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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Uncovering the Threat

DS special agent raid jacket.The cornerstone of any good security and law enforcement organization is its ability to conduct thorough investigations. Special agents in Washington and our offices throughout the United States investigate more than 5,000 passport and visa fraud violations each year. These felonies are often committed in connection with other more serious crimes by individuals looking to change their identities and conceal their activities and movements.

In addition to passport and visa fraud, DS conducts protective intelligence investigations into threats made against the Secretary of State, other Department employees, diplomatic facilities here and abroad, foreign dignitaries under our protection, and foreign missions in the United States. DS investigates hundreds of threats directed at our missions and personnel each year.

DS administers the interagency Rewards for Justice Program, which allows the Secretary of State to offer rewards of up to $5 million--and in certain circumstances more--for information that either prevents or resolves acts of international terrorism against U.S. interests worldwide. This program played a significant role in the capture of infamous international terrorists, such as Ramzi Yousef and Mir Aimal Kasi, and with the prevention of a number of potential terrorist acts. The program was most recently instrumental in leading U.S. forces in Iraq to the location of Uday and Qusay Hussein. There is no doubt that information received under the Rewards Program has put terrorists behind bars, saved thousands of lives, and is a key component of the U.S. Government's fight against international terrorism. Visit the Rewards for Justice web site at

DS also administers the Rewards for War Crimes Information Program, which pays up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of an individual indicted for serious violations of international humanitarian law by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Since its inception, more than $60 million has been paid to people who have come forward with information.

In addition to criminal investigations, the bureau conducts personnel security investigations of ambassadorial nominees, employees, applicants, contractors, and others seeking access to State Department information or facilities. Each year, we process an average of 20,000 security clearances.

[Continue on to Protecting Diplomats and Other Dignitaries]


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