Secretary of State's Advisory Panel Report on Overseas SecurityContinue
ACCOUNTABILITY AND ACCEPTANCE OF RISK
Examples in which a known mechanism and procedure exist to deal with systemic or individual failures resulting in loss of life or property damage indicate the desirability of such defined procedures. In the law-enforcement community, the armed forces, and such institutions as the National Transportation Safety Board, clear-cut established procedures are helpful in permitting a fair, orderly, expeditious analysis of the facts and circumstances.
On an interim basis, the Panel recommended that Foreign Service Regulations be promulgated to require the Secretary of State to convene a Board of Inquiry with powers of establishing accountability in all cases involving terrorism or security related attacks that result in significant damage and/or casualties to United States personnel or property..
The Panel is pleased to note that the Secretary of State accepted that recommendation.
However, on further consideration, the Panel believes this issue to be of sufficient importance that a statutory basis for accountability should be considered. The Panel, therefore, has included in its report to the Secretary a draft bill that combines the grievance procedure with the accountability requirement in such a way as to protect the individual while serving the Department's broader interests.
Acceptance of Risk
The Department of State has developed programs designed to inform all personnel about the hazards posed by terrorism and other forms of physical violence, including criminal activities, and to train them in ways to protect themselves. From the recruiting brochure, which makes passing reference to the fact that Overseas service may involve security risks to personnel and their families to a full day orientation program devoted solely to security considerations, continual efforts are made to prepare personnel for the hazards they may face abroad. In addition, security concerns, guidelines for personal awareness and conduct, contingency planning and similar matters are discussed in some detail where appropriate in the many training courses offered by the Department's Foreign Service Institute. These include orientation and training programs for Chiefs of Mission, for Deputy Chiefs of Mission, for Administrative Officers, the Basic and Mid-Level Officer training courses, emergency action simulations, and a variety of orientation programs.
The results so far, however, seem to be mixed. While most personnel take the situation seriously and conduct themselves accordingly, there is reason to believe some seem to think "It can't happen to me". Too many employees assigned abroad, aware that political violence is endemic in some parts of the world, seem to disregard it as a personal hazard, especially if they are not posted to one of the crisis areas.
The Panel recognizes that it is extremely difficult to inspire and to sustain a high degree of security awareness and sensitivity, particularly when most of us are seldom if ever directly exposed to violence. Yet, in view of the increasing incidence of terrorism and, more significantly, the increasingly grave impact of such events on our foreign policy objectives, the Department must increase its efforts to sensitize all personnel to this problem. Recruitment literature, for example, such as the brochure, Foreign Service Careers, should include a more graphic description of the hazards of political violence to our personnel abroad and of the significant additional responsibilities and stresses this places on them.
Orientation of Personnel
The Department of State's Foreign Service Institute offers a one day seminar on "Coping with Violence". The program is mandatory for all employees of the Department of State, the Agency for International Development and the United States Information Agency. It is also open on a voluntary basis to their dependents as well as to employees and dependents of other agencies. Some spouses and adult dependents not resident in the Washington, D.C., area do not benefit from this program, however. The spouses of the Regional Marine Officers, the Marine Non-Commissioned Officers-in-Charge and the Navy Seabees, for example, do not always travel to this area for training. Given the importance of the matter, the Department should arrange to offer the Coping with Violence seminar and appropriate area orientation to all such dependents and at Departmental expense.
The program in Washington is but one part of a series of presentations on this general subject, the second major part being a "post-specific" orientation given all personnel after their arrival at post. As noted above, the subject is also covered in somewhat lesser detail in various other training and orientation programs but these two are the principal vehicles for this particular training.
Recent observation of the Washington portion of the program found it to be generally well presented and well received. The audience came away better prepared for the hazards of various forms of violence, including terrorism, which they and their families may experience abroad. There were a few minor gaps in the presentation and the observer's comments were passed on to the Foreign Service Institute and to the Office of Security.
The Washington portion of this training should be expanded at least by an additional half day. Further, the Panel recommends that all U.S. Government employees being assigned to diplomatic missions abroad and their adult dependents be required to attend, unless their own agencies offer comparable programs. It is also recommended that personnel destined for high threat posts be offered the Hands on. training in firearms and evasive driving that was given in the past. Finally, all personnel involved in this program as instructors should be given appropriate training in instructional techniques.
The Panel believes that the Department should provide the Foreign Service an adequate level of psychological preparation for overseas situations.
The Office of the Medical Adviser has a small staff of psychiatrists, including a few assigned abroad on a regional basis. They are available for a variety of professional functions, including counseling those who have experienced terrorist violence. They could provide an essential preventive service as well but are woefully few in number. They constitute a superb reservoir of skill, knowledge, experience and credibility that is quite able to play a major role in preparing the Foreign Service to cope with terrorist violence. The trouble is there are not enough of theme
Acceptance of Risk by Foreign Service National Employees
As a group the members of the Foreign Service, Americans as well as foreign national employees at our missions abroad, have demonstrated uncommon courage in serving this nation's interests in spite of increasing personal hazard. The Federal Government provides supplementary benefits to compensate American personnel, at least in part, for medical and other personal costs incident to violence directed against them by virtue of their employment. A major gap, however, is that such benefits are not now available to our Foreign Service National employees, except as the Secretary may waive regulatory restrictions or otherwise provide a measure of recompense. The Panel recommends strong support for pending legislation (H.R. 2019) to correct this deficiency.
