Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 31

Speculative Security

Marieke de Goede
Published by University of Minnesota Press
For additional information about this book
Access provided by University of Michigan @ Ann Arbor (26 Jun 2014 12:04 GMT)
We can create what some will call a modern Bletchley Park with
forensic accounting of such intricacy and sophistication in tracking
nance and connections that it can achieve, for our generation, the
same results as code breaking at the original Bletchley Park did
60 years ago.
Gordon Brown, Speech to Chatham House
In many situations, the raising, moving and using of funds for
terrorism can be . . . almost indistinguishable from the nancial
activity associated with everyday life.
Financial Action Task Force,
Report on Terrorism Financing
Bletchley Park
In October 2006, then- UK Chancellor Gordon Brown (later to become
prime minister) outlined his vision for the ght against terrorism in a
speech to Britains leading international affairs think tank, Chatham
House. Perhaps motivated by the need to distinguish this vision from
the violent and increasingly unpopular military intervention in Iraq,
Browns speech placed pursuing terrorist money at the center of his
strategy. Browns vision of the extent of the promise offered by the
deployment of nancial data is remarkable. What the use of nger-
prints was to the nineteenth century, and DNA analysis was to the
twentieth century, said Brown, so nancial information and forensic
accounting has come to be one of todays most powerful investigative
and intelligence tools available in the ght against crime and terror-
The institutional innovations required to exploit this potential,
28 the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage
according to Brown, entail the bundling of government branches deal-
ing with these problems and fostering a close partnership between pub-
lic and private expertise. Brown appealed to the imagery of British
twentieth- century wartime pride when he compared such innovation
with the famous Bletchley Park, where the Nazi Enigma code was
unraveled by UK Intelligence:
By putting to work the most modern of forensic accounting techniques and
bringing the expertise of the private sector the accountancy, law and -
nancial sectors together with the public sector, we can create what some
will call a modern Bletchley Park with forensic accounting of such in-
tricacy and sophistication in tracking nance and connections that it can
achieve, for our generation, the same results as code breaking at the original
Bletchley Park did 60 years ago.
Browns speech is revealing for the intimate connections he posits
between nance and security. As Brown put it elsewhere, after the
London bombings of July 7, 2005, In effect, the Treasury itself had to
become a department for security.
The afnities between nance and
security as domains of governing through imaginations of the future
are given concrete embodiment here. Browns speech is particularly
important for the insight it gives into the complex national and trans-
national institutional innovations and governmental obligations fos-
tered in the name of ghting terrorism nancing. Apart from the bun-
dling of public and private expertise in this sector, Brown emphasizes
national initiatives such as the introduction of preemptive asset freez-
ing on the basis of secret evidence as well as international initiatives
such as the promotion of terrorist nancing regulations through the
European Union (EU) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
In these international contexts, the United Kingdom, together with the
United States and some smaller countries like the Netherlands, endeav-
ors to play a leading role.
The transnational landscape of laws, institutions, treaties, and
private initiatives that play a role in ghting terrorism nancing is
complex, not necessarily transparent, and at times contradictory. The
apparatus of governing thus fostered is here called a nancesecurity
assemblage. An assemblage is understood to exercise power at mul-
tiple sites and through diverse elements that work in conjunction but
may also encounter friction.
The agency of assemblages, according
to Jane Bennett, is the distinctive efcacy of a working whole made
the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage 29
up, variously, of somatic, technological, cultural, and atmospheric ele-
In this sense, the assemblage distinguishes itself from the so-
cial structure which implies a much greater degree of coherence and
purposeful effectiveness.
Using assemblage, then, renders visible the
ways in which the nancesecurity practices studied in this book ex-
ceed institutional change and coherent direction. It makes it possible
to think about the practices of cultural representation, historically con-
stituted modes of calculation, and novel conjunctions of governmen-
tal, business, and technological actors at work. It takes into account
diverse actants and spaces: both the risk analysts and the models they
build, both the security experts and the imagination they deploy, both
the midlevel bureaucrats and the law they exceed.
We know very little of how these institutional assemblages, illus-
trated by Browns speech, govern in practice. Although some aspects
of the pursuit of terrorist nancing, especially asset freezing, have
come under increasing critical (juridical) scrutiny,
the way the gov-
erning effects of the nancesecurity assemblage resonate throughout
daily life has yet to receive thorough analysis. As Pieth wrote about
money laundering, its conceptual terminology gives (international)
policy initiatives under this heading a distinct emancipatory ring.

The same could be said about terrorism nancing: although evalua-
tions of its institutional organization and effectiveness are increas-
ing, its implicit emancipatory aura means that many authors in the
eld of international relations and elsewhere assume these develop-
ments to be principally a force for good. Leading specialist Thomas
Biersteker, for example, welcomes the sea change in the tolerance of
nancial re- regulation across the globe.
By comparison, alarmist au-
thors like Loretta Napoleoni have been largely embraced by the alter-
globalization Left for drawing attention to the underbelly of the sphere
of global nance and calling for new regulation of globalized capital
ows. As a result, however, the precise spaces and practices of govern-
ing enabled in the name of terrorism nancing remain underexamined
and undercriticized in the academic literature.
More precisely, evalu-
ating the (international) institutional landscape of ghting terrorism
nancing is important but ultimately insufcient to understand the
extent to which a governing of what Paul Langley calls the everyday
life of global nance is enabled here.
Browns speech and the FATF
report quoted at the beginning of this chapter illustrate how the mi-
nutiae of everyday life, including ATM transactions, wire transfers,
30 the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage
and charitable donations, are to be scrutinized, sorted, and regulated
in this logic.
This chapter examines the transnational institutional innovations
produced in the name of ghting terrorism nancing and theorizes how
they govern practices of everyday money and everyday life in new ways.
I argue that the pursuit of terrorist monies amounts not strictly to a
practice of global governance, in which sovereign states are compelled
to enact certain laws and regulations, but to a practice of global bio-
political governing, in which mundane transactions, donations, and
afliations are securitized and governed in novel ways. This global
biopolitical governing is preemptive in the sense that it seeks to govern
transactions thought to be precrime or, transactions that are per-
fectly legal but believed to hold specic potential to support terror-
The chapter starts by specifying the methodologies used in this
research and reecting more broadly on the question of how to study
the assemblage.
How to Study the Assemblage
The research at the basis of this book involved analyses of a diver-
sity of public sources that constitute the problem of terrorist money
in particular ways, including think- tank reports, policy papers, intel-
ligence analyses, nongovernmental organization (NGO) reports, court
cases, and cultural products such as lm and novels. The analyses fur-
ther involved participant observation of software demonstrations and
policy meetings and selected in- depth interviews. A starting point for
these analyses has been that there is no strict division between political
and cultural discourse, as both conceptualize and popularize specic
notions of threat and security, thereby working to constitute political
community in particular and bounded ways. This starting point draws
on an evolving body of work in the eld of international politics and
critical security studies that has enquired into the discursive constitu-
tion of threat and security and the contestability of concomitant no-
tions of political community.
Subsequently, drawing on the work of
Jane Bennett, I argue that the apparatus of governing that has emerged
through the securitization of terrorism nancing can be comprehended
as an assemblage in which nance and security are conjoined in their
epistemological and practical sense. Taken together, these starting
points foster a consideration of the interweaving of representational
the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage 31
culture, material praxis, and calculative technology. This study under-
stands its own practice to be not just an investigation of the world but
also an intervention in the world.
It entails a clear debt to Foucault,
whose attention to discursive practice always involved a challenge to
presupposed social normalities and an endeavor to make strange fa-
miliarities and traditional hierarchies.
This section reects on the methodology of studying assemblages
as well as its pitfalls and ethical challenges. The objective of studying
the assemblage, as John Allen and Allan Cochrane have written, is to
understand the interplay of forces where a range of actors mobilize,
enrol, translate, channel, broker and bridge in ways that make differ-
ent kinds of government possible.
Studying such interplay of forces
requires the examination of multiple genres and the deployment of mul-
tiple methods. This, in turn, raises a particular set of ethical challenges
in relation to research practice, including how to select research sites
and where to engage in posing questions, which leads and associations to
follow, how to attribute meaning and signicance to connections, and
how to remain attentive to and reective on the role of the researcher
herself in the processes of inscribing documentary sources and inter-
view data with particular meanings.
In the face of these questions, at
least three broad themes need to be addressed that together constitute
the core of the theoretical, methodological, and ethical challenges of
studying the assemblage. First, it is important that we move theory
and method beyond the discoursepraxis divide or the realideal
divide that has inspired substantial but also somewhat stiing de-
bate in the (international relations) literature.
Second, studying the
assemblage requires a transnational perspective in order to grasp the
movement of ideas, authorities, rules, and technologies beyond conven-
tional boundaries of nations or governments. Third, the assemblage is
constituted through modes of effect that cannot be understood in terms
of conventional accounts of agency and causality. The remainder of
this section briey discusses each of these elements in turn.
First, studying the assemblage requires that we move beyond the
discoursepraxis divide and understand the relation between dis-
course and materiality not as one of dialectic inuence or even close
t but as a process of what Bruno Latour calls circulating refer-
ence. Between language and nature (or discourse and materiality),
writes Latour, there is neither correspondence, nor gaps, nor even two
distinct ontological domains, but an entirely different phenomenon:
32 the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage
circulating reference. The process of circulating reference is char-
acterized by a risky intermediary pathway whereby (discursively)
selected bits of nature are collected, classied, inscribed, forgotten,
interpreted, discarded, and stored to arrive at scientic statements.

