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Tracking Narco-Terrorist Networks: The Money Trail

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Fletcher Forum

Winter 2010


In October 2008, Colombian authorities arrested thirty-six Lebanese expatriates on money laundering and drug charges. This was more than a standard criminal syndicate, however -- the group was transferring a portion of its profits back to Hizballah. Michael Jacobson and Matthew Levitt discuss how such cases point to a new target for U.S. counterterrorism efforts: traditional criminal activities. In particular, Washington should leverage its strategy of international cooperation and diplomatic engagement to gain broader support against the growing terrorism-crime nexus.

Michael Jacobson is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute's Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. Matthew Levitt is a senior fellow and director of the Stein Program.