The US Department of Justice authorities used the seized al-Qassam Brigades site infrastructure in a crypto sting operation to ensnare donors to terrorist groups which include Hamas, al-Qaeda, and ISIS.
A sting operation is a deceptive operation by law enforcement agencies designed to catch a person committing a crime. Sting operations are common in many countries, such as the United States, but they are not permitted in some countries, such as Sweden or France.
Announced on Thursday, the sting operation netted cryptos running in millions from the 150 crypto accounts of terrorist groups. This might be their biggest haul yet,
The al-Qaeda and affiliated groups operated a bitcoin money-laundering network using Telegram channels and other social media platforms to solicit cryptocurrency donations, says the DoJ. An ISIS facilitator called Murat Cakar used a website to sell non-FDA approved N95 respirator masks during the Covid-19 PPE shortage.
The Department of Justice will employ all available resources to protect the lives and safety of the American public from terrorist groups.Attorney General William Bar
DOJ crypto sting operation makes the biggest seizure from crypto accounts of terrorist groups
DoJ made the largest seizure of digital currency from crypto accounts of terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda, according to the CBC report. Although the specific amount seized was not disclosed, the report did mention that the funds run into millions of dollars. This comes as part of the department’s goal of combating terrorism financing.
By confiscating those funds from the crypto accounts of terrorist groups, the Justice Department is most likely intercepting on their chance of buying destructive weapons, as opined by Assistant Attorney General John Demers. This is so because cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin, now constitute a critical method of funding for militant groups.
Thus, breaking into the crypto accounts means that the DOJ could reach the group’s deepest pocket, per se. Law enforcement officials said those crypto accounts were used by the militant groups to receive donations and fundraising. The groups depend on those funds to finance their every move.
Over 300 crypto accounts of terrorist groups seized so far
Demers, who is also the department’s top national security official, further noted that the recent development shows that law enforcement is a step ahead of terrorist groups. So far, the department fo Justice said it had confiscated over 300 cryptocurrency accounts belonging to the groups.
They have also seized four websites and Facebook pages in connection with them. Most importantly, about $2 million was seized. These seized funds will be used to fund people affected by terrorist attacks, said the officials.