Training of Post Security Officers
The training of "non-professional" security officers, the post Security Officers assigned to those posts which, for what ever reason, do not have a Regional Security Officer, is a matter of some concern. Even though these posts more often than not are rather small, at least some have significant security problems, many have Marine Security Guard detachments, and most have some of the increasingly sophisticated and complex security equipment the Department of State is now using. The Panel understands that, although the security training for these officers had been only two hours, it has recently been expanded to five hours. Moreover, the Mobile Training Teams that will be sent abroad in the near future will include specialized training for Post Security Officers as well as for others having security responsibilities.
Diplomatic efforts to develop broad international cooperation are essential to an effective anti-terrorism program. The United States has actively pressed for a consensus on joint actions to combat terrorism. This has not been easy, but there have been successes. Clearly, there is widespread revulsion with terrorist violence, but each country's reaction is colored by attitudes toward the perpetrators; i.e., the Basque Separatists, IRA, and PLO, all of which have their supporters who rationalize that violence is the only way these groups can make their political statements.
Some countries look on terrorism as a law-enforcement problem best left to the police. Other countries take pride in their reputation as a haven for political exiles and are reluctant to extradite terrorists who do not commit acts of violence on their territory. There are also voices which caution against "overreacting" to the threat. Legal systems in each country differ on rights of the accused and other issues. The result has been that action has been more limited than one might expect. Stern action has been taken against aircraft hijackers because this is widely accepted as a crime against innocent passengers; the incidents play out on television, the terrorists are identified, and there is a strong organized group demanding counter-action, i.e., the airline pilots.
The U.S. Government has been active diplomatically in combating terrorism since the late 1960's. Relations with other governments on this issue involve diplomatic initiatives and police-level exchanges. U.S. law enforcement authorities and the Department of State have tried to work, especially with the Europeans, on what might be termed a service-to-service level. This has not been entirely satisfactory since some police officials have been reluctant to work closely with the United States for fear that information would leak. Until recently, terrorism was treated by the Europeans as a domestic police matter with some exchange of information, but fundamental differences in attitudes stultified the effort. There has been some improvement in recent months.
On the diplomatic level, the United States has been active and effective in developing concerted action to deter aircraft hijacking. As a result of strong U.S. pressure, the Montreal convention of 1977 and the Hague agreement of 1971 were negotiated and ratified. These agreements provide that states would prosecute or extradite persons who sabotaged aircraft or navigational equipment (Montreal) or hijacked aircraft (The Hague).
At the meeting of the Summit Seven in Bonn in 1978, an anti-hijacking declaration was issued in which the participating states agreed to cut off civil aviation relations with countries that refused either to try hijackers or to extradite them. This understanding was activated at the Ottawa Summit in 1981 when the members notified Afghanistan it was subject to the sanctions when it refused to extradite Pakistani hijackers. The U.S. did not have civil air relations with Afghanistan at the time, but several European states cut off air service to that country.
As a result of persistent effort by the United States over the past years, and after the April 1984 shooting incident in front of the Libyan Peoples' Bureau in London, the Summit Seven agreed in June 1984 to a declaration recognizing the special dangers posed by state supported terrorism. It included references to the involvement of terrorists in drug trafficking; the acquisition by terrorists of weapons, explosives. training, and funds and to other state supported terrorist activities, such as the misuse of diplomatic missions and immunities. This Declaration was especially important because it recognized for the first time the broad political nature of the problem as opposed to earlier declarations on specific types of incidents.
The United States has been active in promoting regional agreements to counter terrorism. A 1971 Organization of American States (OAS) convention to prevent and punish certain acts of terrorism received strong United States support and was ratified by the United States in 1976. Subsequently, the United States has worked to obtain the support of OAS member states to deal with various forms of terrorism. While not a party to other regional agreements, the United States has voiced its support for such conventions, including the 1977 European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism and other Council of Europe statements.
Efforts at the United Nations have not produced major results. It was possible to establish the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons. Including Diplomatic Agents (1973, entered into force in 1977) and the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages (1980), and the International Atomic Energy Agency's 1980 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials. Multilateral diplomacy to combat terrorism has serious limitations. The most terror prone regions are Western Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. In the latter case, the terrorists tend to be indigenous to the country or narcotics traffickers seeking revenge on American officials. The bilateral approach is most natural. The Middle East poses unique problems. In East Asia, Japan participates more or less passively but that area has been much less dangerous in recent years. The Europeans have been the most willing to talk about the issues. The subject have been discussed at several economic summits. These annual meetings provide an excellent opportunity to let our closest international associates know the seriousness with which the U.S. addresses the terrorism phenomenon. However, the Seven do not constitute an operational entity and each participant merely agrees that actions will be guided by the agreed positions. The Department of State has expended much effort in this area, however, in practical terms, the most effective diplomatic efforts have been on a bilateral basis with the countries that are most ready to cooperate. Progress will come slowly but the United States must resist discouragement. Unremitting diplomatic pressure must be maintained.
