Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, March 23, 2004

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Saudi Arabia's Role in Combating International Terrorism
Ros-Lehtinen examines cooperation in Wednesday oversight hearing


BACKGROUND: The participation of Saudi citizens in planning and executing the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States has brought a continuing focus on the role of Saudi Arabia and its government in combating terrorism and cutting off funds that finance and inspire terrorism.  The Saudi government's attention has been refocused by recent attacks by al-Qaeda within the Kingdom.  In recent months, the Saudi Arabian government has, according to American and Saudi officials, stepped up its cooperation with American authorities and strengthened its earlier efforts to regulate its financial system.  Saudi officials note that their government has ended the practice of permitting cash collections made in mosques, reformed the practices of Saudi-based charities with respect to transfers of funds overseas, and worked with the United States to add certain institutions formerly affiliated with Saudi entities to the United Nations list of proscribed organizations.  The Saudi government also says it has become more active in counseling clerics against advocating violence and has taken steps to open up a debate about the future direction of Saudi society.
WHAT: Oversight Hearing: Saudi Arabia and the Fight against Terrorism
Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chair

WHEN: 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 24, 2004

WHERE: Room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES: J. Cofer Black, Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State; Gary M. Bald, Assistant Director, Counterterrorism Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation; Juan Zarate, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Executive Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of Treasury; Robert Baer, Former CIA Middle East Intelligence Officer; and Steven Simon, Senior Analyst with the Rand Corporation.

Questions to be addressed during the hearing:

                   What progress, if any, has the Saudi government made in stemming the flow of charitable contributions to groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United States?

                   To what extent is the Saudi government cooperating in ongoing investigations?

                   In a cash-based economy like that of Saudi Arabia, how successful can any investigative effort actually be?

                   What cooperation is the United States receiving from European governments in tracking assets with links to groups designated as terrorist organizations?


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