WASHINGTON—Interpol Washington today announced the formation of a dedicated Interpol Foreign Terrorist Fighter (FTF) program in partnership with the National Security Council (NSC), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The program leverages the unique resources Interpol utilizes to combat transnational crime, including its secure, encrypted communications system, its criminal and analytical databases and its system of advisory notices. Through this program, Interpol will provide an unparalleled mechanism for addressing the threat from FTFs by helping to monitor and deter their international movement and interdict them at strategic entry points, where possible. Composed of the National Central Bureaus (NCB) of more than 30 member countries, the program was established in response to the need for a forum for sharing intelligence and best practices on a global scale to combat the threat of foreign terrorist fighters traveling to Iraq and Syria.
“Interpol provides critical leadership in advancing the Justice Department’s efforts to combat terrorism and ensure the safety of all Americans – offering cutting-edge resources, a structure for international cooperation, and strategic tools like Red, Blue and Green Notices for tracing, targeting and apprehending terror suspects,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “In a world that is increasingly interdependent and interconnected, Interpol helps to defend against a range of evolving challenges by disseminating information, combating crime, and identifying potential threats. And particularly today, with the emergence of groups like ISIL, and the knowledge that some Americans are attempting to travel to countries like Syria and Iraq to take part in ongoing conflicts, Interpol – as the world’s largest international police organization – has a vital role to play in safeguarding our homeland and protecting the American people.”
“The threat posed by foreign fighters is one that is persistent and requires the full cooperation and resources of the international law enforcement community to effectively combat,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. “We are already working closely with European and other governments to build better information sharing, and we will continue to leverage our partnership with the Interpol, Department of Justice and other international partners to make enhanced and concerted efforts to track foreign fighters who come from or seek to enter the United States.”
The program currently supports a working group that includes Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, and an international symposia—a multinational database populated with information contributed by and accessible to participating member countries. The criminal intelligence information contained in the database includes detailed identity particulars that are especially valuable to law enforcement and border control authorities in making determinations of the terrorist threat posed by subjects located in, or attempting to enter, their respective jurisdictions.
Interpol Washington played a critical role in the program’s development and is taking the lead on implementing it in the United States by continuing to strategically use Interpol Red Notices to target and apprehend terrorists for prosecution in U.S. courts and Interpol Blue Notices to trace and locate terrorists and others suspected of terrorism-related activity, including those not charged with a particular offense. Further, Interpol Washington is extensively utilizing Interpol Green Notices to publish information about hundreds of foreign nationals previously identified in both Iraq and Afghanistan and involved in terrorist activities. Interpol also offers countries the ability to use its information sharing system to send targeted messages to key partners on terrorist subjects.
“Interpol Washington continues to champion international police cooperation by leading U.S. efforts in the Interpol Foreign Terrorist Fighter program,” said Interpol Washington Director Shawn A. Bray. “Interpol provides a unique set of information sharing solutions for addressing this growing threat. By applying these solutions via its secure global communications network, Interpol member countries send a strong, unified message of engagement against FTFs and those who support them.”
Regional meetings, meetings of the heads of National Central Bureaus and the annual Interpol General Assembly represent additional opportunities for strengthening the FTF program. Finally, Interpol works closely with the United Nations, particularly the Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council, to publish Special Notices on individuals listed by the Sanctions Committee as belonging to or associated with al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Interpol Washington, a component of the DOJ and co-managed by the DHS, facilitates the sharing of criminal justice, humanitarian and public safety information among Interpol’s 190 member countries and more than 18,000 local, state, federal and tribal law enforcement agencies in the United States. In coordinating international investigative efforts, Interpol Washington works to enhance the safety and security of the nation.