Bush Launches First Strike -- on Terrorists' Money
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2001 -- President Bush fired America's first shot of the war against terrorism Sept. 24 by announcing a freeze of financial networks of global terror organizations.
Bush said the United States has developed the international financial equivalent of law enforcement's "Most Wanted"
Individuals and organizations identified in President Bush's Sept. 24 executive order as terrorists, sympathizers or supporters whose financial holdings in the United States are subject to an immediate freeze.
"They include terrorist organizations, individual terrorist leaders, a corporation that serves as a front for terrorism and several nonprofit organizations," Bush said. "This executive order means that United States banks that have assets of these groups or individuals must freeze their accounts. And United States citizens or businesses are prohibited from doing business with them."
Acknowledging many of the groups don't have much money in the United States, Bush noted his freeze order goes much further.
"We've developed a strategy to deal with that," he said. "We're putting banks and financial institutions around the world on notice: We will work with their governments, ask them to freeze or block terrorists' ability to access funds in foreign accounts. If they fail to help us by sharing information or freezing accounts, the Department of the Treasury now has the authority to freeze their banks' assets and transactions in the United States."
Bush announced the establishment of a foreign terrorist asset tracking center at the Treasury Department. It will identify and investigate the financial infrastructure of the international terrorist networks.
"It will bring together representatives of the intelligence, law enforcement and financial regulatory agencies to accomplish two goals: to follow the money as a trail to the terrorists, to follow their money so we can find out where they are; and to freeze the money to disrupt their actions," Bush said.
"Make no mistake about it, I've asked our military to be ready for a reason," he said. "But the American people must understand this war on terrorism will be fought on a variety of fronts, in different ways. The front lines will look different from the wars of the past."
Bush said the war on terrorists will use every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence. "We will starve the terrorists of funding, turn them against each other, rout them out of their safe hiding places and bring them to justice," he said.
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