1997 Congressional Hearings
Intelligence and Security

International Training

Statement of
Louis J. Freeh
Federal Bureau of Investigation
International Training
Senate Appropriations Committee
Subcommittee on Foreign Operations

March 20, 1997

Recognizing the fluidity of crime around the world, the FBI has worked closely with the Department of State to develop a strategy which facilitates our ability to protect Americans' and American interests. Without the support and vision of Ambassador Gelbard, Secretary Christopher, and now Secretary Albright, the United States' response to international crime would have been disjointed and inefficient. Their leadership and assistance has been particularly helpful to the FBI as we have developed a response to this problem. The FBI is particularly indebted to Ambassador Gelbard for all he has done for law enforcement over the last several years.

The United States cannot simply fight crime on our own soil; we must be proactive to prevent these criminal organizations from gaining strength. Therefore, the FBI has underway a multi-faceted approach to better protect Americans at home and abroad, and to train and assist our fellow law enforcement organizations in fighting crime within their own countries. We have expanded our Legal Attache program, increased our international training efforts, and developed programs to open the lines of communication among law enforcement officials. Crime is a transnational phenomenon; it knows no boundaries. By slowing the spread and development of complex criminal enterprises in their home country, we can prevent their establishing a foothold within the U.S.

One of the first areas where the FBI proactively sought partnerships was the countries of Eastern Europe, the Baltics and Russia. The responses of these countries to our offers of assistance have been overwhelmingly positive. One of our first activities in this region was the opening of the Legal Attache office in Moscow to work closely with Russian police against a variety of costly crimes. From July 1994 to the present, the number of cases worked by the FBI agents in Moscow has increased from 20 to approximately 275. Since that time, we have also opened offices in Tallinn, Estonia; Kiev, Ukraine; and Warsaw, Poland. Our 1998 budget proposes opening additional offices in Almaty, Kazakhstan; Prague, Czech Republic; and Tashkent, Uzbekistan; as well as other locations.

The strength and success of organized crime has become an increasing problem in this region of the world as it is in the United States. According to the Nezavisimaya Gazeta, (Moscow, 1996), Moscow police break up at least two organized crime gangs each day, but each gang is replaced by a new one. There are now more than 200 groups active in Moscow; bloody "altercations" between groups are an almost daily occurrence. In Lithuania there are an estimated 100 organized criminal groups with total core membership of about 1,200 criminals. Latvian and Estonian police estimate that there are 10-15 such groups operating in each of their countries. In Vilnius, the crime rate is high, and it is estimated that 70 percent of the offenses are not reported to police. The situation is far worse in Estonia and only slightly better in Latvia.

Through cooperative efforts, we have begun to achieve successes. The June 1995 arrest and subsequent prosecution in New York City of Vyacheslav Kirillovich Ivankov and five of his associates on federal charges of conspiracy to commit extortion continues to be recognized in Russia and the U.S. as a shining example of FBI-Russian police cooperation. Ivankov, convicted in U.S. District Court last July, was sentenced in January to over nine years in prison. More recently, in July 1996, an Ivankov associate was killed in a gangland-style shooting in Vienna, Austria. Efforts by the FBI Legal Attache office in Vienna helped authorities identify and arrest two Georgian suspects in the shooting.

In another successful cooperative effort, a major computer fraud investigation continues into the diversion of over $10 million by a St. Petersburg, Russia, gang to dummy accounts at Citibank in New York. Russian Ministry of Interior (MVD) officers and FBI Agents have worked closely to investigate this case. For instance, Russian police officers traveled to New York last August to obtain evidence. Russian investigators assigned to this case also attended the Computers Crimes Conference in New York earlier this month.

However, the success of these cooperative efforts does not lessen the danger which exists for these countries and the U.S. The FBI is supporting the ongoing MVD investigation into the November 1996 murder of American citizen Paul Tatum in Moscow. Mr. Tatum was murdered November 3, 1996, in a subway station outside of a hotel whose ownership he was disputing. While this killing of a businessman was the first involving a U.S. citizen, this use of force has become far too common in Russia. The cooperation occurring in the investigation of this case continues to strengthen our law enforcement relationship and provides a glimpse into the crime and corruption problem which still plagues the Russian democracy. Through our cooperative efforts, we hope to help the Russian authorities develop law enforcement tools and investigative techniques to assist them in their battle against this problem.

