Louay Habbal, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Syria, admitted yesterday in a Virginia federal court that he operated an unlicensed money service business in the U.S. that transferred millions of dollars overseas, the Los Angeles Times reports. There was no definite link between any of the money and terrorists, but federal authorities said that was how Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks operated. “Any criminal or terrorist can have their millions wired anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds with no questions asked,” said a federal law enforcer.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, criminal charges have been brought against 401 people in the U.S. in terrorism-related cases. Another 415 people have been removed from the U.S. because of Sept. 11 investigations. Despite those numbers, many in law enforcement contend the U.S. remains as vulnerable as London commuters found themselves yesterday. Law enforcement experts said that short of searching every train passenger carrying a backpack, stationing around-the-clock police guards at all of the nation’s dams, or repeatedly testing the nation’s food and medical supplies, terrorists would find a loophole to exploit.