Limiting Means of Terrorist Financing
In theory, effective financial controls can have important effects for the purposes of investigation, monitoring, prevention, and reduction of terrorist operations. Financial intelligence, such as tracking contributors to charitable organisation linked to terrorism, is more reliable than alternative forms of intelligence. In practice, regulators face a hard time devising effective financial controls—the lack of information forces them to make several assumptions in their policies to counter the financing of terrorism (CFT). One of these assumptions is the homogeneity of terrorist organisations, i.e. regulatory measures designed to disrupt the financing of terrorism are assumed to be equally effective against various organized groups (from virtual networks to decentralized cells). Likewise, strategies to combat organizations with limited goals or geographical presence, such as IRA, are assumed to be effective to combat transnational network like al Qaeda and its associates. Yet, these organisations differ in their goals, structure and form, and consequently, in their weaknesses. Therefore, smarter financial controls, which are tailored to the terrorists’ nature, should be deliberated. Nevertheless, such a measure is likely to be costly to the state involved, in terms of intelligence gathering, decision making, and implementation. Therefore, countering the financing of terrorism is not an agenda with straightforward answers, as it requires understanding of each state’s interests, incentives, and resources, before the question of policy-making can be embarked upon.