Hannes Richter

Austria and the U.S.: Combating Terrorism and Cybercrime

Hannes Richter

Keeping citizens safe from the threats posed by international terrorism and cybercrime is of the utmost importance to the Austrian Minister of the Interior, Maria Fekter*. Given the global nature of these threats, close cooperation between members of the international community is essential.

With this in mind, Maria Fekter recently visited the United States to meet with key U.S. government officials, including U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, White House Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. During her visit, Minister Fekter received a rare glimpse into the organizations responsible for U.S. counter-terrorism. She visited not only the U.S. Department of State, but also the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia, and the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia.


(left to right) Gregor Schütze, Karl Hutter, Peter Gridling, Attorney General Eric Holder, Maria Fekter, Christian Prosl, Franz Lang, Barbara Schrotter, and Elisabeth Neugebauer

The discussions were reported to have been very positive, focusing on U.S.-Austrian cooperation on these serious threats. While terrorism continues to be a topic that garners considerable public attention, the issue of cyber security and the danger cybercrime poses to global, national, and business infrastructure has recently gained more and more attention. Taking a break from national security issues, Minister Fekter also had the opportunity to meet the Austrian- American chemist, novelist, and playwright Carl Djerassi during a dinner at the Austrian Ambassador’s residence. Djerassi, who is best known for his contribution to the development of the first oral contraceptive pill, is Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. He is also the proud owner of an impressive collection of Klee paintings.

* Minister Fekter has switched government positions in April of this year and is now in charge of the Ministry of Finance.