Following the money turns out to be hard
nce the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, al-Qaeda has increasingly turned to local cells that run extremely low-cost operations and generate cash through criminal scams, bypassing the global financial dragnet set up by the United States and Europe.
Although al-Qaeda spent an estimated $500,000 to plan and execute the Sept. 11 attacks, many of the group's bombings and assaults since then in Europe, North Africa and Southeast Asia have cost one-tenth as much, or less.
The cheap plots are evidence that the U.S. government and its allies fundamentally miscalculated in assuming they could defeat the network by hunting for wealthy financiers and freezing bank accounts, according to many U.S. and European counterterrorism officials.
Ibrahim Warde, an adjunct professor at Tufts University and an expert on financial systems in Islamic countries, said the Bush administration and its allies falsely assumed that al-Qaeda had stashed large sums in secret bank accounts.
"It got the entire financial bureaucracy started on a wild-goose chase," Warde said. "There's a complete disconnect between this approach and the underlying reality of how terrorism is funded."
And why would they make that assumption?
Because that's what they're doing, silly!
Anyhow, I'm sure the surveillance systems that have been set up, although a massive fail from the standpoint of combatting terrorism, can be usefully turned to other purposes: Tracking us.
You might almost think....