Follow the Money! Whoops!

Stacks of Cash

Image from Guardian Unlimited

The Los Angeles Times reports that while the CIA can’t find Osama bin Laden, they have somehow been able to figure out that Al Qaeda is “increasingly being funded by cash coming out of Iraq.”

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that in a country where economic life has been ruled by a despot for the past thirty years and with an increasingly violent multi-party conflict taking a toll on the current state of affairs so that the per capita GDP is less than $3,000, large sums of cash might not exactly be in great supply. Then again, if you think about the fact that the US managed to lose $9,000,000,000 that it knows about, just between October 2003 and June 2004 when Paul Bremer was in charge of the Coalition Provisional Authority, part of 281 palettes — 363 tons — of cash shipped on C-130 cargo planes from the Federal Reserve Bank in NYC, it doesn’t seem hard to believe that some of that made its way to Pakistan.

I have to admit, at first I was suspicious of the “money from Iraq” story, because it seemed a little too pat that all of a sudden there was some sort of proof of a money link to Al Qaeda from Iraq, but then I realized that there’s probably some sort of record of the serial numbers on the cash we shipped to Iraq. If the CIA or the Pakistani security services have picked up people with cash, they’re sure to have tried to track it back. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it leads to the CPA.