U.S. intelligence has identified the origins of al-Qaeda funding and discovered that the terrorists are supported by only 12 wealthy sources?all of them from Saudi Arabia. "It is our first big break in understanding al-Qaeda's financial network," says an official. "At first, the network was so big that we didn't think could find major channels of support. Now, we believe we have." Treasury Undersecretary Jimmy Gurule is working with foreign banks to freeze the assets of these individuals. The countries where they have bank accounts include Denmark, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, Sweden and Switzerland.
The administration does not plan to confront Saudi Arabia with the new information, but the U.S. does want to form a coalition with the European Union, to make sure that Saudis can no longer invest in businesses in the U.S. or in Europe. This could be hard on Saudi businessmen who count on revenue from the West. Al-Qaeda uses human couriers to fly cash from Saudi Arabia to cells around the world, and U.S. intelligence has had spies following these couriers, which helped trace the money trail. "In the next few weeks, you will hear cries of pain, mostly from Saudi Arabia," a senior White House official says. "If the Saudis don't take action against these people, we will at least make sure they cannot travel outside their home country and cannot do business as usual around the world."
Why have we tolerated the Saudis for so long? Why did we drop the ball on 911? Ronald Kessler tells all the sordid details in ?The Bureau,? click here.
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