10 February 2003
Global Alliance Now Fighting Terrorism, Ashcroft Says
(Notes worldwide cooperative law enforcement activities) (630)
By Merle D. Kellerhals, Jr.
Washington File Staff Writer
Washington -- Cooperation, coordination and collaboration between the
United States and the global alliance combating terrorism has been
invaluable and aggressive in using every means available -- from
traditional law enforcement methods to exhaustive intelligence
gathering, says U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.
"Terrorists sought to divide nations and indeed they have divided
nations, but not in the way they intended," Ashcroft said February 10
at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. "Where once we saw
a world divided between East and West, today we see a new model of
division. A model not based on ethnicity or geography. The gulf
between nations now separates those devoted to the rule of law from
those devoted to the tyranny of terrorism. It is the divide of
civilization versus chaos."
For the U.S. Justice Department, Ashcroft said, there has been a
continuing emphasis on law enforcement and prosecution, but added to
that has been a new priority -- prevention of terrorist attacks.
Barriers that once prevented traditional law enforcement from
information sharing with the intelligence community have been broken,
he said, enhancing each other's capabilities.
A 90-nation coalition has come together sharing a commitment to the
rule of law and the defeat of terrorism, he said.
"Today, nearly 17 months after the attacks of September 11th, our
relationships with our foreign allies are stronger, not weaker. The
bonds of sympathy and support hold firm. Indeed, what began as
expressions of compassion have been transformed into commitments to
action," he said.
Law enforcement agencies across Europe and elsewhere have formed
partnerships with the United States that have enhanced everyone's
security, he said. Some examples include:
-- a special working relationship between the United States and the
Swiss Federal Department of Police and the Swiss Anti-Terrorism Task
-- a partnership between the United States and German authorities to
track down terrorist suspects. Last month [January], Ashcroft said,
German authorities arrested two terrorist suspects in Frankfurt as
part of an ongoing investigation coordinated by the FBI and German law
-- scores of formal U.S. requests have been rapidly granted for a wide
variety of evidence needed in terrorism investigations from bank
records to witness interviews;
-- landmark information sharing agreements with Europol [European
Police Office, The Hague, Netherlands] and the United States, and also
an agreement that permits Europol officers to be assigned to
-- collaboration on terrorism threat assessments;
-- close cooperation on freezing assets of suspected terrorist
-- negotiations between the United States and the European Union and
an unprecedented judicial cooperation agreement;
-- a strong and indispensable partnership between Canadian law
enforcement and the United States. "Long before the attacks of
September 11th, Canada provided consistent and invaluable assistance
to law enforcement officials in the United States, assistance that
related to terrorism as well as other criminal law enforcement
activities," he said. "And since the attacks, our nations have
collaborated more closely than ever before to secure our borders and
to protect our citizens from the threat of terrorism."
-- establishment of a counterterrorism working group between the
United States and China in December 2001. As a direct result of the
working group's efforts, the FBI now has its first office ever in
China. And the Justice Department has an assistant U.S. attorney
assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing as a resident legal adviser,
Ashcroft said. And,
-- close cooperation with law enforcement officials in Colombia and
other South American nations to bring charges against the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the United
Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), two groups designated by the
Department of State as foreign terrorist organizations. These
indictments strike at the nexus between drug trafficking and
terrorism, he said.
(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
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