Transcript of European Union/United States Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Press Availability

WASHINGTON , Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following transcript of the European Union/ United States Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Press Availability was released today by the U.S. Department of Justice: 1:40 P.M...


WASHINGTON , Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following transcript of the European Union/ United States Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Press Availability was released today by the U.S. Department of Justice:

1:40 P.M. EST

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: Good afternoon. Joining me on stage today are Michele Alliot-Marie , Minister of Interior for France ; Tomas Bocek , the Deputy Justice Minister for the Czech Republic ; Jacques Barrot , European Union Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security; Stewart Baker , who is the Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and Peter Ratzel , the Director of Europol, who are all here with us this afternoon.

I'm very pleased to be here today, not only to host this important meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs ministers, but also to speak briefly about the value of our law enforcement relationship with the European Union and with its member states.

The range of topics that we discuss today illustrates both the extent and the depth of that relationship. These topics include the sharing of information and evidence to help each other in our own domestic prosecutions, our joint counterterrorism efforts around the globe, and additional ways in which we can cooperate to protect the children of the world from online exploitation and child pornography.

Crime is increasingly, and, criminals are increasingly, a global problem, and our solutions therefore have to be global as well. And the kind of international cooperation that we've been talking about today, which has been happening daily, is vital to our success. We're going to have to build upon that success, look for opportunities and coordinate our efforts further.

One such example of this kind of coordination is an operation that we call Joint Hammer, which is the American component of a global coordinated enforcement effort known as Operation Koala led by the EU law enforcement agencies Europol and Eurojust, which targeted a vast network of child sexual exploitation.

This joint EU-U.S. coordinated effort began actually in Australia with the discovery of a videotape that was sent to Europe . It depicted a father sexually abusing his young daughters and producing images of that abuse. That one case led to one of the largest ever transnational enforcement efforts against the web of Internet-based child pornography trading rings.

From that initial horrible discovery, the investigation grew to reveal connections in nearly 30 countries around the world. In the United States alone, we have so far arrested 61 people, and as we continue to pursue additional leads, I'm hopeful and expectant there will be more arrests.

Even more important, the work of U.S. law enforcement has resulted in the identification of 11 children in the United States who were victims of these terrible crimes, children who have now been given the chance to start their lives over in an environment that's free from that kind of abuse.

Our international counterparts have identified many more and have taken the same kind of action in their own countries.

The members of this network of predators shared photos, stories of abuse of innocent children, and exchanged tips on how to evade detection. They tried to hide in what they hoped was the anonymity of the Internet.

What allowed this operation to move from an isolated local case to a global investigation was the cooperation and coordination of law enforcement professionals in many countries. Partners in each country shared their intelligence and their discoveries and cracked the secrecy upon which these perpetrators depended.

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