Treasury's War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfareby Juan Zarate
Over the past decade, America has been waging a new kind of war against the financial networks of rogue regimes, proliferators, terrorist groups, and criminal syndicates. In this book, Juan Zaratewho, along with a dedicated group of Treasury officials, designed and implemented this strategy and capabilitytakes readers behind the scenes to explain in
Over the past decade, America has been waging a new kind of war against the financial networks of rogue regimes, proliferators, terrorist groups, and criminal syndicates. In this book, Juan Zaratewho, along with a dedicated group of Treasury officials, designed and implemented this strategy and capabilitytakes readers behind the scenes to explain in unprecedented detail how this group redefined the Treasury's role, and used its unique powers, relationships, and reputation to apply financial pressure against America's enemies. This new brand of financial power leveraged the private sector and created an international financial environment in which the private sector's bottom line dovetailed directly with U.S. national security interests with the goal of isolating rogues from the legitimate financial system. Treasury and its tools soon became critical in all the central geopolitical challenges facing the United States, including terrorism, proliferation, and regimes in North Korea, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Cuba.
There has been very little written about the unique story of the U.S.'s financial warfare campaigns. This book is the definitive account, by an unparalleled authority on the subject.
Bryan Burrough, New York Times Business section
“For those of us who start feeling drowsy at the very mention of the words ‘Treasury Department,’ this book is an eye-opener. Under Mr. Zarate, and his successors, Treasury quietly built new capabilities that owe less to junk bonds than to James Bond . ‘Treasury’s War’ does a fine job of shedding light on a new and significant aspect of international relations that many of us may not be aware of, and that is likely to gain in importance in the years to come.”
Jordan Chandler Hirsch, Washington Post
“[A] thorough, thoughtful insider’s account The true value of Zarate’s book lies in explaining the difference between traditional sanctions and this new form of financial warfare.”
ABA Banking Journal
“I consider it a must-read for anyone who wants to know where we are, where we’ve been, and what challenges lie ahead Treasury’s War is detailed, interesting, and sincere.”
“Zarate’s book admirably underscores the dire national-security threat posed by the almost-unfathomable level of our national debt There is much in Zarate’s book that enlightens us, and he gets many things right and proposes some innovative ideas.”
Arnaud de Borchgrave, UPI
“One of the world's most challenging assignments explained in vivid, dramatic detail by Juan C. Zarate, a former super sleuth in the U.S. government's long campaign to find and disrupt al-Qaida's terrorist funding in the Worldwide Web Zarate's "Treasury's War" is a gripping electronic whodunit in a constantly changing environment where inequalities are widening and where technology is destroying more jobs than it creates . This is the first book that lifts the veil of secrecy on the financial power [Zarate’s team] marshaled against America's enemies.”
“A bracing account by a knowledgeable authority.”
General Michael Hayden, former Director of CIA and NSA
“Juan Zarate’s groundbreaking Treasury’s War illuminates an underappreciated and under commented revolution in international affairs. Beset by nontraditional enemies and threats, the United States in the Bush administration leveraged America’s place in the global financial system to create some important ‘asymmetrical power’ of its own. As advocate and architect of this new approach, Zarate is well placed to tell the tale of America’s most unique precision
guided weapon and he does so with detail, candor, and perspective.”
Sam Nunn, former U.S. Senator
"For those wanting to know how financial power and influence are wielded in the world, this is the book. Juan Zarate not only tells a gripping story, but lays out the policy implications and future for the use of this power. This is a must-read about the evolution of financial warfare over the past decade and how it will continue to play a central role in the nation's security."
Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden, from 9/11 to Abbottabad
“Juan Zarate is known as one of the world’s leading experts on terrorism. His new book is the riveting account of how the United States has gone to war financially with terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and rogue states such as Iran. Treasury’s War is deeply researched and well written and is the definitive narrative of this hitherto largely unknown war.”
Admiral Mike Mullen, 17th Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
"Juan Zarate has written an exceptional book about a vital area of our national security very few people understand. I observed first-hand the evolution and targeting of illegal financing led by Zarate and other pioneers who remain on the frontier of fighting international corruption. Juan's insights will educate every reader."
