Treasury's War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare

Treasury's War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare

by Juan Zarate
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Treasury's War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare by Juan Zarate


Finalist for the 2015 William E. Colby Award

For more than a decade, America has been waging a new kind of war against the financial networks of rogue regimes, proliferators, terrorist groups, and criminal syndicates. Juan Zarate, a chief architect of modern financial warfare and a former senior Treasury and White House official, pulls back the curtain on this shadowy world. In this gripping story, he explains in unprecedented detail how a small, dedicated group of officials redefined the Treasury's role and used its unique powers, relationships, and reputation to apply financial pressure against America's enemies.

This group unleashed a new brand of financial power—one that leveraged the private sector and banks directly to isolate rogues from the international financial system. By harnessing the forces of globalization and the centrality of the American market and dollar, Treasury developed a new way of undermining America's foes. Treasury and its tools soon became, and remain, critical in the most vital geopolitical challenges facing the United States, including terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and the regimes in Iran, North Korea, and Syria.

This book is the definitive account, by an unparalleled expert, of how financial warfare has taken pride of place in American foreign policy and how America's competitors and enemies are now learning to use this type of power themselves. This is the unique story of the United States' financial war campaigns and the contours and uses of financial power, and of the warfare to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610394642
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 03/03/2015
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 440,015
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(d)

About 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 advisor 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 NewsHour, NPR, and CNN, and has written for the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and more. He and his family live in Alexandria, Virginia. Follow him on Twitter: @JCZarate1

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Treasury's War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.