FBI to Expand Overseas

August 20, 1996

FBI to Expand Overseas

The FBI plans to increase its presence overseas to nearly double its size within the next four years, news sources report.

In an effort to combat international terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking, the FBI will expand abroad from 23 to 46 cities, including such out of the way places as Tashkent, Pretoria and Brasilia, Brazil.

The expansion is expected to cost $80 million through the year 2000. The price tag will bring 59 more special agents abroad to work with foreign law enforcement officials on criminal matters targeting or involving Americans. The plan also provides for an increase in support personnel overseas.

The plan has met criticism on Capitol Hill, at the CIA and at the State Department. Some U.S. diplomats and intelligence officials see the plan as empire building, saying it could detract from the FBI's domestic agenda or interfere with the work of U.S. spies or the Drug Enforcement Agency. The FBI contends its work abroad will only be to foster better ties with law enforcement officials in countries seen as current or potential areas of criminal activity.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have already approved the opening of four offices this year in Beijing, Islamabad, Tel Aviv and Cairo--areas FBI Director Louis Freeh recently called "critical centers where (the) United States interests, particularly in the counterterrorism area, are greatly at risk."

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