A New Strategy to Combat an Evolving Threat

John Brennan Delivers Remarks on a Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime

John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, delivers remarks on a Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, July 25, 20011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Today, I am proud to stand with my colleagues from across the Administration as we unveil a comprehensive, cutting-edge strategy – the Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime – that will take our nation’s fight against transnational organized crime to the next level.

Not only will this new strategy allow us to integrate our work more effectively, and to leverage limited resources more efficiently, it also will ensure that our agencies – and our government and law enforcement partners – have the tools and authorities necessary to protect the American people from some of today’s most urgent, and complex, threats.

Of course, the problem of transnational organized crime networks isn’t new.  But after a wide-ranging, year-long review – the first study of its kind in more than 15 years – our understanding of what exactly we’re up against has never been clearer or more complete.

Today’s criminal organizations are increasingly sophisticated.  They know no borders.  They threaten the stability of our financial system, and the promise of a competitive marketplace.  And their operations are putting far too many American businesses, government institutions, consumers, and citizens at risk.

For these reasons, in recent years, the Justice Department has strengthened our fight against transnational organized crime – and expanded our successful counter-narcotics work.  But this is no longer just a law enforcement issue; it is a problem that demands the attention, and assistance, of a broad spectrum of partners.

With this new strategy, leaders across government and law enforcement are signaling our commitment to combat transnational organized crime by sharing information and expertise as never before, and by developing the legislative solutions we need to address 21st-century threats.  This framework will bolster relevant authorities here in the U.S. – while, at the same time, strengthening existing partnerships with our allies around the world.  It will also pave the way for broad international cooperation long into the future.

One of the centerpieces of this strategy is a series of legislative proposals designed to enhance the tools that our nation’s Department of Justice – and our law enforcement partners at every level – can bring to bear in the fight against transnational organized crime.  These proposals would help to ensure that our statutory landscape is up to date, and that prosecutors and investigators have the capacity to keep pace with the unprecedented threats posed by criminal enterprises that target the United States, including those that operate beyond our borders.

These essential legislative updates would improve our ability to break the financial backbone of criminal organizations by extending the reach of anti-money laundering provisions.  They also would enhance our ability to identify and respond to the most common, and often evolving, tactics – and methods of communication – that criminal organizations use to conceal their illicit operations and profits – which, too often, are used to bankroll drug trafficking and even terrorist activity. 

As we have learned in the most difficult of ways, the threats that we face are real – and they are constantly evolving.  But today, with the release of this Transnational Organized Crime Strategy, we usher in a new era of national vigilance, global engagement, and close collaboration among – and beyond – our respective agencies and departments. 

On its own, no single agency, company, community, or country has the perspective necessary to fully assess the nature of the threats we face – or to overcome them.  But I have every confidence that this new strategy – and, in particular, the legislative proposals it includes – will strengthen cooperation among relevant authorities, advance our fight against organized crime networks – no matter where they operate – and allow us to build on the record of progress that has been achieved in recent years.

For more information on the strategy and its implementation, visit:

The Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime

A White House Fact Sheet on the Strategy

The Executive Order Blocking Property of Transnational Criminal Organizations

A Presidential Proclamation: Suspension of Entry of Aliens Subject to United Nations Travel Bans and International Emergency Economic Powers Act Sanctions

A Treasury Fact Sheet on the Executive Order

An Assessment of the Threat to U.S. National Security Posed by Transnational Organized Crime

Eric H. Holder, Jr. is the Attorney General of the United States.

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