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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Strategic Goal 2


February 1, 2007

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Detect terrorist activity, methods, and trends that exploit international travel vulnerabilities.

Image of the U.S. Department of State seal.One of the fundamental findings of the 9/11 Commission's report was the failure of operational entities and intelligence agencies to coordinate their efforts and intelligence into a comprehensive assessment of national security threats. Effectively countering terrorist mobility requires an interagency apparatus that fosters the timely exchange of intelligence and information on travel document fraud and illicit travel. Tracking terrorist travel requires a unique blending of traditional resources of the law enforcement and intelligence communities. This synthesis can produce programs that use database and data-mining techniques and intelligence analysis that address threats from terrorist mobility and trends in fraudulent travel documents.

Since 9/11, the majority of the Department's efforts to counter terrorists' ability to travel have focused primarily on pretravel assessment and countermeasures. DS's monitoring of vulnerabilities identified during criminal investigations has resulted in the arrests of vendors and facilitators of fraudulent travel documents. CA, in turn, has transformed its application data procedures and interview standards; enhanced mandated advisories on aliens of special interest; and integrated watch list and biometric identifiers into the application process for visas and passports.

The Vulnerability Assessment Unit (VAU) in the Office of Fraud Prevention Programs is a joint DS-CA initiative. The VAU uses data-mining and risk-analysis techniques to detect anomalies and spot trends and patterns in visa and passport processing and potential breakdowns in internal controls; makes recommendations to address vulnerabilities; and provides investigative support to DS in visa and/or passport fraud and malfeasance investigations.

DS also has assigned DS Special Agents to liaison positions within multiple intelligence and law enforcement agencies-including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency, NCTC, DHS, U.S. Marshals Service, and Interpol-to ensure the timely dissemination of DS intelligence and investigative information. The DS Visa and Passport Analysis Unit evaluates Department databases and reporting to identify potential criminal activity and provide actionable information to both criminal investigators and CA officials. Finally, DS has assigned staff to the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center (HSTC) to support its role as a "clearinghouse" for intelligence on human smuggling and trafficking, as well as terrorist travel.

Click the links below to read the specific objectives of this goal:

OBJECTIVE: OPTIMIZE THE HUMAN SMUGGLING AND TRAFFICKING CENTER FUSION OPERATIONS

OBJECTIVE: ESTABLISH A CRIMINAL INTELLIGENCE CAPABILITY WITHIN DS

OBJECTIVE: ENHANCE INTERDEPARTMENT COOPERATION AND TRAVEL DOCUMENT VULNERABILITIES EFFORTS


 

Table of Contents

Mission Statement | Introductory Letter From Assistant Secretary Griffin | The Bureau of Diplomatic Security: A Brief History | Visa and Passport Fraud: An Overview | Introduction | Strategic Goal 1 | Strategic Goal 2 | Strategic Goal 3 | Conclusion | Appendix: Operation Triple X 



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