Hannes Richter

Austrian Minister of the Interior Gunther Platter’s Visit

Hannes Richter

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During a bilateral visit to the U.S. from October 23 - 25, Austrian Minister of the Interior Günther Platter met with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff in Washington, D.C. The discussion focused on closer cooperation in the fight against organized crime and terrorism. Areas of cooperation have included exchange of DNA data and information in the field of online surveillance, which was recently introduced in Austria. In regard to the devastating consequences of the fires in California, Minster Platter offered U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Chertoff assistance by providing Austrian expertise on the re-forestation of the burned areas from the air.

Following the Ministers’ meeting, a “Memorandum of Understanding” was signed between Austria and the U.S. on the deployment of “Air Marshals,” law enforcement officers who travel on aircraft to provide security. It is a program that has been successfully developed by the two countries.

Other meetings were held with CIA Director General Michael V. Hayden, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Mike McConnell, Acting Attorney General Peter D. Keisler, Congressman James Sensenbrenner and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman.

During his four-day U.S. visit, Platter also met with New York Chief of Police Raymond Kelly. In view of next year’s European Football Championship, EURO 2008, discussions focused on exchanging information on security measures for large-scale events.