There is no evidence that terrorists use diamonds to launder money, the bipartisan Sept. 11 Commission concluded recently.
The diamond-terrorism link has been the subject of articles, reports, and, most recently, a book—Blood from Stones, by Washington Post reporter Douglas Farah. But the Commission concluded it had “no persuasive evidence” that al Qaeda stored wealth in gemstones.
Industry executives say they’re not surprised.
“The Commission report is pretty consistent with what we’ve heard from the FBI and the National Security Council,” says Cecilia Gardner, executive director of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee.
But not everyone agrees. The Washington Post, which has played up the connection, says this conclusion reflects the view of the CIA, which has downplayed the link.
And the nongovernmental organization Global Witness, which released a report last year on the alleged link, says the Commission’s conclusion “is wrong and will damage international efforts to ensure that rough diamonds are not used to fund terrorism.”