Karen P. Tandy
Monzer al Kassar Takedown Press Conference
Southern District of New York
U.S. Attorney’s Office
New York , New York
June 8, 2007 11:00 am

Administrator Tandy often departs from prepared remarks.

Monzer al Kassar has been called:

  • one of the Iraqi Government’s most wanted, and
  • a notorious transnational criminal.

Today, he’s called—defendant.

Al Kassar has funded and armed factions in a host of the world’s hot spots such as Iran and Iraq . Where others see suffering, chaos, and conflict, Al Kassar sees opportunity and dollar signs.

Monzer al Kassar may not be a household name in America like he is in other parts of the world, but he is nonetheless a grave threat to the U.S.

He has counted some of America ’s greatest enemies as his friends. He funds and arms terror—sometimes based on a shared ideology of hatred for America ; other times simply by greed, even arming both sides of a conflict.

He’s been a target ofinternational law enforcement for more than 3 decades, and it took resourcefulness, perseverance, and creativity to apprehend him.

We owe this success to the great cooperation of the Governments of Spain and Romania and the tenacity and skill of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Al Kassar’s arrest on complex conspiracy and money laundering charges half way around the world is a tremendous feat.

This investigation employs the same strategy DEA uses every day: going after the highest levels of criminals—the commanders, who lead and orchestrate entire transnational criminal networks. DEA infiltrated al Kassar’s organization and negotiated directly with him to arm terrorists who al Kassar believed to be the FARC with:

  • thousands of assault rifles and hand grenades,
  • sniper rifles,
  • pistols,
  • millions of rounds of ammunition, and
  • rocket-propelled grenade launchers,

And also:

  • ton quantities of C4 explosives,
  • detonators, and
  • surface-to-air missiles.

Al Kassar had a personal interest in:

  • The FARC’s terrorist mission,
  • The FARC’s history in kidnapping, bombing, and murdering Americans, and
  • The FARC’s harm to Americans from drug trafficking.

Al Kassar even offered to have his experts train the FARC and fortify them with al Kassar’s own thousand-man army to ensure their success in attacking and killing Americans.

Al Kassar is no stranger to guns. But yesterday he and his henchman found themselves in an unfamiliar position—looking down the barrel of a gun, the very tool of their trade turned against them. ##