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25 March 2014

Nuclear Security Summit calls for greater information-sharing with INTERPOL

INTERPOL Chief warns gaps in international communication jeopardize nuclear security

THE HAGUE, The Netherlands ‒ INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble has told the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) that better information-sharing is required to address significant gaps in international preparedness for nuclear security threats.

The INTERPOL chief said that further to the Organization’s pledge at the 2012 Seoul summit to collect and share key, actionable information about traffickers of radioactive materials, 23 individuals from five different countries are now the subject of INTERPOL alerts under Operation Fail Safe.

However, Secretary General Noble warned that the individuals, who had been convicted for trafficking in nuclear or radioactive materials, had since been released and could be active. The head of INTERPOL also said that another 285 potential threats are being examined by member countries.

“Where criminal and terrorist networks plot attacks internationally using nuclear or other radioactive materials, the impact will have no geographic boundary,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Noble, calling on the more than 50 heads of state attending the summit to look closely at how their national security teams share information.

“Virtually all national security teams are expert at ensuring the security of your countries by keeping sensitive information secret and sharing it only with your most trusted partners.

“We need these teams to become expert at knowing when and how to share information internationally,” added the INTERPOL chief.

The 2014 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) has said that the most important challenges in the years to come are strengthening nuclear security and preventing terrorists and criminals from acquiring materials which could be used in nuclear weapons.

The two-day summit (24 and 25 March) in The Hague also highlighted the dangers posed by illicit trafficking of nuclear material and encouraged all states to expand information-sharing, including through INTERPOL.

With the summit also highlighting the growing importance of ensuring the security of information held on computer systems, Mr Noble said INTERPOL stood ready to assist in securing facilities against emerging threats, ‘coming not from a hole in a fence, but from a USB port or an email attachment’.

Some 600 officers from almost 70 nations have already participated in INTERPOL Counter Nuclear Smuggling training, in collaboration with the United Nations, IAEA, European Union, the Netherlands Forensic Institute and the US Department of Energy.

INTERPOL’s Operation Fail Safe supports the global law enforcement community in the real-time monitoring and tracking of individuals involved in the illicit trafficking of nuclear or other radioactive materials, primarily using INTERPOL’s system of notices. Green Notices are issued in order to warn member countries about a person's criminal activities if that person is considered to be a possible threat to public safety.

Under Fail Safe, law enforcement officers at border crossings or other key locations can instantly query INTERPOL’s databases to check if an individual is the subject of a Green Notice. A match will trigger an alert containing details of the country location and identity of the individual at the 24-hour Command and Coordination Centre (CCC) at INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France, which will then notify INTERPOL’s CBRNE Programme.