The Department of State has worked consistently and diligently to deal with the specifics of combating terrorism. Good and useful work is being accomplished, but slowly and without any dramatic flair. There has been a noticeable increase in the willingness of Europeans to consult since the recent assassinations in France and Germany plus the attacks in Belgium on NATO related installations over the past several months. The earlier European attitude that terrorism was a domestic affair is changing under the pressure of the proclaimed unity movement among terrorists to operate internationally.
In 1984 the United States initiated the Anti-Terrorist Assistance program (ATA), a training program to teach law enforcement officers from friendly foreign nations to deal with specific types of terrorist acts. The proposal was first presented to the Congress in April 1982 and was finally approved in October 1983. It contemplates an annual appropriation of $5 million with from 750 to 1,000 trainees annually. The program is under the management of the Department of State with the actual training proved by United States law enforcement and security agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of State's Office of Security.
A strong political impulse will be needed to make progress in mustering international forces against terrorism and a new organization will be necessary to make sure the decisions are carried out. The Panel suggests that it would be useful to establish an International Anti-Terrorist Committee (IATC). The IATC would deal at the government and police levels. The Summit Seven countries plus Benelux and perhaps a few others could be charter members. A small secretariat might be set up with delegates attached to embassies. The committee would meet once or twice a month to cover an agenda dealing with concrete problems. This would create a political/technical interface which would provide public focus to the anti-terrorist campaign.
Improved extradition treaties can facilitate bringing terrorists to justice. The Department should assign additional lawyers to the project to update existing treaties and the promotion of agreements which can be useful in combating terrorism.
In a world where all diplomatic personnel face some degree of threat, vulnerability is partly a function of numbers. There is a need for a timely and orderly mechanism for the reduction of functions and staff levels at posts faced with serious threat to life and limb. This is not to suggest that the Department of State simply close shop at the first sign of hazard, but there are situations in which serious consideration must be given to whether the U.S. Government's best overall interests are really well served by continuing Business as usual. In evaluating the functions at any given post at risk, consideration should be given to those that can be suspended temporarily or transferred to a nearby post or even to the United States.
The Department of State and the posts abroad, with the cooperation of affected agencies, have developed guidelines and specific post plans to cope with various contingencies. These plans enable Washington to understand how the post intends to react in certain situations and, in an actual crisis, provide specific information needed to guide and to support the post's responses. A primary benefit of the post plan is that it requires responsible officials to anticipate the kinds of problems they might experience, from natural disasters to political violence, that might pose a hazard to the safety of American citizens or facilities. They then work through the options available to them, noting logistical or procedural requirements, and eventually reduce their operational plans to paper. These plans are excellent jumping off points for post drills and simulation exercises.
The Panel has voiced concern that there is no existing formal mechanism for monitoring conditions at our overseas posts and determining, based on a set of objective criteria or "tripwires", when a personnel drawdown or evacuation should be started. The Panel believes that in all crisis situations where a post is considering a drawdown or an evacuation, including the decision on when the post shall return to normal status, the Secretary of State should participate directly in the decision making process. The Panel also believes that only the Secretary should authorize a post to return to normal staffing when the crisis is considered past.
The decision on reducing staff and functions at a U.S. mission is easily reached when the threat is real and perceived by all elements. Unfortunately, danger is not always obvious and resistance to reductions can be formidable when the crisis may appear to some observers to be some time in the future. The Panel sought to identify "tripwires" which could be used to trigger automatic actions to reduce functions at a post in times of severe threat. Conditions vary so much in each situation that it is not possible to establish universally valid "crisis points" for each country. Instead, the Panel recommends that several current Washington based programs be straightened in order to improve post preparedness and responsiveness to crisis situations.
There are two extremely useful programs now consolidated in the Office for Counter Terrorism and Emergency Planning (M/CTP) that enable posts to plan for and practice their specific responses to crises, including personnel reductions. These are the emergency action plans (EAPs) and the crisis management exercises. Under the EAP program, each post is required to complete a post-specific emergency action plan that describes in detail how post personnel will respond in the event of a threatening incident whether security-related or a natural disaster and the responsibilities of each major participant. Each EAP also includes detailed guidance on how to undertake a personnel drawdown or evacuation from that post. M/CTP reviews and approves all new and revised EAPs, assuring that they conform to the central guidelines included in the Emergency Action Manual, and maintains a file in Washington of all post EAPs. This is a valuable program since the EAP is the basic document for preparing post personnel for their specific roles and activities during a life threatening incident.