A slightly different but compatible approach to the question of dis-
course and materiality is outlined by Luiza Bialasiewicz and her col-
leagues for whom studying discourse and discursive imaginations as
I have done in chapter 1 is relevant from a position of performativ-
ity rather than construction. Such position recognizes the distinction
between discursive and nondiscursive phenomena but maintains that
discourses constitute the objects of which they speak.
the researchers attention is refocused on practices and processes of
materialization whereby discourse stabilizes over time to produce the
effect of boundary, xity and surface.
On the basis of these theoretical moves, empirical focus shifts to-
ward a study of representational praxis and its material effects, the
constitution of expert knowledges and the technologies, calculations,
and interventions rendered possible.
Studying the assemblage in-
volves continued emphasis on the contingency of practices of meaning-
making as well as a healthy skepticism toward precisely those elements
that are cast as undeniably material, including geographical entities
and transnational cash ows. Instead of a method of pure discourse
analysis, this project conducts a mapping of transnational mediations
and remediations of authoritative texts on terrorist monies in order to
understand how the different parts of the assemblage come to their
coherent and conicting denitions of the problem. The methodology
of the assemblage traces the process of circulating reference, where it
follows the risky intermediary pathway from the particular repre-
sentation of a security problem (chapter 1) to the institutional effects
of this representation (chapter 2) to the risk technologies and security
interventions set in operation (chapters 3, 4, and 5).
Second, studying the assemblage requires a transnational per-
spective not just by identifying scales and looking beyond the na-
tional but by profoundly collapsing these traditional levels of analysis
to grasp the transnational movement of ideas, rules, and technologies.
Some have argued that the logic underlying the pursuit of terrorism
nancing is a profoundly state- centered one because it relies on the
coercive capacity of states to impose new nancial controls at the
national level, and it holds states accountable for actions emanating
the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage 33
from their territories.
Such understanding ts into a larger literature
that pronounces the return of national sovereignty in the context of the
war on terror.
However, as Derek Gregory points out, the spatiality
of sovereignty that marks the war on terror is not reducible to the na-
tional state.
Complex articulations of jurisdictionality belie the war
on terrors many fronts, which entangle state powers in new ways. For
example, one of the most remarkable provisions of the USA Patriot
Act is its blurring between domestic law enforcement and foreign intel-
ligence gathering, which includes the U.S. Treasurys far- reaching new
powers to seize foreign assets.
Put simply, it needs to be recognized
that there is not one coherent state power (e.g., the United States) nor
one locus of postnational authority (e.g., FATF) that directs the agency
of the nancesecurity assemblage.
In the face of the complexity of authority and the transnational juris-
dictionality of the nancesecurity assemblage, the practical research
challenge becomes how and where to identify specic sites, locations,
and cases where the assemblage materializes in the midst of everyday
In other words, asserting that the nancesecurity assemblage is
transnational does not mean that it exists above and beyond the level of
the national state; instead, it studies how the global materializes locally
and how the local in turn can have (unexpected) global ramications.
Consequently, studying the assemblage requires multisited eldwork
that traces networks of association, authorization, and imbrication.

