A day before the 9/11 anniversary, on Tuesday, Sept. 10, President Donald Trump issued an executive order to expand the administration’s capacity to pursue suspected terrorists and their supporters and financial institutions.
“Today’s executive order by President Trump adds further muscle to U.S. counterterrorism efforts,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a briefing to reporters at the White House.
He said Trump’s initiative amends a previous executive order that was originally issued after 9/11 by former President George W. Bush by incorporating provisions to allow State and Treasury agencies to immediately address members of alleged crime organizations and their branches “without having to tie terrorist leaders to specific acts.”
“Specifically, today’s action amends Executive Order 13224 by adding clauses that allow the Departments of State and Treasury to first directly target leaders of terrorist groups and their associated entities without having to tie terrorist leaders to specific acts,” Pompeo stated.
Pompeo said the order also targets more effectively individuals and groups involved in terrorist training and provides new authorities to impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions that knowingly engage in business with suspected terrorists.
Honored to announce the most significant modernization of terrorist designation authorities since the 9/11 attacks today at the @WhiteHouse. The updated version of E.O. 13224 allows the U.S to rapidly react to threats by cutting terrorists off from the U.S. financial system.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 10, 2019
Eric Lorber, a former Treasury Department senior adviser, said the new order is a “significant change.”
“While most financial institutions would not have done business with designated terrorists even before this new authority, this action makes clear that the U.S. Treasury is willing to take serious steps to punish those financial institutions that do,” Lorber said.
Using the new order, Treasury imposed sanctions on Tuesday on more than two dozen individuals and entities from 11 terrorist groups, including the Quds Force, the Revolutionary Guard’s foreign wing, Hamas, the ISIS, al-Qaeda and their affiliates.
“Today, the Department of State announces the designation of 12 terrorist leaders. They include: ISIS Wali of Iraq and former amir of improvised explosive devices; four senior members of Hizballah’s Jihad Council; and leaders from Hamas, Palestinian-Islamic Jihad, ISIS-Philippines, ISIS-West Africa, and TTP in Pakistan,” Pompeo said.
“Further, we’re announcing the designation of Hurras al-Din, an al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadi group in Syria, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity,” he added.
“As these actions show, today’s executive order by President Trump adds further muscle to U.S. counterterrorism efforts. It will help us to ensure that the deadly attacks of September 11 that occurred 18 years ago this week are never repeated on American soil. Never,” Pompeo concluded.
Includes reporting from the Associated Press