WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — A large portion of the funding for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is reportedly from “multiple kidnappings for ransom,” with much of that coming from European citizens and corporations quietly paying the sums.
A CBS News report from investigative producer Pat Milton reveals that a Scandinavian corporation recently paid a $70,000 ransom for a kidnapped employee – and it is this method that ISIS is gathering funds. GlobalPost — the company which James Foley was working for prior to his abduction and videotaped execution — spent “millions” attempting to bring the journalist home.
GlobalPost CEO Philip Balboni said Wednesday that an international security firm was hired, and that the “substantial” financial and political demands remained the same after the kidnapping and until his death.
According to The Associated Press, a U.S. official said that the ISIS militants who beheaded Foley had demanded $132.5 million in exchange for his release. A second U.S. official told the AP that ransom demands were sent directly to Foley’s New Hampshire family via email.
Kidnapping, ransom and extortion for sources of revenue “has taken a page out of the al Qaeda game book,” according to a source who spoke with CBS News. Reports estimate that ISIS brings in more than $1 million a day.
CBS News Senior National Security Analyst Juan Zarate says that a “hybrid form of funding” involving private donations, robberies and kidnappings are all funding the militant organization. Taxes and levies placed on small businesses, gasoline and electricity use are also being used in ISIS-controlled areas.
“They’ve combined the ability to raise funds and run an economy locally with the ability to tap into on the enthusiasm for their cause globally,” Zarate said. “That really presents challenges for counterterrorism officials and in some ways is a more complicated terrorist funding model than we’ve seen in the past.”
The White House revealed Wednesday that a United States Special Operations team attempted but failed to rescue Foley – a New Hampshire native who had disappeared in Syria on Nov. 22, 2012.
President Barack Obama responded to the ISIS threats by saying the U.S. would not retreat until it had eliminated the ISIS “cancer” from the Middle East.
The former deputy director of the CIA fears that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria could carry out attacks in the United States. CBS News national security analyst Mike Morell told “CBS This Morning” Thursday that this terror group poses both short- and long-term threats to the U.S.
“The short-term concern is the Americans that have gone to fight with ISIS and the west Europeans that have gone to fight with ISIS could be trained and directed by ISIS to come to the United States to conduct small-scale attacks,” Morell stated. “If an ISIS member showed up at a mall in the United States tomorrow with an AK-47 and killed a number of Americans, I would not be surprised.”
Morell explained that the U.S. needs to start taking territory away from ISIS in an effort to put a dent into the terror organization.
“One requires taking territory away from them so they cannot use it as a safe haven to train. That requires airstrikes and that requires enabling the Iraqi military to do its job,” Morell told CBS News. “The other thing it requires is to take the leadership of ISIS off the battlefield. That means capturing or killing them.”