Statement of Richard A. Clarke Before the United States Senate Banking Committee 22 October 2003 (Pdf)

Mr. Chairman, allow me to summarize some of the recent developments reported in the media and in court filings. While I am not in a position to vouch for the veracity of all of these reports, I believe the pattern they indicate is extremely disturbing and means we must do more. Some specifics: o From his home and office in Tampa Florida, Sami al-Arian, the indicted North American leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, allegedly coordinated the movement of fund from the government of Iran to suicide bombers in West Bank and Gaza. o Abdurahman Alamoudi, allegedly senior figure in the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States and professed supporter of Hamas and Hizbollah, was recently indicted for taking $340,000 from Muammar Qaddafi and the Libyan government, a designated state sponsor of terrorism. According to federal prosecutors, Alamoudi’s organization American Muslim Foundation funneled money to members of the Portland Seven cell. o In a recent federal affidavit, Senior Special Agent David Kane confirmed, “I know that terrorists who have attacked or tried to attack the United States around the world have been associated with … IIRO.” The U.S. offices of IIRO were raided in 1997 and again in 2002, in connection with federal fraud and terrorism investigations. IIRO has reportedly received funding from the Saudi government.

Terrorist leaders have also allegedly established private schools in the United States, and used these schools to pay the salaries of their operatives. In Tampa, Florida, Sami al-Arian established the Islamic Academy of Florida. The February 2003 indictment against al-Arian says the school was used as a base of support for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad “in order to assist its engagement in, and promotion of, violent attacks designed to thwart the Middle East Peace Process.”

The Islamic Academy of Florida reportedly received at least $350,000 from the State of Florida through a program that diverts State money to pay private school tuition.

Whether by their host governments or by the Israeli government, individuals and organizations throughout the Islamic world often are barred from sending money to individuals and organizations in Israel and/or the West Bank and Gaza. One way that supporters of terrorism in Israel deliver money to terrorists in Israel and/or the West Bank and Gaza is by first transporting the money to the United States and only later sending it to Israel and/or the West Bank and Gaza from the United States. Accordingly, while terrorist financing money collected in the United States is simply transported abroad, terrorist financing money collected abroad may enter the United States either to enable its later transport to terrorist organizations abroad or simply to fund terrorist activity in the United States.

On October 9th, 2003, Soliman Biheiri was convicted on federal immigration charges in the Eastern District of Virginia. Biheiri is the first person convicted in connection with an alleged financial terrorism investigation centered on a group of Islamic businesses, charities and missionary groups in Northern Virginia. Biheiri was the President and founder of BMI, Inc., an investment bank specializing in Islamically permissible investments.

BMI’s investor list reads like a who’s who of designated terrorists and Islamic extremists. • BMI investors reportedly include designated Hamas leader Musa abu Marzook and designated al Qida financier Yasin al-Qadi. • BMI allegedly engaged in financial transactions with Bank al-Taqwa and it founders Yousef Nada and Ghaleb Himmat. Bank al-Taqwa and its founder Youssef Nada were designated SDGT’s pursuant to Executive Order 13224, on November 7, 2001. Al-Taqwa and its members have been described by the federal government as the financial advisors to al Qida. • BMI allegedly received a $500,000 investment from Baraka Group. Baraka Group, headed by Saleh Kamel, is reportedly a founder of a Sudanese Islamic bank which housed several accounts for senior al-Qida operatives. • Biheiri was a personal friend of Youssef Al Qaradawi, allegedly a high-ranking member of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood who has been barred entry into the United States. Qaradawi is reportedly a shareholder of al-Taqwa and a member of its Sharia board.

Biheiri’s computer reportedly contained contact information for Sami al-Arian, the indicted North American leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Mr. Chairman, we face an on going problem that is here in the United States as well as abroad. It is a problem that we have just begun to dent, one which needs continued Congressional oversight and pressure. If we are to win the war on terrorism, there are many things that we must do. Drying up the money going to terrorists is one of the most important parts of winning that war.



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