As was discussed previously, the Panel has concluded that developing a standard list of "tripwires" for application at all posts is impractical. Conditions vary too widely from country to country, and events that may be ominous or threatening in one country may simply be part of daily life in other countries. However, the EAP process presents a definite opportunity for developing post-specific tripwires. The EAP could be modified to include the listing of a series of such locally derived tripwires that represent the post's best judgment of the possible local events that could signal the need to consider defensive actions, including a personnel drawdown or evacuation.
Under the Crisis Management Exercise Program, a control team from M/CTP visits a post, develops a post specific sequence of hypothetical events leading to an emergency situation, and presents a two day simulation of these events to the post emergency action committee. The primary goal of this exercise is to test the ability of post personnel to implement the EAP effectively in a simulated crisis situation. The control team closely monitors the decisions and actions of the committee and prepares a detailed debriefing on the results. Participants have universally found this program to be a valuable means of testing their abilities to respond to crisis situations and of discovering and correcting weaknesses in their preparations, including the EAP .
The combination of Emergency Action Plans and the Crisis Management Exercise Program has the potential to improve the effectiveness and raise the consciousness of foreign affairs community personnel in the area of security. Over a period of time, Foreign Service employees would become familiar with the EAP and simulation processes at more than one post. Thus, at a given post, the staff would eventually be composed of officers who had experienced the EAP and gaming process in a wide variety of environments. As it undergoes repeated testing, the mission would be able to refine the EAP and its responses to the situations covered in the simulation process.
Each post will establish a list of functions to be suspended and numbers of personnel to be drawn down in an emergency. This list will be formally accepted by all agencies represented at the post. Such a list will enable the mission and the Department to consider the possible reduction of functions and personnel at the post on a phased basis before a crisis actually erupts. The Panel wishes to emphasize that, while either the Secretary or the Ambassador can initiate a drawdown of personnel, only the Secretary should authorize a post to return to normal staffing.
The decision on whether to conduct a personnel reduction at a threatened post has traditionally been left primarily to the post and its regional bureau in Washington. This is in keeping with the general Department of State precept of leaving most decision-making that directly affects individual posts to the substantive offices and bureaus most directly involved in the day-to-day operations of those posts. As a consequence, there is no central office charged with responsibility for monitoring the specific situation at overseas posts for the purpose of assuring that defensive actions are taken, or at least considered, when a serious threat develops, and for reporting such situations to the Secretary of State for his review.
The security threat confronting us now is so serious and potentially deadly that all resources, technical as well as analytical, must be used. To guarantee that any dispute among bureaus and offices will receive immediate high-level review and resolution, the monitoring function should be lodged in the Office of the undersecretary for Management. Finally, Chiefs of Mission or regional bureaus may not be in the best position to weigh all the elements in a situation, particularly when security is directly involved. A formal means of raising the issue to a higher level would assure that the question is not ignored.
COUNTER TERRORISM COORDINATION
The Federal Government's principal mechanism for interagency coordination of policies and programs to deal with terrorism is the Inter-departmental Group on Terrorism (IG/T). It operates under the aegis of the National Security Council and is chaired by the Department of State's Director of the Office for Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning (M/CTP), an official of assistant secretary rank. Although as many as 30 or more Federal agencies might be involved with the group in one situation or another, the principal members include the following:
-- The Department of State is the lead agency in handling terrorist incidents abroad involving United States interests. It participates in appropriate analysis and dissemination of intelligence; manages security programs for non-military U. S. Government facilities abroad; coordinates emergency planning and crisis management for United States missions abroad; and generally develops and implements policies to deal with international terrorism, including international conventions and bilateral agreements.
-- The Department of Justice advises on legal aspects of dealing with terrorism and coordinates legislative proposals.
-- The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the lead agency in handling most domestic terrorist incidents, including intelligence collection and investigation of criminal acts of terrorism.
-- The Federal Aviation Administration is the lead agency in handling terrorist incidents involving aircraft in flight or under flight conditions and also coordinates with other governments in all matters relating to flight security. The FAA and the FBI have a memorandum of understanding to clarify possibly overlapping responsibilities and to foster close cooperation.
-- The Central Intelligence Agency represents the other agencies in the Intelligence Community when they are not direct participants: manages systems for collection, analysis and dissemination of intelligence relating to terrorist threats; maintains intelligence liaison with other governments; participates in incident management support teams as appropriate; and performs other functions.
-- The Department of Defense performs substantial services in support of emergency planning for posts abroad and plays a lead role in executing such plans; provides expertise regarding terrorist weapons of all types, including nuclear and CBR; participates in collection, analysis and dissemination of intelligence regarding terrorist plans and activities; provides special units that might be called upon to intervene in terrorist episodes abroad; and generally manages security programs for military facilities abroad.
-- The Department of the Treasury has several bureaus involved in anti-terrorism. The Secret Service is responsible for, among other duties, protection of Heads of State or Heads of Government visiting the United States; the Bureau of Customs is involved in controlling international movements of weapons; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has legal responsibilities and expertise concerning illegal weapons and explosives.
-- The Department of Energy has responsibilities and expertise regarding nuclear weapons.
-- The National Security Council chairs the Terrorist Incident Working Group (TIWG), which coordinates agency responses to specific terrorist incidents, including the use of military forces.
