Defunding ISIS and Other Terrorists
(Celina Realuyo, November 30, 2016)
Transcript available below
About the speaker
Celina Realuyo is Professor of Practice at the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the National Defense University where she focuses on U.S. national security, illicit networks, transnational organized crime, counterterrorism and threat finance issues.
From 2002-2006, Professor Realuyo served as the State Department Director of Counterterrorism Finance Programs in the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism in Washington, D.C. She managed a multi-million dollar foreign assistance program aimed at safeguarding financial systems against terrorist financing. Under her stewardship, the U.S. delivered training and technical assistance to over 20 countries across four continents (including Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iraq, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.)
Professor Realuyo holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, MA from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), BS from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and Certificate from l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris, France. Professor Realuyo has taught at Georgetown, George Washington, and Joint Special Operations Universities. She has traveled to over 70 countries and speaks English, French, and Spanish fluently, and is conversant in Italian, German, Filipino, and Arabic.
She speaks regularly on “Managing U.S. National Security in 21st Century,” “The 3 R’s: Responding to Risk with Resourcefulness,” “Following the Money Trail to Combat Terrorism, Crime, and Corruption,” and “Combating the Convergence of Illicit Networks in an Age of Globalization.”
She previously spoke at Westminster on the subject of Combating Terrorist Financing And Illicit Networks.
Well, tonight it is a great, great pleasure for me to present our speaker, Celina Realuyo, who was a colleague at National Defense University with me, with Tom Blau, in this room, and it was a privilege to work with her in the counterterrorism fellows program. In fact, we once joint taught a course and Celina is still at National Defense University. She is professor of practice at the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, and she focuses there on national security, illicit networks, transnational organized crime, counterterrorism and threat finance issues.
Celina brings both a background in finance in New York, an academic background in the deep government experience to these topics. She was the State Department Director of Counterterrorism Finance Programs in the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism in Washington. She managed a multi-million dollar foreign assistance program aimed at safeguarding financial systems against terrorist financing.
Celina’s background from Harvard Business School, MA Johns Hopkins, Bachelor of Science Georgetown University Foreign Service School, Certificate l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris. She has taught at Georgetown, George Washington, at Joint Special Operations Universities, has traveled to more than 70 countries in her work, speaks French, Spanish, fluently, and can converse in Italian, German, Filipino, and Arabic. Those are just some highlights of her many accomplishments. And tonight she will be speaking on, “How to Defund ISIS and Other Terrorists.” Please join me in welcoming Celina Realuyo.
What I plan to do tonight – and leave ample time to questions for such a learned and inquisitive group from our cocktail session – time for questions. What we will take a look at is how this whole field of looking at threat financing, which is how threats are being funded has become now an integral part over the last ten years of all of our campaigns and it is actually part of all the national strategies and we anticipate in the next administration it will be an important facet as opposed to just an accessory, which it had been prior to 9/11 and even in the years after 9/11.
How are we using financial intelligence to better understand our adversary and more importantly, how are we using financial instruments offensively, which you probably know as sanctions, and defensively, which is in terms of investment and providing opportunity, and more importantly, prosperity and security go hand in hand, so we are trying to make it and actually establish discipline much more so.
So, if we can start and take a look more importantly at the world we are living in. This is what the next administration is going to inherit. Everyone calls this my circle of doom. My students who are at George Washington University, they are like she is kind of the professor of the dark side of globalization. I do not know if you know that there is something called Rate My Professor that the students actually put in there about the pros and cons like she is a tough grader, the one lately which is a bit disturbing, ‘she gets everyone a job at the CIA or FBI’, so I have for next semester a wait list of seventeen students trying to get into my class with very creative writing as to why they have to take my class.
But this is what we take a look at. And this is literally this question of state and non-state actors, and we were just at a conference today at the Foreign Policy Initiative this morning at the Newseum where General Votel, who is leading the efforts of Central Command against ISIL as well as the fight in Afghanistan and South Asia, really now captures it as a trans regional threats and what he calls multidimensional domains, including cyber in that.
We are going to focus particularly on the threat of both ISIL in Iraq and Syria but even more disturbingly is beyond and how it is really all of these away games that we used to talk about how to contain are now no longer that. They actually are threats as we saw sadly with the attack, a terrorist attack at Ohio State University, which I will gladly say that is what it was – are now actually coming and encroaching on our homeland.
But we take a look at all of these different dimensions and these different threats, whether it is a rising China or adventurism of Russia, and these other issues that are taking place around the world, which is actually now demanding a new construct of national security in what is even a post-9/11 world.
We have these post-war institutions such as the way we have set up the 1947 National Security Act, which probably needs to be amended if not totally reformed, so how do you use post-World War II tools and organizations and mechanisms to fight the threats of the 21st century? This is kind of what we are trying to grapple with in this sense.
Illicit Networks are Empowered by Globalization
So we see just as we have been the beneficiaries of globalization over the last thirty years in terms of communications, technology, access to goods, services, information, and physical access, the ability for all of us to travel to all of the corners of the world, we have seen how illicit actors – and when we talk about those, we include terrorists, criminals, proliferators, and their facilitators – have also taken advantage of a more interconnected world and more importantly more porous borders, as well as the cyber domain, which is all the rage now, we are always talking about cyber security and the cyber instrument of national power.
You are actually seeing now just a factoid. I had the pleasure of talking about Russia. We are actually seeing cocaine in discotheques in Moscow, costing six times the price of the same amount sold in a disco in Miami. You are seeing what we see, that globalization of drug trafficking, arms trafficking, sadly human trafficking, as well as all other kinds of contraband, taking advantage of the global supply chain.
What we are seeing is just as large corporations try to maximize their opportunities and more importantly take advantage of this inter-connectedness, we call it the 4Ms. Marines love the letter M, right Sebastian? And I am now the professor of the 4Ms because nobody can pronounce my name. And it is about moving your team and your equipment from point a to point b. Walmart is doing the exact same thing now, getting the latest toys from point a to point b for Christmas shopping.
Global Supply Chain Management Four Critical Elements
And the first thing is what is moving through that supply chain? Materiel. More importantly, who is controlling that is this concept of manpower, and sadly, corruption is perhaps the greatest threat in terms of giving and allowing space for these illicit actors to undermine a lot of our institutions. And the third one is financing, which I spent a lot of time taking a look at. And then lastly, the different mechanisms, are we using land, air, sea, space, and now cyberspace as different routes.
Critical Enablers of Illicit Networks
So what we are seeing now is when we try to analyze our adversaries, these illicit networks, whether they be terrorist or criminal in nature, we were really focused on a decapitation strategy, looking at command and control, very classic military doctrine.
