INTERPOL Washington Participates in Counter-ISIS Workshop
On July 12, 2017, officials from INTERPOL and INTERPOL Washington—the U.S. National Central Bureau-- participated in a gathering of the Small Group of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS who met at the U.S. Department of State to synthesize the senior level Global Coalition meetings and discuss priorities to build on the progress in Mosul and Raqqa. The Small Group consists of key coalition stakeholders who play a major role, whether military or non-military, in the campaign to defeat ISIS. The day before, the 72-member Global Coalition met to discuss how to speed up Coalition efforts to defeat ISIS in the remaining areas it holds in Iraq and Syria, and maximize pressure globally on its branches, affiliates, and networks. The Small Group meetings sought to assess the campaign and discuss ways to intensify pressure on ISIS in each of the critical areas of counter finance, foreign terrorist fighters, stabilization support, and communications.
INTERPOL Washington Assistant Directors Royce Walters and Scott Suitts discussed “INTERPOL Tools and Techniques” during a panel on “Radical Information Sharing.” This panel explored the critical role information sharing plays between countries seeking to detect and disrupt ISIS plotting and ISIS-inspired homegrown attacks. The session addressed both available and merging tools, as well as strategies to overcome barriers to information sharing that can slow progress. The goal for the panel was to encourage attendees from various agencies to discuss the latest policy and practical developments within their institutions.
Walters and Suitts emphasized the opportunities for additional information sharing on a case-by-case basis between agencies with diverse roles–within single countries and between different countries. Additional progress in this area would make it possible to build a more comprehensive, cross-cutting picture of known and potential terrorists, and possibly to flag a higher percentage of potential attacks earlier in their planning stages, they said.
In addition, they described current information-sharing architecture, including INTERPOL’s I-24/7 and Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) databases. They underscored the importance of collating information from diverse sources and regions to obtain a more comprehensive picture of potential terrorist activity. For example, taken separately, known associations with violent extremists in one country, travel into areas of conflict in a second country, and suspect financial transactions in a third country may not provide sufficient grounds for heightened surveillance. However, taken together, these discrete activities may form a pattern that may indicate a connection with potential terrorist action.
According to Walters, “Many coalition partners expressed gratitude to the Iraqi government and military for the significant advances that have occurred over the last few months to defeat ISIS and liberate large areas of the country. It is clearly understood; however, that the fight is far from over. Some ISIS fighters will invariably attempt to blend in with the Iraqi population or try to enter another country. Coalition members recognize this and expressed a need for continued collaboration and tighter border controls to address this threat.”
A component of the U.S. Department of Justice, INTERPOL Washington is co-managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As the designated representative to INTERPOL on behalf of the Attorney General, INTERPOL Washington serves as the national point of contact for all INTERPOL matters, coordinating international investigative efforts among member countries and the more than 18,000 local, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement agencies in the United States.