Sec. Chertoff has been traveling in Europe this week, giving a speech in Berlin on Wednesday at the German Marshall Fund and attending a meeting of the G8 Ministers of Justice and Interior in Moscow on Thursday and today. He previewed the G8 meeting in a confab with foreign reporters in DC last Friday:
Among the things I anticipate we will be able to talk about among the countries are the issues of preparedness, including avian flu preparedness, combating human trafficking, adopting new technology for better explosive detection during aircraft boarding, enhancing security on other forms of transportation like subways and railroads, working to mitigate radicalization and recruitment, promoting cybersecurity, combating electronic financial crimes and crimes on the Internet, more effectively frustrating terrorist financing operations and working more closely on critical infrastructure protection and consequence management.
He also indicated that he would be discussing the passenger name record (PNR) issue with his European counterparts while at the meeting.
Protection of transportation and communication networks should top the list of security concerns, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said.
Sergei Sobyanin, head of the presidential administration, said Russian authorities had devised new strategies for shielding railways and metros from attack.
Nurgaliyev also called for fighting illegal immigration and Internet-based extremists and terrorists.
“The Internet is increasingly used by terrorists as a means to disseminate information containing detailed instructions for building bombs and other weapons,” Nurgaliyev said.
With such a long list of issues to discuss, it’s hard to imagine that much progress is made at meetings like this. But they play a valuable role in terms of building interpersonal relationships, and help to establish the kind of trust that makes it possible for officials to cooperate and share information on a routine basis. These relationships are themselves a critical and necessary asset in the war on terror.
I’ll post an update to this post after the ministers release their post-event “statement of recommendations.”