More and more, problems that start beyond our borders can become problems within our borders. No one is immune to the threats posed by rogue states, by the spread of weapons of mass destruction, by terrorism, crime and drug trafficking, by environmental decay and economic dislocation.
President Bill Clinton
April 17, 1996
To respond to the threat posed by international criminals, we must extend our first line of defense against international crime beyond U.S. borders. Improving our overseas capabilities will strengthen our ability to deter and punish foreign criminals who increasingly target Americans abroad. A strong overseas presence also will enable us to block international criminals from committing crimes in the United States from foreign sanctuaries traditionally beyond our reach.
Prevent international crimes planned abroad, including terrorist acts, before they occur, through more comprehensive use of intelligence resources, programs targeted at improving respect for the rule of law, better liaison with the private sector, and rewards programs for information on potential attacks;
Use all available laws to prosecute select criminal acts committed abroad; and
Intensify activities of law enforcement, diplomatic and consular personnel abroad to pursue leads, con-duct liaison with local security officials, share intelligence, and help coordinate training and other cooperative programs.
1. Preventing International Crimes Planned Abroad, Including Terrorist Acts, Before They Occur
The most important means of protecting U.S. nationals and interests abroad is to prevent criminal acts before they occur. The Administration already has devoted unprecedented resources to preventing such acts. The Comprehensive Counter-Terrorism Strategy defines initiatives aimed at shielding U.S. nationals and interests from terrorism by directing U.S. agencies that regulate aviation to tighten security. The U.S. intelligence community has already bolstered its ability to thwart international terrorist attacks against U.S. targets and in numerous cases has prevented terrorists from reaching our shores -- or, upon arrival, has enabled the INS to deny them entry into the United States. The ICCS complements and expands upon the Counter-Terrorism Strategy by directing U.S. agencies to intensify their preventive efforts to include violence committed by international organized crime groups.
Pursuant to both the Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the ICCS, the intelligence and law enforcement communities will increase their cooperative efforts to identify international criminal organizations and individuals, to improve and facilitate the collection, analysis and sharing of information and intelligence with U.S. officials, and to protect U.S. nationals and infrastructures at home and abroad.
Building Public Awareness
U.S. law enforcement agencies are proactive when they learn of potential threats to U.S. nationals and interests abroad. For example, in 1995 the Secret Service formed a partnership with the Department of State and the Chamber of Commerce to create a large-scale public awareness program to educate Americans about the dangers posed by advance fee fraud by organized crime groups in Nigeria. Many Americans victimized by advance fee fraud are lured to Nigeria with large quantities of cash based on representations that these funds will unlock large cash returns. Upon reaching Nigeria, unsuspecting victims are intimidated, stripped of their money and sometimes even killed. Before the initiation of this program, approximately five Americans per week became victims of these fraud schemes. Under this program, federal authorities have even gone to airports and convinced victims with thousands of dollars in their possession not to embark on flights that would have eventually placed them in harm's way. Since the program started, the number of victims has dropped significantly. Federal agents have also worked to locate and rescue potential victims. In one month alone in the summer of 1995, agents extricated seven U.S. victims from Lagos, Nigeria.
Promoting Public-Private Partnership
Another component of prevention is coordination between federal agencies and private sector organizations that operate overseas. For example, the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) is a joint venture of U.S. government agencies and private sector representatives, administered by the Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service, that provides security-related information and guidance on protecting U.S. business persons abroad against crime, terrorism and espionage. Following the 1995 and 1996 terrorist bombings in Saudi Arabia, OSAC coordinated special briefings by Defense and State Department officials and conducted on-site visits to American business facilities in the region.
The Customs Service has implemented two industry partnership programs designed to promote awareness of drug-smuggling techniques. These programs, the Carrier Initiative Program (CIP) and the Business Anti-Smuggling Coalition (BASC), involve the importing, manufacturing, distribution and carrier communities, both foreign and domestic, in anti-drug efforts. Information from these two programs resulted in 74 drug seizures totaling 12,700 pounds of narcotics in fiscal year 1997. Recent implementation of the Americas Counter Smuggling Initiative, developed by Customs to institutionalize the CIP and BASC programs in the Americas, will strengthen cooperative efforts with the international trade community, increase awareness of contraband trafficking in the commercial environment, and disrupt internal conspiracies.
The Awareness of National Security Issues and Response (ANSIR) program, an FBI outreach program, involves communication with more than 25,000 corporations across all industrial sectors and includes many of the owners, operators, and developers of critical U.S. infrastructures.