What we learned through Afghanistan and Iraq was that we had to take a look at what else helped these groups sustain themselves and these organizations sustain themselves, what type of environment A.K.A. corrupt environment allowed them to flourish in ungoverned spaces, and they became alternative governed spaces by these groups. How are they recruiting personnel and retaining them? How are they using logistics and technology in order to actually control larger parts of a territory? And then more importantly, how are they using illicit activities?
And this is the classic case we have seen in Afghanistan, where there are actually more opiates being produced now than before we intervened after 9/11. All of these different facilitators actually require one thing in common and that is the money part, and that is why we have tried to figure out how to deny these groups access to these different facilitators.
Understanding Threat Financing Flows
What we have seen then is when we talk about how these groups finance themselves, we look at four kinds of steps and stages. How are they raising the money? How are they moving that money? How are they storing that money? And then lastly, how are they actually spending the money? And this is very important in a lot of our counter-terrorism investigations.
So, as we speak right now there is a discovery just today that the Ohio State attacker was actually here in Washington, D.C. He actually (through his credit card receipts and the kind of signature) bought the butcher knife that he used in the attack, initial reports are revealing this, at a Home Depot here in Washington, D.C. What was he doing here on Thanksgiving Day, which is pretty far away from Ohio State, and why was he buying [here]? There is a Home Depot, I think, in Ohio as well, right, so these are big questions, how we are using the tracing, and that is this question about spending.
The Convergence between Terrorism and Crime
What we are seeing now is what we call this convergence between terrorism and crime, and at National Defense University three years ago we published this book called The Convergence of Illicit Networks, where instead of compartmentalizing counterterrorism, counter crime, and counter proliferation efforts, we are trying to figure out how these groups are perhaps collaborating, or they are becoming hybrid, and more importantly who the facilitators are, and the importance of actually going after the facilitators with the strong arm of the law as rigorously as against actual terrorists and criminals.
And it is kind of interesting, the person who actually endowed this project is someone now someone you might hear about in the news. General Flynn, when he was at DIA, was actually the sponsor of this project of the converge of terrorism and crime, which has taken many years. And sadly, ISIS as a criminalized state has actually validated a lot of the research about this convergence between terrorism and crime.
Drug Trafficking in Afghanistan
Just to give you some examples of this convergence theory, I mentioned earlier Afghanistan where literally between the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and other [groups], now ISIS sympathizers or ISIS affiliates, they are actually using contraband, and the trafficking routes, and more importantly drug trafficking in order to sustain their insurgency. And as we are taking a look at questions about the sustained levels, what we are going to be at in terms of our U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan because the situation is still quite untenable there.
Then something we are going to talk about in much more detail in a couple minutes is ISIL, and then Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Al Shabaab. Boko Haram is making a fortune on human trafficking, sadly. They are usually selling these girls as a third or fourth wife. As many of you know, in the Islamic religion you are allowed to have up to four wives. The brides tend to be the younger ones. It is a very disturbing phenomenon, and thankfully they have been trying more aggressively in Nigeria to find these girls or even actually prevent them [from being kidnapped in the first place], and use a very aggressive stance against [Boko Haram], which is welcome, but for those 272 girls, and it has been a while now, it is probably too late for them. And then we will take a look at the FARC in Colombia as well as Hezbollah.
FARC and Cocaine in Colombia
I spent the last two years, and I am actually going to go there on Monday, in Colombia, working on the peace negotiation process. They have actually signed now a second deal in Colombia between the government of Colombia [and FARC] after over fifty years of conflict. The FARC began as an insurgency, and then they actually took over the business of the Medellín and Cali Cartels, and then more importantly because of their income stream, they became the richest terrorist group in the world only not to be overtaken by ISIL two years ago.
And what we have seen is they probably would never have lasted so long if they had not been in the cocaine trade, and also in Spanish they say that we have ‘greedy noses.’ The translation is not very eloquent. It is because it has been banned here in the United States, and it is probably the first example of this terror-crime nexus that has been taking place for the longest time. What they do is they actually set up [what] is mostly cocaine trafficking, but we see now that they are actually very similar to different mafias where they are actually diversifying their activities.
The big question for the peace process now is [FARC’s relationship with drug trafficking going forward]. The leadership of the FARC will become political actors, but it is not clear if they have control over all eight thousand militants, and that those eight thousand militants are all going to give up narcotics trafficking, gold smuggling, [and] human trafficking because they are so lucrative, so what will probably happen [is] they will take off their uniforms and insignia as FARC, and just become what we consider criminalized mafias. It is an interesting peace to see.
The peace that I am working on next week, and we are about to embark on, in the second peace negotiation they are actually requiring that the FARC itemize and have an accounting of their assets, and those assets are going to be forfeited and then be put into a fund that is to pay for the reparations [to] the victims, which is very important in terms of their reconciliation and reintegration, and it is an area that I have been personally lobbying for many years of take the money away from the bad guys – and gals, by the way, a lot of the women are actually the ones who run the money – and then have them actually pay for the peace, so it is a really big step that they have taken, and so it is going to be a more palatable peace process than the first one that actually absolved them of any jail time or actually of paying any reparations.
Another group I look at is Hezbollah, sponsored still by Iran, and sometimes they do not mention it. Iran continues to be the largest state sponsor of terrorism with or without a deal. And Hezbollah is one of its militant [proxies]. Let us say it is one of its ‘operators’ in the field. So yes, it is a political group with political power, but we are much more interested in the militant arm of Hezbollah because until 9/11, Hezbollah was responsible for the largest number of American deaths, which is kind of glossed over when people teach terrorism at a lot of our universities. And they continue to really think about the West as enemies, but even more so are threatening the State of Israel.
What we have seen though with Hezbollah is kind of interesting. Every time you had conflict in the Levant, you had waves, an exodus, a diaspora that would leave, and many of them would settle around the world, but there are a lot of them, actually, in Latin America. And it is from this diaspora, which by the way, is both Christian and Muslim, and among the Muslims, both Sunni and Shia. The ones that we are more interested in are among the Shia diaspora, those who sympathize and more importantly support Hezbollah.
And a lot of them, actually, around the world are using their international businesses to raise money and move money. I have actually seen them now start to use the global drug trafficking routes to earn income, and more importantly to finance. And why is this of interest to us today? Hezbollah are the foreign fighters for Assad. And you have seen the terrible pictures and images of this continuing Syrian civil war, and that is where they see a lot more movement of fundraising and more importantly a lot more sympathizers for Hezbollah since the start of the Syrian civil war.
