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WASHINGTON-At least one Democratic lawmaker is questioning the administration’s efforts to dismantle terrorists’ financial resources following September 11. Congressman John LaFalce (N.Y.), ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, sent nearly identical letters to Committee Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio) and Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill asking if the administration is doing enough to counteract terrorist financing since the signing of the USA PATRIOT Act last October. He stated that as Congress moves toward legislation on homeland security it is imperative to have full and accurate information on the campaign against terrorist financing. The letter was also prompted by a Washington Post report that raised concerns over law enforcement’s ability to track terrorist assets hidden in gold and diamond commodities and territorial battles between federal entities. “If the current division of labor among agencies is impeding our efforts to cut off terrorists from their money then Congress may also need to consider reorganizing those responsibilities,” LaFalce wrote. While the Bank Secrecy Act has worked “fairly well” in the past at deterring criminals from the mainstream financial institutions, “it seems that the Federal government does not have a good handle on key aspects of the informal financial networks used for terrorist financing,” he wrote.

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