Disrupting terrorists' financing is necessary to impede their ability to organize, recruit, train, and equip adherents. U.S. efforts to strengthen domestic and global security include, among others, the provision of training and technical assistance in countering terrorist financing abroad. An interagency Terrorist Financing Working Group (TFWG), chaired by the U.S. Department of State (State), coordinates the delivery of this training and technical assistance to "priority" countries--those considered most vulnerable to terrorist financing schemes--as well as to other vulnerable countries. In addition, the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) leads U.S. efforts to block access to designated terrorists' assets that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction. In response to multiple congressional requesters, GAO examined U.S. efforts to combat terrorist financing abroad, publishing the report in October 2005. In this testimony, GAO discusses the report's findings about challenges related to (1) TFWG's coordination of the counter-terrorism-financing training and technical assistance abroad and (2) Treasury's measurement of results and provision of information needed to assess OFAC's efforts to block terrorist assets.
Matter for Congressional Consideration
|In view of congressional interest in U.S. government efforts to deliver training and technical assistance abroad to combat terrorist financing and the difficulty of obtaining a systematic assessment of U.S. resources dedicated to this endeavor, as stated in our report, Congress may wish to consider requiring the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury to submit an annual report to Congress showing the status of interagency efforts to develop and implement an integrated strategic plan and Memorandum of Agreement to ensure TFWG's seamless functioning, particularly with respect to TFWG roles and procedures.||A similar version of this Matter for Congressional Consideration appeared in our October 2005 report, Terrorist Financing: Better Strategic Planning Needed to Coordinate U.S. Efforts to Deliver Counter-Terrorism Financing Training and Technical Assistance Abroad (GAO-06-19). We restated it in this testimony before the House Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, where were held in response to GAO's October 2005 report. During the hearing, the Comptroller General of GAO testified and was asked a number of questions regarding GAO's matter to Congress. Committee members asked the Comptroller General about the conditions under which legislation would be needed, as well as the necessary facets of a strategic plan.|