'NO TERROR CELLS IN T&T'

F BI keeping watch on some people but…
Ucill Cambridge ucambridge@trinidadexpress.com
Head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Robert S Mueller does not believe that there are any terrorist cells operating in this country.
Read the rest of the Trinidad Express article.


“We have no reason to believe that there are what you call terrorist cells in Trinidad and Tobago, although there are individuals who are of interest to us,” Mueller said following a meeting with Prime Minister Patrick Manning at Whitehall, Port of Spain, yesterday.
Mueller was on a one-day visit to Trinidad. His meeting with Manning lasted around 50 minutes.
Mueller, whose schedule-according to FBI policy-remained secret from the public and media, arrived in the country at 9.30 a.m.
Around 11.15 a.m. he arrived at Whitehall, where he met Manning. Also present at that meeting at the start was United States Ambassador Roy Austin and National Security Minister Martin Joseph.
Manning told the media that the link for the FBI to come to Trinidad and assist with the present crime problem was possible because of the successful trade relationship between this country and the United States.
Manning said last year Trinidad and Tobago was responsible for the export of 75 per cent of all imports of LNG, 55 per cent of all ammonia imports and 69 per cent of all methanol imports into the US.
“The US is our largest market,” he said.
He said it was in that context that this country sought to foster closer ties with the FBI.
Manning said the recent bombings were discussed yesterday, “though those discussions were not initiated today but have been ongoing”. The spate of kidnappings “and ways the FBI is in a position to assist the Trinidad and Tobago government” were also discussed.
At a news conference following the meeting, Mueller said that since August the FBI had set up a permanent legal attache office in Trinidad, adding that there were plans to expand that office.
“Legal attaches have been here since August and we will be expanding the office here but, more importantly, we will have persons coming here to address issues as they arise. I can tell you in the near future another four of our specialists are coming to assist with investigations of the recent bombings,” he said.
He said to date the FBI has been assisting the local law officers with the forensic aspect of the bombings.
“We have assisted investigators with investigations into the four bombings which have occurred. We are also assisting with the kidnappings which have occurred over a period of time… Our assistance to date in the bombings has been of a forensic nature, providing forensic support to the police department investigators,” he said.
That kind of cooperation was important, he said.
“With globalisation, with the world growing smaller, what happens outside of one’s borders is important to understand. In order to be effective in law enforcement we have to work together, sharing training opportunities and intelligence,” he said.
The population is also important to intelligence gatherings and crime fighting, Mueller said.
“I have become more aware perhaps than I was before of the crime situation facing the population of this country, and I know the Prime Minister is absolutely dedicated to reducing that. And to the extent that we can, we will assist, understanding that the police and the population of Trinidad and Tobago must come together and address the violent criminals. But to the extent that we can help, we will want to do so.”
He said the FBI’s success in reducing crime in some cities can be attributed, in large part, to enlisting the help of the people who were affected by the crimes in identifying the persons responsible.
He said that the FBI has “found in the United States that it is important for the law enforcement authorities to play a substantial role in identifying those who are responsible for these crimes, investigating them, arresting them, indicting them and putting them behind bars for a very long time.
“But it is also the people that need to provide the information that will assist in triggering these investigations, leading to the incarcerations of these persons”.
Mueller added that “one of the things we recognise in the US is that it takes clinical intelligence to identify those who are serial violators and who may be involved in some kind of organised crime, maybe narcotics trafficking or trafficking of persons, and we then develop strategies to attain specific information and evidence and prosecute individuals in the court system.
“We will be assisting our counterparts, but it is important to recognise that to attain the intelligence, you need the cooperation of the population, you cannot leave it up to the police.”

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