What we saw is a very interesting case in Hezbollah. They were actually using a used car business, buying used cars here in the United States, luxury vehicles, Audis, Mercedes, BMWs, mostly in cash, and they were actually putting them in containers. They were going to be sold in West Africa as used cars. It is a totally legitimate business, but it took a little bit of a deviation, a little detour. The containers would then go to South America, and they would be filled with Colombian cocaine, so it is almost like a dual purpose of what they were using their international used car business [for]. Then the containers would be offloaded in Benin, among other countries, and they would actually sell the cars, but then the cocaine would continue into the more lucrative markets of Western Europe and reach all the way to Moscow and Russia. That money then would be used again to repeat the cycle.
Why did the United States get involved in this? Because the money came through the United States, and the proceeds were of money laundering. But what ends up happening is some of that money actually goes through what is called the Lebanese Canadian Bank, and the money actually enters the bank accounts of militant members of Hezbollah. So, what you see in this very interesting case is how they took advantage of globalization, and then more importantly they are using a legitimate import-export business of used cars, and they are piggybacking narcotics trafficking.
When the money is coming back to be recycled or cleaned and laundered, it is proceeds of crime, so it is money laundering, but it becomes terrorist financing because the end actual destination is to the coffers of militant members of Hezbollah, and they are continuing to be a foreign terrorist organization designated by the United States, Israel, and the European Union. This is an example of how we take advantage of trade, right, in terms of all of globalization, but this is a really interesting way how very astute business community members are actually helping to fund and support Hezbollah.
ISIL as Auto-Financed Criminal State
I know you all came to talk about ISIL. The fact that we cannot even name it properly – is it Islamic State, is it ISIS, is it ISIL [is astounding]. I spent a lot of time overseas trying to explain how this was basically a speechwriter at the White House [who came up with this]. The way that the White House explains it is the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. I mean we are not supposed to use the word Islamic State to give them credence. But I am like inside the acronym it says Islamic State, so this is kind of one of those questions where your like [confused]. So, we are not allowed to use Islamic State, so then we went to Daesh, right, which is what John Kerry uses, which I think is the most appropriate piece, but the strategy at the White House continues to be – words matter, right? If you cannot actually name and identify the adversary, we already have a problem.
But we actually – and I wrote a very controversial piece earlier at the beginning of the year for the Cipher Brief. They are very short articles. If you do not follow it, it is actually a quick synopsis where I actually call them a criminalized state, and I had to prove my thesis about how they rose to power through acts of crime, and then more importantly why they are so resilient and now how they surpassed the FARC in Colombia to become the richest terrorist group in the world and actually in history. We are estimating them north of $2 billion dollars in terms of their actual asset holdings.
U.S. Strategy to Degrade and Destroy ISIL
So these are the nine lines of the strategy that was designed two years ago by Gen. Allen and his team. I was team five. They send you an email saying if you were going to have a meeting, it would be a team five, so we were looking at the financing piece and we were looking at disrupting ISIL’s finances. But a lot of the things we were looking at were all interconnected. And particularly, we were looking at how to deal with the foreign fighters because a lot of them needed money to get from point A to point B to actually become ISIS, not just sympathizers but actual warriors, and how they would make their trek from different parts of the world, and actually go and fight alongside in Iraq and Syria, so we are going to take a look at both of those pieces.
The way the strategy has been designed is it is taking a look at three different spheres of operation. The one you see most in the news when they are talking about the military campaign, the airstrikes, is that more kinetic [domain]. We call it the physical domain. The place that we are looking at, and I am going to share with you some of the statistics, is looking at how do we disrupt their financing, lower their income stream, and then go after actual financial targets. [We do this] with a better understanding of how they were run in terms of economically and financially, which is a very different approach where instead of just trying to go after the leader, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, we are actually taking a look at his CFOs, his Chief Financial Officers, his Chief Strategy Officers, [and] his Chief Information Officers. So, it is a much more comprehensive way to attack the entire structure, and these are very difficult people to replace, which is very important to take a look at.
Then the third one is countering violent extremism. You have heard this talked about a lot, especially the last 48 hours about how this young man got radicalized in Ohio State. So, we talk a lot about [how] we have the physical caliphate in Iraq and Syria, [and] the virtual caliphate, which is what happens in cyberspace. We were trying to design the strategy, and I had the privilege of being recruited by Gen. Allen in the summer, August 2014, right after the beheadings of the journalists. They were trying to figure out how to broaden the approach against this enemy that we did not know as much as we thought we knew about them. And the idea was how are we going to understand how they are financed, and then could we set up a set of targets to hurt them financially, and that is actually what we have been able to do in the last two years.
It is very interesting with Daesh [that] they are a very diversified kind of enterprise. I call them a criminal enterprise. The bulk of their income actually comes from extortion, and this is why it is critical to take back control of the territory. A lot of my colleagues are like, well, that is really aggressive. I said, well, if they do not actually have control of people and actual physical space, where there are stores or little shops, they would not be able to actually extort. And you have seen a lot in the news about how they have been making tons of money on oil smuggling. These are the same oil smuggling routes that existed even during the Oil for Food, Saddam Hussein days.
And the people who are buying this are not philosophically – oh, I would like to buy ISIS oil versus non-ISIS oil. There is not this distinction. It is like price, so I have to thank Bob Reilly for having me come all of the way here because I had to fill up gas. It was ten cents less here than in the District [of Columbia] where in live in Georgetown, so that is an example. I am actually crossing the bridge to come to Virginia. People are like who is buying this oil. It is the same trucker. It is the same guy who has a tractor. They are not thinking about where it is coming from, so it is a market-driven piece about why they are basically selling the oil cheaper is a big piece.
Human Trafficking and Kidnapping for Ransom
You have seen a lot on human trafficking. Sadly, we have seen from a lot of the document extractions of safehouses that we actually have lists of pricing of the girls, how fair the skin is, how age wise, how innocent she is. And they would be used for forced labor in terms of a kind of domestic servitude, but sadly also for sexual exploitation.
We will take a look at a couple of those things, then the antiquities piece is quite interesting. It is part of not just the ethnic cleansing, which is the human trafficking piece, but it is also the cultural cleansing of these very renowned sites that I had the privilege of visiting (Palmyra) in the days before, this idea of actually razing a lot of these cultural sites. And then what they ended up doing are smaller artifacts that they realized had value is what is being trafficked, and we are trying to raise awareness, particularly among private dealers both in Europe and across the Middle East as well as in the United States how you can actually figure out the provenance of these new artifacts that are coming onto the market. [It is] a very interesting piece that has really pushed us to work much more closely with the private sector, museums, arts and antiquities dealers, an area that the government really had not engaged in until fairly recently.
