Thank you, Chairman Sarbanes. I am glad you have called this hearing.
I would also like to welcome our colleague, Senator Grassley to today's hearing. He has been a real leader on the subject of money laundering.
He and I have worked together in encouraging the Administration to move promptly in issuing a regulation regarding concentration accounts and their potential use as a vehicle for terrorist financing - a subject I hope the Treasury Department will update us on today. I look forward to hearing Senator Grassley's comments today. Combating money laundering in the aftermath of September 11th has proven to be particularly critical. We have long seen money laundering associated with terrible illegal activities such as drug trafficking. These activities pose on-going serious challenges to our country, but now we must also look at the fight against money laundering as one to ensure our basic national security.
Our task since the horrible attacks has not been a simple one.
However, this Committee acted swiftly and aggressively after the attacks to address terrorist financing. I was proud to have been an active participant in that debate.
We now have an opportunity to examine the implementation of the International Money Laundering Abatement and Financial Anti-Terrorism Act. I am anxious to hear the testimony of our witnesses about the promulgation of regulations related to the Act and to hear their assessment of how the law is working. I also welcome their insight on what Congress can further do to help combat terrorist financing.
The free movement of money across borders, unnoticed and untracked is so critical to the work of terrorists. By acting quickly to cut off the supply of money, we limit their ability to act. This is key. As I have said in this Committee before, in this new era, economic warfare will be one of our strongest weapons against terrorism. Terrorists who would destroy our way of life, in an ironic way need our institutions to thrive and we will not allow that to happen.
Thank you again, Mr. Chairman for calling this hearing today. I appreciate your vigilant attention to this matter.