In this book, I have tried to meet these methodological challenges by
focusing on specic critical cases, including the al- Barakaat hawala
case discussed in chapter 4 and the Kadi case discussed in chapter 6,
where global linkages and local effects, complex jurisdictionalities, and
specic interventions are rendered visible.
Third, studying the assemblage requires an understanding of asso-
ciations and events that evolve together but that cannot be captured in
terms of effective causality and coherent agency. As briey discussed in
chapter 1, Connolly offers the notion of resonance to replace traditional
understandings of causation. Resonance does not identify measurable
effects between separate elements but fosters understanding of the
more complex ways in which heretofore unconnected or loosely associ-
ated elements fold, bend, blend, emulsify, and dissolve into each other,
forging a qualitative assemblage resistant to classical models of expla-
In this project, agents and institutions have not been treated
as given, but engagements among a diversity of actants (including
34 the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage
representatives from national governments, FATF and banks, com-
puter software and court decisions) have been observed at work in
order to study social recognitions and authorizations in practice.
Studying the assemblage does not focus just on the coherence and
autonomy of governing machines but is perhaps even more attentive
to their internal gaps, tensions, and contradictions. The concept of
assemblage recognizes friction and unpredictability, and its conse-
quences are conceived as an unstable cascade rather than a certain
Such attention to gaps and contradictions is more congruent
with agency in the real world and exposes the vulnerabilities of gov-
erning practices. Such attention to gaps and contradictions is essential
for understanding the politics of the pursuit of terrorist monies if
politics are to be understood as the contestation over the constitution
of the social order and the circumscription of the domain of the politi-
Consequently, in terms of methodology, this project frequently
followed the leads of friction and disagreement and centered its inter-
view questions on challenges and contestations rather than searching
out coherence and similarity. It attempted to navigate methodological
challenges by a diligent building of case studies, an assembly and
reassembly of documentary evidence concerning particular examples,
that involved a gathering of multiple, overlapping, and contradictory
interpretations of the case, amounting to what David Campbell has
called perspectivism.
New Institutional Assemblages and
Security Interventions
The imagination of following the money as the DNA analysis of the
twenty- rst century places nancial transactions at the heart of contem-
porary intelligence efforts. As I have argued, the objectives of pursuing
terrorist monies are not just, or perhaps not even primarily, to effect the
drying up of terrorists resources but to promise the possibility of visu-
alizing (potential) terrorists networks and afliations. Consequently,
what is emerging is a practice of speculative security inscribed with
an important preventative function: it is thought to be able to discover
plots in preparation and disrupt potential dangers preemptively. It is
remarkable that many political economists, including Biersteker and
Eckert, uncritically accept the stated goals and objectives of the war
on terrorism nancing, arguing, for example, that nancial controls
the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage 35
can perform preventative, deterrent, investigative, and analytical func-
tions and that nancial intelligence is typically more reliable than other
forms of intelligence.
While offering important insights into policy ef-
fectiveness, mainstream analysis remains limited in terms of developing
a thorough critical (political- economic) reection on the nancesecurity
assemblage and its everyday governing effects.
To grasp the transnational distributed agency of the nance
security assemblage, it is important to begin with a summary of main
policy initiatives in this domain. Even though it was written and ne-
gotiated before 2001, we may understand the 1999 UN Convention for
the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism as a watershed in this
respect. The Convention obliges member states to criminalize the act
of terrorist nancing dened in a broad sense as the willful provision
or collection of funds or assets of every kind
with the intention that they should be used or in the knowledge that they are
to be used, in full or in part, in order to carry out . . . any . . . act intended
to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian . . . when the purpose
of such act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to
compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain
from doing any act.
Notable about the Convention is not just that it offers a back door and
indeed expansive denition of what constitutes terrorism, which had
been extremely contentious at the United Nations for decades.
important is that the Convention entailed a veritable paradigm shift
that redened the concept of terrorism beyond violent acts, enabling,
through the criminalization of terrorist nancing, a novel proactive at-
titude to the problem of terrorism.
Importantly, the Convention (para-
graph 2.3) stipulates that it is not necessary that the funds were actually
used to carry out a terrorist attack. Thus, the Convention severs the
relation between nancing and violence, and enables the expansion of
policing powers with regard to terror suspects by making it possible to
track and interfere with the otherwise lawful and mundane activities of
distributing funds, information, and material. The Conventions prem-
ise is that the relationship between nancing and violence is diffuse
and may not involve a linear causality. According to legal expert Marja
Lehto, who was involved in the negotiations on behalf of Finland, the
criminalization enabled by the Convention ultimately depends on the
knowledge and intention of the nancier instead of causality in relation
36 the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage
to (violent) crime. The crime of nancing, Lehto claries, gets its crimi-
nal nature mainly from the guilty mind of the nancier.
The 1999 Convention, while representing a radical shift toward pro-
active approaches to ghting terrorism, was relatively inconsequential
before 9/11, as only four states had ratied it. After 9/11, the number
of signatories rapidly increased and the Convention entered into force
in April 2002.
Furthermore, important steps were taken by the Bush
administration less than two weeks after 9/11 with Executive Order
13224, which expanded government powers to freeze assets, designated
twenty- nine individuals and entities as terrorists, and more generally
fortied the paradigm shift toward the proactive pursuit of terrorism
suspects. The high- prole public launch of this order presented it as the
new front line in contemporary warfare.
The USA Patriot Act, which followed on October 26, 2001, devoted
an entire section (Title III) to nancial provisions and introduced ex-
traordinarily powerful new measures and competences with what
has been called breathtaking applicability in this domain.
As legal
expert Laura Donohue explains, the nancial innovations of the Patriot
Act were in four key areas.
First, the Patriot Act signicantly ex-
panded governmental freezing powers that had been established under
the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).
Freezing orders now no longer require any link between the assets
seized or frozen and an act of violence.
Moreover, the decision- making
power of the executive branch was strengthened in relation to the
IEEPA. Second, the Patriot Act both strengthened and broadened -
nancial regulation: it expanded the customer identication data to be
held by nancial institutions; broadened the reporting duties beyond
core nancial business to include casinos, insurance companies, and
money remitters; and enhanced the U.S. Treasurys oversight of deal-
ings with offshore nancial centers. Third, the Patriot Act reverses
the burden of proof in asset forfeiture cases: targeted individuals now
are required to demonstrate that . . . they were innocent owners.

Fourth, the Patriot Act enables extraterritorial jurisdiction in money
laundering and terrorism nancing cases and, importantly, enables the
U.S. Treasury to freeze (foreign) assets pending trial.
As briey noted in the Introduction, the measures taken with the
Patriot Act constituted an abrupt about- face by the Bush administra-
tion when it came to international nancial regulation.
The United
States, of course, had been at the forefront of fostering international
the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage 37
money laundering regulation in the context of the war on drugs since
the 1980s.
But in contrast to Democratic candidate John Kerry, the
Bush administration was extremely reluctant to deploy money laun-
dering measures and only months before 9/11 had warned against
regulatory overreach in this area.
Reportedly, the senate banking
chairman [Phil Gramm] had asserted that tighter rules against money
laundering would be enacted over his dead body.
The Patriot Acts
nancial provisions, however, constitute not so much a renewed com-
mitment to the paradigm of antimoney laundering and asset forfei-
ture but were born of a commitment to the paradigm shift that began
with the 1999 Convention and that attempts to prevent acts of aggres-
sion before they materialize.
The assertion that nancial measures
was one way of showing that something was being done is important
but does not explain the form and shape particular measures took.
Therefore, it is important to recognize that nancial measures were
part and parcel of the turn to preemption embraced by the Bush gov-
ernment. This turn to preemption is spelled out in the 2002 National
Security Strategy, which sets out the United States objectives to
disrupt and destroy terrorist organizations at an early stage by de-
nying . . . sponsorship, support, and sanctuary to terrorists and at-
tacking terrorist communications; material support; and nances.

Juridically, the Patriot Act provisions enable preemptive intervention
by severing the link between criminal conviction and asset freezing or
forfeiture, by distancing suspicion from acts of violence, by reversing
the burden of proof, and through a more general strengthening of the
executive versus the judiciary. Politically, as Aradau and van Munster
demonstrate, preemption operates at the limit of knowledge by act-
ing on suspicion and worst- case scenarios.
The nal section of this
chapter enquires more precisely into this shift toward preemption, its
genealogies, and its governing effects. Here, it is relevant to note that
parts of Executive Order 13224 remain disputed and have been ruled
unconstitutional by a California court. According to the court, there
is no apparent limit on executive authority to designate groups or
individuals as terrorists, and the language banning those otherwise
associated with such groups is unconstitutionally vague.
These changes in the U.S. legal landscape were accompanied by a
number of high- prole raids and conscations in the wake of 9/11, of
which the Holy Land case was one. Active disruption instead of inves-
tigation and monitoring became the stance toward suspect nancial
38 the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage
networks and charities.
Operation GreenQuest was set up on Octo-
ber 25, 2001, as a multiagency task force directed by the U.S. Customs
Ofce to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the nancial infrastruc-
tures and sources of terrorist funding.
The FBI raided and closed
two Illinois- based charities, the Global Relief Foundation (GRF) and
Benevolence International Foundation (BIF), which had been under
investigation and surveillance since the 1990s. On November 7, 2001, a
number of informal remittance companies afliated with al- Barakaat
were raided and closed in Minneapolis and elsewhere. In March 2002,
the Virginia ofces of the Muslim charity SAAR Foundation were tar-
geted in an action that has yet to produce criminal charges. Many other
faith- based Islamic charities and informal remittance businesses in the
United States and Europe came under suspicion and saw their ofces
closed, their activities interdicted, and their assets frozen.
Apart from implementing domestic measures (that nevertheless had
important transnational ramications), U.S. representatives worked
hard to bring the war on terrorist nancing to an international agenda.
On September 28, 2001, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution
1373, which calls on member states to prevent and suppress the -
nancing of terrorism and to freeze without delay the assets and
resources of those who commit, attempt to commit or facilitate the
commission of terrorist acts.
Notable about this resolution (and the
afliated Resolution 1377) is its requirement that states report progress
of implementation to the UN Counter- Terrorism Committee (CTC)
and the invitation that states seek technical assistance with the imple-
mentation process.
The CTC is developing common standards and
best practices in the (juridical) domain of criminalizing the nancing
of terrorism. The United Nations furthermore plays a crucial role in
the global blacklisting process through its 1267 Sanctions Committee,
which was established in 1999 to monitor sanctions against al Qaeda
and the Taliban and substantially gained in importance after 9/11. At
least $91.4 million was frozen worldwide between 2001 and 2007 under
auspices of the 1267 Sanctions Committee, of which a large proportion
remains legally contested to this day.
An extraordinary plenary meeting of the FATF took place in Wash-
ington in late October 2001 during which U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul
ONeill pressed for the adoption of special recommendations on terrorist
nancing to supplement the existing FATF Forty Recommendations on
money laundering.
At the meeting, agreement was reached on what
the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage 39
became known as the Eight Special Recommendations on Terrorist
Financing, which called for, among other things, the criminalization of
terrorist nancing, the reporting of suspicious transactions relating to
terrorism, and increased monitoring and regulation of alternative re-
mittance networks, wire transfers, and nonprot organizations.
expansion of FATFs mandate in the wake of 9/11 to include terrorism
nancing amounted to, in the words of one representative, a water-
shed in terms of FATFs international inuence and importance.
Eight Special Recommendations on Terrorism Financing seem to have
a moral authority with member and nonmember states that money
laundering as a political problem never quite achieved.
FATFs gov-
erning powers have increased substantially, with countries attaching
much value to receiving good scorecards in FATF evaluations.
From these developments it may appear that the war on terror-
ist nancing, as a global phenomenon, is U.S. led. According to the
9/11 Commission, the United States engaged in a broad diplomatic
and educational offensive to compel states to enact measures in this
A vivid image of U.S. governing efforts in this respect is
offered in the memoirs of John B. Taylor, who was head of the U.S.
Treasurys International Finance Division at the time of 9/11. Taylor
recollects how many useful international alliances were made in the
ght against terrorism nancing and how support was forthcoming
not just from the United Nations and FATF, but also from ministers
in poor countries in Africa or Latin America who had never talked
to a high- level U.S. Treasury ofcial before.
Taylor set up a War
Room inside the Treasury where freezing orders and other commit-
ments from around the globe were recorded. Progress in this domain, it
seems from Taylors slightly sensationalist recollections, was measured
mainly in terms of amounts frozen globally:
The War Rooms main task was to get as many countries as possible to
freeze terrorist assets simultaneously with the United States. . . . The system
produced charts and tables showing how many freezes France or China or
Saudi Arabia or any other country had joined in; how much they froze; their
progress on items in the G7 Action Plan; and so on. . . . Developed in a matter
of weeks, it was the only complete tracking system available in the world.
Still, it would be too easy to conclude, as Clunan does, that the United
States prefers high- prole designations while the Europeans favor a
global, multilateral regulatory approach.
Transatlantic differences
40 the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage
do exist: for example, the European Union was much less keen than
the United States to blacklist Hamas and Hezbollah and proscribe
nancial support of these organizations.
However, the transnational
landscape of designation and regulation is far more complex than
a clear transatlantic split would suggest. To start with, designation
and regulation are not mutually exclusive: much of the juridical work
under taken in multilateral negotiations entails a strengthening of the
framework for transjurisdictional asset freezing. Furthermore, a num-
ber of European countries, as well as the European Union itself, were
keen supporters, rather than reluctant followers, of the broadening of
the FATF mandate and, more generally, of far- reaching security action
in the nancial domain.
For the United Kingdom in particular, ght-
ing terrorism nancing was much less of a policy U- turn than for the
United States. In its battle with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the
British state had enacted far- reaching terrorism acts in the 1970s and
1980s that enabled it to seize, detain, and destroy property and target
the nancial ows to proscribed organizations in Northern Ireland.

