E.B. "Skip" Sigmon
Office of the Director, US National Central Bureau
Thank you for joining us for this Southeast Asia Border Security and Law Enforcement Workshop. While we regret that we can’t meet with you in person in Bali this year, we look forward to seeing you there in 2021.
In spite of the challenges we’re all facing from COVID-19, we thought it was important to put together this “virtual” meeting so that we could share with you the many great strides we’ve made with Project TERMINUS.
One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned at INTERPOL Washington, the United States National Central Bureau, is that simply having access to INTERPOL data does not do as much good if it is not shared with law enforcement officers working at street level.
As a result, and consistent with INTERPOL’s Constitution, we’ve used our authority as a National Central Bureau to extend access to this data to the more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies located throughout the United States. And we’ve done so based on one of the simplest principles of all: Don’t re-invent the wheel.
That is, instead of creating our own national law enforcement information sharing system, we simply integrated access to INTERPOL data into systems that already existed, making it immediately available to law enforcement officers throughout the United States for use in criminal investigations, fugitive operations, humanitarian assistance, and other police-related matters.
In addition, we integrated access to INTERPOL Notices and INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database – or SLTD – into systems used by our immigration, transportation, and border security authorities to help screen against illicit international travel. Today, this access is available at U.S. Consulates throughout the world, as well as at all U.S. Ports of Entry.
In another important and related development, we created an electronic interface between the U.S. Department of State and the INTERPOL General Secretariat to help ensure that information regarding stolen and lost U.S. travel documents is immediately and systematically uploaded into SLTD for use by all INTERPOL member countries in connection with their immigration, transportation, and border security screening activities, as well as other criminal investigative matters.
Today, through Project TERMINUS, we’re providing technical assistance to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand that is enabling them to integrate INTERPOL data into their own national border and transportation security systems, in accordance with their respective national laws and circumstances.
Based on the integrated information sharing model developed by INTERPOL Washington, this vital capability is today helping to identify, detect, and deter Foreign Terrorist Fighters and other transnational criminals from entering or transiting the Southeast Asia Region.
To that end, we remain active participants in INTERPOL’s Foreign Terrorist Fighter Working Group and Fusion Cell, contributing profiles of known and suspected members of ISIS, Foreign Terrorist Fighters, and other combatants; mapping their migratory movements, and using criminal intelligence to illuminate the criminal and terrorist networks that are supporting their activities with funding, forged travel documents, and transportation out away from the conflict zone.
INTERPOL Washington is proud to team with our ASEAN counterparts in launching this important program. Going forward, and in collaboration with our U.S. Government and INTERPOL partners, we will conduct systems integration activities tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of each of the partnering countries. These activities include:
Conducting a technical needs assessment;
Developing an implementation strategy;
Procuring and installing the necessary equipment and software solutions;
Identifying best practices unique to the partner country;
Assisting in expanding access to additional Ports of Entry, and
Performing initial maintenance of systems as they are installed.
INTERPOL Washington is totally committed to the success of this program, which will culminate in a capstone seminar in Bali in the summer of 2021. This multi-national event will highlight how the project’s outcomes complement existing collaborative efforts by partner countries to develop effective networks and methods for screening against Foreign Terrorist Fighter travel and other transnational criminals. Emphasis will be placed on inter-agency collaboration and communication, sustainability, and the value of the information and intelligence sharing that results. We look forward to seeing you there.