September 11, 2001 : Attack on America
Statement by Secretary Paul O'Neill at Fin Cen; November 7, 2001

November 7, 2001

Statement by Secretary Paul O'Neill at Fin Cen


Mr. President, Secretary Powell, Attorney General Ashcroft, I'm pleased you are here at one of the key nerve centers in the campaign against global terrorism, the Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Center.

It is here, that we marshal the combined assets of law enforcement, intelligence and public data bases to identify, track and disrupt the flow of money to terrorists.

This ongoing task requires patience and sophisticated means, because the financial supporters of terror hide in offshore havens of secrecy; disguise their true identities; and masquerade as legitimate businesses while directing their profits to underwrite enterprises of hate and violence.

They also know that we are watching. And, for that reason, they try to funnel their money through undocumented, unregulated financial networks constructed to by-pass the civilized world's detection. But their system is imperfect. Somewhere it must always interface with modern banking and finance.

When that connection is made, we have the wherewithal to intervene. And thanks to the cooperation of allies and coalition partners cemented by the good work of Secretary Powell, we have begun to act - to block assets, to seize books, records and evidence, and to follow audit trails to track terrorist cells poised to do violence to our common interests.

With the President's leadership, the Departments of Justice, State and Treasury have eliminated barriers that have hampered past efforts. This new joint effort has borne fruit. In the United States we have blocked $24 million in assets of the Taliban and al Qaeda. We have an additional 962 accounts under review. We have built an international coalition to deny terrorists access to the world financial system. 112 nations have blocking orders in force, and nations around the world have blocked at least $43 million in assets.

The announcement the President just made is a significant milestone in this effort. We will not be finished until we have dismantled the financial network of terrorism.

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