These powers were relatively little used, according to Donohue, be-
cause it was recognized that terrorist attacks do not cost much and
because targeting monies was thought to be an inefcient way to pre-
vent attacks.
Only with the interweaving of the IRA and organized
crime in the 1980s and 1990s were nancial measures increasingly con-
sidered important. Currently, the United Kingdom is a keen supporter
of global freezing measures, taking a leading role in promoting this
practice within the European Union.
The European Union has been very active in both freezing and regu-
lating (and designing regulation to enable freezing measures) in the
context of what it prefers to call the ght against terrorism. Fighting
terrorism nancing was second of seven objectives of the EU Action
Plan on Combating Terrorism.
One of the most important EU legisla-
tive actions in this domain is the Third Money Laundering Directive,
which has the explicit purpose of bringing terrorism nancing and
FATFs special recommendations into Community law.
The directive
starts from the premise that pursuing terrorism nancing can have a
preventative effect and states in its preamble:
Massive ows of dirty money can damage the stability and reputation of the
nancial sector and threaten the single market, and terrorism shakes the
very foundations of our society. In addition to the criminal law approach, a
preventive effort via the nancial system can produce results.
the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage 41
The Third Money Laundering Directive became law in 2005 and
had to be implemented by all member states by the end of 2007. The
Netherlands has been particularly active in promoting the terrorism
nancing agenda within the European Union, and partly as a result of
a workshop hosted by the Dutch EU Presidency in The Hague in 2004
and attended by the U.S. nance minister John Snow, a revised strat-
egy for the ght against terrorism nancing was published in 2004.
This strategy issues a call to versatility in pursuing suspect monies
and emphasizes increased monitoring of informal money ows, such as
hawala and cash transports, as well as increased deployment of nan-
cial data in security practice.
One reason the European Union may
be keen to embrace the nancial side of the war on terror is that it is
perceived to be more peaceful and less controversial than the violent
faces of the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Taken together, the institutional innovations discussed in this sec-
tion amount to a complex assemblage of transnational governing rather
than a coherent regulatory regime. As we have seen, for Bennett an
assemblage is a mobile, multidirectional whole that produces partly
unpredictable outcomes. In the nancesecurity assemblage, some po-
litical authorities and regulatory bodies have worked in conjunction to
constitute terrorist nancing as an urgent international political prob-
lem. New measures by the United Nations, the FATF, and the European
Union demonstrate substantial multilateral cooperation in this domain.
At the same time, many disagreements and contradictions remain in
this multidirectional assemblage of governing: the relation between des-
ignation and regulation is one of these tensions, as is the question of the
increase of informal nancial ows due to the regulation of the formal
nancial system and the closing of suspect accounts. Another important
tension in the nancesecurity assemblage, as is discussed in the next
section, is the relation between terrorism nancing and money launder-
ing as problems of governing.
Money Laundering or Terrorism Financing?
A serious tension is at work within the nancesecurity assemblage be-
tween the concepts of money laundering and terrorism nancing. Even
if in terms of international regulatory structures these policy agendas
have been almost entirely integrated, with AML- CTF (antimoney
laundering and counterterrorist nancing) being the new parlance in
42 the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage
regulatory circles, they are quite different both as empirical problems
and as paradigms of governing. Drawing out these tensions and differ-
ences helps to explain both the governing power of the nancesecurity
assemblage and its vulnerabilities. It also helps us understand how
existing laws, practices, and regulations became recongured into a
new, post- 9/11 governing machine.
Despite the high- prole new war rhetoric deployed by the Bush
administration on September 24, 2001, many concrete initiatives taken
in the name of ghting terrorism nancing drew on earlier proposals
and existing governing structures in the eld of antimoney launder-
ing (AML). According to money laundering experts Michael Levi and
William Gilmore, It is difcult, even with hindsight, to work out when
and how the view developed that attacking the money trail was a key
element in the ght against organized crime.
Some authors refer to
Al Capones famous conviction for tax evasion rather than for serious
crimes committed in the 1920s; most authors agree that the war on
drugs, which accelerated in the 1980s, provided the major impulse for
the ght against money laundering internationally. In 1988, the UN
Convention against Illicit Trafc in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic
Substances the Vienna Convention was adopted. FATF was estab-
lished in 1989, when it was set up by the G7 to combat money laun-
dering relating to transnational crime and drug trafcking and to
mobilize global awareness.
Before 9/11, the global AML regime fo-
cused primarily on curtailing one specic kind of money laundering:
that associated with the drug trade.
Many questions surrounding
the urgency and effectiveness of ghting money laundering remain,
including the remarkable resilience of crime and drug markets to
such policies.
Concern has been expressed about the extent of security
intervention enabled in this domain for example, as van Duyne and
his colleagues point out, one can be arrested for extradition for laun-
dering, while the predicate offence is not punishable in the country
which is requested to extradite.
Terrorism nancing was positioned within available international
AML regulatory structures for a number of reasons. The haste with
which measures had to be implemented made drawing on existing
initiatives and structures attractive. Clearly, 9/11 provided a window
of opportunity to supporters of money laundering regulation. For ex-
ample, the Patriot Act contained a number of concrete proposals that
long had been controversial and that had been successfully contested
the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage 43
by the banking industry and civil liberties organizations before 9/11.

Tellingly, FATF had begun to examine tighter regulation of wire trans-
fers and other electronic transactions as far back as 1992. After 9/11,
regulating wire transfers became a top priority for policymakers in
this area and one of FATFs special recommendations on terrorist -
nancing. Subsuming terrorism nancing under existing AML struc-
tures was not just convenient, however, but was a way to circumvent
a set of complicated questions about what terrorism nancing is, how
it works, and whether it can be (preemptively) detected at all. Writes
money laundering expert Pieth, By calling the nancing of terrorism
money laundering, the tedious discussions and new concepts [of ter-
rorism nancing] seemed to become unnecessary.
Still, many questions and criticisms remain concerning the position-
ing of the problem of terrorism nancing within previously existing
money laundering regimes, and many have pointed out that terror-
ism nancing and money laundering are quite different as empirical
problems. Terrorism nancing is often called money laundering in
reverse, as it involves clean, legitimate monies that are (potentially)
intended for criminal ends. As we saw in chapter 1, the nancing
of terrorist attacks may involve very small, unremarkable nancial
transactions that are not necessarily criminal in nature or origin. To
put it in legal terms, there is not always a predicate offense underlying
terrorist money.
Also, the amounts involved in nancing terrorism
more generally pale into insignicance in comparison to the millions
of dollars circulating in the global drug trade or seeking safe havens
from Western tax regimes. As a result, critics argue, ghting terror-
ism nancing through money laundering regimes is ineffective at best
and detrimental to the ght against money laundering at worst. For
example, accounting professor Prem Sikka has argued that the high-
prole ght against terrorism nancing is not matched by a rigorous
attack on offshore nancial facilities and existing corporate cultures of
secrecy that, taken together, dwarf the problem of terrorism nanc-
ing in numbers.
Ibrahim Warde, writing in Le Monde diplomatique,
also criticized the new focus on terrorism within AML: Those trained
to spot global nancial crime, and Spanish- speaking specialists in the
Latin American drug trade, found themselves chasing Islamic terror-
ists, leaving the business of money laundering unattended.
These criticisms of the effectiveness of the pursuit of terrorism -
nancing, while important to current debates, insufciently address
44 the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage
the question of how practices of governing in the AML domain have
changed as a result of the new focus on terrorism. Regardless of the
legitimacy and effectiveness of the post- 9/11 inclusion of terrorism -
nancing within AML regulation, these political choices have effected
substantial changes in the way AML works to govern daily life and
mundane money ows. Clearly, the conation of the problems has ac-
corded a sense of urgency to multilateral AML negotiations. As Rainer
Hlsse puts it, To deny that money- laundering is a policy problem
now comes close to denying that terrorism is a problem.
Two further
aspects concerning the changing nature of AML can be briey drawn
out here.
First, the focus on terrorism nancing has oriented the AML- CFT
apparatus as a whole toward an objective of preemption. As Aufhauser
phrased this reorientation in his typically sensational language:
It seemed as if the world had been observed through the wrong end of a
telescope. . . . The more immediate threat to well- being was clean money
intended to kill, not illicit proceeds of crime looking for a place to hide. The
job was now prevention, not crime- busting.
This represented a marked break with earlier money laundering regu-
lation: if undermining crime and amassing evidence were the objec-
tives of pre- 9/11 money laundering policy, predicting possible terrorist
attacks by studying clean money trails became the objective after
The most important result of this reorientation of the money
laundering apparatus is to widen its scope of intervention in time and
place. It is no longer only large amounts or cash transactions that are
considered suspicious: increasingly, small, mundane nancial trans-
actions that are not in themselves criminal are drawn into surveillant
practices. Legitimate, everyday money ows are no longer considered
to be beyond suspicion but are inscribed with the ability to indicate ter-
rorist intent, if approached with the right datamining tools. As FATFs
report on terrorism nancing notes: In many situations, the raising,
moving and using of funds for terrorism can be . . . almost indistin-
guishable from the nancial activity associated with everyday life.

Such suspicion and potential criminalization of the transactions and
spaces of everyday life is not new. For example, in his examination
of the German battle against the Rote- Armee Fraktion (RAF) in the
1970s, Matthew Hannah showed that in large part, this battle played
out not in the exceptional space of the camp or the detention center but
the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage 45
in the urban unexceptional spaces of hideouts, apartments, roads,
and railways.
However, the extent to which the unexceptional spaces
of everyday nance and mundane transactions are now drawn into
post- 9/11 security practice is quite novel.
Second, it is important to ask how new lines of sight and new sto-
ries of reliability become constructed with the reorientation of AML
regulation to terrorism nancing. Antimoney laundering as a regime
of governing has always been marked by a certain selectivity as policy-
makers, in the words of Eric Helleiner, have been more concerned
with curtailing some illicit nancial activities than others.
In light of
the particular but contested denitions of terrorism nancing explored
in chapter 1, these selective priorities are now morphing and shifting
to include new domains and to focus less on others. As argued, three
spaces of nancial deviance have been carved out that are now at the
forefront of policy agendas: small, transnational banking transactions
and the mining for suspect banking patterns; (informal) remittance
channels; and Islamic banking and (Islamic) charitable giving. Within
these spaces, new narratives of reliability and legitimacy are becom-
ing operable. According to Bill Maurer, antimoney laundering entails
important narratives of personal regard and ethical scrutiny through
which suspect account holders and transactions are to be sorted from
reliable ones. Rather than a purely calculative or technological as-
sessment, antimoney laundering practices rely on social processes of
judgment, evaluation, . . . and regard that are connected to technolo-
gies in complex ways.
In this sense, the governing practices of anti
money laundering and terrorism nancing exceed the (state- based)
policy domain and infuse everyday nancial practices with injunctions
of normality and reliability.
Sovereignty amid Governmentality
We have seen that the complex jurisdictional articulations enabled
in the nancesecurity assemblage substantially complicate the no-
tion of a straightforward return of national sovereignty in the eld
of nancial regulation. Nor is this complex constellation of author-
ity fully understood through concepts of global governance, which
would imply the emergence of a coherent supranational regulatory re-
Instead, the governing powers of the nancesecurity assem-
blage are best captured by the concept of global governmentality.

46 the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage
Governmentality, summarized in the words of Butler, conceptualizes
power in its diffuse and multivalent operations, focusing on the man-
agement of populations, and operating through state and non- state
institutions and discourses.
The term governmentality was devel-
oped by Foucault to theorize a distinctly modern form of rule that has
as its object not the principality or territory of the sovereign, but the
population as a multifarious phenomenon that nevertheless can be re-
vealed to possess its own regularities: its death rate, its incidence of
disease, its regularities of accidents.
The objective of governmental-
ity is to govern the conduct of individuals through appealing to their
self- governing capacities. In this sense, it is a technique of both repre-
sentation and intervention.
Governmentality is particularly suited to the analysis of the nance
security assemblage because it understands power less as the imposi-
tion of a rule and more as the implication of a norm. The pursuit of
suspect monies not so much produces a (transnational) apparatus of
law as it lays out new normalities concerning everyday nancial be-
havior. In other words, the regulative ideals emerging in this domain
exceed their formulation in law and are premised on formulations of
responsibility and reliability. As Nikolas Rose and Mariana Valverde
theorize the relation between law and norm: The codes, techniques,
discourses, judgments of law are only one element in the assemblages
that constitute our modern experience of subjectivity, responsibility,
The main advantage of understanding the ght against
terrorism nancing as a normalizing power is that it shifts focus from
the formal institutional and legal process toward the everyday produc-
tion of nancial normalities and the narratives of security and reliabil-
ity here fostered. For example, it allows us, in chapter 5, to explore not
just how the law with regard to nonprot organizations is changing but
to foster a deeper understanding of how actual practices of charitable
giving are transforming under these new injunctions to govern and
how this works to draw the domain of donation and political afliation
into the sphere of security.
Put differently, understanding the pursuit of suspect monies purely
as a global prohibition regime misses important parts of the story.

For the objective is not just to forbid and repress but also to secure
and enable the continued operation of particular nancial practices
and ows. For Foucault, the problem of governmentality and security
(which are inextricably connected) is that of allowing circulations to
the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage 47
take place, of controlling them, sifting the good and the bad, ensuring
that things are always in movement . . . but in such a way that the
inherent dangers of this circulation are canceled out.
For example,
Foucault explores the governing of smallpox, which, unlike the disease
of leprosy before it, was not so much isolated and xed in space as
it was managed through a rationalization of chance and probabili-
Such a calculus of chance and probabilities allowed the identi-
cation of risky spaces and classes of the population, which were then
to be subjected to a series of interventions for example, isolation
or inoculation.
Appropriating these insights, we can argue that the
objective of the pursuit of terrorist monies is the securing of a domain
of money ows dened to be legitimate and desirable through the de-
marcation and control of nancial ows and spaces dened to be il-
legitimate or suspect. In this sense, the war on terrorism nancing is
not so much a prohibitive but a productive power, a fundamentally
positive power that fashions, observes, knows and multiplies itself.

Understanding the pursuit of suspect monies through the lens of gov-
ernmentality draws attention to the diffusity of its authority, the exer-
cise of its normalizing power, and the actual (risk) techniques deployed
to sort good from bad circulation.
For example, we may understand the governing power of FATF
through the lens of governmentality.
Because FATF is one of the
most important institutions in the ght against terrorism nancing,
whose recommendations and best- practice guidelines form a signi-
cant part of the empirical material discussed in subsequent chapters,
it is useful here to discuss briey the general operation of its power.
FATF requires its member states to implement specic laws and poli-
cies, and one of its most important sanction instruments for members
and nonmembers alike is its blacklist of noncooperative countries and
territories (NCCT). Countries on the NCCT list would nd it hard to
participate fully in the international nancial system, and in this man-
ner FATFs list is a powerful sanction. However, as of October 2006
there are no countries listed as NCCT, and the list has been largely
In practice, FATFs power is largely extralegal and works through
education, mutual evaluation, and moral suasion. FATFs methodology
entails annual self- assessment and regular mutual evaluation of the ex-
tent to which countries have implemented the Forty Recommendations
(on money laundering) and the Nine Special Recommendations (on
48 the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage
terrorist nancing). Summaries of these assessments are made publicly
available by FATF, and this induces countries to perform well in the
Although plenty of examples exist of FATF member
states that were not fully compliant with the recommendations, states
often take the opportunity to strengthen the legal AML regime in ad-
vance of an onsite evaluation. In the words of one former FATF presi-
dent, Countries ght to get good ratings. They are like a scorecard.

FATFs work, then, can be best explained through the paradigm of
governmentality: it does not rely on sanctions but deploys technical
standards and scorecards to induce self- government by states and -
nancial institutions. Above all, FATFs is a normalizing power: it does
not x or prescribe the precise set of laws to be implemented but offers
evolving standards of normality, best practices, and narratives of reli-
ability that good states and nancial institutions will wish to adhere
to. With the ght against terrorism nancing, such normalizing prac-
tices concern themselves increasingly with small, mundane, everyday
nancial transactions.
At the same time, the appearance of governmentality does not,
Foucault stresses, mean that sovereignty ceased to play a role but
rather that the question of the juridical and institutional form of sov-
ereignty takes on new meaning.
The preemptive turn in the nance
security assemblage necessitates a reconsideration or revisitation of the
concept of governmentality in order to fully grasp the new instances of
sovereign power at work within the assemblage, even if these are not
always clearly state based. Judith Butlers conceptualizations are help-
ful here, as she has suggested that post- 9/11 practices such as indenite
detention signify not so much a reassertion of state sovereignty but
more precisely a resurgence of sovereignty within the eld of govern-
In Butlers reading, the practices understood by many
to be manifestations of renewed state sovereignty such as inde-
nite detention are shown to be dependent on a prerogative power
located in midlevel bureaucracies or administrative commissions.

