Al Qaeda's so broke, it's turning to kidnappings to raise money

Bin Laden’s interest in kidnapping as a cash-raiser bolsters accounts that the financial squeeze has staggered al-Qaeda, forcing it to search for alternative funding sources. Officials would not detail al-Qaeda’s role in specific crimes, but the group’s affiliates have targeted diplomats, tourists and merchants…

al-Qaeda’s leadership inside Pakistan rarely championed kidnappings publicly and was not known previously to widely support its use as a funding source. The group historically relied on donations through a pipeline of couriers and money-changing operations. At the time of the Sept. 11 attacks, the network took in as much as $30 million annually, but that money flow has tightened, said Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.