Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

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The Criminal-Terrorist Pipeline to the United States
The Justice Department recently unveiled a case that demonstrates the growing nexus between criminal and terrorist organizations.

The case involves corrupt Colombia police officials facilitating the travel of informants purporting to be from the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), the Western Hemisphere's oldest Marxist guerrilla movement and designated terrorist organization. The FARC has, over the past decade, devolved into an organization that concentrates heavily on kidnappings, extortion and the protection of the drug trade rather than any ideological motivation.

What is interesting in the case is that criminal groups are willing to knowingly transport terrorist to the United States, and not simply using the "coyote" route through Central America and Mexico.

Rather, the criminal groups offered false passports from Spain with all the supporting documents, to those posing as terrorists seeking safe passage to the United States.

This reinforces the point I have been making in recent talks to the military and elsewhere-that that pipelines matter, and control of the pipelines is one of the key concepts of the new, flat world of transnational criminal organizations. These pipelines are increasingly necessary to terrorist organizations who need many of the things these pipelines offer.

Several people have pleaded guilty in the smuggling case. The primary person involved is a Palestinian national, resident in Bogota, named Jalal SADAT Moheisen, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support for a terrorist organization.

According to the DOJ statement:

"Sadat admitted that between July 2005 and January 2006, he facilitated travel to the United States for three cooperating government informants who posed as FARC operatives. Sadat not only agreed to smuggle the informants to the United States, but upon learning that their mission was to launder $4-5 million from the U.S. to Colombia, he offered to introduce them to a local emerald salesman who could carry out the transaction."

"To facilitate the informants’ travel, Sadat made their flight reservations and contracted to provide fraudulent Spanish passports that permit entry into the United States without a visa. To assist the informants in falsely representing themselves as Spaniards, Sadat’s co-defendant procured fraudulent Spanish driver’s licenses, Spanish identity documents and Spanish trade association cards. Sadat also coordinated inspection-free passage through immigration at the Bogota airport by working with co-defendants Tapasco and Jorge De Los Reyes Bautista Martinez."

This highlights numerous points of overlap between criminal and terrorist groups that are necessary. Access to secure entry and exit points of a country, the need for legal travel documents and the supporting paperwork, the need for safe travel.

This plan was controlled because informants were acting as FARC, but it shows how fluid the lines are that allow networks to cross over and prosper. If the group was willing to move FARC representatives and launder their money, it does not take much imagination to envision the same networks being used by Islamist radicals. There is nothing to impede their access to the pipeline if they chose to use it. And that should give us pause.

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