Justice Department and Partner Agencies Launch National Counter-Proliferation Initiative

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- The Justice Department and several partner agencies today launched a national initiative that will harness the counter-proliferation assets of U.S. law enforcement, licensing, and intelligence agencies...

The new initiative also includes key training components. Export prosecutions are by nature complex because they involve intricate laws, sensitive international issues, agencies with different authorities, and, often, classified information. Under the initiative, the Department will provide specialized training to its field prosecutors, especially those with limited expertise in export control. The Department launched this enhanced training effort in May with a national conference in South Carolina.

The Justice Department has also appointed its first National Export Control Coordinator to implement this initiative and foster coordination among the agencies involved in export control. Based in the Counterespionage Section of the National Security Division, the Coordinator is responsible for managing the nationwide training of prosecutors and monitoring progress on export control prosecutions around the country.

Improved Coordination with Export Licensing Agencies

A final component of the initiative involves greater coordination between the Justice Department and the export licensing agencies, particularly the State Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls and the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security. As part of the initiative, the Justice Department's National Security Division has initiated monthly meetings with the leadership of these offices to ensure that investigations, prosecutions and enforcement issues are fully coordinated.

"These crimes result in some of the most complex and time-consuming cases facing federal law enforcement," said Julie L. Myers, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for ICE. "The concept of terrorists, criminals or rogue nations obtaining weapons and other restricted technology is chilling. By harnessing our collective authorities and efforts, we are better able to protect our national security and global public safety."

According to Timothy D. Bereznay, Assistant Director, FBI Counterintelligence Division, "The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement and intelligence partners in the aggressive pursuit and investigation of high technology export violations. The theft of intellectual property and technology by foreign parties or governments directly threatens both the national and economic security of the U.S. in which the development and manufacturing of U.S. products results in weakened economic capability and diminished political stature for this country."

"I commend Assistant Attorney General Wainstein and the Department of Justice for their leadership on the Export Enforcement Initiative," said Commerce Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Darryl W. Jackson . "This initiative enhances the administration's counter-proliferation program by vigorously pursuing and prosecuting individuals who violate our laws and allow U.S. technology to fall into the wrong hands."

"There are few greater threats to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines than confronting highly-advanced weapons and technology which were designed to protect them and to give them the advantage on the battlefield. It is clear then why the Defense Criminal Investigative Service has for years made illegal technology export a top investigative priority. Our agents, who are dedicated to protecting America's Warfighters, need no motivation in aggressively pursuing these criminals. This initiative is vital and has our full support," said DCIS Director Charles W. Beardall.

"As head of the U.S. Government agency responsible for controlling the export of U.S. defense articles and services, I am delighted to lend my full support to the Export Enforcement Initiative. The Department of State has always maintained a close, working relationship with the federal law enforcement community in its investigation and prosecution of criminal violations of our nation's export control laws. We expect that relationship to only become stronger under this initiative to keep sensitive defense items out of the wrong hands," said Acting Assistant Secretary of State Stephen D. Mull.

Foreign Efforts to Obtain Controlled U.S. Technology

The technology at the heart of this initiative includes restricted U.S. military items, dual-use equipment, and other technical expertise or know-how, some of which have applications in Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). These materials are generally restricted and may not be exported without U.S. government approval. Foreign procurement networks intent on obtaining such materials from the U.S. rarely target complete weapons systems, but often focus on seemingly innocuous components to develop their own weapons systems. Two cases in the past week are exemplary: