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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                          (New York, New York)
For Immediate Release                                  September 7, 2000


I am pleased to receive the report of the Interagency Commission on Crime and Security in U.S. Seaports. In April 1999, I directed the Secretary of the Treasury, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Transportation to establish the Commission to undertake a comprehensive study of the nature and extent of crime in our seaports and the state of security in those seaports. I also direct the Commission to review the ways in which Federal, state and local governments are responding to the problem, and develop recommendations for improving law enforcement and crime prevention.

Seaports are a key component of our Nation's Marine Transportation System and serve as major gateways for international commerce. As barriers to trade and travel are reduced and volumes of international cargo and passengers continue to grow, opportunities for criminals to exploit or disrupt maritime commerce increase. It is thus essential that we maintain effective security and border control measures to thwart criminals seeking to use our seaports for terrorism, fraud, theft, or smuggling of illegal drugs, migrants, weapons and other contraband.

The Commission's report documents the current crime problem in seaports, identifies present and projected security threats, and recommends a number of useful measures aimed at reducing the vulnerability of maritime commerce and its supporting infrastructure. The Chief of Staff has initiated a review of the Commission's recommendations, with a view to implementing them as appropriate.

I would like to commend Secretary Summers, Attorney General Reno, and Secretary Slater for their leadership in this important initiative. I would also like to express my appreciation to co-chairs Commissioner Ray Kelly of the U.S. Customs Service, Administrator Clyde Hart of the U.S. Maritime Administration, and Assistant Attorney General Jim Robinson, Department of Justice, to their fellow commissioners, and to the professional staff for their vision and hard work in carrying out this initiative.

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