Extraordinary skill and courage was required to track and kill Osama bin Laden. Tracking the financial conduits of Osama bin Laden through cyberspace has proved to be even more difficult.
One of world’s toughest assignments include network forensics, explained in dramatic and vivid detail by a former sleuth in long campaign of US government to disrupt after finding al-Qaida’s funding of terrorists in Worldwide Web.
One former secretary assistant of treasury and the deputy assistant of president as well as deputy adviser of national security, Zarate’s Treaasury’s War tends to be an electronic whodunit within an environment that’s constantly changing where inequalities happen to be widening and the technology is damaging more jobs rather than it is creating.
Organized criminals and terrorists use anonymity, secrecy and cyberspace speed in electronic universe that’s borderless where everything is moving at light’s speed, from fraud and self-radicalization to training cyber weapons as well as illicit financing.
Its movements and al-Qaida itself raise money throughout the world online, somewhere cyberfraud is universal criminal enterprise.
Criminal syndicates are managed that acquire credit cards in 1000s, withdraw little amounts from one another, ranging from around $10 to $50 and then return to them like they never were stolen.
Victims stay quiet, only much happy to have the credit cards just back on the line. Customers, as much as millions, don’t notice this loss even.
A demonstration recently moved up to 100 terabits in one second through the ether-space.the challenge faced by cyber sleuths all the time is detecting who is doing what and to whom and afterwards redirecting the traffic to prevent the efforts of cyberterrorists.
One senior adviser, Zarate, at Centre for Strategic and International Studies, happens to be chief architect associated with latest financial warfare of US government.
Reader is taken into a shadowy world by his Treasury’s War where Treasury tools of US and banks meet to foil the terrorists as well as influence the geopolitical outcomes.
Zarate, from the Treasury and White House offices of his, with a group of dedicated Treasury officials, planned and led a hidden financial war aimed against enemies of America.
This tends to be the 1st book which unravels the financial power that they did marshal against the enemies of America.
According to Zarate, the cyber and financial warriors created financial environment, an international one, in which bottom line of private sector dovetailed with the interests of national security of US directly, with the aim of isolating the rogues from a financial system which is legitimate.
The terrorist funding globally and the financial networks that are illicit include slaughter of rhinoceros and elephants in Africa as well as trade of heroin in Afghanistan.
US along with its very close allies are engaged in some latest electronic warfare that is against financial networks associated with rogue regimes, that includes nuclear proliferators, criminal syndicates as well as their link with the transnational networks of terrorists.
The readers are taken behind scenes by Zarate to show in what way the group that he led contributed to redefining role of US Treasury and used the unique reputation, relationships and powers it has to apply the financial pressure over enemies of America.
Now the goal is to isolate the rogues from the legitimate and international system of finance. And while doing so, created new financial power brand which leveraged private sector along with creating financial environment internationally.
Treasury along with new tools associated with it soon became significant in the central and geopolitical challenges that face US, including nuclear proliferation, terrorism and the regimes in Cuba, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, North Korea and Iran.
Zarate is a senior analyst of national security at a news channel and Harvard Law School’s visiting lecturer. He was 1st assistant secretary for Treasury of financial crimes and terrorist financing. Then Zarate moved to White House and served as president’s deputy assistant. He happens to be one of few such speakers who could address extremely complex issues regarding strategic concern of high-level along with complexities of financial methods for fighting terrorism.
Still there is a very important part related to this electronic puzzle which eludes joint forces of electronic network of Kojak/Columbo/Poirot/Scarpetta/Holmes. It is the informal ways of having the money moved, including Hawala and its origins are to be found in Islamic law texts which date to 8th century.
In the recent times, this system of Hawala is round-the-clock system run from loads of mobiles or payphones in Yemen, any Persian Gulf country and Pakistan.
Anonymously, the same amounts would be conveyed from the same countries for United States numbers. With the year’s end, amounts normally balance out. But if they do not, discrepancy is then carried to the following year.
It is the money transfer but without money movement through the word from mouth, from a cellphone to the other many miles away. Key ingredient is mutual trust.
After a decade or more of the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist efforts, it’s clear that Hawala code regarding secrecy survives many attempts of getting dismantled.
The government of US tried to infiltrate and regulate Hawala through the hawaladars, the ones who are bearded and sit on a rug behind some stand in one dusty street.
In Baluchistan’s capital, Quetta, Pakistan, some friends escorted the reporter to the Hawala stalls in long line. In one of the stalls, different currencies, that include dollars, were found in stacks along with baggy pants of hawaldar. On each side, there stood the armed guards.
Transactions in Hawala system move much faster than getting a check cashed in Pakistani bank. Latest and old methods for moving money might be converging, thus making challenge of dealing with the terrorists and the illicit finance much more challenging even in 21st century.