The resurrected sovereignty, writes Butler, is thus not the sover-
eignty of unied power but a more diffuse exercise of managerial
power that nevertheless decides over life and death. To conceptualize
this managerial power, Butler coins the term petty sovereigns, who are
reigning in the midst of bureaucratic . . . institutions mobilized by aims and
tactics of power they do not inaugurate or fully control. And yet such gures
are delegated with the power to render unilateral decisions, accountable to
no law and without any legitimate authority.
the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage 49
Butlers reading of the emergence of sovereignty in the midst of gov-
ernmentality is pertinent to understanding practices of speculative se-
curity. The crucial decisions in this domain the freezing of assets, the
closing of an account, the refusal of a suspect transaction are taken
in the commercial domain by midlevel (nancial) managers. Yes, these
decisions are made under new conditions of (state) regulation. But as
we see in the next chapter, such regulation does not simply require the
application of a rule but increasingly actively fosters the autonomy and
exibility of banking institutions. As the UK Treasury puts it, The
response to crime and terrorism needs to be as supple as the criminals
and terrorists themselves. A prescriptive tick- box approach [to regu-
lation] would miss its target and fail to deliver benets.
Here, the
UK Treasury fosters the conditions for practices of managerial decision
making not unlike that exercised by Butlers petty sovereigns.
Preemption, Premediation, Speculation
What is particularly important to understand about the resurrection
of sovereignty amid the continuing practices of governmentality of the
nancesecurity assemblage is that it operates through particular de-
ployments and imaginations of multiple and potentially catastrophic
futures. Disruptive action on the basis of suspicion as in the raiding
of charities, the freezing of assets, and the closing of accounts is often
done in the name of potential violences that can be caused by fungible
money ows. This reasoning is entirely in line with the UN Convention
for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, which, as we saw,
severs the causal link between nancing and violence and offers the
possibility of criminalizing mundane, legitimate money ows. Thus,
we may understand the problematization of terrorism nancing as a
speculative imagination with the ability to mobilize security action.
A logic of preemptive intervention is at work in many domains com-
prising the ght against terrorism, where it may manifest as anticipatory
prosecution enabled by new antiterrorism criminal law, the prevention
of radicalization, or notions of preparedness against terrorist attacks
and other catastrophes that have the ability to mobilize societies.
politics of preemption addresses a situation in which there is the expecta-
tion of a radical or catastrophic threat that is nonetheless acknowledged
to be uncertain and, to a degree, unknowable.
Preemption addresses
so- called low- probability, high- impact events. These include not just
the way the post- 9/11 terrorist threat is understood as a potentially
50 the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage
catastrophic but unpredictable networked threat in the midst of our
societies but also, for example, the way environmental insecurity in
general and global warming in particular are understood through
imaginations of looming catastrophe that are simultaneously scienti-
cally contested and politically urgent.
As Melinda Cooper expresses
this logic:
If the catastrophe befalls us, it is from a future without chronological conti-
nuity with the past. Though we might suspect something is wrong with the
world . . . no mass of information will help us pin- point the precise when,
where and how of the coming havoc. We can only speculate.
However, the acknowledgment of uncertainty and unknowability
does not lead to a politicalphilosophical recognition of the fragility of
modern life. On the contrary, this uncertainty itself becomes a ground
for security action and intervention on the basis of speculation and
imagination. As Franois Ewald put it in a much- cited passage, The
precautionary principle invites one to anticipate what one does not
yet know, to take into account doubtful hypotheses and simple suspi-
cions. It invites one to take the most far- fetched forecasts seriously.

If speculation is understood to structure the visual eld of possibility in
the sense described by Cooper and Ewald, then precaution and specu-
lation are intimately related as security practices.
Although the logic of preemption often deploys the language of risk,
it is important not to subsume these developments within the histories
of risk management as we know them in the domains of, for example,
crime ghting or medical care.
The key difference is that preemption
does not revolve around desires and techniques of prediction, as risk
does. It is not necessarily about getting the future right as much as it
is about trying to imagine or map out as many possible futures as could
plausibly be imagined, writes media theorist Richard Grusin. Grusin
coins the term premediation to understand the cultural processes of
imagination and future mediation on which preemptive action bases
itself. Such processes of premediation, according to Grusin, endeavor
to imagine, map, and visualize as many of the possible worlds, or pos-
sible paths, as the future could be imagined to take.
The example
that Grusin uses is the premediation of the Iraq war whereby, before
the invasion of the U.S. troops, major U.S. news networks unfolded a
diversity of maps and scenarios of how the war might progress, which
simultaneously allowed these networks to increase their ratings in the
run- up to war as well as to engage in a kind of audience testing on how
the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage 51
best to cover the war when it did occur.
It is not just the logic of
premediation that distinguishes it from prediction, in Grusins reading,
but it is also the specic media technologies deployed that mark this
difference. Thus, premediation differs signicantly from the formats
and visualities of, for example, the televised weather forecast:
A weather map does not premediate tomorrows storm in the way in which
it will be mediated after it strikes. . . . The emerging conventions of pre-
mediation, on the other hand, require that the future be premediated in
ways that are almost indistinguishable from the way in which it will be
mediated after it happens.
If for Grusin premediation is situated in post- 9/11 American culture,
our lens of speculative security brings into focus longer histories of its
logics and techniques. Governing the present through identications of
the aleatory, the probable and the (un)expected has of course long been
a prerogative of modern nancial and insurational practices. It is here
that nance and security have shared technical and epistemological
genealogies. More precisely, the history of modern insurance straddles
the divide between risk and uncertainty, prediction and premediation,
with previously uninsurable events including, for example, terror-
ism, natural disasters, and kidnapping now increasingly being in-
corporated into the insurational imaginary.
Such new insurational
techniques self- confess to operating at the limits of formal knowledge
and to drawing on social imagination, fear, and fantasy.
Financial speculation is another closely related (insurational) prac-
tice that depends on a packaging and repackaging of manifold possible
futures in the name of hedging and risk management. Underpinning
the unprecedented growth in global derivatives markets since the
1970s is a specic vision of nance as a marketplace where every
possible stake in the uncertain future is made liquid. In this market-
place of futures, businessmen and traders can in theory insure
themselves and hedge every imaginable uncertainty that could af-
fect their business, including, for example, currency uctuations, oil
shocks, and stock index tumbles. This complete market utopia, pro-
posed and developed by nancial economists such as Kenneth Arrow,
a world in which everything was assigned a value on a market. In this
utopia, every possible state of the world, past, present and future, from a
stormy July evening in Patagonia to England winning the World Cup, had
a nancial payoff associated with it.
52 the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage
Such vision parallels that of nancial market innovator and founder
of the hedge fund Long- Term Capital Management (LTCM) Robert
Merton, who believed it possible to nd the right price for all kinds
of explicit and implicit uncertainties and called his market vision the
nancial- innovation spiral in which limitless amounts of custom-
designed nancial contracts spiraled toward the utopia of complete
markets and zero marginal transactions costs.
The spectacular
growth of derivatives trading was based not just on a vigorous defense
of markets as the best way to redistribute risks and provide security
to business but also on innovations in nancial modeling and the de-
velopment of calculative technologies that priced the novel nancial
products, thus rendering their trading possible.
Ultimately, what
derivatives trade in is not value but volatility; they trade, as Cooper
put it, in the very contestability of fundamental value.
Like pre-
mediation, then, nancial securitization is not about prediction but
about commercial viability and actionability in the present. It cares
less about getting the future right than about rendering the future
actionable and protable in the present. In this sense, the nancializa-
tion of security, whereby business uncertainties and families future
incomes are addressed through a spiral of nancial trading, mirrors
the securitization of nance, whereby mundane monies are subject to
security regulation and intervention on the basis of potentially cata-
strophic futures.
The tension between premediation and prediction may have been
the most important factor in the demise of what seems to be the epit-
ome of the nancesecurity assemblage: the terrorism futures mar-
ket that was developed shortly after 9/11. This futures market, called
the Policy Analysis Market (PAM), was designed by the Pentagons
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and its direc-
tor John Poindexter and was supported by the Economist. It endeav-
ored to create a speculative market trading in so- called geopolitical
eventualities, including the overthrow of governments, the likelihood
of terrorist attacks, and the assassination of particular leaders in the
Middle East. The rationale of the PAM was the idea that pricing such
risks in a nancial environment has a substantial predictive capacity
because, as two defenders of the plan explained in the Washington
Post: Financial markets are incredibly powerful aggregators of infor-
mation and are often better predictors than traditional methods.

