The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks highlighted the importance of data collection, information sharing, and coordination within the U.S. government. Such efforts are important whether focused on terrorism or as an integral part of a broader strategy for combating money laundering. In this testimony, GAO addresses (1) the challenges the U.S. government faces in deterring terrorists' use of alternative financing mechanisms, (2) the steps that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have taken to implement a May 2003 Memorandum of Agreement concerning terrorist financing investigations, and (3) whether the annual National Money Laundering Strategy (NMLS) has served as a useful mechanism for guiding the coordination of federal efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. GAO's testimony is based on two reports written in September 2003 (GAO-03-813) and November 2003 (GAO-04-163) for the Caucus and congressional requesters within the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, as well as a February 2004 report (GAO-04-464R) on related issues for the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security.
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