Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger of North Carolina, who has carved a niche with his personal quest to improve global cooperation in intercepting financing for terrorists, has turned his focus to Latin American drug lords suspected of assisting Islamic terrorists.
On Monday, Pittenger convened a forum in Argentina on the subject, joined by representatives from 10 nations: the host country, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Also attending are experts from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, international agencies that track money laundering, technology companies and global financial firms.
“Radical Islamic terrorists are increasingly partnering with Latin American drug lords to generate revenue for terrorist activity,” Pittenger said in a statement. “The nexus between drug lords and Islamic terrorists is a major threat, especially considering our porous southern border.”
He said those attending the conference would “discuss collaborative efforts and the tools and technology necessary to defeat this diabolical evil within our hemisphere.”
As chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, Pittenger has traveled the world organizing meetings in hopes of fostering better international cooperation among law enforcement and intelligence agencies worldwide. He also is vice chairman of the House Financial Service Committee’s Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing.