Treasury Department official Richard Newcomb has been to Saudi Arabia with other US officials in an attempt to pressure the Saudis to crack down on financing al-Qaeda, but no action has resulted.
He had threatened to freeze the assets of certain individuals and groups funding al-Qaeda if not action is taken, and now he starts to act on that threat. As head of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, he submits names for sanctions. But imposing sanctions requires approval from an interagency committee, and the permission to go ahead is never given. CIA and FBI officials are "lukewarm to the idea, worried that sanctions would chill what little cooperation they had with their Saudi counterparts." But the State Department puts up the most opposition. One official will later recall, "The State Department always thought we had much bigger fish to fry."
Originally by Paul from on July 17, 2007, 6:16am