New York, March 22, 2013—The role of finance in counter-terrorism strategies has continued to grow in the years following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Columbia Law School alumnus Daniel L. Glaser ’93 told a group of students, faculty, and guests recently at an event sponsored by Social Justice Initiatives.
Glaser, who was confirmed to his current post in 2011, helps formulate and coordinate the counterterrorist financing and anti-money laundering policies and strategies in the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, which was created in 2004. He has worked on sanctions against Iran, Syria, and North Korea, among other countries.
“We have really built something new and unique at the Treasury Department that has changed the way people think about national security,” he said. “Since 9/11, there really hasn’t been a national security or international security issue that hasn’t had a financial component to it.”
Glaser said four trends have helped increase the profile of financing in the fight against terror: the globalization of the world’s financial system, the rise of non-state actor threats like Al-Qaeda, the development of anti-money laundering statutes as a law enforcement tool, and the use of targeted or conduct-based sanctions.
The office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Glaser said, tries to find and close vulnerabilities in the financial system that could be utilized by terrorists or narcotics or weapons of mass destruction traffickers.
“We use the international financial system to squeeze whomever we’re trying to squeeze,” he said.
The field of terrorist financing is ripe for review and analysis by legal scholars, Glaser told students at the March 13 event, “Financial Warfare: The Evolution, Revolution, and Future of Financial Tools in International Security Policy.” He encouraged people to consider the subject area.
“I like hiring lawyers,” he said. “I like the way lawyers approach problem-solving.”