Composition of ISIL’s Sources of Financing[I want you to see this] just to show you a little bit of how I do the breakdown. This is a little bit old, but it just kind of shows you that about a third [of their revenue comes] from – they call it taxes. We would call it extortion. And then [they get revenue from] the oil and gas and then different donations and the like. It is very hard to actually quantify what their value is, but it makes sense in terms of [what we already knew].
And sadly, what we see is because they use violence or the threat of violence, for those who do not pay the tax or the extortion, they make examples of them very publicly. Say it is the shopkeeper of the 7-11 in a little village who does not pay, they will actually execute them as well as their entire family in front of the rest. And this is the kind of psychological torture that they are actually imposing, so most people do pay, those who are sadly still subjects of Daesh in the caliphate.
The other piece we have seen too is the oil smuggling routes. This we have had tremendous progress [with] now that we have actually decided to use missile strikes to go after the oil infrastructure, from the refineries to the actual routes to the trucks that are going after. And we will take a look a little bit at how much we are kind of investing in this campaign against ISIL.
You have seen a lot of the testimonials of people who have escaped. What is not that well known is young Kayla Mueller, I think you all remember her as the aid worker who was kidnapped for ransom. She was actually then also the favorite girlfriend of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi. And it is quite sad in terms of the way they kind of prioritize your ranking depending on how fair your skin is, how fair your hair is. [How] do you put a price on a human life?
But I think it is important to show how this brutality [has played out] because we do not have embedded reporters, [and we do not have embedded reporters] because of the decapitations of reporters, [so] I understand why freelance reporters do not [go to Syria]. There is a story here of genocide that is really not being told.
And the things that we are starting to see when the Special Forces go into a house and start to see how they are documenting [their activities], it is a business where they are actually selling and actually giving a lot of these girls as the prizes for foreign fighters. Foreign fighters are actually getting a salary, plus a ‘wife.’ And sadly, a lot of these were the Yazidi women. They would actually execute the men in the village, and then sadly take the women and children as slaves, things that we have not seen since ancient times.
And this is just an example or the types of artifacts that we are starting to come across. [It is] pretty interesting. What they have done is create resilience, right, in terms of having almost like a multinational corporation that if one line of their income is diminished, they still could rely on others. But the extortion one is why the critical piece of taking back Mosul, getting them out of Raqqa at this point in time in a military campaign is very, very important. And the bigger challenge will be to actually hold that territory, and more importantly what comes next in terms of governance of those territories in a post-ISIL era.
Just to give you a couple of statistics in terms of this campaign, [which] has been going on since August 2014. We have an average cost of your taxpayer dollars of $12.5 million a day. There are technically over sixty countries in the Coalition, but only about a dozen are directly involved in the military campaign. And what we have seen too is whenever a country in the Coalition has actually experienced an ISIL attack, we have seen their response actually step up, and France after the November 13 attacks is a great example of how they became much more hawkish in terms of their approach and were actually really active in a lot of the bombing raids subsequent to those attacks last year.
Just to show you a comparison, I picked that date, November 13, 2015, when you had those coordinated attacks in Paris. Just take a look at the numbers, so the total number of targets that we have been able to hit at that time was 16,075. And I took the latest that we have had that are releasable, so you see we have increased almost two, three-fold. It shows the up tempo of going after them. And then now you have the direct offensive in to Mosul, and now embarking on Raqqa, so it is a very important thing to take a look at. The bigger question is how do you measure? In military space, it is easy to measure. In the financial space, we have actually been able to hurt them about 30 percent, [that] is the estimate in decreasing their income through a combination of getting rid of their top financial leaders, but more importantly going after a lot of the oil infrastructure, which you actually see here, the military approach.[I have these pictures] just to show you a couple of visuals. These are from my colleagues at Central Command. The one on your left is the actual destruction of an oil production site, a refinery. This is what they call battle damage assessment (BDA). I think there are some military guys here who know the BDA. Then the one on your right is actually [showing the U.S. military’s] bombing of a stack of cash. It is actually a warehouse in Mosul that was filled with cash. It was a lesson learned though, because [on] the first bombing raid they did not use an incendiary device, so it was literally the dispersing of cash, so someone has that money, but it was not exactly neutralized. The second time they did that it was one of those lessons learned incidents in terms of going after the money.
And also, in combination to this, we were actually able to identify and then more importantly use drone strikes to go after the Chief Financial Officer on the Syrian side near Raqqa as well as the Chief Financial Officer in Iraq in Mosul, so the idea is to go after these enablers. But more importantly they are very difficult to actually neutralize, and more importantly very difficult for them to replace. And in the operation in Raqqa, it was the first use of Delta Force in Syria. It was May of last year. They tried to capture him alive. He resisted, and my students at Joint Special Operations Command said, well ma’am, we neutralized him because that is our mission. I am like, okay.
But interestingly, the team that went there did something very daring, culturally. They detained the wife, and the wife was so instrumental in explaining how the business was set up. And she was actually running the human trafficking piece, and she was also the custodian of young Kayla Mueller, the American aid worker. That is how we were able to glean these lists of how they did the pricing. In that raid, they got all of the laptops, the cellphones, and they were able to do a link analysis of who the masterminds and who the key people were to add to the targeting lists. These are the types of the things that you see that are much more expensive in terms of bombing raids, but there is a more comprehensive way that we are doing it on the ground, gathering all types of different intelligence. And this is how we are using financial intelligence, understanding how they operate, what funds them, and more importantly how we can neutralize them in a much more deliberate fashion.
And sadly, we have what we call these inspired versus directed attacks. I think if I were the victim or I were the family member of the victim, I really would not care how the FBI or other agencies in France are categorizing the attack as inspired or directed. It is a terrorist attack, right? And more importantly, sadly, we are seeing a lot of them crop up. And because the conditions in Iraq and Syria are getting worse, we are seeing this return of the foreign fighters, and this is something that is very disturbing, that we should be very aware that particularly Europe is at risk. In Paris, the November 13 [attacks] were directed attacks. These are French citizens who went to Syria, got trained, [and] came back under orders. That is why it is more sophisticated and much more lethal.
What we saw in San Bernardino, in Orlando, perhaps in Ohio State is more this question about radicalization online, and then more importantly it is not as sophisticated. But they are just as dangerous, and this question then is [with] Daesh what we see as containment in Iraq and Syria is not enough because what we are seeing is it metastasized into a movement that is actually now touching all different parts of the world. [It is] very interesting to see.
