ISIS Fundraising in US via Dark Web and Bitcoin

ISIS Fundraising in US via Dark Web and Bitcoin
Fri Jan 30, 2015 09:39:12

A cyber intelligence analyst says that ISIS is using the dark web and bitcoin for recruitment and fundraising. Unregulated system “gaps” could indeed be exploited by terrorists seeking refuge in the anonymous network, experts say.

Bitcoin is an innovative payment network and a new kind of money. Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. and A Dark web is a private network where connections are made only between trusted peers — sometimes called "friends"— using non-standard protocols and ports.

Haaretz newspaper quoted an Israeli analyst who said he traced an ISIS funding website and “has uncovered concrete evidence that a terror cell, purporting to be related to the ISIS – is soliciting for bitcoins as part of its fundraising efforts.”

The fundraiser reportedly called for the support of a “new Islamic front – both in the United States, and around the world.” It allegedly called for donations to be made through various means, all of which –“besides economic support through bitcoin” – should have been done with much caution “due to the security apparatus’ recent crackdown on any and all Islamic change fronts here in the United States.”

The analyst believes the finding could be pointing to a larger, more worrying trend of terrorists taking refuge in the anonymous network, as social media websites are increasing their efforts to shut down terror-related accounts.

Jimmy Gurule, the former undersecretary of the Treasury Department under George W. Bush and an international criminal law expert on terrorism and terrorist financing, told RT that the allegation is possible.

“Bitcoin is currently not regulated, and so I think that it does present a risk to moving money for criminal purposes,” said Gurule.

“And I think potentially the terrorists could have found a chink in the armor, or could have found a gap in our regulatory system that they may be exploiting.”

Earlier this week, a suspected Pakistani commander of the ISIS, Yousaf al Salafi, confessed to law enforcement agencies in Pakistan that ISIS is “getting funding – routed through America – to run the organization in Pakistan and recruit young people to fight in Syria.”

Gurule admitted, though, that “there is some concern regarding Qatar” as a source of funding for ISIS. He said it is an issue that the US government raises with the Qataris in official meetings.

At the same time there is no guarantee, he acknowledged, that money and weapons given to the “moderate” Syrian opposition by the US do not end up in the hands of ISIS, or other terrorist or extremist groups in the country.

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