financing could have prevented the attacks of September 11, 2001. Unfortunately, no single country can defeat global terrorism. Successful counter-financing requires significant international cooperation. Since 2001, the United States and the European Union, despite vastly different approaches to intelligence gathering, have shared information through the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP). That shared information allows authorities to trace suspicious transactions, identify culprits, and map out global terrorist networks. The TFTP successfully thwarted a 2011 plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the U.S. and multiple threats during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London; it also aided in the investigation of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. That program is necessary but not sufficient. To strengthen our ability to detect and disrupt terrorist plotting and prevent nuclear proliferation, we must expand and coordinate two additional transnational measures: (1) themore » Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), a standardized global messaging network for financial institutions to quickly, accurately, and securely send and receive money transfer instructions, and (2) International Bank Account Numbers (IBAN) to identify individual accounts involved in international transactions. Both initiatives were incompletely adopted in the wake of 9/11, but most global banks use one or neither. More fully implementing and coordinating these two systems would allow for coherent information sharing, an essential tool for combating money laundering and terrorist financing, verifying sanctions against rogue nations and non-state actors, tracking nuclear proliferation networks, and protecting dual-use materials. These steps can save lives without interfering with state sovereignty or individual rights. The specter of nuclear threat is real and constant. This paper will provide forensic analysis of the most effective financial tools and policies to combat that threat, placing special emphasis on multinational and public-private cooperation.« less
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  1. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Related Information: INMM Meeting; Atlanta, GA; 20160724 through 20160728
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (NA-20)
Country of Publication:
United States
98 NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, SAFEGUARDS, AND PHYSICAL PROTECTION Forensic Analysis of Terrorist Counter-Financing to Combat Nuclear Proliferation