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2.24.2006
  The Rich, Playboy Lifestyle Of An Al-Qaeda Terrorists
The Washington Post today has a fascinating story on al Qaeda operative Louai Sakka, a would-be bomber who accidentally set off the bomb in his own apartment in Antalya, Turkey. What is interesting is not just that Sekka has been active for years, learned how to make bombs in Iraq, provided dozens of Salafist jihadi with fake documents, and had big plans for blowing up Israeli and U.S. targets.

What is really interesting is that he had money to burn. He had undergone plastic surgery on his face to alter his identification, put down $60,000 on a luxery apartement near the beach, owned a 27-foot yacht and lived a life of luxery. He had been traveling widely in Europe, was able to pay cash for expensive bomb components, and worked with a 'companion'.

This clearly shows that, when they need to, al Qaeda operatives can gather the cash to carry out expensive, long-term plans to inflict damage. The cash pipeline, while perhaps not as freeflowing as before, exists and is able to pump out money when needed.

The total cost of the operation, had Sakka been a better student in Iraq, would have only registered at a few thousand dollars. The real cost of setting him up, allowing him to live and gather the specific information he needed from visiting Israeli tourists, was far higher. This is the argument for keeping the heat on the terror finance front, despite resistence and lack of attention in much of the intelligence community.
 
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