Counter-Terrorism: March 27, 2005

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It seems that using cash as a tool to obtain information is a good way to fight terrorism. Russia have used this method since the Afghanistan war in the 1980's. It has proved  a relatively good way to get reliable information and as a tool to obtain cooperation from the people in Chechnya. 

Now there is a major success. About $10 million was paid to those who provided information on the whereabouts of the Chechen rebel leader, Aslan Maskhadov. Russian Special Forces and Russian Intelligence Services, now that they have eliminated Maskhadov; they have focused on another separatist leader, Shamil Basayev. They promise a reward of $10 million for anyone providing information on the whereabouts of Basayev. Along with the reward money comes assurance that the informant's anonymity will be maintained. Personal security for the informant will be taken care of via a witnesses protection program. This includes physical protection by the law enforcement personnel, a new passport, place of residence, and, if needed, even the plastic surgery required to change appearance. The reward will be paid to both Russian citizens or citizens of any other country, if the information provided to Russian secret services proves helpful in catching or neutralizing Basayev.

People have been eager to turn in terrorists. In the wake of the Beslan terrorist attack in September 2004, the FSB received tens of thousands of phone calls, including those from Chechnya and other places in the North Caucasus. Some of that information was used to round up local terrorists, and prevent additional attacks. 

Russia will continue using the cash method to obtain information, especially since it forces terrorists to spend more time and effort on avoiding the many people out there who are eager to collect those big rewards.

 


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