So, what we are trying to do is when local law enforcement is trying to identify those who – here in the United States, we have the First Amendment. We are allowed to read all of this stuff on the internet. The question is at what point does the person become motivated, and then more importantly inspired, and start to actually conspire to commit terrorism. And this is the space we are taking a look at, how do you detect that, and more importantly what I look at is how are they financing and how are they getting access.
So, this idea now that they are actually taking a look at the credit card receipts of the Ohio State attackers [is] really interesting to see because you will see movement and sadly, they know exactly what you are buying at any store. And this idea that they are actually incorporating it at the very beginning of the investigation as they look at other things, cell phone calls, physical movement, travel, and then who his contacts are [is important]. They call it the signature, right, your cyber signature on let us say a laptop that would have been maybe at his house on his actual mobile phone. [That is] pretty interesting, and that is the part we are really trying to kind of nip in the bud is the plot, plot and then execution. And it is a very, very challenging piece for all law enforcement around the world.
The latest work that I have done is taking a look at how government cannot do it all nor should it, and we have actually failed in a lot of cases, taking a look particularly at the countering violent extremism in the ideological space. We are looking at how do we partner with other institutions and organizations in the private sector and in the civic sector who better know the community and probably are better messengers. In the latest book that we have published, which is the sequel to Convergence called Beyond Convergence, I focused my research on taking a look at counterterrorism, finance, countering violent extremism, and more importantly cybersecurity and how you can actually engage different parts of the American society to go after them, so we are looking at these different spaces in terms of doing that.
In the financing piece, we are seeing is that criminals as well as terrorists are using much more sophisticated ways, mobile payments, you have probably all heard about Bitcoin and virtual currencies, the deep dark web. How can we keep pace with these groups that are using these new financial innovations that help us as average consumers, but more importantly, how do we detect and how do we empower the private sector to be our eyes and ears to detect anomalies and what we call red flag transactions?
The other thing we are trying to do, particularly with a lot of the virtual caliphates of Daesh, sadly, uses American platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all of these types of messaging pieces. So, at companies like Facebook and like Twitter, they actually have hired consultants to help them identify this actual extremist thought that is being propagated. And there is some debate as to do you keep the accounts open so we can see who is posting and try to use that or do we actually censor them.
It is a very big debate in terms of privacy, but now they realize these groups, whether it is Facebook or Twitter of any of these other social media platforms, their brand and their reputation is priceless, so they are actually really trying to get ahead of the curve in terms of helping to identify radical thought of all types, by the way. And this idea also of different things, including cyberbullying, things that are much more local and less in the terrorism space. It is an interesting kind of partnership that we have now with Silicon Valley, that was not necessarily warmly welcomed when this concept of [having] multiple Twitter handles, you can create them, but now there is much more control in terms of trying to deny them the access to have this platform to propagate their ideas.
Role of Average Citizens in September 17 Case
I am from New York City. [There is a] really interesting case [of what] we call the ‘New York/New Jersey bomber.’ If you all remember, it was like on the eve of the UN General Assembly where everyone is on high alert. Another example of inspired and poor execution. It was very fascinating, and it is an example of how average citizens [can act]. New York is quite unique as you know because of the experience of 9/11 and because there were all kinds of elevated threats, a lot of the local news was talking about see something, say something. Well, this is a great example.
You know that there was a bomb that actually exploded on 23rd Street. For those who are not from New York, it is the area of Chelsea. It is a very prolific gay neighborhood. [There are] a lot of young people. And it was really meant to disrupt [the city]. It was on a Saturday night. [It was] specifically targeting the entertainment aspects of that neighborhood. So, that bomb exploded. He covered the lid, so apparently it did not have the impact that it could have had. It could have been much more lethal. There were people who were injured, but there were no deaths. Then the other bomb was found a couple blocks away on 27th Street by a woman who was coming back from her house. She saw the pressure cooker on the street.
New Yorkers are pretty callous. We do not even talk to each other. We do not even say hello. But then she went up to her apartment and she saw the local news. She was just checking the weather, and they had the whole live coverage of the 23rd Street thing. Then she thought again. She is like wow, what is that pressure cooker. She went downstairs, took a picture of it with her iPhone, and then called 9/11, then waited for police to come with a dog [bomb] detector. Then the policeman basically tells her [to] run away. And she realizes, wow, I [may have found something]. She was like taking a picture with the [iPhone], but it was so interesting that her ability to see something, say something, and then call is how they actually identified [the pressure cooker]. And that pressure cooker bomb had his fingerprints. It really was the lead to find this perpetrator. It is very interesting to see how an active citizenry is much more astute in terms of their neighborhood, and that is why we really need to take a look at the see something, say something.
I now teach undergrads at Georgetown and G.W.U. They were age three on 9/11, 2001. You will almost have a half generation that is not sensitized to see something, say something, so we are trying to raise awareness. They were not politically or more importantly even semi-conscious at that time. For them their first kind of encounter with terrorism was [the] marathon bombing in Boston. It is really interesting how we need to have them be just as much [our] eyes and ears in terms of taking a look and knowing their being aware of their neighborhood and also their classmates, which is pretty important.
So what I am trying to do is take a look at how we then empower our average citizens to become part of what we call the national security establishment or franchise. Historically, government has had the monopoly on the use of violence and more importantly the actual mandate to protect the citizens and sovereignty and territory of the United States. What we are seeing now is that a lot of other sectors, whether it be the private sector or the civic sector, for example, religious organizations, schools, professors, teachers are the ones who actually can see these red flags.
Every time sadly we have a school shooting in the United States, when they interview the neighbors or the teachers, [they say things like], well, we kind of knew he was disturbed, but we did not want to say anything. And it is just an attitude that is really sad, that we do not feel [compelled to speak out], that there is an opportunity to do an intervention, whether it be for counterterrorism or cyberbullying, all these other types of things. We are trying to actually make this a much more integral part, and even more importantly making it easy for the average citizen to safely and with confidence contact local, state, and federal authorities. This is the problem because they see something [and] like they do not know what to do with the information.
The New Global Security Environment
And that is what we are seeing. I call it the three Ps because I work for the military. They like all of these little acronyms. It is the idea of [the three sectors getting together to] communicate, cooperate, and collaborate through public-private partnerships in order to now include other sectors into the conversation of what is countering violent extremism? What is cyberbullying? What is awareness in terms of whether it is different pieces of our society? It is a really interesting way where the average citizen should feel part of the franchise to keep our communities and our neighborhoods safe.
