Countering Linkages between Terrorist and Criminal Networks. James J.F. Forest Director of Terrorism Studies. T he C ombating T errorism C enter . A t w est p oint. EAPC/PfP Workshop on Threat Convergence, Zurich, 5 March 2007.
James J.F. Forest
Director of Terrorism Studies
EAPC/PfP Workshop on Threat Convergence, Zurich, 5 March 2007
The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not purport to reflect the position of the United States Military Academy, the Department of the Army, or the Department of Defense.
“To work well, networks require strong shared beliefs, a collective vision, some original basis for trust, and excellent communications”
- Brian Jenkins, 2006
In human networks, trust is established by various social mechanisms and shared beliefs
Anyone can plug into the network if they use the proper protocols (the “trusted handshake”), usually enabled by previously established network credentials
We have seen an increase in the establishment of linkages between terrorist and criminal networks, creatingHybrid Networks
Distrust can be easier to establish than trust
Slow the transfer of funds, assets from one node to another; cause unexplained transaction delays
Encourage internal looting (or perception of looting); Promote suspicion, rumors, mistrust
Publicize accounts of financial mismanagement, corruption, misappropriation, fund diversion (e.g., from court records)
Get money to disappear with no reason, and then have conspicuous consumption items (big screen TV) appear in place of the missing money
Spread rumors of preferential treatment, special benefits given to certain members of the network unfairly
Technology enables organizations to become more “networked”
Constraining their technological capacity forces more face-to-face interaction
More frequent face-to-face interaction can increase a clandestine network’s vulnerabilities
- technology, eavesdropping
- human intelligence, spies
Strategic Authority/Leadership Preference Divergence
Within all networks, there are forces which influence how the nodes operate. For example:
if Mafia, certain family leaders/patrons . . .
if Jihadis, certain influential scholars . . .
Preference divergence over “who’s in charge”
Internal dissension within the network’s leadership
Strategic disagreements within network lead some members to subvert the authority of senior commanders
Principals must combat perceptions of strategic drift, disconnections between rhetoric and actions