Today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a new International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center (IOC-2) that will marshal the resources and information of nine U.S. law enforcement agencies, as well as federal prosecutors, to collectively combat the threats posed by international criminal organizations to domestic safety and security. Attorney General Holder made the announcement today in Rome at the G8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial.
The new IOC-2 Center will allow partner agencies to join together in a task force setting, combine data, and produce actionable leads for investigators and prosecutors working nationwide to combat international organized crime, and to coordinate the resulting multi-jurisdictional investigations and prosecutions. Understanding that international criminal organizations are profit-driven, IOC-2 will also work with investigators and prosecutors to target the criminal proceeds and assets of international criminal organizations.
"The globalization of criminal networks and advances in technology have made international criminal organizations a significant threat to the safety and security of our nation," said Attorney General Holder. "But we are answering that threat by developing a 21st century organized crime program that will be nimble and sophisticated enough to combat the danger posed by these criminals for years to come. IOC-2 gives us the capacity to collect, synthesize and disseminate information and intelligence from multiple sources to enable federal law enforcement to prioritize and target the individuals and organizations that pose the greatest international organized crime threat to the United States."
As part of this strategy, IOC-2 will establish a team of financial experts to serve as consultants and identify opportunities and strategies to employ forfeiture and explore possibilities for using financial sanctions as a means of disrupting targeted criminal organizations. The team will coordinate multi-jurisdictional forfeiture strategies and assist agents in the field in obtaining the necessary resources, such as financial auditors, investigators and forfeiture attorneys, to employ the strategy.
The members participating in IOC-2 will include: the FBI; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS); U.S. Department of State's Bureaus of Consular Affairs and Diplomatic Security; U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General; and the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division. IOC-2 will also partner with the 94 U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
In recognition of the demonstrated interrelationship between criminal organizations that engage in illicit drug trafficking and those that engage in international organized crime involving a broader variety of criminal activity, IOC-2 will also work in close partnership with the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Fusion Center and DEA's Special Operations Division to ensure these interrelationships are identified and coordinated across federal law enforcement .
From the G8 meeting, Attorney General Holder also emphasized the importance of continued cooperation with foreign law enforcement through existing police-to-police and mutual legal assistance mechanisms. He noted that the creation of IOC-2 demonstrates the United States' commitment to addressing international organized crime issues and will make the United States a more effective partner for joint investigations and prosecutions.
"International organized crime threatens our safety, disrupts our communities, and subverts our economy," said U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. "Our success targeting these criminals relies upon effective partnerships across the federal law enforcement community. The new IOC-2 Center will foster collaboration and strengthen our ability to crack down on international criminal organizations."
According to the U.S. Law Enforcement Strategy to Combat International Organized Crime (IOC Strategy) released in April 2008 by the Department of Justice, international organized crime has considerably expanded in presence, sophistication and significance in recent years and it now threatens many aspects of how Americans live, work and do business. These threats include criminal penetration of global energy and strategic material markets that are vital to American national security interests; logistical and other support to terrorists and foreign intelligence services; the use of cyberspace to target U.S. persons and infrastructure; and the manipulation of securities markets and financial institutions. International criminal organization are also jeopardizing our border security; endangering public health through the trafficking of humans and counterfeit pharmaceuticals; and corrupting public officials in the United States and abroad.
The Attorney General's Organized Crime Council (AGOCC) is chaired by the Deputy Attorney General and consists of the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, the chair of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee and the leaders of nine participating federal law enforcement agencies, which include: the FBI; ICE; DEA; IRS; ATF; U.S. Secret Service; USPIS; U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security; and U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General.
The AGOCC is an outgrowth of an executive order, issued by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968, that placed the Attorney General in charge of coordinating all federal law enforcement activity against organized crime. At the time, the enforcement efforts were primarily focused on La Cosa Nostra. In 2008, the AGOCC began to consider the threat from international organized crime, rather than the Italian-American mafia, to be the primary organized crime threat facing the United States.