-- The Office of the Vice President supports the Vice President in his role as chief crisis manager for the President.
The Inter-departmental Group on Terrorism is intended to coordinate policies of the U. S. Government concerning terrorism, whether domestic or international in character, and to assure that the various operational programs to deal with terrorist attempts, including intelligence and incident management, are effective. Although primarily a policy-shaping group, its basic focus is essentially on counter-terrorism operations.
The Departmental Context
Within the Department of State, the Office for Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning has been designated as the coordinator for policy and operational programs to counter terrorism as it may affect United States interests abroad. A major function of this office is to manage diplomatic initiatives on a multilateral or bilateral basis with other nations to coordinate international responses to terrorism. The office recently has been given added responsibility for certain operational functions, such as the emergency planning program to assist American missions abroad to cope with hazards they might expect to face. The Panel sees these added responsibilities as tending to interfere with the office's primary responsibility and, in the section of this report dealing with organization, recommends a realignment of the operational functions.
The second major organization within the Department of State dealing with measures to counter terrorism is the Office of Security. Its mission is to protect the premises and personnel of the Department and our missions abroad against all hazards, whether intelligence penetration, mob violence or terrorist assault. Its role is primarily operational and the Panel recommends that those operational functions now lodged in the Office for Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning be transferred to the Office of Security, which is to be restructured as the Diplomatic Security Service. The new security organization is to be headed by an Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, and the Panel recommends that this officer chair the Interdepartmental Group on Terrorism and represent the Department in other existing interagency groups dealing with counter-terrorism operational matters.
The Office of Security has a Threat Analysis Group that maintains liaison with the Bureau of Intelligence and Research as well as with other agencies. Its principal interest is with tactical intelligence relating to potential hazards to the personnel or premises of the Department of State, the American missions abroad or visiting foreign dignitaries under Department of State protection.
The third element of the Department of State directly involved with terrorism is the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. It is the principal point of contact between the Department and the rest of the Intelligence Community and directs research and analysis on terrorism and intelligence activities.
Role of Intelligence
The collection of intelligence from a wide variety of sources is critical to an effective defense against terrorist attack. The Panel has discerned no significant failure of intelligence as a factor contributing to the success of the many recent assaults against our missions abroad. Having said this, however, the Panel must add that intelligence is an imperfect tool and that it would be foolhardy to make security decisions on the basis of an expectation of advance warning of peril.
The many characteristics of those who would attempt hostile actions against United States missions or personnel abroad or against visiting foreign dignitaries are so varied and, in some cases, so unique as to offer a formidable challenge to American intelligence capabilities. Whether a psychotic loner or a small and tightly knit group bound by familial or other deep rooted ties, whether a loose confederation of extremists from different nations or a clandestine unit, military or otherwise. directed by a hostile state, today's terrorist presents certain difficulties as well as certain opportunities for intelligence collection.
It is vital that those having security responsibilities maintain a realistic appreciation of the capabilities and limitations of intelligence and that they understand that, in some situations, there will be no advance warning of specific threat. Common sense requires that American missions and personnel abroad and those with protective responsibilities in the United States constantly maintain a high state of preparedness to counter terrorist initiatives.
As noted above, there are at least three organizations within the Department of State responsible for analyzing threat information. This is due in part to the fact that each has broader responsibilities of which an awareness of terrorist threat is but a part. The Panel has recommended certain changes to improve the coordination among these offices, including a suggestion that the Threat Analysis Group be physically co-located with the Watch Group of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. The Panel has also recommended improvements to enhance the numbers and professional skills of the analysts.
The procedures to pass terrorist threat alerts to our overseas posts have been hampered in the past by the division of responsibility in the Department of State. The situation has been exacerbated by the fact that some other agencies with an overseas presence, such as the Department of Defense, have their own channels of communication and thus their own threat alerting capability. Until recently, the only office in the Department of State that was allowed to draft threat messages to posts was the Office of Security's Threat Analysis Group (which is not a 24 hour office). The Department has recently implemented a new system for passing to posts threat warnings derived from intelligence materials and for integrating intelligence generally into the counter-terrorism process. After considerable negotiation, the remainder of the Intelligence Community has now been included in this system. The new alerting procedure appears to be functioning well but there remain a few corrections and adjustments to be made, which the Panel has brought to the Department's attention.
To improve coordination at the posts abroad, the Panel recommends that a Counter-terrorism Reporting Officer be designated at each mission and that the Emergency Action Committee at each post be formally designated as the forum for coordinated threat analysis and dissemination locally.
PROTECTION OF FOREIGN DIGNITARIES AND MISSIONS IN THE UNITED STATES
The United States has the responsibility under international law to protect visiting foreign dignitaries and resident foreign diplomats in this country. There is an equally serious obligation to protect foreign missions in Washington, New York, and other cities in the United States. Unlike some other nations that use a single protective force, visiting foreign dignitaries/diplomats and foreign missions in the United States are protected by a wide variety of local, state, and federal organizations. In Washington, foreign missions are protected by the Uniformed Division of the Secret Service with support from the Metropolitan Police Department. The premises of foreign missions in New York and consulates in various cities are normally protected by the municipal police departments. Traveling foreign dignitaries are usually protected by the Secret Service or Department of State, and some defense officials may be protected by one of the services in the Department of Defense. Other federal agencies infrequently protect a visiting foreign official, either at the request of the Department of State or of their own volition. Resident foreign diplomats may receive protective services from the Department of State, local police authorities, or private security firms.
