View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 12, 1998



International crime is a serious and potent threat to the American people at home and abroad. Drug and firearms trafficking, terrorism, money laundering, counterfeiting, illegal alien smuggling, trafficking in women and children, advanced fee scams, credit card fraud, auto theft, economic espionage, intellectual property theft, computer hacking, and public corruption are all linked to international criminal activity and all have a direct impact on the security and prosperity of the American people.

Americans spend billions of dollars annually on cocaine and heroin, all of which originates abroad; in 1997, there were 123 terrorist attacks against U.S. targets worldwide, including 108 bombings and eight kidnappings; each year, approximately one billion dollars worth of stolen cars are smuggled out of this country; annually, U.S. companies lose up to $23 billion from the illegal duplication and piracy of films, compact discs, computer software, pharmaceutical and textile products, while U.S. credit card companies suffer losses of hundreds of millions of dollars from international fraud; and several hundred U.S. companies and other organizations have already suffered computer attacks in 1998, resulting in millions of dollars of losses and significant threats to our safety and security.


The International Crime Control Strategy (ICCS) addresses this increasing threat by providing a framework for integrating all facets of the federal government response to international crime. This first-ever strategy reflects the high priority accorded international crime by this Administration and builds on such existing strategies as the National Drug Control Strategy and the Presidential Directives on alien smuggling, counter-terrorism and nuclear materials safety and security.

The ICCS is also an important initiative in terms of enhancing the ability of U.S. law enforcement officials to cooperate effectively with their overseas counterparts in investigating and prosecuting international crime cases. At the upcoming Birmingham Summit, G-8 leaders will discuss international crime as one of the most pressing issues related to increasing globalization and rapid technological and economic change. President Clinton will highlight the new ICCS in underscoring the U.S. commitment to close cooperation with all nations who are mobilizing to confront this increasing threat.


The ICCS is a plan of action containing eight broad goals with thirty implementing objectives. The ICCS expresses President Clinton's resolve to combat international crime aggressively and substantially reduce its impact on the daily lives of the American people.

The Strategy's eight goals and related objectives are:

  1. Extend the First Line of Defense Beyond U.S. Borders by (a) preventing acts of international crime planned abroad before they occur, (b) using all available laws to prosecute select criminal acts committed abroad, and (c) intensifying activities of law enforcement, diplomatic and consular personnel abroad.
  2. Protect U.S. Borders by (a) enhancing our land border inspection, detection and monitoring capabilities, (b) improving the effectiveness of maritime and air smuggling interdiction efforts, (c) seeking new, stiffer criminal penalties for smuggling activities, and (d) targeting enforcement and prosecutorial resources more effectively against smuggling crimes and organizations.
  3. Deny Safe Haven to International Criminals by (a) negotiating new international agreements to create a seamless web for the prompt location, arrest and extradition of international fugitives, (b) implementing strengthened immigration laws that prevent international criminals from entering the United States and provide for their prompt expulsion when appropriate, and (c) promoting increased cooperation with foreign law enforcement authorities.
  4. Counter International Financial Crime by (a) combating money laundering and strengthening enforcement efforts to reduce inbound and outbound movement of criminal proceeds, (b) seizing the assets of international criminals, (c) enhancing bilateral and multilateral cooperation against all financial crime, and (d) targeting offshore centers of international fraud, counterfeiting, electronic access device schemes and other financial crimes.
  5. Prevent Criminal Exploitation of International Trade by (a) interdicting illegal technology exports, (b) preventing unfair and predatory trade practices in violation of U.S. criminal law, (c) protecting intellectual property rights, (d) countering industrial theft and economic espionage of U.S. trade secrets, and (e) enforcing import restrictions on certain harmful substances, dangerous organisms and protected species.
  6. Respond to Emerging International Crime Threats by (a) disrupting new activities of international organized crime groups, (b) enhancing intelligence efforts against criminal enterprises, (c) reducing trafficking in human beings and crimes against children, (d) increasing enforcement efforts against high tech and computer-related crime, and (e) continuing to identify and counter the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructures and new technologies in high tech areas.
  7. Foster International Cooperation and the Rule of Law by (a) establishing international standards, goals and objectives to combat international crime and by actively encouraging compliance, (b) improving bilateral cooperation with foreign governments and law enforcement authorities, and (c) strengthening the rule of law as the foundation for democratic government and free markets in order to reduce societies' vulnerability to criminal exploitation.
  8. Optimize the Full Range of U.S. Efforts by (a) enhancing executive branch policy and operational coordination mechanisms to assess the risks of criminal threats and to integrate strategies, goals and objectives to combat those threats, (b) mobilizing and incorporating the private sector into U.S. government efforts, and (c) developing measures of effectiveness to assess progress over time.


Highlighted below are ten Administration initiatives to further our efforts to fight international crime.

  1. International Crime Control Act of 1998: Proposed legislation containing significant new law enforcement tools for the fight against international crime.
  2. Comprehensive Threat Assessment: A comprehensive assessment of the threat to the American people posed by international crime, to be completed within six months.
  3. International Conference on Upholding Integrity Among Justice and Security Officials: An international conference to address upholding integrity among key justice and security officials worldwide, to be organized by the Vice President within the next six months.
  4. High Tech Crime: An action plan, building on the work of the G-8 justice and interior ministers and the creation of the U.S. National Infrastructure Protection Center, to protect interconnected U.S. communications and information systems from attack by international criminals.
  5. Border Law Enforcement: A program to enhance border law enforcement through deployment of advanced detection technology and investment of new resources.
  6. Financial Crimes: A commitment to employ aggressively new tools to deny criminals access to U.S. financial institutions and to enhance enforcement efforts against financial crimes.
  7. International Asset Forfeiture and Sharing: A U.S. call for new criminal asset forfeiture regimes worldwide and new asset forfeiture sharing agreements with our international partners.
  8. OAS Treaty Against Illicit Trafficking in Firearms: A program to work with our OAS partners to implement fully a hemispheric convention to combat the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, ammunition and explosives.
  9. Economic Espionage and Theft of Industrial Property: A commitment to use the Economic Espionage Act to increase U.S. investigations and prosecutions of individuals and companies who attempt to steal U.S. proprietary information.
  10. Strategic Communications Plan: A plan to engage the private sector in assessing the impact of international crime on that sector and in determining its appropriate role in countering this threat.