Zarate (senior advisor, Ctr. for Strategic & Intl. Studies; senior national security analyst for CBS News), formerly an assistant secretary to the U.S. Treasury Department and a national security advisor, provides a unique view into the new and potentially devastating world of fiscal warfare. This blow-by-blow first-person account documents the behind-the-scenes financial machinations that the U.S. Treasury Department has been using since 9/11 to attack countries such as Iran, North Korea, and Syria as well as terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda. According to the book, fewer boots on the ground and more hands in their pockets are the techniques proven to be key components in leveraging our influence in these countries. Of course, turnabout is seen as fair play, and China and Russia are among the countries increasingly trying to use these same weapons on us, particularly since the 2008 recession, which weakened the global economy. VERDICT While quite lengthy and somewhat overly focused on operational details and minutiae, Zarate's well-documented work gives a firsthand report of strategies not often known or publicized in this newest and perhaps most effective form of waging war. Purchase where there is interest.—Susan Hurst, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH
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Meet the Author
Juan C. Zarate is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the senior national security analyst for CBS News, and a visiting lecturer of law at Harvard Law School. Prior to that, he served as the deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism, and the first ever assistant secretary of the Treasury for terrorist financing and financial crimes. He appears frequently on CBS News programs, PBS’s News Hour, NPR, CNN, and has written for the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and more. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
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Great book and a great read. Zarate hits the nail on the head by uncovering the many, many Treasury folks who went after some nasty people. From the rank and file GS crowd to the political and senior executives - all pursued one goal. Zarate allows the reader to understand Treasury's triumphs as we'll as the not so shiny confusion often encountered in large government bureacracies. Nice to know we still have civil servants working in, and for, our goverment. Enjoyed the globe trotting from one less than desireable place to one that's worse - while working with our international counterparts in stopping s$%&# heads.
This book is well written and you do not need an advanced degree in finance or economics to accompany the author through the complex world of international finance and banking. Unfortunately, for me, the book is long on policy, strategic objectives and meetings while being short on specifics and results. Overall, I was disappointed in the book. The first part of the book describes how the new approach would help isolate and capture enemy actors. The old adage of ‘follow the money’ is at the crux of this book but takes too to get there (and it is often repeated throughout the book). At around page 80, we finally get an example of the results of all the money, resources and meetings. Yasin al-Qadi was designated (not captured or charged in any court of law just designated- and he eventually won delisting in European courts). This example is followed by several good examples of success but they are limited. Then, as soon as the book gets traction, the Treasury Dept. suffers through reorganization. The long winded description of this reorg loses the momentum that took 100 pages to get going. The second half of the book shifts from isolating individuals to attempting to isolate countries. The search for Saddam Hussein’s cash is interesting and led all over the Middle East. The chapter on N. Korea is well detailed but other than closing one bank and ‘isolating’ the rogue regime, the only concrete result described involved $25M in a bank in Macau. Of course, the State Department eventually worked a deal so that the DPRK could get this back. A good example of how one department in the US government works against another. Designating specific banks apparently was so effective that until used against the Lebanese Canadian Bank in 2011, is was used only ‘sparingly .. since the designation of Banco Delta Asia in 2005’. The efforts against Iran started shortly after 9/11, but it was Sep 2006 before any banks were designated. In between were more meeting, briefings and lots of international travel for scores of government workers. While severe pressure has been applied against Iran, it sure has not altered their goal of becoming a nuclear power. The last part of the book seems a collection of miscellaneous stuff. The author spends a lot of time explaining how rogue actors get around US financial pressures. He discusses at length how bad guys and bad countries make money through smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, drug trafficking, extortion, arms dealing and even selling used cars. But he does not detail how the US is using this financial pressure to stop any of this. Money flows have been curtailed but it is not clear if this is due to these financial weapons or traditional law enforcement activities. Then in 2011, the US designated six Al Qaeda members operating in Iran. According to the author, this designation ‘was explosive’. But again, there is no information as to whether the designation did anything. For all, we know, the six individuals may still be operating as before. It seems that these tools are a great innovation to use against Americans enemies. But other that general statements that are too often repeated, there is little substance to make a 400+ page book.