One of the most difficult law enforcement problems facing many of the New Independent States (NIS) and Eastern European nations is drug trafficking. The scourge of drug trafficking has had a devastating impact on the entire global community. Russia, the NIS, and Eastern Europe are certainly not immune to this epidemic. Criminal organizations in these emerging democracies are taking advantage of the relaxed borders and improved telecommunications systems that have emerged in recent years to facilitate their illegitimate operations. These countries are targets of opportunity for the major drug trafficking organizations, like the Colombian cartels, which seek to establish new and lucrative markets.

Our increased cooperation has netted some success. For example, the FBI's Miami office in January 1997, arrested Ludwig Fainberg on racketeering charges. Fainberg was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury, along with two associates, on 30 counts of RICO conspiracy, narcotics conspiracy, interstate transportation of stolen property, and other crimes. As part of a plan which illustrates growing drug trafficking efforts between elements in Russia and South America, Fainberg proposed the purchase of a Russian diesel submarine to smuggle cocaine, according to the charges.

The FBI, in coordination with the Department of Justice, the Department of State and others, completed a four-year expansion plan for our Legal Attache program. I am happy to say that we have met our initial goals in this plan and continue to open offices. Last fiscal year, we opened three offices (Cairo, Egypt; Islamabad, Pakistan; and Tel Aviv, Israel) and this fiscal year we have already opened four (Warsaw, Poland; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Tallinn, Estonia; and Kiev, Ukraine). We plan to open three more offices this year (Pretoria, South Africa; New Delhi, India; and Buenos Aires, Argentina). Presently, we have 82 agents and 61 support employees in 30 nations around the world. During fiscal year 1996, these offices handled 3,355 cases and 5,767 lead assignments.

The FBI's Legal Attache program is the single most significant factor in the Bureau's ability to detect, deter, and investigate international crimes in which the United States or our citizens are victims. By stationing agents abroad and establishing operational links with foreign police, the FBI substantially expands the nation's perimeter of law enforcement protection.

The Legal Attaches play an important role as conduits for information regarding international criminals and crime. They also act as facilitators for our international training programs. Through the Legal Attaches, foreign law enforcement officials become aware of the training opportunities which are open to them. At the host governments invitation, the FBI conducts an analysis of that country's crime problem and police training needs. We then provide the host government with recommendations to enhance their techniques and capabilities with FBI assistance and training initiatives. Several assessments have been conducted in the last two years with additional assessments planned for FY 1997. The Legal Attaches also screen potential students and make recommendations regarding student's attendance.

Combating this growing international crime problem cannot be done by the FBI alone. We rely on our partners within the United States Government to work together to fight this problem. Recently, the FBI and Department of State have undertaken a number of efforts to clarify our roles and increase cooperation between our employees. The most important result of these efforts was the negotiation and signing of a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the Legal Attache's relationship to the Chief of Mission. This MOU clarifies the importance of our relationship and the need for cooperation in order to be successful overseas. In addition, a Diplomatic Security Special Agent has been detailed to the FBI to help ensure open and clear communication on policy and operational issues. In the future, we also hope to implement a comprehensive training program to sensitize DOS and FBI personnel to interagency issues. Through these efforts, we have strengthened our relationship and ensured a coordinated strategy overseas.

The FBI also works closely with other government agencies in one of the United States finest law enforcement achievements -- the establishment and opening of the International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest, Hungary. I know, Mr. Chairman, that you recently visited the ILEA and saw firsthand the importance that this facility plays in developing working relationships among law enforcement officials. The ILEA is a direct outgrowth of our trip to Eastern Europe in 1994 and President Clinton's direction to U.S. Government agencies to join together to build the world's capabilities in fighting international crime. The Academy represents the combined efforts of the Department of State (DOS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the United States Secret Service (USSS), the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), and other agencies and countries. It is truly a case where all of these law enforcement agencies are working together as partners toward a common goal. I cannot speak highly enough about the contributions ATF, DEA, Secret Service, IRS, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in the Department of Treasury and the Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security have made in making the Academy succeed. The Academy brings together seasoned investigators as instructors and law enforcement officers from across Eastern Europe, Russia, and the NIS to learn policing under the rule of law.

