President Clinton Announces International Crime Control Strategy

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 12, 1998


Room 450 Old Executive Office Building

10:22 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Mary, for yourremarks and your work. Thank you, Mr. Vice President, Members of theCabinet and Congress, Mayor Barry, Members of the City Council and toall the law enforcement officials who are here. We are here to talkabout building a safer world for the 21st Century.

So before I begin my remarks about the subject of theday, I want to make it very, very clear that I am deeply disturbed bythe nuclear tests which India has conducted, and I do not believe itcontributes to building a safer 21st Century. The United Statesstrongly opposes any new nuclear testing. This action by India notonly threatens the stability of the region, it directly challengesthe firm international consensus to stop the proliferation of weaponsof mass destruction. I call on India to announce that it willconduct no further tests and that it will sign the Comprehensive TestBan Treaty now and without conditions. I also urge India's neighborsnot to follow suit, not to follow down the path of a dangerous armsrace. As most of you know, our laws have very stringent provisions,signed into law by me in 1994, in response to nuclear tests bynon-nuclear weapons states, and I intend to implement them fully.

Now, in a few hours I will be leaving to travel toEurope, to meet with the leaders of other industrial democracies in atime of great hope -- because of what is happening in Bosnia andIreland. It is clear that if we work together, the 21st Century canbe a time of unprecedented democracy, prosperity and peace.But it is equally clear that there are threats to our common futurethat -- across national lines. Today, I want to announce new plansto address the growing problem of international crime.

We all know the globe is shrinking every day with globalTV networks, instantaneous communications over the Internet,increasing world travel. European nations have adopted completelyopened borders and many of them have already voted to create a commoncurrency.

The American people, in general, benefit greatly fromthe process of globalization -- with more economic opportunities andmore opportunities to become enriched through contact with differentcultures. Our values -- democracy, human rights, the rule of law--will ultimately prevail when there is free trade in ideas.

But more porous borders, more affordable travel, morepowerful communications, increasingly also give criminals theopportunity to reach across borders -- physically and electronically-- to commit crimes and then retreat before they can be caught andpunished. Many Americans really don't realize the extent to whichinternational crime affects their daily lives, which is why we wereso pleased to have Agent Riley with us today.

Con artists, operating overseas, mail phony financialoffers and then disappear with investor dollars -- hundreds ofmillions of dollars' worth. Sometimes they lure citizens abroad anduse violence to get what they want.

Car theft rings move stolen vehicles across theborder -- 200,000 a year, worth about $1 billion -- resulting inhigher insurance costs for all Americans.

As Agent Riley's remarks suggest, cyber-criminals canuse computers to raid our banks, run up charges on our credit cards,extort money by threats to unleash computer viruses.

Smugglers engage in port running -- speeding vehiclespast our border points -- putting people in danger and aiding thethriving trade in gangs, drugs and guns. Others smuggle peopleacross our border for prostitution and jobs in illegal sweatshops.

Two-thirds of counterfeit U.S. money -- two-thirds, isprinted overseas. Illegal copying of our products costs us jobs andtens of billions in revenue. Spies seek important industrial secrets-- and worse, materials to make nuclear, chemical and biologicalweapons. Up to $500 billion in criminal proceeds every singleyear -- more than the GNP of most nations -- is laundered, disguisedas legitimate revenue, and much of it moves across our borders.International crime rings intimidate weak governments and threatendemocracy. They murder judges, journalists, witnesses, andkidnappers and terrorists have attacked Americans abroad, and even athome with brutal acts like the World Trade Center bombing.

Wrongdoing flows two ways. U.S. criminals also operateacross borders, victimizing people in other nations. All theseactivities threaten our common safety and prosperity. To combatthem, we must act broadly, decisively, consistent with ourconstitutional values to leave criminals no place to run, no place tohide.

The job of law enforcement officials behind me -- from12 different agencies -- is to protect the American people fromcrime. But the job of our Congress -- and my job -- is to give theseofficers the tools they need to do the job.

Therefore, today, I announce for the first time acomprehensive international crime control strategy for America. Atits core is a simple but compelling truth: International crimerequires an international response. America is prepared to act alonewhen it must, but no nation can control crime by itself anymore. Wemust create a global community of crime-fighters, dedicated toprotecting the innocent, and to bringing to justice the offenders.

This week, nations at the G-8 summit will announcesignificant new joint anticrime activities. But let me tell you whatI plan to do already -- by taking better advantage of existing lawsand asking Congress for new legislation.

First, we will work with other nations to create aworldwide dragnet capability to promptly arrest and extraditefugitives from justice. Our bill asks for wider authority so Americacan extradite more suspected criminals. We will also press forinternational cooperations so criminals will forfeit their ill-gottengains.

Second, because none of us is safe if criminals findsafe havens abroad, we will work to ensure other nations are alsoready to fight international crime -- with global standards andgoals, training and technical aid, and programs to modernize criminallaws elsewhere.

Third, we will work with our allies to share informationon growing crime syndicates, to better derail their schemes. And wewill work with industries to protect against computer crime.

Fourth, we will put more law enforcement personnelabroad, to aid our embassies in identifying criminals before theyattack Americans. And I'm seeking new authority to prosecute moreviolent offenses against Americans overseas.

Fifth, we will strengthen border security -- with 1000new Border Patrol agents, new technologies, and stiffer penalties--to put more smuggling rings out of business. I also want tough newsentences for port runners and for smugglers who refuse to stop forour Coast Guard.

Sixth, I will ask Congress to enact strict provisions tobar drug and arms traffickers and fugitives from justice fromentering our country -- and to expel them if they do come here.

Finally, I will seek new authority to fightmoney-laundering and freeze the U.S. assets of people arrestedabroad. And we'll improve enforcement of existing laws againstcounterfeiting and industrial espionage.

To focus our efforts, we will complete within six monthsa comprehensive analysis of the threat Americans face frominternational crime. I've asked Vice President Gore to organize aglobal meeting to set a common agenda for fighting corruption andstrengthening the rule of law. Some of the criminals havesophisticated tools, so ours must be also. They can form temporarycross-border alliances, based on greed and self-interest. So we muststrengthen the community of nations based on a community of values.

They care about no one but themselves, while we care sodeeply about our children and their future. It is our most profoundstrength -- the strength that will allow us to prevail. For wecannot, we must not, we will not, accept a world in which Americanchildren and children abroad grow up paralyzed by crime, fear andviolence.

Together, America and our allies can attack this scourgeand build a secure and prosperous future for all our people. Again,let me say to all of you -- especially to law enforcement officershere -- I thank you very, very much. Thank you. (Applause.)

What's New - May 1998

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Transportation Bill

International Crime Control Strategy

The New Economy

Historic Budget Surplus Numbers

The People of Germany

Climate Change Event

Welfare to Work Successes

Chancellor Kohl

Ronald Reagan Building Dedication

Patients' Bill of Rights

Today's Economic News

Italian Prime Minister Prodi

Funding of New Community Police Officers

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Press Conference

NATO Expansion Ratification

Education Issues with Mayors Conference

Naval Academy Commencement Address

Analysis, Patients' Bill of Rights

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