One of the different examples: here in McLean because of News Channel 4, one of those little reports about human trafficking, I think you all probably heard this story, they actually found the woman in her neighborhood would only see these two Filipina women come out to throw out the garbage and go back into the house. They never saw them in a car, going to Tyson’s Corner or anything else. It was the Saudi Defense Attaché who had two Filipinas basically enslaved in the basement in a McLean mcmansion here.
But it was because News 4 did this raising awareness [campaign], this woman was saying oh, wait, there is something [here]. And there was a number for her to call. It is an example for how you can use media and then more importantly kind of community policing in a way that could actually save a life and uncover these types of things. That Defense Attaché is no longer with us in the United States because he invoked his diplomatic immunity. It is pretty interesting. They had been there for seven years. [It is] so sad when you take a look at it, so it is not just about terrorism, it is about all of these other scourges and the like.
The New Global Security Environment and the Convergence of Illicit Networks
And just to finish up, the original book was called Convergence, which we published in 2013. They are all available on the internet, and they are free, and we just published Beyond Convergence, which takes a look at the next kind of evolution of threats, particularly taking into account cyber. Everything that we do in terms of cyber affects us individually, our families, and our community. And it is an area that I think is growing, that we need to educate and raise awareness, but also be very careful in terms of how we protect our own data, and more importantly how we do not become the victims of cyber [threats], so it is pretty interesting.
So that is kind of what I work on. Hopefully, that was useful for you to know what your $12.5 million dollars a day in the campaign against ISIL is being used for. We are making progress, but unfortunately, it has come at a huge price in terms of the time. And I think the most important part of the Daesh/ISIL/Islamic State story is literally the humanitarian crisis and genocide that we are seeing really spillover, whether it is the refugee crisis into Europe [or] Aleppo. There really is nothing left in Aleppo. And sadly, the United States missed an opportunity. That is my own opinion. We are the policeman of the world. And sadly, this human tragedy that has unfolded probably could have been averted or mitigated if certain decisions had been made, starting in 2011. So, I am here, and thank you very much for your attention, and thanks for coming out on a rainy night. And I am ready for cross-examination.
Now that we have a new president-elect, and he is really committed to destroying ISIS, what will change?
We do not know what he is going to do, but we do know that the messaging is quite [a bit] more let us say robust in terms of the response. When we were looking at targeting specific oilfields and refineries, the reason we did not do it as aggressively until after the Paris attacks was because we had to take into consideration environmental concerns of what could be the day after, which was one of those questions of [what comes next] because also we were not convinced that it was that bad. And I think what is happening now is because it has become metastasized, and it is much broader, and it is a threat that is coming to our homeland. You are going to see much more interest in this. I think it will be much more aggressive. And I think also you will see a lot more defining the problem and explaining why it is of interest to the national security of the United States is very important.
We have actually seen an absence of leadership for the last two years. And I had the great privilege of working for General Allen, who is a storied and decorated soldier who himself ended up not continuing because he did not feel there was the political will to really go after them the way we should have, so hopefully, with political will, we will be much more [effective]. But remember after Daesh, the ideology will still be there, and there will be something else, so it is one of these things that is a phase, and it is a generational fight. And it has not been articulated well how we fight them or more importantly why they hate us, which is a real, basic piece.
Are we clear as to what the root cause is?
Yes, and I think that is a big question about [terrorism]. It is very interesting, and we studied this. It is not poverty. Most of these leaders are from elite backgrounds and families. And sadly, they are using our technology and our innovation, like Twitter – it is amazing how quickly they were able to radicalize. The tally is that they were able to recruit is over 40,000 foreign fighters since 2011. That is tremendous, and [they did it] using our own, Western, modern technology that they so much reject philosophically, so we will see.
Yes, I have a question about the weapons that Daesh and other groups have. I understand, I believe many of them [unintelligible] weapons, and I believe some communist countries with weapons who are considered our partners in the war against terror [are supplying these weapons]. Is there any way to make a manufacturer of weapons accountable for the weapons that are going [to terrorists]?
That is not the area I focus on, but that is one of these questions about the provenance or the origin of the weapons that are being used. But sadly, guess what they are using: the weapons that we gave them. And that is why they are the most well-equipped. So, every time that ISIL would take over a new territory, they would basically take over the arsenal of both the police and the military bases, which were very well-equipped with yours and my tax dollars, so that is why they are actually better equipped and better armed than the peshmerga and other groups that are fighting them. And it is an area too that the replenishment piece is quite important.
They are really on their heels now militarily, but I think the bigger question is you can conclude or make progress on what I call the away game against ISIL in Iraq and Syria, but we need to take a look at the people who survived, the forty thousand who survived, and now see no reason to stay there. They are the ones that are coming back, who wish us more than just ill will, and this is an area that we need to open up our eyes [to].
This year I spent significant amounts of time in Trinidad and Tobago. Everyone is like oh, that is great, there is like a resort there. Is there a Sandals? I am like no. It is in Tobago, but the government is in Trinidad. The 5-star hotel is next to the dock, not very glamorous. This is a small island population of 1.3 million people. Five percent are Muslim. They produced 134 foreign fighters for ISIS, and they are starting to come back. And they need a visa to come to the United States, but they do not need a visa to go anywhere in Central America and then walk over our border. These are the types of things that an away game that has now spread has direct implications and threats to us, and that is a bigger question.
And in terms of [sophistication], they are just not that sophisticated, right? You have this guy using a knife, and not a semi-automatic weapon, but doing the same type of psychological damage in terms of a terrorist act.
Audience member:[I have] two questions, quick questions. First one: there are two countries which have been successful in countering Islamic terrorism in the age of terrorism such as, number one, Israel, and the second experience which I admire is in India. Have you looked at it as an implementation with useful lessons for the United States? That is my first question. My second question is the Shia militias in Iraq are getting a huge amount of funding now from corruption money as you said, the convergence of crime, but this corruption money is government corruption, and this is funding the Quds Force. It is basically not the major funding for Hezbollah, the Houthis in Yemen, all the [unintelligible] in the world. Have you looked at it? I guess you mentioned [unintelligible].
Right, that is one of the ones we are looking at, but if we showed you, we would have to kill the entire audience. It is happening. On the first one, we were looking at lessons learned. Israel, as you know, is a great example of this citizen awareness that I am trying [to promote]. It is at the extreme. From the beginning [when] you go to preschool, you see something, you say something. Actually, my Israeli colleagues and classmates said that the Boston Marathon bombing would never have happened in Israel because there is no way that a backpack would have been unattended for x number of minutes. It is a very different piece, and also just the culture there: every boy and girl must do military service. They are citizens who actually have to take part in their national security. The Swiss also have that. This is a question about what type of culture we want to have.
