Fooled Again: Did the FBI Plant the ISIS Gold Currency Story in Media?

Media is reporting that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, ISIL) are planning to mint a precious metals currency out of gold, silver and copper.

According to SITE Intelligence Group (SITE) and tweets from alleged ISIS members, the terrorist group told the organization that their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “created” the currency.

SITE claims that a statement to them from ISIS reads: “Based on the directive of the Emir of the Believers in the Islamic State, Caliph Ibrahim, may Allah preserve him, to mint current for the Islamic State, as it is far removed from the tyrannical monetary system that was imposed on the Muslims and was a reason for their enslavement and impoverishment, and the wasting the fortunes of the Ummah, making it easy prey in the hands of the Jews and Crusaders, the Treasury Department studied the matter and presented a comprehensive project, by the grace of Allah, to mint a currency based on the inherent value of the metals gold and silver.”

These coins are reported to be sectioned according to precious metal:

  • Gold – one dinar with a symbol of seven wheat stalks and five dinar with a symbol of a world map
  • Silver – one dirham symbolized with a spear and shield, five dirhams with a white minaret of Damascus and 10 dirhams with the al-Aqsa mosque
  • Copper – one 10 fils coin has a crescent while another 10 fils coin has a palm tree

SITE is a private corporation claiming to provide a “monitoring service” on threats by jihadists and white supremacists for “individual customers”. The corporation offers governments and businesses their own “monitoring service” for “rapid, full translations of Primary Source jihadist media and access to jihadist videos.”

This intelligence gathering provider is run by several well-connected people in the intelligence community who work with the US clandestine agencies.

Executive director and co-founder Rita Katz, has “personally briefed government officials, including the NSC at the White House, investigators in the Department of Justice (DoJ), Department of the Treasury (USDT), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the financing and recruitment networks of terrorist movements.”

Katz claims to have worked with intelligence agencies “undercover” and infiltrated “numerous terrorist’s front group gatherings, collecting crucial information, and working to expose those groups in the United States”, as well as “a consultant” to the US government and other foreign governments” and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) assisting the agency to make connections to “terrorists” during “investigative efforts”.

Speaking about the ISIS gold currency story, Katz commented: “Though we have yet to see any physical coins or bills produced, they wouldn’t have announced this currency if they weren’t serious about making it. It wouldn’t be surprising to see some surface in Iraq or Syria in the near future.”

Bruce Hoffman is a SITE senior advisor and professor of terrorism and insurgency for the “Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Washington, DC … [and] previously held the Corporate Chair in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency at the RAND Corporation and was also Director of RAND’s Washington, DC Office.”

Jimmy Gurule, former undersecretary to the US Treasury said: “Unlike its predecessor al Qaeda, which raised money principally from external sources … ISIS is principally, primarily self-funded.”

Gurule claims that ISIS’ funding “comes from oil, ransom payments, taxes and the sale of stolen artifacts. This is the wealthiest terrorist organization that the world has ever known, and so with that kind of money it’s hard to understand — what’s the potential? What could they do with that?”

Back in October, David Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the US Department of Treasury (USDT) said to an audience at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP): It is difficult to get precise revenue estimates on the value to ISIL of these transactions in light of the murky nature of the market, but we estimate that beginning in mid-June, ISIL has earned approximately $1 million a day from oil sales.”

The treasury undersecretary referred to an assessment document from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which outlines the joining forces to the sequel to former president George W. Bush’s “coalition of the willing” to include “15,000 foreign fighters from 80 countries, including dozens from the US.”

Earlier this month, Hillary Clinton was speaking at the Economic Club about ISIS, saying: “It’s a serious threat because this is the best-funded, most professional, expansionist jihadist military force that we have ever seen. This is far more advanced and far richer than al-Qaeda ever was.”

With ISIS members (including their leader) former members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the proxy terrorist organization originally fighting the government in Syria, it is likely that ISIS may be benefitting from financial support from the USDT.

In 2012, the USDT granted release of funds to the FSA through the Syrian Support Group (SSG), a Washington representative of the FSA to conduct financial transactions.

The SSG’s “vision” is to “promote the establishment of a free, independent and democratic Syria.” Whenever the ideals of democracy are brought to a foreign nation, through the assistance of the US government, American interests in the resources of that nation are evident.

While the SSG claim to be a grassroots effort, they admit they are a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC “committed to a pluralistic, civil and democratic Syria in which everyone, the military and the government included, are subject to the Rule of Law.”