Parliament Hill Terrorist Attack: What Role for Financial Intelligence?
Financial intelligence's uses (and limits) for lone actor, low complexity attacks
I’m writing this newsletter on the 7th anniversary of the death of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, and a day after the anniversary of the death of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. October 2014 was a trying time in Canada: two terrorist attacks in as many days targeting Canadian Armed Forces personnel. These attacks were representative of the types of terrorist attacks that were happening around that time (and after): small scale, low complexity, and low cost attacks. What follows is a brief overview of the financing of the attack that killed Corporal Cirillo and counter-terrorist financing implications.
On October 22, 2014, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot Corporal Cirillo three times in the back with a Winchester rifle. Zehaf-Bibeau then drove his vehicle to the entrance to Parliament Hill, commandeered a limousine, drove the car to Center Block, entered the building, struggled with security guards, and was killed by RCMP officers. Zehaf-Bibeau recorded a video before the attack and said that it was “in retaliation for Afghanistan and because Harper wants to send his troops to Iraq”
Zehaf-Bibeau had recently relocated from British Columbia to Ottawa and was residing at the Ottawa Mission. Prior to his arrival in Ottawa, he made “a considerable amount of funds” working in Alberta’s oil sector. While there are no further details from the RCMP about what constitutes “considerable” (keeping in mind that this is a relative term), he certainly had ample funds to travel to Ottawa and conduct his attack. Media reports suggest he had approximately $2,000, and he may have had access to more funds in a bank account.