Cablegate: Gvn: Terrorists Here Are Vietnamese Exiles
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 002603
STATE FOR S/CT, DS, EAP/BCLTV, EAP/RSP, H
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PTER ASEC VM CTERR
SUBJECT: GVN: TERRORISTS HERE ARE VIETNAMESE EXILES
1. (SBU) Summary: MPS counterterrorism officials are keeping
a close watch on Vietnamese Muslims. They do not perceive a
threat yet, but note that contacts between Vietnamese
Muslims and international Muslim groups have developed. The
GVN highly appreciates U.S. assistance in counterterrorism,
but would like assistance in combating what they see as a
threat from U.S.-based Vietnamese exile groups. End
2. (SBU) Visiting Senate Foreign Relations Committee Staffer
Frank Jannuzi met September 1 with Tran Kim Tuyen, Deputy
Director General of the Counterterrorism Division of the
General Department of Security of the Ministry of Public
Security, and Nguyen Nhu Hung, Division Director for
Information Analysis in the Counterterorrism Division.
Deputy Director General Dinh Manh Luat of the International
Cooperation Department also attended the meeting.
TERRORIST THREAT IN SE ASIA: COULD IT REACH VIETNAM?
3. (SBU) Tuyen welcomed Jannuzi to MPS and introduced his
team. "I wish we were unemployed," Tuyen joked, "but that
would be unrealistic." To date, Tuyen reported, MPS had not
encountered any terrorist organizations in Vietnam and there
had been no international terrorist attacks on Vietnamese
territory. However, he said, the presence of the United
States Embassy and other "terrorist targets" in Vietnam
meant that MPS could not rule out the possibility of an
attack on Vietnamese soil. Tuyen noted also that the spread
of Islamic terrorism in other parts of Southeast Asia,
including to Thailand and Cambodia, could at some point
extend to Vietnam. Using information provided by "sources,"
MPS had identified some "suspect individuals" entering
Vietnam to seek information and opportunities to plan a
terrorist attack. Indonesia had provided information on
over 400 people suspected of involvement in Jemiya
Islamiyah/Al Qaeda activities. Among those 400 names, Tuyen
said MPS had found seven that had entered Vietnam. Tuyen
did not discuss how the GVN used the information or what the
outcome was of any investigation.
4. (SBU) The small Vietnamese Islamic community of 65,000
people was another factor in calculating the terrorist
threat, Tuyen said. According to MPS intelligence, there
were no signs of radical Islamic organizations operating in
Vietnam or influencing Vietnamese Muslims. However, Tuyen
noted, there were relationships between Vietnamese Muslims
and Islamic communities in other countries, and Vietnamese
Muslims made the Haj pilgrimage. Vietnamese Muslims had
been to other countries and "trained" in Islam there, Tuyen
said. Some Muslim groups in Vietnam also received financial
assistance from abroad to set up schools and build mosques,
he added. According to "international experience," Tuyen
said, these were the conditions from which an Islamic threat
5. (SBU) Vietnam did not have madrassas, Tuyen said, but
Cambodia had some. Using information provided by the United
States, MPS had been able to identify a suspect who had
received more than USD 600,000 provided by a Saudi Islamic
organization. MPS was checking carefully to ensure that
money was used to build a mosque, and an investigation was
ongoing to determine if the money could have been spent on
terrorist activities. Tuyen also said that MPS was taking
seriously one international expert's (NFI) analysis that
terrorists want to use Vietnam and China as a "backyard" to
prepare for terrorist operations elsewhere, for example by
preparing false identity documents. On the whole, Tuyen
characterized intelligence relations with other countries on
terrorism as "close" but noted that the GVN had yet to
identify any terrorist organizations operating in Vietnam or
any other terrorist plots against other countries in Vietnam
or outside Vietnam's borders.
A REAL TERRORIST THREAT: OVERSEAS VIETNAMESE GROUPS
6. (SBU) Tuyen asked Jannuzi to be aware that though the
threat of Islamic terrorism against Vietnam was low, the
threat from "radical Vietnamese groups overseas" was high.
The "National United Front for Vietnamese Liberation" and
the "Government of Free Vietnam" were both organizations
that had sent money, people, and weapons into Vietnam for
the purpose of destabilizing or overthrowing the government,
Tuyen stated. The organizations had supported or carried
out attacks within Vietnam and against Vietnamese missions
abroad, specifically in Manila and Bangkok. "Tens" of these
organizations' agents had been arrested with explosives and
"other terrorist things," Tuyen said. The GVN had provided
"evidence and other information" on these organizations to
the USG, Tuyen said, but so far the GVN had seen no results.
The organizations continued to operate in the United States.
In a particularly flagrant example, Garden Grove, CA radical
Nguyen Huu Chanh "said on television that he had directed
his followers to bring weapons and explosives into Vietnam."
These "terrorists" pose a serious threat to Vietnam, Tuyen
said, and Vietnam "could not see why they are allowed to
operate in the United States in the current environment."
THANKS FOR THE HELP
7. (SBU) Tuyen said he "appreciated highly" the United
States cooperation with Vietnam on counterterrorism,
particularly USG efforts to develop GVN's capacity. Since
2001, the United States had invited seven delegations with
18 members to take part in CT training, Tuyen noted.
Recently, a group of seven MPS officers had received CT
training at the International Law Enforcement Academy in
Bangkok. "My colleagues highly appreciate the content of
these courses," Tuyen said. In addition, Tuyen praised the
"great deal of information" MPS received from the U.S.
Embassy and noted the existence of an Embassy-MPS hotline
for terrorism emergencies. "We would like to continue to
learn from the United States and receive any training or
technology assistance," he added.
8. (SBU) Comment: We have heard most of Tuyen's brief
before, but there was a change this time: previously, the
GVN has stated that Muslim groups in Vietnam have "no
connections" with the Muslim community outside Vietnam. Now
MPS is acknowledging contacts and outside sources of funding
for Vietnamese Muslims. This is positive because it
indicates that MPS is staying current with developments
involving their Muslim community and any potential terrorist
links, and also because they were willing to share these
findings with us. Like our law enforcement relationship,
our counterterrorism relationship with the GVN is often
frustratingly unidirectional: we provide training,
assistance, travel, and information, and they receive it.
This meeting represented a small, but welcome, improvement.