Al-Qaeda Masters Terrorism On the Cheap
Financial Dragnet Largely Bypassed
By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, August 24, 2008; Page A01
LONDON -- Since 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.
I don't know anyone in the CT business who thought that they "could defeat the network by hunting for wealthy financiers and freezing bank accounts" — it is all part of engagement on many, many fronts, to which AQ (and others) naturally have countermoves of their own. Still, an interesting article.