WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Barack Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser says that with Al-Qaeda's core under financial strain, its affiliates are increasingly turning to crime to fund their operations.
Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan made the remarks in Washington at a Treasury Department symposium titled "Ten Years Later: Progress and Challenges in Combating the Financing of Terrorism Since 9/11."
"Reacting to Al-Qaeda's core financial difficulties, its affiliates in East Africa and on the Arabian Peninsula have come to rely less on support from the Al-Qaeda network as they plan and mount terrorist attacks," Brennan said.
"While the Al-Qaeda core continues to provide strategic guidance, some affiliates now instead have turned to crime to generate funding -- particularly kidnapping for ransom, control of territory, extortion, and at times, drug trafficking."
Brennan said that the trend is due to pressure exerted on the terror network by sanctions and other measures that have cut off Al-Qaeda from its financiers or disrupted the funneling of money within the organization.
He also said the Arabian Peninsula "remains the most important source of financial support for Al-Qaeda and its affiliates and adherents worldwide," but praised Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for making progress.
Brennan also singled out Iran for its support of Hamas and Hizballah