Osama Turned to Kidnapping to Raise Cash

Al-Qaeda was increasingly cut off from funding sources
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2011 1:01 PM CDT

(Newser) – Even terrorists have to pay the bills, and files taken from Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad show that al-Qaeda was increasingly cash-poor and turning to kidnapping and ransom as a way to raise some revenue. The shift shows that a crackdown on al-Qaeda's funding has proven financially devastating, notes the AP. "There are clearly times for them when money is tight," says a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

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US officials aren't saying which specific crimes al-Qaeda was linked to, but said targets had included businessmen, tourists, and diplomats—and the effort likely raked in millions of dollars. "That kind of money could go a long way to sustaining a terrorist organization," says an expert. Counterterror officials are hoping to glean more ammunition from the bin Laden files to further crack down on al-Qaeda's purse strings. (Read more Osama bin Laden stories.)

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