THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
INTERNATIONAL CRIME CONTROL ACT OF 1998
In recent years, Congress has provided substantial new authority and resources to fight international crime. The Administration has used these new tools effectively to dismantle major international drug cartels, thwart and bring to justice international terrorists, and establish a beachhead against international organized crime. However, more must be done to combat the increasing threat of international crime.
The proposed International Crime Control Act (ICCA) is intended to implement key objectives in the President's International Crime Control Strategy released today. The ICCA will close gaps in current federal law, criminalize additional types of harmful activities, and promote a strengthening of both domestic and foreign criminal justice systems to respond to the new challenges posed by crime that crosses international boundaries. The initiative will substantially improve the ability of U.S. law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute international criminals, to seize their money and assets, to stop them from crossing our borders, and to prevent them from threatening Americans and our institutions.
Later this week, President Clinton will join the other G-8 Heads of State and Government in Birmingham, England, to discuss issues associated with increasing globalization and rapid technological and economic change. International crime will be a principal focus as the leaders seek to advance two years of successful cooperation built on the principle that transnational crime has moved beyond the capability of any single nation to combat alone. The proposed ICCA is a key to future progress in this area because its new authorities will enable U.S. law enforcement officials to cooperate more effectively with their overseas counterparts in investigating and prosecuting international crime cases.
The ICCA would provide new authorities linked to seven specific goals:
Broadens existing criminal law to authorize the investigation and
punishment of organized criminal groups who commit serious criminal acts against Americans abroad; for the most part, current law requires a link to terrorist activity.
Provides jurisdiction in the United States over violent acts
committed abroad against state and local officials while in other countries on official federal business.
2. Strengthening our air, land and sea border security:
Increases penalties for smugglers who endanger federal law
enforcement officials seeking to interdict their activities by establishing the federal criminal offense of "portrunning" (i.e., evading border inspections, often through the use of force).
Addresses gaps in current law relating to maritime drug interdiction
operations, including creating the criminal offense of failing to "heave to" a vessel at the direction of a Coast Guard or other federal law enforcement official seeking to board that vessel.
Provides clear authority to search international, outbound
letter-class mail if there is reasonable cause to suspect that the mail contains monetary instruments, drugs, weapons of mass destruction, or merchandise mailed in violation of several enumerated U.S. statutes (including obscenity and export control laws).
Broadens our ability to prosecute criminals smuggling goods out of the United States.
3. Denying safe haven to international fugitives:
Authorizes the extradition, in certain circumstances, of suspected
criminals to foreign nations in two separate cases not covered by a treaty: (a) when we have an extradition treaty with the nation, but the applicable treaty is an outdated "list" treaty that does not cover the offense for which extradition in sought; and (b) when the United States does not have an extradition treaty with the requesting nation.
Provides for the exclusion of drug traffickers and their immediate
family members and of persons who attempt to enter the United States in order to avoid prosecution in another country.
4. Seizing and forfeiting international criminals' assets:
Expands the list of money laundering "predicate crimes" to include
certain violent crimes, international terrorism, and bribery of public officials, thereby increasing the availability of money laundering enforcement tools.
Broadens the definition of "financial institution" to include foreign
banks, thereby closing a loophole involving criminally-derived funds laundered through foreign banks doing business here.
Provides new tools to crack down on illegal money-transmitting
businesses and to investigate money laundering under the Bank Secrecy Act.
Toughens penalties for violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
Criminalizes attempted violations of the Trading With the Enemy Act.
5. Responding to emerging international crime problems:
Enhances enforcement tools for combating arms trafficking, including
requiring "instant checks" of the criminal history of those acquiring explosive materials from federal licensees and clarifying federal authority to conduct undercover transactions subject to the Arms Export Control Act for investigative purposes.
Addresses the increasing problem of alien smuggling by authorizing
the forfeiture of the proceeds and all instrumentalities of alien smuggling.
Cracks down on the international shipment of "precursor chemicals"
used to manufacture illicit drugs, primarily by authorizing DEA to require additional "end-use" verification.
Provides extraterritorial jurisdiction for fraud involving credit
cards and other "access devices," which costs U.S. businesses hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
Authorizes wiretapping for investigations of felony computer crime offenses.
6. Promoting global cooperation:
Expands the authority of U.S. law enforcement agencies to share the
seized assets of international criminals with foreign law enforcement agencies.
Provides new authority, in cases where there is no applicable mutual
legal assistance treaty provision, to transfer a person in USG custody to a requesting country temporarily for purposes of a criminal proceeding.
7. Streamlining the investigation and prosecution of internationa1 crime in U.S. courts:
Authorizes the Attorney General to use funds to defray translation,
transportation and other costs of state and local law enforcement agencies in cases involving fugitives or evidence overseas.
Facilitates the admission into evidence in U.S. court proceedings of certain foreign government records.