Homeland Security Elaine Duke Discusses Shared Efforts to Combat Terrorism with Foreign Leaders
ISCHIA, ITALY – Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke this week traveled to meet with foreign leaders to advance efforts to combat terrorism. The Acting Secretary traveled first to the United Kingdom for high-level bilateral meetings and then to Italy for a gathering of senior officials from G7 nations. She reached agreements with key partners to step up the fight against terrorists online, to improve information sharing, and to raise the baseline of global aviation security.
In London, Acting Secretary Duke met with UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd and top officials from the UK Home Office to discuss persistent and emerging threats. Acting Secretary Duke and Home Secretary Rudd agreed to enhance transatlantic cooperation in a number of actionable ways. The two leaders vowed to pursue sustained, constructive engagement with technology companies on the frontlines of the digital fight against terrorists, and they agreed to conduct joint threat assessments and briefings to help non-governmental partners better counter terrorist trends and tactics, especially online.
Acting Secretary Duke and UK Home Secretary Rudd also agreed to collaborate on raising the baseline of aviation security worldwide. In July, DHS announced new “seen” and “unseen” security enhancements to protect U.S.-bound flights as part of a wider Global Aviation Security Plan. DHS and the Home Office pledged to work together on additional measures to detect concealed explosive threats, defend against insider attacks, identify known or suspected terrorist travel, and enhance cargo security.
Acting Secretary Duke then traveled to Ischia, Italy, for a G7 Interior Ministers’ Meeting. There, she participated in plenary sessions with her counterparts, focused on information sharing, confronting the challenge of foreign fighters, and stopping terrorist recruitment and radicalization online. Ministers were joined by representatives from leading technology companies, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter. Acting Secretary Duke and her counterparts conferred with the companies on their recently established Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT). The Acting Secretary applauded the progress companies are making in removing terrorist content, urged more forward-leaning action, and welcomed new commitments by the companies that will help make their platforms more hostile to nefarious actors.
In a press conference with the G7 ministers, Acting Secretary Duke said: “We live in a networked world. And this year it has really become clear how much terrorists are exploiting those networks…But I can assure you that we are not standing on the sidelines while dangers gather. Today we discussed concrete efforts to fight back.”
She added: “Our enemies are moving at the speed of a tweet, so we have to counter them just as quickly…While there is no doubt [they] are adapting, terrorist groups should know this: they are no match for the alliances you see here today. We will destroy their safe havens. We will break their networks. And we will expose their hateful ideology for what it really is.”
Acting Secretary Duke also had the opportunity to participate in several bilateral meetings:
- Acting Secretary Duke and Italian Minister of the Interior Marco Minniti signed the Secure Real Time Platform (SRTP) Implementing Arrangement, which enhances the ability of both countries to identify known or suspected terrorists, irregular migrants, and other persons of interest through the exchange of fingerprints. Acting Secretary Duke and Minister Minniti discussed raising global aviation security standards, continued cooperation between the United States and Italy on counterterrorism and migration management, initiating bilateral preclearance negotiations, and the importance of maintaining the flow of passenger screening data between the European Union and the United States in observance of existing international agreements.
- Acting Secretary Duke met with Canadian Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale to discuss the U.S.-Canadian relationship in combatting terrorism, as well as their interests in increased information sharing with European partners. They also addressed joint steps to take to address illegal migration across their shared border. Canada is scheduled to host a G7 meeting in 2018.
- Acting Secretary Duke met with French Minister of the Interior Gérard Collomb and discussed ways to deepen the already close partnership between DHS and the French Ministry of Interior, including the importance of maintaining the flow of passenger screening data between the European Union and the United States in observance of existing international agreements, and working together to raise global aviation security standards.
- At the end of the Summit, Acting Secretary Duke met with European Union Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos and European Union Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King at the meeting of the G7 Interior Ministers. They discussed the value of the Passenger Name Record (PNR) Agreement between the United States and the European Union as an essential law enforcement and counterterrorism tool that must be preserved by all parties.