The Panel is disturbed by the diffusion of protective responsibility within our government that is perhaps best exemplified by the inexplicable current practice in which the Secret Service protects a visiting Head of State or Government while the Department of State's Security protects that individual's family and/or the accompanying foreign minister. Often both protective details take place simultaneously. In order to fulfill our international obligations, we must provide for a safe and secure environment for those officials visiting our country. As we raise the level of professionalism of our services, we can demand greater support and security for our own personnel overseas.
Protecting officials from harm today no longer means just having a Bodyguard nor is it a simple task of physically shielding the individual from attack. Days or weeks are spent in preparation for a single visit. Thus, the agencies recruit qualified personnel and expend months of training to teach these individuals the complicated concepts, methods, and techniques of protective security. The same concepts that apply to protecting our diplomats and residential areas abroad apply to protecting visiting foreign officials and their residences in the United States.
The Panel recommends a significant increase in the funding and resources dedicated to the protection of foreign dignitaries and missions in the United States than currently budgeted or anticipated. The Panel believes that the resources expended for the protection of foreign officials and missions in this country have been largely insufficient in the past. Demands for protective services continue to rise as more nations and officials are subjected to the threat of terrorist acts. The issue of reciprocity demands that we provide comparable protection to that which we expect overseas.
Protection of Visiting Foreign Officials
The authority for the protection of visiting foreign dignitaries is currently divided between the Department of State's Office of Security and the United States Secret Service, and to a much lesser extent, other federal agencies (including the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense). Both the Secret Service and the Office of Security have legal authority for the protection of Chiefs of State or Heads of Government.
The legislation contained in 18 United States Code 3056 outlining the Secret Service powers states that subject to the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secret Service is authorized to protect the person of a visiting head of a foreign state or foreign government and, at the direction of the President, other distinguished foreign visitors to the United States and official representatives of the United States performing special missions abroad. Thus, the Secret Service routinely provides protective services to every visiting Chief of State or Head of Government unless that person declines the services in writing. The only other officials protected by the Secret Service are those whom the President specifically directs the Service to protect. Therefore, when the Department of State began receiving protective requests from foreign governments for a number of officials such as Presidents-elect, former Presidents and Prime Ministers, Cabinet level ministers, opposition leaders and other important dignitaries, the Secret Service pointed out its lack of authority for protecting these officials whom it was not Presidentially directed to protect and it refused to assume the additional responsibilities. Therefore, commencing in the mid 1970's, the Office of Security again was tasked with providing protective security to all dignitaries other than current Chiefs of State or Heads of Government.
The Office of Security has applied its broad authority primarily to the protection of certain cabinet level officials, primary family members of Chiefs of State/Heads of Government and persons of royalty. Often this protection was and is based on the principle of reciprocity and not solely on the presence of a specific threat. The role of local or state law enforcement agencies in the protection of visiting foreign officials (as opposed to resident diplomats is generally that of a supportive nature to the federal agencies involved.
The Panel concentrated its study on the two agencies that provide the bulk of the dignitary protection in this country; the Secret Service and the Department of State's Office of Security. Although the Panel has been informed of sporadic successful cooperative efforts between the two agencies, the successes have been the result of individual efforts and not because of an institutional sense of cooperation or agreed-upon standards.
The Panel sought the views of both the Office of Security and the Secret Service. The organizations have differing viewpoints. The Office of Security is willing to take on protective responsibility for all foreign officials provided that it is given additional resources and authority. The Secret Service insists that additional responsibilities would dilute its primary mission of protecting the President of the United States, and it firmly indicated its opposition to the assumption of additional responsibilities. This served as a catalyst in leading the Panel to recommend the creation of a Diplomatic Security Service within the Department of State. The Panel believes that the new Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Diplomatic Security Service should ultimately be responsible for the protection of all visiting foreign officials and resident diplomats/missions when a sufficient level of professionalism has been established.
The Panel believes that the staffing and training levels of protective personnel must be significantly improved before any added protective responsibilities are placed in the Department of State. The reorganization of the security functions into the Diplomatic Security Service will be difficult. For these reasons, it is important that responsibility for the protection of Chiefs of State/Heads of Government be delayed until this new organization is prepared to absorb the responsibility in an orderly and professional manner, taking into consideration adequate staffing levels and training programs. The Panel recommends that after thorough review from both an interagency working group and training personnel, the Department and new Diplomatic Security Service determine its long range goals in the area of dignitary protection. It should fully identify its resource and equipment needs and then comprehensively budget for them.
