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Washington, D.C. -- Deputy Treasury Secretary Kenneth Dam, Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, Treasury Under Secretary of Enforcement Jimmy Gurule, and U.S. Customs Service Commissioner Robert C. Bonner today announced the launch of Operation Green Quest, a new multi-agency financial enforcement initiative.
The goal of Operation Green Quest is to augment existing counter-terrorist efforts by bringing the full scope of the government's financial expertise to bear against systems, individuals, and organizations that serve as sources of terrorist funding. The initiative will target current terrorist funding sources and identify possible future funding sources.
Underground financial systems, illicit charities, and corrupt financial institutions are among the entities to be scrutinized as possible facilitators of terrorist funding. The initiative will also target counterfeiting, credit card fraud, fraudulent import/export schemes, drug trafficking, cash smuggling, and other activities that may fund terrorists.
Led by the U.S. Customs Service, Operation Green Quest will serve as the operational and investigative arm for the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the new Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking center, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and other entities tracking terrorist assets. Using leads from these entities and leads developed independently, the initiative will launch full-scale investigations resulting in seizures, blocking orders, civil and criminal forfeitures, criminal prosecutions, and other actions.
Operation Green Quest will use the full array of law enforcement techniques to pursue its objectives, including undercover operations, electronic surveillance, outbound currency operations, and the exploitation of intelligence data, financial data, trade data, and confidential source data. The initiative will also draw on the resources and expertise of the Treasury and Justice Departments and many other federal agencies.
A command and coordination center for Operation Green Quest has been created at Customs Service headquarters. A senior Customs official will serve as the director and a senior IRS [Internal Revenue Service] official will serve as the deputy. A senior FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] official will also be posted to the facility. Two federal prosecutors from the Justice Department and nearly 30 special agents and analysts from the participating agencies will be present. The Customs Money Laundering Coordination Center will be supporting this center.
The Green Quest coordination center for will be responsible for collecting, managing, and disseminating leads to field agents. The center will serve as a deconfliction mechanism for all investigative activity related to the initiative. In addition, the center will serve as a means to exchange data with the FBI and other agencies targeting terrorist finances and to ensure that their activities are not duplicated by Operation Green Quest
Outside Washington, D.C., Operation Green Quest will have field task forces pursuing terrorist finances. Each of these multi-agency units will be modeled after an existing financial task force in New York known as the "El Dorado Task Force." The first unit will be located at the Customs Special Agent-in-Charge Office in New York and will actually operate as a component of the El Dorado Task Force.
By utilizing the existing El Dorado framework for the first field unit, Operation Green Quest will immediately be able to draw on an established financial intelligence center and a large cadre of highly trained special agents, analysts, and bank regulators. Following the establishment of the task force in New York, Operation Green Quest will consider establishing similar task forces in other parts of the country.
Consistent with the 2001 National Money Laundering Strategy, the Customs Service and other participating agencies will monitor the effectiveness of Operation Green Quest based on qualitative, quantitative, and enforcement measurements.
The Treasury Department agencies participating in Operation Green Quest are the Customs Service, the Internal Revenue Service, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, and the Secret Service. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and federal prosecutors from the Justice Department's Criminal Division are representing the Justice Department in Operation Green Quest.
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