Europol’s Director discusses Foreign Fighters returning from Syria and cybercrime with U.S. law enforcement and government authorities

2 May 2014
FBI Director James Comey and Europol Director Wainwright

From 29 April to 1 May, Europol Director, Rob Wainwright, visited Washington D.C. to meet with senior law enforcement and government officials.

During the visit, Director Wainwright met with Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, FBI Director James Comey, US Secret Service (USSS) Director Julia Pierson and Senior Advisor to the DHS Secretary, John Cohen. The visit also included a meeting at the White House with President Obama’s Senior Advisor, Rand Beers and Michael Daniel, Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator.

Director Wainwright used the meetings to highlight the threat posed to the EU and the US by the return of individuals who travelled to Syria and who might engage in terrorist activities. He announced Europol’s plans for a new operational project on foreign fighters, which he encouraged the US authorities to join in order to increase information exchange and get a better picture of the phenomenon. The liaison agreement between Europol and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which will be signed this month, will also be a key element of the EU-US coordinated response to the problem.

In addition, Director Wainwright exchanged views with his US counterparts on how best to tackle the growing threat of cybercrime. Europol, its European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and US agencies are already cooperating extensively, with more than 50 operations in the last year to take down criminal groups involved in online child sexual exploitation, running botnets or carrying out intrusion in critical financial infrastructures. The aim of the visit was to further strengthen the existing cooperation and discuss the participation of dedicated cyber investigators from the FBI, the USSS and from ICE in the new Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) which is being established by EC3 and which will focus on cross-border cybercrime investigations against botnets, banking Trojans and underground market places.

As part of the visit, the Director gave a keynote speech at the Homeland Security Policy Institute (HSPI) of the George Washington University.

On conclusion of the visit, Rob Wainwright said, “The scale and nature of transnational security threats continue to grow, especially in cyber space. Europol is committed to helping European law enforcement agencies fight crime and terrorism and understands the growing importance of cooperating closely with US partner agencies in that work. I am delighted that Europol enjoys such productive operational relations with the US."

Keynote speech at the Homeland Security Policy Institute (HSPI) of the George Washington University.