What we try to do is raise awareness, so every September I do some work at the Woodrow Wilson school, and I have come here to McLean high school every once in a while. We teach the history of 9/11, and we also teach the concept of see something, say something, but we also expand it to other things [like] cyberbullying because they are not going to really encounter, perhaps hopefully not, a terrorist, but also drug use. Make it more kind of applicable to them, like just be aware of your surroundings.
The heroin epidemic is something we did not talk about tonight. It has nothing to do with terrorism, but it is amazing how this is really taking over every segment of society, every urban, suburban, rural [area], and a lot of times that early intervention [does not happen], it is because the classmate saw something, but they did not want to say anything. Israel is a great example of the citizen-soldier and an awareness from a very young age about that.
The areas that we are looking at in terms of deradicalization, really interesting, are the cases of Indonesia, which had a very challenging time with Jemaah Islamia. You probably remember the Bali bombings, the Jakarta Marriott bombings. And then Morocco [is a case study we looked at]. I spent several weeks in Morocco this summer. What they are trying to do [with] the returnees who are coming back from Iraq and Syria is instead of punishing them and incarcerating them, it is trying to understand how they got there, like what was the path to radicalization, and trying to get them to reincorporate. And it is still a young program, but it is something that is very interesting to take a look at. And this is where I think the international lessons learned are very important to actually document. In Morocco, we were working with the French, and the Dutch are there, and the Belgians, who are having this problem with the returnees as well. Great question though.
What about the Shia militias?
Well, the bigger thing is, if you take a look at what is happening in the Middle East, it is actually a proxy war of the great powers, and between Iran and Saudia Arabia, basically, Sunni-Shia. And the bigger question that a lot of veterans who fought in Iraq, who were victims of the IEDs that were basically supplied and kind of conducted [by] the Shia militias, they are the ones they have to actually work with now. It is the most ironic [situation]. What is fascinating with the young men who are going now in Special Forces in Iraq and Syria [is that] they were too young to serve in Iraq. They are now about twenty-six, twenty-eight [years old], so ten years ago when we [invaded Iraq], they were still in high schools, so we have to actually re-teach the War in Iraq, and the Surge, and more importantly, the role of Iran.
It is so complex in the different issues, but I think these are the tasks that the next president inherits this. I call it the wheel of doom, the circle of doom. [It is] very complex. Sometimes you have to fight, right? You have to have what we call transactional relationships for expediency even though they actually undermine our longer-term goals, and you know that, I think.
Earlier you had a list of the different crime and terror networks. Was that a completely exhaustive list?
No, it is only the ones that are the kind of top of mind.
I was wondering if you could do the same examination domestically, and come up with a list of what is operating in the United States in terms of crime and terror networks?
Well, in terms of rightwing extremist groups that actually make a ton of money on methamphetamines, I do a lot of stuff on crime, taking a look at [criminal networks]. What is so fascinating about rightwing extremists [is] they actually collaborate [with Mexican cartels] even though they are quite racist. They actually are the salesmen of the Mexican cartels of the heroin and methamphetamine that is sadly permeating all of our different societies, so this is this question that has always been the crux of why the concept of convergence, particularly in the intelligence community was anathema to them, this idea that they were purists. You assume that the terrorist was a purist who would never [work with ideological opponents].
And this is true, actually. Bin Laden dissuaded and discouraged his lieutenants from getting involved in crime because it would raise their profile and the risk of being caught. But it is also a group that did not need the money, so this is where you are seeing this. Some of them are called hybrid groups, right, that are actually [terrorists and drug dealers], and then the question is in the case of the Mexican cartels, they are using terrorist tactics, but they do not have political aspirations to take over the Mexican government, so we do not call them terrorist groups even though they are just as ruthless, doing beheadings, dismemberments, physical terror, and extortion, all of the different pieces.
The other thing I am looking at is how they diversified and became also a multinational, multifaceted criminal enterprise. What we are trying to do is instead of categorizing and putting them in silos, we are trying to have a much greater appreciation, and that is why we call them illicit networks now. It is a very encapsulating [terminology]. And then we are also calling it now transregional threats because of the fact that these groups are going global. Everything that we teach in business school about how you want to run a multinational corporation, they have got their own MBA students studying the same thing, but sadly for the dark side.
And what they are looking for are the best-in-class service providers, the best money launderer, the best counterfeiter for documents, and Viktor Bout [of] the Lord of War movie is probably a great example. Viktor Bout was basically an arms dealer. He did not really have a philosophical opinion, if he was going to support Charles Taylor [or the LURD] or whatnot. It is literally to generate business, and that is probably the difference. The criminals are motivated by money, and avarice, and greed. And the terrorists are motivated by a political ideology and have political aspirations, and many times they do both, so it is pretty fascinating to see. That is what we talk about when we talk about convergence.
Audience member:[I have] two very different questions. Can free societies strike the proper balance between security and the freedoms of society? This is, of course, a challenge. If you pursue the see something, say something, [will you have] 1984, big brother, Soviet Union [unintelligible]? What measures can we take to filter out the many false reports that come in from the legitimate reports? And what measures are taken to try and preserve a reasonable balance between security and liberty? That is one question.
The other is you mentioned someone who was captured who provided a lot of useful information. Another big controversy is over interrogation techniques, torture versus [other techniques]. Most of the cases were not, but what led her to share information?
In the case of the wife of Abu Sayyaf, she was actually rendered to our Iraqi allies to actually interrogate, and more importantly what motivated her was the prospect of never seeing her children again, so it is very interesting. And then what is very interesting is too about ISIS as opposed to other Islamic terrorist groups, whether it is Jemaah Islamia or Boko Haram, women play a much more important role than we had ever anticipated, so one of six foreign fighters are actually female, which is really interesting in terms of that path to radicalization. That is the bigger piece. How do you then take it in terms of [deradicalization]? And it has come up again, right, in terms of what is the definition of enhanced interrogation, and in what conditions should it be used? The best intelligence is always human intelligence, and also as you know it is always gaining the confidence of your contacts, whether you do it as a diplomat or as a CIA case officer or as a military interrogator. And more importantly, it is very clear what the lines are.