The Panel notes that most of the further recommendations listed in this section deal with short term "fixes" -- not long term solutions. However, there are a number of ways to improve the coordination efforts of the Department of State and the Secret Service that will result in a better quality of protective services provided.
The first step in improving the services provided is the identification of the problems and solutions. Thus, the Panel believes that the Department of State and the Secret Service could benefit from the establishment of a formal working group comprised of knowledgeable members of both services. The group should set acceptable standards after studying a broad array of topics involving protective security requirements.
The Panel believes that training is one of the most vital elements of any professional program. Recent court decisions are making clear that an organization can be liable for actions of an employee who has been either improperly trained or has not been afforded the training necessary to carry out his or her job. The Panel understands that the Department has not had the resources available to devote to training but the problem is critical and requires immediate attention. Therefore, the Department of State should contract with the Department of Treasury for the Secret Service to undertake comprehensive protective training for the agents of the Department of State. The training should consider the unique problems in protecting our officials and facilities overseas.
The Panel has already noted the overlapping responsibilities of the Secret Service and Office of Security. Yet, it appears to the Panel that there has been a lack of communication and information exchange between the two agencies in the past. Professional respect is the key to future progress. An exchange program between the Secret Service and Diplomatic Security Service could foster better cooperation and understanding.
Protecting officials sometimes involves long and strenuous hours that not everyone can maintain. An exhausted or physically incapable person may be more of a danger than an asset. Protective techniques are evolving in sophistication as terrorists continue to target those highly placed, visible officials. A set of standards outlining the level of physical and mental preparedness required is necessary and should be developed and implemented.
Often, a prominent official who is subject to threats requires a large and comprehensive protective detail. The ability to respond to a terrorist attack is part and parcel of comprehensive protective coverage. Not all local police agencies have highly trained response or counter assault teams. The Diplomatic Security Service should form and use its own response team when the threat against a protected official warrants this type of coverage and an adequate team cannot be provided by supporting agencies.
One way to ensure continued support for any United States Government protective detail assigned overseas is to offer relevant training to friendly foreign governments. The Panel notes that the Department of State is offering, with the help of other agencies, training for foreign civilian agencies in the Anti-Terrorist Assistance Program and it welcomes the effort. The Panel recommends that the Department of State seek to expand its training program with the goal of providing regular in-service training of its own personnel, training in protective techniques to local and state law enforcement agencies, and limited training of friendly foreign nations' police agencies (now currently in the Anti-Terrorist Assistance Program).
A well-rounded agent must have the opportunity to do other investigative and law-enforcement work that helps to hone professional skills and that provides a change of pace from the demands of protective security. The Panel believes that in order to insure the development of a professional, experienced, and well-rounded protective agent as well as a balanced career path, the Department of State should continue to rotate its agents from its investigative units to the protective area as necessary. It should continue to investigate criminal matters under its jurisdiction and appropriately staff its field offices to perform investigative, protective, and liaison duties.
The Panel believes that those blends of investigative and protective skills and functions should be combined with an aggressive program for acquiring, analyzing, and pursuing to a conclusion all forms of intelligence that appear relevant to its protective mission. This use of intelligence should be part of a system that includes proactive investigations of possibly dangerous individuals and of sources of threat information.
The Panel has noted that the Office of Security relies upon a small cadre of capable but overworked threat analysts in Washington and upon other agencies. Since terrorism is becoming more of an international phenomenon, an aggressive protective intelligence program will not only assist in the safeguarding of visiting foreign officials but it may also protect the lives of our own personnel abroad. Therefore, the Panel believes that the Department should look at the numbers and use of its intelligence resources and plan for a comprehensive protective intelligence program. The Department should then seek an appropriate number of new positions for this function.
Traditionally, Interpol has not had an active role in counterterrorism activities because of a prohibition in its by-laws. The charter has been amended and a special terrorism working group has been established. The Department of State has no representatives on Interpol. The Panel believes that the new Diplomatic Security Service, with its expanded mandate, should seek membership and devote resources to Interpol.
An important part of the provision of a safe environment is the application of state-of-the-art technology. The Panel notes that the Office of Security has skilled technical experts involved in countermeasures, armoring of cars, and developing equipment such as alarms and CC TVs. However, this small office is largely devoted to the overseas effort and the domestic protection program is suffering. A protective program must necessarily involve application of technology, and therefore, a protective technical staff is needed within the existing Office of Engineering Services.
The protective program of the Office of Security traditionally has been supported by the Office of Communications for its tactical communications needs. In order to run a professional protective program with appropriate priorities, the Panel believes that it is necessary for the Diplomatic Security Service to control all of its resources to include funds, equipment and positions. Thus, the Diplomatic Security Service should assume responsibility for its own protective communications needs to include the transfer of appropriate positions from the Office of Communications.
Protection of Foreign Missions and Resident Diplomats
The organization of the United States Government to protect foreign missions and resident foreign diplomats is shared between the Department of State, the Secret Service, and local police agencies. Although the ultimate responsibility for American obligations, as a signatory to the Vienna Conventions, belongs to the Federal Government, state and local authorities also have an obligation to assure equal protection of the law to every person within their jurisdiction.
