Authored by Lorenzo Vidino, Jon Lewis, and Andrew Mines
Dollars for Daesh analyzes both the tactics ISIS supporters in the U.S. used to raise and move funds, as well as the various types of networks from which individuals drew financial support. The authors drew on thousands of pages of court documents covering criminal proceedings dating from 2013 to the end of August 2020. The report was made possible through support from the National Counterterrorism, Innovation, Technology, and Education Center (NCITE).
Overall, the report shows that U.S.-based ISIS supporters left a small and unsophisticated financial footprint, with a few notable exceptions. Furthermore, individuals tended to operate as lone financial actors or in small clusters, which has mitigated the effectiveness of counter-terrorism financing policies and tools that have successfully targeted the larger and more sophisticated financing mechanisms of groups like Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas. The low-level and largely inconspicuous nature of these actors will likely pose a unique challenge to law enforcement efforts going forward. This report is part of a new Program on Extremism stream of research into terrorism financing, which aims to assess and explore these trends across a range of various extremist groups and ideologies.