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Criminals target energy, financial markets, Mukasey says

  • Story Highlights
  • Attorney general: International organized crime is a growing threat to U.S. security
  • Criminals have penetrated portions of the international energy market, Mukasey says
  • Groups also trying to corrupt financial service providers, he warns
  • International Organized Crime Threat Assessment outlines strategic threats
  • Next Article in Crime »
From Terry Frieden
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Attorney General Michael Mukasey warned Wednesday that organized criminal networks have penetrated portions of the international energy market and tried to control energy resources.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey speaks Wednesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

In a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, he said similar efforts have targeted the international financial system by injecting billions of illicit funds to try to corrupt financial service providers.

Mukasey then vowed to beef up U.S. efforts to fight international organized crime, which he called a growing threat to U.S. security and stability.

The attorney general and top law enforcement officials from the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Justice Department Criminal Division said a classified threat assessment prompted the creation of a strategy to combat the threat.

It calls for several U.S. agencies and their overseas counterparts to better prioritize their targets, to improve information sharing and to boost cooperation in law enforcement investigations and operations.

"The activities of transnational and national organized criminal enterprises are increasing in scope and magnitude as these groups continue to strengthen their networking with each other to expand their operations," said FBI Deputy Director John Pistole.

Officials declined to discuss specific cases because the information remains classified, and disclosure could jeopardize ongoing investigations.

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However, the International Organized Crime Threat Assessment identified eight general strategic threats from international organized criminals:

• The penetration of the energy market and other strategic sectors of the U.S. and world economy. As U.S. energy needs continue to grow, so, too, could the power of those who control energy resources.

• Providing logistical and other support to terrorists, foreign intelligence services and foreign governments, all with interests harmful to those of U.S. national security.

• The trafficking in people and contraband goods, bringing people and products through U.S. borders to the detriment of border security, the U.S. economy, and the health and lives of those exploited.

• The exploitation of the U.S. and international financial system to move illegal profits and funds, including sending billions in illicit funds through the U.S. financial system each year. To continue this practice, they seek to corrupt financial service providers globally.

• The use of cyberspace to target U.S. victims and infrastructure, jeopardizing the security of personal information, the stability of business and government infrastructures and the security and solvency of financial investment markets.

• The manipulation of securities exchanges and engaging in sophisticated fraud schemes that rob U.S. investors, consumers and government agencies of billions of dollars.

• The successful corruption of public officials around the world, including countries of vital strategic importance to the United States, and continuing efforts to find ways to influence -- legally or illegally -- U.S. officials.

• The use of violence and the threat of violence as a basis of power. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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