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Cablegate: Timor-Leste: Request for Anti-Terrorism Assistance Training

VZCZCXRO7705
PP RUEHDT
DE RUEHDT #0267 2730824
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P R 300824Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY DILI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4562
INFO RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 1069
RUEHKL/AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR 0060
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1333
RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI 4106

UNCLAS DILI 000267

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR S/CT, INL, DS, DS/DSS/IP, DS/T/ATA, DS/IP/EAP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PTER PREL TT
SUBJECT: TIMOR-LESTE: REQUEST FOR ANTI-TERRORISM ASSISTANCE TRAINING

1. (SBU) Embassy Dili would like to request an Anti-Terrorism
Assistance (ATA) training assessment to address two separate
critical areas of vulnerability for the National Police of
Timor-Leste (PNTL). First, the Secretary of State for Security
has requested assistance from the Ambassador in providing some
basic training on border management for the PNTL border guards
along the 142 mile land border with Indonesia. Second, we would
like to offer a VIP protection course to the PNTL Close
Protection Unit with the intent of requesting a PNTL Close
Protection Detail for our Ambassador.

Land Border with Indonesia Vulnerable to Trafficking, Terrorists

--------------------------------------------- -

2. (SBU) In a recent meeting with the Ambassador, Secretary of
State for Security Francisco Guterres lamented the fact that
neither the U.N. nor other bilateral donors have provided the
GOTL with assistance in training the PNTL on how to manage the
long land border with Indonesia. He specifically expressed his
concern that the border is virtually wide open to traffickers
and terrorists traveling from Indonesia and requested U.S.
assistance in training the border guards. In a subsequent
meeting, he noted that he had turned away a number of suspicious
tourist visa applications from a group of Afghans in Kuala
Lumpur. He also remarked that the GOTL is looking at tightening
visa restrictions and blocking overland entries to certain third
country nationals. (Note: In addition to Guterres, both Prime
Minister Gusmao and Director-General of the National
Intelligence Service Cristovao also noted their increasing
concern regarding Timor-Leste's vulnerability to these
threats.). Our own consultations with other international
partners confirm that the PNTL has not received significant
assistance in this area (e.g., the Australians are more
concerned with the maritime border and stemming the tide of
illegal immigrants using Timor-Leste as a stepping stone into
Australia).

VIP Protection

-----------

3. (SBU) Separately, Embassy Dili would like to address our own
vulnerability by securing close protection services for our
Ambassador. Although the current and previous Ambassador have
not had protection, other senior international diplomats do have
their own internal close protection units. While we believe
that the current threat level remains low, we are eager to
eliminate a major vulnerability that could leave us an easy
target to a terrorist attack or criminal assault. We believe
that with the proper incentive, the PNTL would be eager to
assume this responsibility. One such incentive would be
specialized VIP protection training for their Close Protection
Unit. Another would be the prestige attached to having the
practical experience of providing such protection to the
Ambassador and visiting senior U.S. delegations.

Justification

----------

4. (SBU) Embassy Dili feels strongly that ATA training in these
two areas would be a significant step towards reducing
Timor-Leste's and our own vulnerabilities. While the current
threat posed by terrorists and traffickers remains low, we
believe that it is simply a matter of time before criminal
elements seek to exploit Timor-Leste's serious vulnerabilities
in this area. In addition, we believe that VIP protection
training would be a low-cost means for this Embassy to obtain
long-term services of a PNTL Close Protection Detail assigned to
the Ambassador and would also enhance local PNTL capacity for
providing similar services to senior USG visitors.

KLEMM

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