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Policy Analysis

Congressional Testimony

Low Cost, High Impact: Combatting the Financing of Lone-Wolf and Small-Scale Terrorist Attacks

Matthew Levitt

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House Financial Services Committee

September 6, 2017


A former Treasury Department official dissects the specific tools the U.S. government should -- and should not -- use to prevent radicalized individuals from launching destructive solo attacks.

The following is an excerpt from Dr. Levitt's prepared remarks before the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance. To read his full testimony, download the PDF.

Homegrown violent extremists, acting alone or in small groups, pose a particularly challenging and immediate threat to U.S. national security. This is true of those acting on the basis of international or domestic extremist ideologies or agendas. The nature of this threat has forced officials to contend with the reality that radicalization happens here in the United States. Even the strictest of immigration policies would not effectively address this issue because radicalization happens here. According to a 2017 Department of Homeland Security report, "most foreign-born, U.S.-based violent extremists likely radicalized several years after their entry to the United States." DHS's findings echo a December 2016 report issued by the House Homeland Security Committee, which concluded that "The United States faces its highest Islamist terror threat environment since 9/11, and much of the threat now stems from individuals who have been radicalized at home"...