WASHINGTON – The United States beat the deadline to submit its report to the United Nations on how it is fighting terrorism when it handed in a list of actions this week that highlights U.S. moves to strip 79 individuals and organizations associated with terror groups of $33 million in U.S.-based assets.
All 189 United Nations members have until Dec. 27 to submit reports to the U.N. Counter-Terrorism Committee on just how far they've gone to cut off financial lines to terrorists and whether they've been effective. The reports are required under a U.N. resolution committing each country to cut off terrorist assets.
"We want it to get out there early, frankly, to show not only what we've done but to offer other people examples of steps that can and should be taken," State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said this week.
The United States was the driving force behind Resolution 1373, having initiated its own measures before the resolution was approved. So far, 10 countries plus the United States have filed their reports, leaving less than a week for the other 179 nations to comply.
The U.S report is a laundry list of actions taken since the Sept. 11 attacks. Aside from freezing the assets funding terrorist organizations and exposing money laundering operations, Congress enacted the USA PATRIOT act, a massive anti-terrorism bill which, among other features, gives law enforcement the tools to hunt down the terrorists and bring them swiftly to justice.
The U.S. also stepped up its intelligence capabilties domestically and abroad through the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The government has also been engaged in improving the north and south border patrols and beefing up in-flight security and airport baggage checks.
Boucher said U.S. officials are anxious to see the results of the international effort.
"Obviously, the United Nations committee in charge of this will go through the reports very carefully. I'm sure they'll look for areas where we think countries and governments might do more. And we and others, I'm sure, will try to work with them and help them do those things," Boucher said.
U.S. officials are looking forward to reading the reports not merely to learn the cooperation they have been getting, but to bring to bear international pressure on nations that are not in compliance, an upgrade in the pressure from simply an American push.
Among the reports high on the reader list will be one from Saudi Arabia, which U.S. officials have publicly praised for their cooperation despite concerns about its commitment to fighting the war against terror.
Fox News' Teri Schultz and Kelley Beaucar Vlahos contributed to this report.