On your other question about the balance [between legitimate tips to law enforcement and filtering false reports], this became a big issue with the NSA Snowden leak, right? What they do in local law enforcement, we work a lot with the DC police, trying to understand see something, say something. They actually require that you identify yourself, so it is not some random, anonymous tip line. And then they actually do due diligence to make sure that it is a legitimate piece, but their view is that they would rather have someone tip them off that there is a pressure cooker at the side of the street, and it be a false sighting, as opposed to actually risk the other piece.
As you also know, we use a lot of surveillance now in the United States. In New York City, they had to get all of the local stores on 23rd Street and get a warrant to get the video of the front of their store to see who the perpetrator was. It was very important that you have that type of collaboration with the retribution. The idea is how to create a safe harbor for those who are going to help in an investigation, and that they will not actually be penalized, but every day that is the struggle of law enforcement authorities to strike that balance between privacy and then more importantly security. And we have been grappling with that since 9/11.
Celina, first, thank you for the presentation.
I only see Joseph on the airplane. It is nice to see you in DC.
I know you travel a lot to Latin America. You have done a lot of work in Latin America. I have two questions. First, are you seeing ISIS in Latin America? The second question is on how convergence is also the collaboration between Sunni networks and Shia networks, most notably Hezbollah and Al Qaeda, who we have seen collaborate over the years. Is there a potential that ISIS could collaborate with Hezbollah even though they are fighting in places like Syria, but in faraway places far from home such as Latin America, where Hezbollah controls most of the infrastructure do you see any potential collaboration?
In terms of ISIS in Latin America, we have seen it mostly in the Caribbean just because a lot of their propaganda is in English, and also because that is where there are Muslim communities, so Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are areas there. What is even more disturbing I think you all have seen, [though] it has been very underreported, they have just crossed the threshold of 60,000 unaccompanied minors coming from Central America into the United States this year. And what we are very worried about [are the refugees]. I travel a lot. I just clocked 52,000 miles in American Airlines. They have these refugee camps. We talk about the refugee camps in Turkey, in Lebanon with Syrian refugees.
They are in our own hemisphere.
I was in Panama in May, and they discovered 43 people from the Congo, who came on a ship, a freighter ship, to Argentina, and physically made their way. They wanted to come to the United States. These are committed people, right? They were found in the Darién, which is a very dense jungle on the border of Panama and Colombia. What they are talking about now they call in Spanish, extracontinentales, not of the continent. And they are starting to see a lot of this flow, and I think Joseph and I have seen [that] they are seeing Syrians [and] they are seeing Somalis. And sadly, because of our porous borders, which has been a part of the campaign, [the immigrants] basically paid coyotes, traffickers in Mexico, to help [immigrants] cross the border for about $5,000 dollars.
And this is an area where we are seeing that you have a flood of Cubans who are trying to come to the United States. They would go down to Ecuador, and then physically make their way through Panama, Colombia, or Costa Rica, and then to kind of come to the United States to seek political asylm because once the law changes, that will not be the case. What we are seeing most recently is the wave of Central Americans trying to come to the United States because of their perception that President Trump is going to build a wall. This is actually why you see this surge of [migrants].
What we are worried about is who else is using those supply chains that I explained to you, right, to move people. And the Mexican coyote does not care if you are a member of Al Qaeda or Boko Haram or ISIS. He just wants to get paid to facilitate the piece. And here in the Washington area, I think you guys know that we have a very large Central American population here, so the price as of September for a Guatemalan to send their child through one of these traffickers is about $6,000 to get them to Silver Spring, Maryland. And that is a fortune for this impoverished kind of peasants and farmers in northern Guatemala to send their child here, and you can imagine how treacherous that journey is. And many of those children do not actually make it to the United States, they become enslaved and sadly, they become victims of human trafficking, so this is an area that we need to be aware of.
And just as we did not think that terrorists and criminals would work together, we should not think that Al Qaeda, ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas are not going to work together because they have certain interests or certain what we call friendships of utility that they need to acquire a certain service or access or movement that one of them actually has this specialty in. And that is why we look at this thing called the facilitators. A lot of the money launderers and the money runners do not care if it is drug money or terrorist money, they are just a facilitator who is getting paid a fee, so we call them, actually, service providers. But now under the law in the United States, we treat them with the [same] severity as if they were [providing] material support for terrorism. It is actually the piece of the law that we have executed the most in terms of incarcerating the majority of those who are supporters of Al Qaeda, ISIL, and other groups as well.
Robert R. Reilly:
Celina, if I could quickly ask the last question – you are talking about what we are doing to cut the money flows. Well, what are our purported allies doing to do that, and not especially the French but say the Saudis and the Gulf countries from which we know a lot of the money has gone through?
Very interestingly, in contrast to Al Qaeda, which was not involved in crime to the extent that ISIL or Hezbollah are [involved in crime], they got their money from donors, and this is an area that we were looking at tremendously, either private donors or perhaps state sponsored. A very small amount of state sponsorship goes to ISIL, which is very interesting. And in the Gulf, we have actually had, interestingly and curiously, tremendous cooperation with them in terms of trying to crackdown and identify. What we still think is moving is cash, which is very hard to detect, or through hawalas, this underground banking system. But the GCC countries understand also that they are at risk, [including] the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They are actually really trying to enforce a lot of the international Financial Action Task Force standards, much more so [than in 2001] because that was a very heavy lift, as you remember, at the beginning of the War on Terror to get our counterparts to really take it seriously. And it is nothing like an attack on your own homeland to have it be top of mind in terms of cutting off the financing.
What really is the problem with ISIL and why it is so resilient [is] they are auto financed. As long as they control territory and have going concerns in business, [they can sustain themselves], and that is why actually the military campaign to take back control and keep control of Mosul and Raqqa is really quite important. And the thing is we have not seen them start to finance the different franchises, which was the difference of Al Qaeda core, [which] was actually in communication with its different franchises and helping them either tactically or training or financially. We have actually not seen that yet, so it is really interesting to see because they were trying to build their caliphates.
And then they have the alternate caliphate, which we did not talk about, which was in Libya, another favored failed state in terms of [having] the same exact conditions (geographically right on the route for human trafficking). They are not actually trafficking the people. They are taking a 15-20 percent cut from the traffickers. And the same is true [of] the very rich oil fields that they have. It is almost like they are replicating, [what] they call the alternate caliphate, how they were able to expand in northern Iraq and Syria, and replicate the same model in Libya, so it is really interesting to see how they have learned. And they are really quite systematic in terms of how they are trying to build [caliphates], which is something we did not see [with Al Qaeda]. Bin Laden talked about a global caliphate, but [he] was never able to actually execute the way that these folks have been able to do.
Robert R. Reilly:
Please join me in thanking Celina Realuyo.