The opening of ILEA in April 1995, was an important step toward establishing a mechanism for regional law enforcement training in Eastern Europe. At ILEA, police officers from Eastern Europe, Russia and the Baltic states are being trained in techniques used to combat modern criminal activity, including organized crime and terrorist groups. To date, 377 students from 19 countries have graduated from the eight-week professional development seminar which is the cornerstone of activity at the ILEA. In addition, 18 other courses have been taught by six different U.S. Government agencies. For example, the FBI taught a footwear and tire impression class for 20 students from Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. The United States Secret Service has taught two counterfeiting courses for 53 students from Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Estonia. In addition, ILEA instructors participated in the United Nations sanctioned training initiative, under the auspices of the Austrian Interior Ministry, for 300 Bosnian police officers in Vienna.

The FBI also conducts training courses with funds allocated to the FBI by the U.S. Department of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and funding from Freedom and Support Act (FSA) and Support for Eastern European Democracies (SEED) funds. In fiscal 1997, the FBI will receive $1,341,000 from FSA; $1,074,000 from SEED; and $3,168,700 from INL for a total of $5,583,700 in funding from the Department of State. These funds are used to support the teaching of a variety of courses designed to meet particular needs of the host country.

Through the FBI's in-country training program, the FBI conducts one and two-week schools in foreign nations which concentrate on police operations and technical skills. Our in-country training is very broad, ranging from basic investigative techniques to police integrity internal control courses. We use seasoned, senior FBI street agent instructors who use their extensive practical experience in training our foreign counterparts in policing under the rule of law. The instructors in these programs have an established expertise in criminal investigations, especially organized crime and white collar crime. Their credibility is not only essential for effective instruction but also is very effective in building the cop-to-cop bridges that we so critically need.

During FY 1996 the FBI, provided over 52 training courses in 21 countries for 2,078 foreign law enforcement personnel through FSA and SEED funding. In 1997, the FBI plans to conduct 170 training courses for 59 countries for an estimated 4,606 foreign law enforcement personnel. This dramatic increase in training is due to the increase in funding made available by the Department of State for world wide training. The FBI projects a 10% increase in training courses to be conducted in FY 1998.

One beneficial part of this training is the opportunity it provides the trainers and the trainees to interact about specific crime problems being encountered in their countries, how to address the problem, share experiences learned in the process and forge new relationships for future cooperation on matters of mutual interest and concern. To further build upon these initial training courses, the FBI has also begun another initiative -- Practical Case Training (PCT). The PCT initiatives allow the FBI to invite law enforcement officers from abroad to take part in hands-on, on-the-job practical case training regarding mutual investigative interests. The program also sends FBI Agents to foreign countries to train their counter-parts in the same methodology.

The PCT serves as a forum in which case information and investigative techniques can be shared in effort to combat those criminal elements that are common to both nations. This program has been extremely well-received and successful. Currently, an FBI agent with an expertise in financial crimes is assisting the Czech government in its efforts to investigate financial fraud, specifically irregularities in the Czech banking system. As a result, Czech authorities are becoming much stronger in their ability to thwart future criminal bank failures. For example, the Czechs are in the process of forming financial crime task forces modeled after US examples. The PCT serves as a forum in which case information and investigative techniques can be shared in an effort to combat those criminal elements that are common to both nations.

In another example of this cooperative program, Russian police officers have now worked side-by-side with Agents in ten FBI field offices, resulting in testimony and other support by Russians in major FBI cases such as the Ivankov organized crime and Citibank fraud investigations. In Russia, an ambitious FBI commitment to training has already resulted in 36 one-week seminars throughout Russia, with at least ten more slated for the remainder of this fiscal year. The practical result is that there now exists a network of Russian investigators who are better prepared to not only meet their own crime challenges but to assist the FBI in its responsibility to protect American citizens.

