FBI New York
FBI New York Press Office
(212) 384-2100
September 26, 2014

Australian Prime Minister Visits FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force for Threat Briefing

Australian Prime Minister, the Honorable Tony Abbott, visited the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Manhattan for a threat briefing today. The prime minister and his senior advisers were also briefed on the success of the task force model, investigative strategies, and cooperation between law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

The meeting included the Prime Minster Tony Abbott, Australian Associate Secretary of National Security and International Policy Margot McCarthy, Australian Head of National Security Andrew Shearer, and Australian Police Commander David Sharpe. FBI Special Agent in Charge William Sweeney and New York City Police Department Chief Joseph Herbert hosted the visit.

_CM23961 edited.jpgAustralian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (right) speaking with FBI Special Agent in Charge William Sweeney (second from left) and New York City Police Department Chief Joseph Herbert (left) during a threat briefing in Manhattan earlier today.

The meeting follows Australia’s largest terror raid ever on September 18, 2014, when there were 15 people detained on terrorism offenses. More than 800 officers participated in the raids and searches.

“The relationships between Australian and U.S. law enforcement agencies are extremely strong,” said Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. “It is, of course, absolutely critical that we have this ability to exchange intelligence and capabilities in order to keep our communities safe from terrorist activity, in a timely way.”

“While there is no specific or credible threat to New York, we place tremendous emphasis on having strong relationships with our partners at every level,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos. “Terrorism can’t be fought alone; it must be fought together. In light of the recent terror raids in Australia, today’s meeting is the latest example of that cooperation. We place great value in our relationships, particularly with our Five Eyes partners.”

“The NYPD has a long, close relationship with Australian law enforcement community, including ongoing exchanges with the Australian Federal Police and the New South Wales Police,” said New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton. “The opportunity to discuss those partnerships, as well as our counterterrorism and intelligence programs, is a great one. As nations and police agencies, we face extraordinarily similar threats and the threats on opposite ends of the globe.”

_CM23928 edited.jpgLeft to right: New York City Police Department Chief Joseph Herbert, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and with FBI Special Agent in Charge William Sweeney pose for a photo after their meeting.

The FBI’s JTTF in Manhattan consists of more than 50 local, state, and federal agencies. The largest and first partner on the FBI’s JTTF is the New York City Police Department. The FBI’s JTTF in Manhattan was the first in the nation and has been operating since 1980. It has been the model for creating hundreds of other task forces around the world.