Home News Speeches Strengthening Partnerships to Combat International Crime and Terrorism
  • Robert S. Mueller, III
  • Director
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Ministerial Summit
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • May 12, 2005

Good afternoon. I am honored to be here today. I want to thank Minister Lamperth for inviting me to join you and for organizing the Ministerial Summit.

Our nations have come together to discuss ways we can combat international terrorism and transnational organized crime. Years ago, these were remote concepts. Law enforcement agencies primarily focused on combating crime within the borders of our own countries. Threats to Hungary did not necessarily affect the Ukraine or the United States. But today, all that has changed.

We live in the age of globalization, and our world grows smaller every day. Airplanes, e-mail, fax machines, and mobile phones made it possible for us to coordinate this summit and travel here to Budapest. Modern technology has made international boundaries less and less relevant.

Unfortunately, modern technology has also made it easier for crimes as diverse as drug trafficking, corporate fraud, organized crime, and terrorism to jump from Krakow to Kabul with the stroke of a computer key or the push of a cell phone button.

Organized crime enterprises, for example, may be based in one country, but can operate in dozens of others. Terrorist groups may plan in Europe, finance their operations in North America, train in the Middle East, and carry out attacks anywhere in the world. Criminals from far corners of the world can communicate instantly and can form international networks that are difficult to track.

Today, no single police department or country can investigate and defeat crime and terrorism alone. Because the threats we face are no longer limited to our borders, we must confront these challenges as an international community, as a united front. We must reach across our borders to form worldwide partnerships.

These partnerships begin with training. In the United States, police officers come from around the world to train at the FBI’s National Academy. Here in Central Europe, officers from 26 countries train together at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest.

At ILEA Budapest, officers learn the same terminology and investigative techniques. They share their experiences and expertise. They compare law enforcement strategies and legal systems, and draw on each other for ideas on how to improve them. They forge bonds of friendship that transcend their differences, be they borders, backgrounds, or beliefs.

And then these officers bring their new knowledge and skills back to their own countries, raising the caliber of every officer in the ranks. Frequently, ILEA-trained officers become leaders in their agencies. As leaders, they will work closely with law enforcement leaders in other countries.

More and more, these leaders have something in common: they are graduates of ILEA Budapest. They speak a common language, and share a common mission. They are not meeting for the first time across a conference table. Connections they make at ILEA set the stage for cooperation among nations.

Each time we celebrate the graduation of a group of law enforcement officers, we celebrate something larger--we celebrate the continued growth of our partnerships. Because we recognize that the only way to succeed against international crime and terrorism is by strengthening our relationships, investigator-to-investigator, officer-to-officer, and prosecutor-to-prosecutor.

By working together, we are forming a global law enforcement network that is powerful and effective, and it grows stronger every day. ILEA Budapest is critical to building the bridges we need to communicate, to investigate, and to prosecute. Without these bridges, we cannot succeed. But with them, we cannot fail.

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