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Cablegate: Stemming the Flow of Foreign Terrorists Into Iraq

VZCZCXYZ0009
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDL #0382 1761544
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 241544Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY DUBLIN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9290

S E C R E T DUBLIN 000382

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR S/CT

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/24/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR PTER EI
SUBJECT: STEMMING THE FLOW OF FOREIGN TERRORISTS INTO IRAQ
FROM IRELAND

REF: INGALLS (S/CT) E-MAIL OF 04/15/2008

Classified By: Ambassador Thomas C. Foley; Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).

1. (S) Summary: The Ambassador briefed Justice Minister
Dermot Ahern on June 19 on the S/CT presentation, "Stemming
the Flow of Foreign Terrorists into Iraq: Presentation to the
Government of Ireland" (reftel). Ahern indicated clearly
that he wants to thwart terrorist activities on Irish soil.
He said that the Government of Ireland would cooperate
closely with U.S. intelligence services -- "within the
parameters of Irish law" -- to thwart terrorist threats.
Nonetheless, Irish law, the courts, and government
bureaucracy sometimes make it difficult to aggressively
pursue alleged terrorist links and can complicate
cooperation. End summary.

2. (S) The Ambassador, EMBOFFs, and Station Chief briefed
Minister of Justice, Equality and Law Reform Dermot Ahern on
June 19 on the S/CT presentation (reftel), explaining that
the purpose of the briefing was to acquaint the newly
appointed Minister with a terrorist threat. Ahern was
accompanied by senior Justice Department officials Sean
Aylward, Secretary General, Ken O'Leary, Assistant Secretary,
and Patrick Forsyth, Assistant Principal.

3. (S) Stating, "We don't want Ireland to be a base for
murder or for an attack on another country," Ahern declared
that the Government of Ireland would cooperate closely with
U.S. intelligence services -- "within the parameters of Irish
law" -- to thwart terrorist threats emanating from Ireland.
He stated that adequate legislation is in force to enable
Ireland to deal effectively with terrorists. Ahern noted
that the Irish Government was particularly concerned about
the potential for attacks on the United Kingdom, partly due
to the open border between the two nations, but it also
appeared they had some intelligence indicating an elevated
risk of an attack in the U.K. In this regard, he stated that
Irish intelligence authorities were liaising closely with
British, French, and Israeli intelligence services in
relation to foreign terrorists. (Note: The primary Irish
intelligence operation is a division of the Garda (police),
which falls under Ahern's jurisdiction as Minister of
Justice. There is also a military intelligence wing of the
Irish Army, which reports to the Minister of Defence. End
note.) Ahern went on to say, however, that the Justice
Ministry did not intend to micromanage Irish intelligence
operations. Rather, he said, the Ministry would stipulate
that close cooperation was authorized with U.S. authorities
on issues of foreign terrorists and step back to let the
intelligence authorities do their job. He declared, however,
that the Justice Ministry would be tracking developments
closely and that he was prepared to "mediate roadblocks."

4. (S) Comment: Ahern is clearly committed to thwarting
terrorist activities on Irish soil. Nonetheless, Irish law,
the courts, and government bureaucracy sometimes make it
difficult to aggressively pursue alleged terrorist links and
can complicate cooperation. There may also be a dollop of
complacency in Irish efforts to pursue alleged terrorists --
there have been no foreign terrorist acts against Ireland or
launched from Ireland into Europe ... as yet.
FOLEY

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