The Panel notes that the protection afforded to diplomatic missions is typically a function of police activity as exemplified by post standing, uniformed presence, roving patrols, and marked police vehicles. The facility itself receives the protection, not individuals. For the protection of foreign missions, the Uniformed Division of the Secret Service (a federal police agency under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury) provides protective services to those missions only in the Washington, D.C. area. This protection is based upon a request by the Department of State, by a foreign government, and in conjunction with a viable threat assessment conducted by the Secret Service. The protection of foreign missions for the rest of the country is the responsibility of the Secretary of State, who has contracting and reimbursement authority, but no resources of his own to provide such protective services. Thus, even though the Secretary of State may contract with a local police agency or private firm for the provision of "extraordinary" protective services, there remain questions of timeliness, funding, and oversight of this program.
The Panel believes that the United States Government's response to the need for protection of certain diplomatic premises has been inadequate and inconsistent. The logical and most professional course of action would be the placement of the nationwide responsibility of diplomatic premise protection into one agency with broad authority and sufficient resources. The Department of State should be able to ensure a professional response to any threatened foreign mission. The personnel assigned to protect a consulate in Los Angeles should be as effective as those assigned to an embassy in Washington, D.C. Thus, the Panel supports a broadening of authority and resources of the Uniformed Division of the Secret Service for the protection of all foreign missions in the United States. If this course of action is not possible, then the Department of State should recruit and train its own personnel, as a separate office of the Diplomatic Security Service for the purpose of protecting all threatened foreign missions. If this course is followed in the near term, consideration should eventually be given to consolidating all uniformed protection personnel within the DSS.
The Uniformed Division of the Secret Service does not provide personal protective services to resident diplomats. Although the Department of State does have the authority to provide the personal protective services to threatened diplomats, it traditionally has used its own agents for limited personal protective services to a few accredited ambassadors and other diplomats. The Department sometimes contracts with local police or private firms for the provision of "extraordinary" protective services (those services not typically performed by law enforcement agencies) for the few highly threatened resident diplomats. The Panel believes that the goal of the USG should be to provide adequate general coverage of resident diplomats except in those few extreme occasions when a diplomat is truly threatened.
The Panel recognizes the difficulties inherent in hiring local contractors to perform protective duties in the United States, regardless of competency. Some private companies are unable to obtain weapon permits from certain states. There are many restrictions regarding interstate travel by persons carrying weapons who are not sworn law enforcement officers. Contract employees can make arrests only when acting as private citizens. There are complex legal issues involved. Some law enforcement agencies will not cooperate with or impart information to local contractors. Yet, many police agencies have their own limitations including jurisdictional restrictions and inadequate resources. There are questions regarding the meaning of "extraordinary". protection. The problem is still evolving and the Panel believes that protective requests may increase in the future. Thus, it is the Panel's desire to see the Department itself ultimately apply its own resources to the protection of threatened foreign Chiefs of Missions as the need arises. The Department of State should review its current and future expectations of protective requests for threatened foreign diplomats and justify resources as necessary.
The Panel recognizes that until the basic responsibility for protection of foreign missions and resident diplomats is clarified and streamlined, the Department must seek the assistance of local police agencies and contract guard companies. The Department of State now has authorization and funds under the Foreign Missions Act to reimburse local or state authorities nationwide for "extraordinary". protective services performed at the behest and under the supervision of the Department of State. The Department has not yet issued formal guidelines for reimbursement. This extraordinary protection" constitutes both personal and facility protection. In those instances in which state and local authorities cannot provide the protection required, this authorization permits the Department to employ the services of licensed and responsible private security firms to perform the duties. However, Congress limited the amount of the funds available to any one state to 20% of the allotted total. Yet, some states have no diplomatic representation while other states, such as New York and California, have an extraordinary number of foreign missions. Many local police agencies cannot or will not provide continuous, extraordinary protective services for a resident diplomat either because of resource drain or because this is not a function typically performed by municipal police.
The Department should seek an amendment to the existing legislation contained in the Foreign Missions Act. The modifications should permit full payment to those agencies requested by the Department to provide more extraordinary protective services to foreign missions or resident diplomats than is currently stipulated by the 20% limitation. Further, the Department should immediately issue uniform guidelines for reimbursement.
The Panel believes that if the Department continues to rely heavily upon local police agencies and private contractors for resources to provide "extraordinary". protective requests, it is important that the level of service provided by any agency or company adhere to acceptable standards of performance. The Department of State should insure that acceptable levels of competence, performance and training are provided to any organization acting on the Department's behalf.
The Protective Liaison Division currently within the Office of Security performs a vital function. It coordinates information received overseas and domestically with local, state, and federal agencies. It appears to the Panel that this office is critically understaffed. This office does much more than coordinate protective activities: at times it serves as the only link between other agencies on a broad array of issues. The office should be expanded to contain personnel from all divisions that need representation and it should have appropriate exchanges and liaison personnel with a number of departments and offices and local law enforcement agencies.