Promoting Respect for the Rule of Law
Another critical element of prevention is a fundamental respect for the rule of law. In societies where such respect flourishes, governments are held accountable to their citizens, and efforts to combat crime receive strong support. Citizens look upon law enforcement officials as playing a protective and positive role for government. Conversely, when government is seen as preying on society rather than protecting it, law enforcement officials are viewed cynically by the public and crime escalates. By conducting public diplomacy initiatives that emphasize the key role of civic action in combating the scourge of criminal behavior and the immense price such unlawful activity costs society, U.S. Information Service (USIS) posts at embassies abroad promote a culture of lawfulness which enhances the security of American citizens and strengthens the effectiveness of and receptivity to overall U.S. crime-fighting efforts.
2. Using All Available Laws to Prosecute Select Criminal Acts Committed Abroad
Prosecution of crimes committed overseas requires that federal courts have jurisdiction over those crimes. The Administration has used, and will continue to use, all available laws to prosecute individuals for crimes committed against Americans abroad. In addition, where available laws do not sufficiently protect Americans and U.S. interests, the Administration will propose new legislation to provide such protection.
Since 1993, the Administration has transmitted to Congress several important proposals that expand U.S. jurisdiction over certain acts of violence and terrorism committed abroad. In 1995, the President submitted comprehensive counterterrorism legislation to Congress that included proposals to expand jurisdiction over certain murders of U.S. nationals committed abroad and over the use of weapons of mass destruction outside the territorial United States. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 included provisions for extraterritorial jurisdiction over individuals outside the United States who are involved in the production of child pornography as well as over Americans who travel overseas with the intent to sexually exploit minors. Similarly, in 1993, following an Administration initiative, Congress passed a new international parental kidnapping statute making it unlawful to remove a child from the United States for purposes of interfering with lawful parental rights.
Although these legislative initiatives have helped to address gaps in federal law, there is a need for continued careful expansion of federal law to respond to the growing threat of violence directed at U.S. nationals and interests abroad. The Administration will work to achieve passage of the ICCA which would create U.S. extraterritorial jurisdiction over murder, extortion and other serious violent crimes against U.S. nationals overseas when committed in furtherance of organized crime, as well as over significant financial crimes directed at U.S. financial institutions operating abroad. Such legislation is necessary to protect Americans against the increasing threat of organized crime in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe and other regions. Creating explicit jurisdiction for overseas organized criminal activity against U.S. nationals and businesses would ensure that criminals who commit such offenses will face aggressive investigation and, if convicted, severe criminal penalties in the United States.
3. Intensifying the Activities of Law Enforcement, Diplomatic and Consular Personnel Abroad
Increasing Role of Consular Personnel
The Department of State's visa process is a highly cost effective tool that screens out millions of inadmissible aliens before they arrive at U.S. ports of entry. Among those screened out are illegal immigrants, criminals and terrorists who would otherwise have to be detected by INS or the Border Patrol and processed on U.S. territory. The network of consular officers around the world is equipped to address an alien's admissibility in a manner impossible to duplicate at U.S. ports of entry. For example, the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs has developed a database to track Russian organized crime figures and to link them to companies (real and phony), addresses and networks they use to further their criminal enterprises. The database allows consular officers overseas to query U.S. law enforcement agencies about an individual visa applicant and, when appropriate, deny that individual a visa before the person becomes a law enforcement concern within the United States. The Administration plans to enhance the capability of consular officers to perform this vital function by continuing to provide improved technology to detect passport and visa fraud, and by increasing information sharing between law enforcement and consular personnel.
Increasing Role of Overseas Law Enforcement Personnel
The Administration will intensify the activities of federal law enforcement personnel overseas, recognizing that careful expansion in their presence abroad may be necessary. Tough domestic laws that protect U.S. nationals and interests abroad will be of little value if the United States does not strengthen its investigative and law enforcement infrastructure to pursue violations of these laws. United States law enforcement officials stationed abroad work shoulder to shoulder with their foreign counterparts to investigate crimes against Americans and American businesses committed overseas. Where offenders are identified, these officials also work to locate, apprehend and return to the United States the perpetrators of such crimes through extradition, expulsion or other lawful means. They also facilitate the arrest and extradition of international fugitives located in the United States who are wanted abroad.
