ISIS-inspired terrorists Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik reportedly spent about $4,500 on pipe bombs; guns & additional items for their December 2nd terrorist attack in San Bernadino, California.

The December 2nd terrorist attack in San Bernadino, California was a relatively low-cost terrorist operation.  An NBC article reported that terrorists Syed Farook & Tashfeen Malik spent approximately $4,500 to carry out the December 2nd attack.  Lone wolf or small cell terrorist attacks like the one on December 2nd are often low cost operations.  The low cost of similar terrorist operations is discussed at pp. 10-11 of “Emerging Terrorist Financing Risks,” published by the Financial Action Task Force anti-money laundering group.

Page 10 of “Emerging Terrorist Financing Risks” cites a Norwegian report on small cell terrorist networks.  It cites the Norwegian report for the proposition that ‘roughly 75% of the 40 violent extremist terrorist plots in Europe (between 1994 and 2013) it studied, cost less than the equivalent of USD 10 000.’  Page 11 of “Emerging Terrorist Financing Risks” also details the terrorist financing of the Charlie Hebdo & kosher grocery store terrorist attacks in Paris.  Page 11 says:

The Charlie Hebdo and kosher store attacks, which were perpetrated with weapons, did not require a substantial amount of funds. As the three terrorists involved did not have a regular job at the time of attacks, the following sources of funding may have been used:

  • A EUR 6 000 consumer loan, obtained with forged documents and cashed out.
  • The proceeds of the overseas sale of a used car.
  • Cash transfers linked to the sale of counterfeit goods.

Financial investigators/operational experts part of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units try to detect this kind of terrorist financing & additional ones.  Among other things, these experts use indicators to search for terrorist assets across the globe:¹

Egmont Group Indicators

First Image: Niyazz/

¹Indicators courtesy of: “FIUs & Terrorist Financing Analysis Report” published by The Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units

Copyright 2015 Fred L. Abrams