Q: In the recent years, EUROPOL and the U.S Law-Enforcement Agencies have been expanding their strategic cooperation by signing numbers of new agreements on various issues from Cyber Crime to Counter-Terrorism, that could enable both sides to work more effectively to tackle the un-foreseen challenges of 21 century.
How this close partnerships at the Law-Enforcement level can benefit the both sides, in general?
The U.S is by far the most important partner of Europol, and especially in the fight against cybercrime. Both in the field of online child sexual exploitation and cyber-attacks, the FBI, the US Secret Services and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement are making invaluable contributions to EU efforts to arrest criminals. Because both the EU and the US face common threats from terrorism and organised crime, transnational law enforcement cooperation is particularly important to enhance the security of citizens, and even more necessary when it comes to fight against borderless crimes, namely cybercrimes. Indeed, cooperating for more than 11 years, Europol and the US recently agreed on joining efforts to counter foreign fighters and to combat illegal immigration, especially as exploited by organised crime groups.
November 30 began the start of a multi-national operation to dismantle a complex, criminal network of worldwide computer servers known as Avalanche. This network hosted more than two dozen of the world’s most pernicious types of malware and several money laundering campaigns.
“The operation is being conducted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the FBI – Pittsburgh Division, and the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the United States Department of Justice, in close cooperation with the Public Prosecutor’s Office Verden and the Luneburg Police of Germany, Europol and Eurojust, located in The Hague, Netherlands, and investigators and prosecutors from more than 40 countries.
On 30 November 2016, after more than four years of investigation, the Public Prosecutor’s Office Verden and the Lüneburg Police (Germany) in close cooperation with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the Department of Justice and the FBI, Europol, Eurojust and global partners, dismantled an international criminal infrastructure platform known as ‘Avalanche’. Continue to read the article
EUROPOL and the U.S Law-Enforcement strengthening Transatlantic Cooperation
On April 7th in Washington DC, the Deputy Director of Europol Operations Department, Wil van Gemert, and the FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed a new Agreement to intensify the joint US-EU Law-Enforcement combat against foreign terrorist fighters.
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The Director of EUROPOL Rob Wainwright and the Executive Associate Director of U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Peter Edge, met in the Hague and singed a new agreement which brings the two Law-Enforcement Agencies from the both sides of Atlantic closer, enabling them to work in more synchronized and effective ways in the Operations against organized crimes.
The Director of U.S Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey travelled to The Hague to meet with the Director of EUROPOL to discuss rage of subjects including furthering the partnerships between the FBI and the Europe Law-Enforcement to the closer level on combating with Cybercrime.
In the European Police Chiefs Convention (EPCC) at Europol HQs the Director of FBI spoke on Global Threats ( Cybercrime and Terrorism) and highlighted:
“The perception that terrorism only happens in big cities like New York, London, or Paris is not true. There are troubled people all across the United States and in every country around the world. That’s why partnerships are critical. We all share a common interest in keeping our nations safe from both crime and terrorism. Together, we can identify common threats and common needs, and by joining forces, we’re all better able to protect the people we serve,”
On the same Subject during the convention the Director of Europol Rob Wainwright stated:
“Now more than ever we understand the importance of cross-border Law-Enforcement cooperation to tackle global threats, such as terrorism and Cybercrime. In this challenging time, building up strong partnerships among international Law Enforcers, and ensuring fast and efficient information exchange, are key to safeguarding our citizens and our collective security.”
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The U.S Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch visited the Europol’s HQ in the Hague and met with the Director of Europol Rob Wainwright for a discussion on deepening cooperation between the United States and Europol to combat Cybercrime.
Increased Law Enforcement Cooperation between U.S and Europe
The close and trusted cooperation between the U.S. and Europe is getting even tighter. Two senior officials from Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, visit Washington, DC this week. Head of Europol Operations, Deputy Director Wil van Gemert and Head of Counter Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Manuel Navarrete, have an extensive program of talks with counterparts across the Administration, including the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Secret Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Homeland Security Investigations), the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of the Treasury, United States National Central Bureau Interpol, and the Intellectual Property Rights Task Force.
During their visit, Deputy Director van Gemert and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner Kevin K McAleenan signed two significant agreements relating to foreign fighters and illegal immigration. The Focal Point Travelers’ agreement will support EU and U.S. law enforcement efforts to counter foreign fighters when they return to Europe or the U.S. from i.e. Syria or Iraq by a number of means, including identifying facilitators of travel and recruitment as well as sources of financing. Equally the Focal Point Check-Point will enhance EU and U.S. cooperation in combating illegal immigration, especially as exploited by organized crime groups.
Areas of increased cooperation between Europol and their U.S. counterparts discussed during the course of the visit include:
• Counter-terrorism, with particular focus on terrorist financing and the threat from foreign fighters; • Cybercrime, including an increased U.S. presence in Europol headquarters and an increase in successful joint operations;
• Europol’s continuing membership of the U.S. Intellectual Property Rights Protection Task Force which helps protect global business interests, preventing criminal and terrorist infiltration of the legitimate economy;
• Drug enforcement, money laundering, and assets seizure initiatives aimed at disrupting and dismantling terrorists and criminal networks operating on global scale;
• Protection of victims of crime in both the EU and the U.S. from various forms of criminal activity, inter alia child sexual abuse, economic crime and fraud, and counterfeiting of products especially medicines.
The already good law enforcement relationship between the U.S. and the European Union is built upon a cooperation agreement signed 10 years ago, and the U.S. liaison bureau at the Europol headquarters in The Hague in The Netherlands is representing 11 U.S. federal law enforcement agencies.
Europol also has two senior liaison officers working in Washington as an efficient and reliable point of contact to the U.S. authorities.
Every year Europol supports approximately 500 cases involving U.S. authorities and 50 of these are high impact operations. In 2014 the FDA and Europol supported an investigation into food fraud involving 33 different countries and 1.200 tons of food were seized and 96 people arrested.
Transnational Law-Enforcement co-operation is important, and even more necessary when it comes to the fight against cybercrime.
Last November a massive International operation against darknet marketplaces hidden on the TOR network selling illicit products such as drugs, weapons and stolen personal data and bank credentials was undertaken. The operation was initiated by U.S. ICE and FBI who took down the infamous ‘Silk Road 2’ website. In Europe, the operation was conducted by 16 European countries and coordinated from Europol’s headquarters.
Meeting Deputy Director van Gemert at the conclusion of his visit, European Union Ambassador to the United States, David O’Sullivan, said:
“The EU and the U.S. are united in the fight against terrorism and organized criminality. Europol is an agency designed to ensure an integrated European response to these challenges. The cooperation between Europol and U.S. law enforcement agencies, coupled with appropriate data protection safeguards, are an important measure aimed at enhancing the safety and security of EU and U.S. citizens at a time when we face many common threats both at home and abroad.”
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