[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[May 12, 1998]
[Pages 740-742]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks on the International Crime Control Strategy
May 12, 1998

    Thank you very much, Mary, for your remarks 
and your work. Thank you, Mr. Vice President, members of the Cabinet and Congress, Mayor Barry, members of the city council, and to all the 
law enforcement officials who are here. We are here to talk about 
building a safer world for the 21st century.

Nuclear Proliferation in South Asia

    So before I begin my remarks about the subject of the day, I want to 
make it very, very clear that I am deeply disturbed by the nuclear tests 
which India has conducted, and I do not believe it contributes to 
building a safer 21st century. The United States strongly opposes any 
new nuclear testing. This action by India not only threatens the 
stability of the region, it directly challenges the firm international 
consensus to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. I 
call on India to announce that it will conduct no further tests and that 
it will sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty now and without 
conditions. I also urge India's neighbors not to follow suit, not to 
follow down the path of a dangerous arms race. As most of you know, our 
laws have very stringent provisions, signed into law by me in 1994, in 
response to nuclear tests by nonnuclear weapons states, and I intend to 
implement them fully.

International Crime Control Strategy

    Now, in a few hours I will be leaving to travel to Europe, to meet 
with the leaders of other industrial democracies in a time of great 
hope. Because of what is happening in Bosnia and Ireland, it is clear 
that if we work together, the 21st century can be a time of 
unprecedented democracy, prosperity, and peace. But it is equally clear 
that there are threats to our common future that cross national lines. 
Today I want to announce new plans to address the growing problem of 
international crime.
    We all know the globe is shrinking every day with global TV 
networks, instantaneous communications over the Internet, increasing 
world travel. European nations have adopted completely opened borders, 
and many of them have already voted to create a common currency.
    The American people in general benefit greatly from the process of 
globalization, with more economic opportunities and more opportunities 
to become enriched through contact with different cultures. Our values--
democracy, human rights, the rule of law--will ultimately prevail when 
there is free trade in ideas.
    But more porous borders, more affordable travel, more powerful 
communications increasingly also give criminals the opportunity to reach 
across borders, physically and electronically, to commit crimes and then 
retreat before they can be caught and punished. Many Americans really 
don't realize the extent to which international crime affects their 
daily lives, which is why we were so pleased to have Agent Riley with us 
    Con artists, operating overseas, mail phony financial offers and 
then disappear with investor dollars--hundreds of millions of dollars' 
worth. Sometimes they lure citizens abroad and use violence to get what 
they want.

[[Page 741]]

    Car theft rings move stolen vehicles across the border--200,000 a 
year, worth about a billion dollars--resulting in higher insurance costs 
for all Americans.
    As Agent Riley's remarks suggest, cybercriminals can use computers 
to raid our banks, run up charges on our credit cards, extort money by 
threats to unleash computer viruses.
    Smugglers engage in port running--speeding vehicles past our border 
points--putting people in danger and aiding the thriving trade in gangs, 
drugs, and guns. Others smuggle people across our border for 
prostitution and jobs in illegal sweatshops.
    Two-thirds of counterfeit U.S. money--two-thirds--is printed 
overseas. Illegal copying of our products costs us jobs and tens of 
billions in revenue. Spies seek important industrial secrets, and worse, 
materials to make nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.
    Up to $500 billion in criminal proceeds every single year, more than 
the GNP of most nations, is laundered, disguised as legitimate revenue, 
and much of it moves across our borders. International crime rings 
intimidate weak governments and threaten democracy. They murder judges, 
journalists, witnesses, and kidnappers and terrorists have attacked 
Americans abroad and even at home with brutal acts like the World Trade 
Center bombing.
    Wrongdoing flows two ways. U.S. criminals also operate across 
borders, victimizing people in other nations. All these activities 
threaten our common safety and prosperity. To combat them, we must act 
broadly, decisively, consistent with our constitutional values to leave 
criminals no place to run, no place to hide.
    The job of law enforcement officials behind me, from 12 different 
agencies, is to protect the American people from crime. But the job of 
our Congress, and my job, is to give these officers the tools they need 
to do the job.
    Therefore, today I announce for the first time a comprehensive 
international crime control strategy for America. At its core is a 
simple but compelling truth: International crime requires an 
international response. America is prepared to act alone when it must, 
but no nation can control crime by itself anymore. We must create a 
global community of crimefighters, dedicated to protecting the innocent 
and to bringing to justice the offenders.
    This week, nations at the G-8 summit will announce significant new 
joint anticrime activities. But let me tell you what I plan to do 
already by taking better advantage of existing laws and asking Congress 
for new legislation.
    First, we will work with other nations to create a worldwide dragnet 
capability to promptly arrest and extradite fugitives from justice. Our 
bill asks for wider authority so America can extradite more suspected 
criminals. We'll also press for international cooperations so criminals 
will forfeit their ill-gotten gains.
    Second, because none of us is safe if criminals find safe havens 
abroad, we'll work to ensure other nations are also ready to fight 
international crime--with global standards and goals, training and 
technical aid, and programs to modernize criminal laws elsewhere.
    Third, we will work with our allies to share information on growing 
crime syndicates, to better derail their schemes. And we will work with 
industries to protect against computer crime.
    Fourth, we will put more law enforcement personnel abroad, to aid 
our Embassies in identifying criminals before they attack Americans. And 
I'm seeking new authority to prosecute more violent offenses against 
Americans overseas.
    Fifth, we will strengthen border security, with 1,000 new Border 
Patrol Agents, new technologies, and stiffer penalties, to put more 
smuggling rings out of business. I also want tough new sentences for 
port runners and for smugglers who refuse to stop for our Coast Guard.
    Sixth, I will ask Congress to enact strict provisions to bar drug 
and arms traffickers and fugitives from justice from entering our 
country and to expel them if they do come here.
    Finally, I will seek new authority to fight money laundering and 
freeze the U.S. assets of people arrested abroad. And we'll improve 
enforcement of existing laws against counterfeiting and industrial 
    To focus our efforts, we will complete within 6 months a 
comprehensive analysis of the threat Americans face from international 
crime. I've asked Vice President Gore to 
organize a global meeting to set a common agenda for fighting corruption 
and strengthening the rule of law. Some of the criminals have 
sophisticated tools, so ours must be also. They can form temporary 
cross-border alliances, based on greed and self-interest, so we must 
strengthen the community of nations based on a community of values.

[[Page 742]]

    They care about no one but themselves, while we care so deeply about 
our children and their future. It is our most profound strength, the 
strength that will allow us to prevail. For we cannot, we must not, we 
will not accept a world in which American children and children abroad 
grow up paralyzed by crime, fear, and violence.
    Together, America and our allies can attack this scourge and build a 
secure and prosperous future for all our people. Again, let me say to 
all of you, especially to the law enforcement officers here, I thank you 
very, very much. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:22 a.m. in Room 450 of the Old Executive 
Office Building. In his remarks, he referred to Agent Mary Riley, 
Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service; and Mayor 
Marion S. Barry, Jr., of Washington, DC.