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‘Lone wolf’ terror attacks pose a challenge for financial detectives

Joe Mont | September 12, 2017

The attack on the World Trade Center was an expensive, well-funded act of terrorism. The financing behind it sparked new legislation intended to track monetary transactions and identify future plots before they happen.

The idea was, and is, that all those Know Your Customer protocols and Suspicious Activity Reports demanded of financial institutions could save lives.

In the years since 9/11, however, a troubling trend has emerged. Elaborate and expensive acts of terror have become less common, replaced by small-scale terrorist attacks and “lone wolf” terrorists.

The Boston Marathon bombing and the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub are just two of a multiplying caseload of small-scale, domestic attacks. Around the world, shootings, stabbings, and vehicular murders are becoming increasingly common.

The problem faced by regulators is whether the rules and mechanisms in place to uncover the financing behind large-scale plots be applied to the... To get the full story, subscribe now.