July 23, 2015 -
This is a guest post by Janice Kephart, founder of the Secure Identity & Biometrics Association (SIBA).
To bring together the best and the brightest dedicated to helping curtail terrorist travel, and assess its threats, the international nonprofit BORDERPOL is holding it first North America Directorate International Security Meeting “Curtailing Terrorist Travel” September 9-11 in Washington D.C.
The conference will move substantively through threats and solutions in visa adjudication, travel document security, international law, air and land ports of inspection, between ports of entry, and intelligence and information-sharing.
Our keynote is the Chairman on the House Homeland Security Terrorist Travel Task Force Rep. John Katko (R-NY) a former US prosecutor. Pierre-Eduardo Colliex, France’s U.S. Police and Homeland Security Attaché in Washington, will be providing an operational brief on the Charlie Hebab attacks. The United Nations Counterterrorism Executive Directorate will provide a presentation on meetings happening next week in Madrid to support member states struggling to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, and related Security Council instruments. I will be presenting and participating in this special UN meeting, as a BORDERPOL representative.
Other speakers include:
• Patty Cogswell, Chief Intelligence Officer for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and former Acting Deputy and Special Assistant to the President
• Robert Hoitink, Minister Counsellor, Immigration Department of Immigration and Border Protection Regional Director, Americas, Embassy of Australia
• William Hochul, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York and former Chief of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division
• Jamie Solesme, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Staff Sergeant responsible for U.S.-Canada Border Intelligence and Enforcement
• Doug Gilmer, Deputy Unit Chief, FBI National Joint Terrorism Task Force
• Tony Smith, former Director General of the UK Border Force and former Director, Ports and Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Canada
• Paul Anstine, Staff Director, House Homeland Border and Maritime Subcommittee
• David Alania, Border Patrol Chief Captain, (country of) Georgia
• Geoff Shank, U.S. Marshal appointed by the Attorney General as Deputy Director of INTERPOL Washington and NSC Policy Committee member for Foreign Terrorist Fighters, Information Sharing and Counter-Terrorism
• Joel Zlotnick, Supervisory Physical Scientist, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Counterfeit Deterrence Laboratory
• James Chaparro, former Deputy Under Secretary, DHS Office of Intelligence and Director of the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center
• Albina Yakubova, Programme Manager, Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Transnational Threats and Border Security
• Peter Vincent, former General Counsel for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Director of International Affairs
• Andrea Choiniere, Senior Identity Intelligence Consultant specializing in cryptocurrencies and biometrics, Novetta Company, to classified federal government organizations
Our private sector technology provider sponsors 3M, Abanacle, Document Security Alliance, Intellisis, L-3 Communications, MorphoTrak, Novetta, NXP, SICPA, SITA, and SRI International.
EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION ENDS JULY 30 with government, nonprofit, academia able to register for $350, while vendors and solution providers are at $1050. Some sponsorship and a few exhibitor slots are still available. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
In my capacity as BORDERPOL North America Director, I will be presenting a United Nations meeting on this same issue at the end of July in Europe, and will be reporting back on the results of that meeting, and decisions by the Security Council, at this BORDERPOL meeting.
Terrorists and those seeking to join terrorist organizations, particularly ISIS, are causing a surge in terrorist travel that the United Nations states is causing a direct and negative security threat to at least 78 nations around the world, including the United States. Attacks are increasing in Europe and threatened elsewhere, including the United States. Terrorist travel includes both movement into ISIS holding grounds in areas such as Syria, Iraq, Libya as well as groups that were al Qaeda affiliated switching allegiance to ISIS throughout Africa, Yemen and Afghanistan, for example. Also include are traversing nations surrounding ISIS held territories. Kosovo, for example, just turned off its water due to direct terrorist activity that appeared to be aimed at poisoning its water sources.
The increase in flows is exacerbated by the long term destabilizing effects on some governments due to the Arab Spring as well as long held open migration border policies of many nations. The inability or failure to put in place identity management and information-sharing protocols to differentiate potential terrorist from legitimate travel adds to the problems. As daunting as these challenges are, borders can be secured or at least improved, and terrorist travel can be curtailed.
FBI Counterterrorism Division Assistant Director Michael Steinbach stated in testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security in February that, “It would not be true if I told you that we knew about all of the returnees [recruited by ISIS] … We know what we know.”
As “with the widespread horizontal distribution of social media, terrorists can identify sympathetic individuals of all ages in the United States – spot, assess, recruit, and radicalize either to travel or conduct a homeland attack,” Steinbach said. “A foreign terrorist now has direct access into the United States like never before.”
“One of the most pressing concerns for the Intelligence Community is the ongoing flow of foreign fighters to Syria and the threat they could pose upon return to their home countries,” US National CounterTerrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen said in the same hearing. “The battlefields in Iraq and Syria provide foreign fighters with combat experience, weapons and explosives training, and access to terrorist networks that may be planning attacks which target the West.”
Border, law enforcement and intelligence agencies are working both separately, and bi and multi-laterally to define the threats of terrorist travel and find solutions to identifying, watchlisting, and curtailing terrorist travel and ultimately, their operations. Justice systems have had to adapt to both domestic and international movement of terrorists, and international organizations dedicated to human rights and security of nations are increasingly spending time and resources on combating terrorist activity across borders. Yet as Steinbach has made clear, the threat is proliferating in an unprecedented manner.
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