Under the auspices of the State Department's Antiterrorism Training Assistance (ATA) program, and working with the Department of Defense, the FBI has also developed two training courses which attempt to counter threats of concern to the United States -- terrorism and those involving weapons of mass destruction. In conjunction with the ATA program, the FBI will be conducting multiple sessions of three specific anti-terrorism courses this year. Countries being considered as attendees include Brazil, Egypt, Morocco and Turkey. The first two-week course, the Criminal Justice Executive Forum (CJEF), provides senior level law enforcement officials with current leadership, management, and organizational concepts and experiences critical to the direction of national law enforcement agencies and the coordination of multi-agency crisis management policy and strategy. CJEF was first conducted in May 1996, and the FBI plans to conduct three of these seminars this year.

We are also working with the ATA program in developing a Major Case Management course to provide the basis for managing the investigation of terrorist crimes. It specifies the procedure for forming an investigative task force. The course will enhance the abilities of foreign criminal investigation agencies to investigate, arrest, prosecute and convict perpetrators of terrorist crimes. The first country to be invited to participate in this training was El Salvador. From March 3 - 14, 1997, the FBI taught this course to 25 law enforcement officials from the government of El Salvador. This course was the first time that judges, prosecutors and police officers from El Salvador had been brought together under their new constitution to discuss issues such as how to conduct a major case investigation and how to form an investigative team.

We have also developed with ATA a two-week Terrorist Crime Scene Investigation course. This course teaches investigators the principles of crime scene management and seeks to provide the participants with the skill to conduct crime scene searches, to process physical evidence, and to provide testimony in judicial proceedings. An important part of crime scene management involves principles of searching for perishable physical evidence, such as fingerprints and impressions of tires and tools. The majority of this course is conducted in an academic learning environment using lecture, group discussion, case studies, and practical exercises.

Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems poses one of the greatest threats to our national and international security now and for the foreseeable future. A recent example illustrates the extent of this threat. In December 1994, Czech authorities seized 2.72 kilograms of weapons grade uranium 235 in Prague. Three persons were arrested including the leader, a Czech nuclear engineer who had been trained in the former Soviet Union and had personal ties with two Russian businessmen. The Czechs had no information about the destination of the shipment, but estimate that the uranium was worth "several million dollars." This case represents the largest quantity of weapons-usable material seized outside Russia. In another case, one man died and at least four others were hospitalized from overexposure to radiation after a tiny sliver of Cesium 137, a radioactive source, was found inside the man's home in Estonia. The United States must take a proactive role to assist these countries with this serious threat.

Last July, Secretary of Defense William J. Perry and I submitted a joint report to the Congress titled," DOD-FBI Counter Proliferation Program" which called for the development of a training program to improve the ability of states of the Former Soviet Union, the Baltic countries, and Eastern Europe to prevent, deter and investigate any aspects of crimes related to the proliferation and/or diversion of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and their delivery systems, as well as to prevent the illicit trade in related materials. This training program will be developed for the entire law enforcement community -- from investigators to prosecutors to judges. The plan calls for U.S. representatives to discuss and evaluate the existing counter-proliferation and anti-nuclear smuggling apparatus and the legal structures and principles for the development of legislative, regulatory, and law enforcement frameworks. In addition to the FBI and DOD, participating agencies include the DOS, Intelligence Community, DOE, DOC, and USCS. Training outside the U.S. will take place at the ILEA.

The FBI realizes the threat which international crimes pose to the American public and the importance that international partnerships play in the effort to stop these crimes. However, we cannot do this alone. Without the support of the Congress, the Department of State, and our other law enforcement partners here in the U.S., this effort will be fruitless. Through our joint endeavors, we have seen positive results; however, we cannot stop now. As long as criminals and their organizations believe they can exploit the law, we must continue our quest to educate and assist our law enforcement partners around the world -- and in turn receive their assistance and cooperation.