This reasoning draws on long- established epistemic paradigms in -
the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage 53
nance theory, most importantly the efcient market hypothesis, which
holds that publicly available information will be immediately and ra-
tionally incorporated into markets and reected in market prices.
In mid- 2003, however, PAM became politically controversial and
was hastily withdrawn by DARPA, eventually leading to Poindexters
resignation. The Democratic senators who opposed the plan did so on
the grounds that trading in death would be in bad taste and that the
exchange could encourage participants to manipulate the market and
hasten the eventualities they had placed their bets on.
But Geoff
Lightfoot and Simon Lilleys astute analysis of the rise and demise
of PAM suggests that the problem with PAM was not so much that
it offered the possibility to effectively gamble on geopolitical events
but that it displayed too great a faith in the powers of prediction of
speculative market trading. For the objective of PAM was not in the
rst instance to construct, sell, price, and trade a limitless amount of
potential futures, as derivatives do, but to calculate the risk of political
eventualities in the Middle East in order to develop and target U.S.
foreign policy and military action. This is a crucial difference: PAMs
objective of discovering, through aggregate investor information and
price signals, the truth of predictions, is a nave and impoverished
account of what derivatives markets do. PAMs faith in one future
path, which will either be actualized or not, goes against the grain of
the markets commercial dependence on the imagination of innite
possible futures that can be hedged. As Lightfoot and Lilley put it,
This fetishization of a singular reality was PAMs . . . fatal aw, their
betrayal of the majesty of the plurality of markets.
In our terms, we
can argue that PAM was too much about prediction and not enough
about premediation.
The resurrection of sovereignty amid governmentality, I argue,
works through acts of preemption. Preemption does not endeavor to
predict the future, but it premediates the future by mapping and imag-
ining multiple future scenarios that are made actionable in the present.
This is what I call speculative security. The following chapters inves-
tigate how speculative security operates as a technique of governing.
We will see that speculative security governs through suspicion, sur-
prise, and suppleness. Further, we could say that preemption governs
through insecurity, by using and indeed intensifying subjective states
of doubt, anxiety and apprehension . . . with the aim of making indi-
viduals responsible for . . . vigilance [and] preparedness.
In turn, as
54 the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage
Ben Anderson has explained, these logics work by proliferating effects
and creating life
and these (commercial) effects and (de)valued
lives are explored and exemplied in the next chapters. As a practice
of governing, preemption reworks and displaces traditional modes of
accountability, proportionality, and responsibility. Like derivatives
trading, its actions are rarely evaluated in terms of its own bearing on
uncertain futures. If the philosophical and technological genealogies
of preemption, premediation, and speculation are closely intertwined,
then so are their contemporary problems and dangers. The spiraling
of derivatives trading fostered by the complete market utopia has time
and again produced its own opposite, namely, an unpredictable erup-
tion of economic insecurity and nancial catastrophe. Similarly, the
nancesecurity assemblage has the potential to produce its own op-
posites and violent blowback.
This chapter looked at the institutional assemblages fostered in the
name of ghting terrorism nancing in the wake of 9/11. The emer-
gence of a post- 9/11 nancesecurity assemblage was neither an in-
evitable nor a clearly interest- driven development but one with cascad-
ing, contradicting, and partially unforeseen governing effects. Tensions
in the nancesecurity assemblage include the relation between money
laundering and terrorism nancing, the relation between designation
and regulation, and the tensions arising from the stimulation of the
informal economic sphere by strengthening the regulation of the for-
mal nancial system. To some extent, the contradictions within this
assemblage reect the struggles and competitions over the denitions
of terrorism nancing explored in chapter 1. Didier Bigo draws at-
tention to the mundane and routine dimensions of security governing
and the role of security professionals whom he calls the managers of
unease in this process. Bigo writes,
Securitization works through everyday technologies, through the effects
of power that are continuous rather than exceptional, through political
struggles, and especially through institutional competition within the pro-
fessional security eld in which the most trivial interests are at stake.
The next chapter explores in more detail the mundane practices of secu-
rity and nancial professionals and their deployment of risk techniques
to sort good from bad circulation.
the fi nancesecuri ty assemblage 55
I further argue that the war on terrorism nancing is not so much
marked by a reassertion of state authority in the nancial domain as
it is a practice of governmentality that enables unprecedented inter-
vention into everyday nancial life: it produces transnational regimes
of governing with uneven powers of coercion; it is anchored by the
important but rather informal operation of FATF; it authorizes sov-
ereign decision making within the nancial industries; it depends on
the technical and seemingly apolitical work of commercial risk man-
agers, software models, and compliance ofcers. Not only are small
and mundane transactions no longer thought to be beyond suspicion,
but the targeting of nancial spaces and transactions that are not in
themselves criminal but are conceptualized to hold specic potential
to support terrorism fosters a domain of precrime intervention in the
nancial sphere.
If sovereignty is reasserting itself in this domain
in the wake of 9/11, this is to be understood less as a coherent, unied
sovereign power and more as a manifestation of petty sovereigns
midlevel bureaucrats and nancial ofcers who are authorized to
make far- reaching security decisions. Such security decisions appeal
to multiple possible violent futures through logics initially developed
in relation to insurational imaginaries and derivatives trading.
This page intentionally left blank