Speed Reads


ISIS reportedly rakes in $1 million a day in black market oil money

The Associated Press reports that ISIS militants are amassing millions upon millions of dollars each month from "wealthy donors, extortion rackets, and other criminal activities." The group has taken in at least $20 million in ransom payments this year from kidnappings, and earns "about $1 million a day from black market oil sales alone."

David Cohen, the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said, "With the important exception of some state-sponsored terrorist organizations, [ISIS] is probably the best-funded terrorist organization we have confronted. It has amassed wealth at an unprecedented pace."

They do it in part by robbing banks, stealing livestock and crops from farmers, and by looting and selling antiquities. "And despicably," Cohen added, "they sell abducted girls and women as sex slaves."

But the terrorist group gets the bulk of its money by extracting oil and selling it to smugglers, who resell it. Cohen noted that U.S.-led airstrikes are affecting ISIS's black market supply, and that by freezing assets and cutting people off from the U.S. financial system, the U.S. can make business very difficult for those who operate in the legitimate economy and associate with ISIS.