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Cablegate: Fbi Director Meets with Vice Minister of Ministry of Public

VZCZCXRO7972
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHHI #0169/01 0451014
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 141014Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7170
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 4289
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000169

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC KCRM PGOV PREL PTER PINS VM
SUBJECT: FBI DIRECTOR MEETS WITH VICE MINISTER OF MINISTRY OF PUBLIC
SECURITY

HANOI 00000169 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: During FBI Director Robert Mueller's January 30
meeting with Ministry of Public Security (MPS) Vice Minister Nguyen
Van Huong, the Vietnamese agreed to simplify and intensify
information sharing in criminal matters and enthusiastically
welcomed prospects for enhanced training provided by the FBI. Huong
thanked the FBI for information shared with Vietnam concerning the
cases of Nguyen Huu Chanh and his associates, several of whom have
been convicted of crimes related to the bombing or attempted bombing
of Vietnam's embassies abroad. Huong also briefly outlined concerns
about groups which call for the overthrow of the GVN. Vice Minister
Huong called the Director's visit a landmark step in bilateral law
enforcement relations, and thanked the Director for inviting MPS
Minister Le Hong Anh to visit the United States. End Summary.

2. (SBU) FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III made a short visit to
Hanoi on January 30, during which he met for 45 minutes with
Ministry of Public Security (MPS) Vice Minister Nguyen Van Huong,
who oversees intelligence and counter-terrorism (CT) issues. As a
senior MPS official, Huong has been our highest-level interlocutor
on bilateral law enforcement matters. He sees himself as the
architect of our slowly expanding cooperative law enforcement
relationship. Ambassador Michalak accompanied the Director.

3. (SBU) After opening pleasantries, Huong agreed that the United
States and Vietnam share similar threats from transnational crime,
including terrorism, drug trafficking, cyber crime and money
laundering. He cited, in general terms, several instances in which
the FBI and the MPS had cooperated in the past, and mentioned
contacts with the DEA, but acknowledged that the current level of
bilateral interaction was "modest." He praised the FBI as the
leading agency in law enforcement in the world. Noting that
economic growth would expose Vietnam to more types of criminal
activity, Huong concluded that it is time for Vietnam to work more
closely with the FBI.

4. (SBU) Director Mueller agreed on the benefits of, and need for,
closer cooperation. He offered three specific suggestions: (1) that
MPS agree to meet with the RSO and the Legatt on a monthly basis to
exchange information on cases of mutual interest, and that this
information be passed in a less formal manner than the current
required diplomatic note; (2) that the MPS welcome additional
training offered by the FBI, including slots in the FBI national
academy; and (3) that Minister Le Hong Anh accept his invitation to
visit the United States at a mutually convenient time to exchange
ideas on the full range of law enforcement issues.

5. (SBU) Huong responded enthusiastically to the first two proposals
and committed personally to brief Minister Anh on the third.
Concerning information sharing, Huong admitted that the two nations
had discussed deepening cooperation for several years, but that very
little had actually happened during that time. He added that there
was no need to restrict exchanges to a monthly schedule, stating
that USG law enforcement officials can come to Vietnam "without
barriers" at any time there is an urgent need to exchange
information. He also urged that both sides make the best use of
"information technology" to speed communications. Vietnam hopes,
through USG law enforcement officials, to be able to access "the FBI
crime data base," and that Vietnam would - in turn -- share
information with the United States. On the suggestion regarding
training, Huong agreed with the Director that expanded training
would help each side better understand the other, creating better
conditions for effective cooperation. "Vietnam has gained some
experience in fighting crime," Huong noted, "but we know the FBI has
much expertise to offer." He added that Vietnam is now interested
in joint operations, which training could enable. He promised to
support the in-country training costs for Vietnam officials, adding:
"you just send your experts."

6. (SBU) Huong then thanked the Director for information conveyed by
the FBI during the previous month concerning investigations
regarding Nguyen Huu Chanh and his associates, who are suspected of
bombing Vietnamese diplomatic establishments. He then acknowledged
Director Mueller's earlier comment that the United States and
Vietnam do not see eye to eye on all issues, noting that there are
groups which Vietnam sees as security threats, but that the United
States considers benign. One such group is the "Viet Tan
Revolutionary Party," Huong continued. Director Mueller explained
the U.S. process of designating groups as terrorist organizations,
which necessarily involves evidence of criminal activity and
decisions within the State Department.

7. (SBU) In closing remarks, Director Mueller underscored our
willingness to consider Vietnam's training needs, emphasizing that
Legatt Laro Tan, stationed in the new FBI office Phnom Penh, would
be visiting Vietnam on a regular basis and could engage in planning.
Huong proclaimed that the MPS has made a decision to "orient"
itself more closely with the FBI as a priority. He called for a new
focus on the "practical aspects" of bilateral law enforcement, and

HANOI 00000169 002.2 OF 002


welcomed the chance to speak directly with his American
counterpart.

8. (SBU) Comment: Vice Minister Huong's message - that the MPS is
ready to engage in a regular, real exchange of information -- was
clear and repeated several times during the short meeting. The
strength of this commitment, which is new in our dialogue, will have
to be tested. Our invitation to Minister Le Hong Anh came at the
suggestion of Huong's people, and may be an element of his internal
maneuvering to carve out more "space" for exchanges in the to-date
slow moving development of the bilateral law enforcement
relationship. End Comment.

9. (U) This message was approved by Leggat Phnom Penh.

MICHALAK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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