Documented Need for Overseas Law Enforcement Personnel
The need for a major U.S. law enforcement presence abroad is well documented. For example, in fiscal years 1996 and 1997, foreign offices of the Customs Service handled over 3,850 cases. Over the same period, the overseas offices of the Secret Service closed over 3,200 cases. Foreign offices of the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division handled more than 230 cases in fiscal years 1996 and 1997, many of which had direct links to domestic enforcement efforts. These investigations were successful because of the permanent overseas presence of U.S. law enforcement personnel.
In fact, the work of these overseas offices often is directly tied to domestic criminal investigations. For example, over 80 percent of the 7,068 cases pending with FBI Legal Attaches overseas at the end of 1996 originated from U.S. field offices. In addition, over the past two years, the Diplomatic Security Service - which in many countries is the only permanently assigned representative of U.S. law enforcement - responded to more than 3,000 investigation requests. Further, from July 1994 through July 1997, the number of cases in the FBI's new Moscow Legal Attaché office grew from 20 to 289 - a fifteen-fold increase. In their first year, the new Customs Service offices in Moscow and in Pretoria, South Africa, handled over 50 and 30 cases, respectively. A substantial number of these cases involve fugitives from U.S. courts, crimes committed abroad against U.S. nationals, and other serious violations of U.S. criminal laws.
By slowing the spread and development of complex criminal enterprises in their home country, we can prevent their establishing a foothold within the United States.
Louis J. Freeh
March 20, 1997
Proposed Overseas Expansion of Federal Law Enforcement Personnel
The U.S. law enforcement community is already responding to this growing need. The FBI, which operates 32 overseas offices, is establishing a new office in Nigeria, and expanding existing offices in Russia and Mexico. In addition, the FBI is considering establishing new offices in 12 foreign nations and expanding existing offices in an additional 9 countries. Similarly, the Customs Service is considering opening additional offices in Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas, complementing 26 existing offices. DEA plans to augment its already sizeable presence with further expansion into the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union, Latin America, Asia and other current and emerging centers of the drug trade. The Secret Service currently has overseas offices in 11 countries covering the Americas, Europe and Asia, and plans to expand to Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, and other areas where there is a growing problem with U.S. currency counterfeiting and financial crimes. These expansions will bolster U.S. law enforcement capabilities to arrest and punish fugitives, to dismantle international organized crime rings, and to strengthen law enforcement and judicial systems around the globe.
To complement the increasing number of U.S. law enforcement personnel overseas, the Department of Justice intends to augment its cadre of overseas attorneys. Their role includes facilitating requests for extradition and mutual legal assistance, providing substantive legal guidance on international law enforcement and treaty matters, and increasing cooperation between U.S. and foreign prosecutors. In fiscal year 1990, the United States handled approximately 2,208 extradition and 1,784 mutual legal assistance requests both to and from this country. By fiscal year 1996, those numbers had nearly doubled, jumping to 3,963 extraditions and 3,407 mutual legal assistance requests. Furthermore, approximately 25 percent of all extradition requests and nine percent of all mutual legal assistance requests were in support of state and local prosecutors. This increasing caseload requires overseas attorneys to respond to requests for information and to facilitate the transfer of fugitives and evidence to and from the United States. Currently, the Justice Department has attorneys in Brussels, Bogota, Mexico City, Paris, Rome, Moscow and Riga. The planned expansion includes posting additional attorneys in Manila, Brasilia and Athens.
Expansions of the federal law enforcement presence abroad will be overseen by U.S. Ambassadors (Chiefs of Mission) who are charged by National Security Decision Directive 38 with responsibility for the size, composition and mandate of all executive branch personnel in U.S. diplomatic missions.
Increasing Role of Overseas Diplomatic Personnel
Over the past five years, the Administration has developed and implemented international crime control initiatives to address problems such as drugs and arms trafficking, alien smuggling, trafficking in human beings, crimes against children, contraband smuggling, stolen vehicles and aircraft, money laundering, financial frauds, high tech and computer crime, industrial theft, economic espionage, intellectual property rights violations, corruption and bribery, and other international criminal activities. In fiscal year 1997, Congress appropriated $20 million for anti-crime programs to be administered by the Department of State. Implementation of these programs requires the attention of diplomats and law enforcement personnel. Along with the increase in international crime control programs and the heightened activities of our consular and law enforcement personnel, the Administration will intensify the activities of our overseas diplomats in support of federal law enforcement officers, and in particular of the Narcotics Affairs Directors (NAS) who coordinate narcotics and anti-crime programs in 19 of our missions located in the following countries: the Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Laos, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine and Venezuela.