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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

DS History: Bridging to the New Millennium

The '90s
The security improvements developed and implemented during the 1980s helped Americans withstand the heightened threat in the next decade.


The DS Rewards for Justice Program was initiated in 1992.  Since then, more than $49 million has been paid for information that prevented or resolved acts of international terrorism against Americans.  Information received through this program has resulted in the capture of several terrorists, including Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing in 1993.


DS continues to conduct criminal and personnel security investigations critical to the protection of American borders and the national security of the United States .  Our special agents investigate more than 3,500 passport and visa fraud violations each year.  DS receives about 3,000 requests for overseas investigative assistance from U.S. law enforcement agencies annually and has achieved notable success in locating and apprehending wanted fugitives who have fled the United States .


DS also provides protective services to distinguished dignitaries visiting the United States , as well as 24-hour protection to the Secretary of State.


With the addition of the Office of Foreign Missions in 1996, DS assumed responsibility for servicing and regulating the activities of all foreign missions in the United States .


Following the August 7, 1998 , terrorist bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Dar Es Salaam , Tanzania , and Nairobi , Kenya , the State Department declared the protection of American personnel and facilities overseas a top priority.  Congress passed a $1.4 billion Emergency Embassy Security Supplemental (of which DS received about $588 million) enabling the Bureau of make significant improvements at every U.S. diplomatic mission overseas.  Since the bombings, the State Department has invested billions of dollars to improve systems and facilities and increase security staffing to protect personnel and dependents around the world. 


As our overseas security requirements increased, so did the demands on our Diplomatic Courier Service.  Couriers now transport more than 10 tons of classified and sensitive materials overseas every year.


Our security engineering officers (SEOs) continue to design and manage security equipment programs at all posts, which are vital to the protection of our people and facilities abroad.  SEOs also work to detect and prevent the loss of sensitive information from technical espionage, a continuing challenge in light of rapidly changing technology in detection equipment, computer systems, intrusion detection systems, and access control equipment.


While focused on improving security at our missions abroad, several highly publicized incidents at the State Department firmly emphasized the need to strengthen domestic security as well.  In addition to taking additional security measures at the State Department, the Assistant Secretary for DS convened a panel of security experts from the FBI, CIA, Department of Defense, U.S. Secret Service, and DS to review all domestic security policies, programs, and procedures.  The panel made recommendations concerning access control, physical and technical security, security awareness for employees, restriction of traffic around the building, creation of a chemical/biological program, and additional resources for security.  The majority of these recommendations were implemented.  The Department continues its efforts to enhance its domestic security program.

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