A cyber intelligence analyst in Israel claims that ISIS is making use of the dark web and bitcoin for fundraising and recruitment. ISIS terrorists seeking refuse in anonymous networks could easily exploit the unregulated system gaps.
The Israeli analyst was quoted in Haaretz newspaper saying that he has tracked down the funding website for ISIS and “has uncovered concrete evidence that a terror cell, purporting to be related to the Islamic State – is soliciting for bitcoins as part of its fundraising efforts.”
According to the reports, the fundraiser asked people to support a “new Islamic front – both in the United States, and around the world.” It purportedly asked for donations to be made through different means, and asked people to do it with much caution – “besides economic support through bitcoin” –“due to the security apparatus’ recent crackdown on any and all Islamic change fronts here in the United States.”
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The Israeli analyst firmly thinks that this revelation could be hinting out to a larger, more alarming trend of ISIS extremists taking refuge in the anonymous network, as the social media platforms are making more efforts to shut down terrorists and terror related accounts.
The former undersecretary of the Treasury Department, Jimmy Gurule, who worked under George W. Bush and an international criminal law specialist on terrorism and terrorist financing, informed the media that the allegation is possible.
Jimmy Gurule said: “Bitcoin is currently not regulated, and so I think that it does present a risk to moving money for criminal purposes and I think potentially the terrorists could have found a chink in the armor, or could have found a gap in our regulatory system that they may be exploiting.”
However, Jimmy Gurule was skeptical of the allegation because any citizen of the United States or anyone residing in America who assists ISIS financially is subject to criminal prosecution for breaching the material support law and providing funds to the terrorists.
Jimmy Gurule added: “If you’re going to be moving money, the terrorists are going to be looking for the point of least resistance, where it’s easier and there are less criminal and legal repercussions for moving money, and that’s certainly not in the United States.”
Jimmy Gurule also raised the possibility that the reports published in Haaretz as well as another report published in one of the Pakistani newspapers which claimed that ISIS had been receiving funding routed through America may be spreading incorrect information to create a phony lead.
Jimmy Gurule said that unlike Al-Qaeda the ISIS is a self-funding organization and the sole source of its funding is the sale of oil in the black market. ISIS also collects cash through ransom and extortion payments with the territory. He said:“ISIS doesn’t rely on external sources of funding from sympathetic donors.”
However, Jimmy Gurule accepted, that “there is some concern regarding Qatar” as a funding source for ISIS. He informed that it is a concern that the US government talks about the Qataris in official meetings.
He acknowledged that at the same time there is no guarantee that weapons and money provided to the “moderate” Syrian opposition by the United States do not end up in the hands of ISIS, or other fundamentalist religious groups in the country.