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Viewing cable 06BERN1867, S/CT CRUMPTON PRESSES THE SWISS TO SHARE MORE INTEL \

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BERN1867 2006-10-02 14:02 2011-02-18 21:09 SECRET Embassy Bern
Appears in these articles:
www.letemps.ch/swiss_papers
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSW #1867/01 2751448
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 021448Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY BERN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3192
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 2606
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0103
80378	2006-10-02 14:48:00	06BERN1867	Embassy Bern	SECRET		VZCZCXYZ0000\
PP RUEHWEB\
\
DE RUEHSW #1867/01 2751448\
ZNY SSSSS ZZH\
P 021448Z OCT 06\
FM AMEMBASSY BERN\
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3192\
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY\
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 2606\
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0103\
	S E C R E T BERN 001867 \
 \
SIPDIS \
 \
SIPDIS \
 \
STATE FOR S/CT, EUR, ISN \
 \
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/02/2031 \
TAGS: PTER ETTC SZ
SUBJECT: S/CT CRUMPTON PRESSES THE SWISS TO SHARE MORE INTEL \
 \
Classified By: DCM Carol Urban, Reasons 1.4 b/d/h \
 \
1.(S) Summary: Counterterrorism Coordinator Henry Crumpton \
met with Swiss officials on September 7 to urge better \
intelligence sharing on terrorism.  Crumpton highlighted the \
importance of a broad exchange of information as a necessary \
means to defeating terrorist plans.  Swiss officials \
expressed surprise at USG dissatisfaction with their \
performance, but pointed to various Swiss legal and resource \
reasons to explain their inability to share more.  Swiss \
officials added that they welcomed the President's decision \
to transfer 14 high-value al-Qaida suspects to military \
custody, asserting that more such gestures would make \
U.S.-Swiss counterterrorism cooperation easier to sell to the \
Swiss public.  End summary. \
 \
------------------------------- \
Surprise at USG Dissatisfaction \
------------------------------- \
 \
2.(S) Prior to attending the U.S.-Swiss sponsored "Black Ice" \
bioterrorism exercise held September 7-8 in Montreux, U.S. \
Counterterrorism Coordinator Crumpton met in Bern with senior \
Swiss officials in order to convey the message that \
intelligence sharing needed to improve.  At a breakfast \
meeting with Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Deputy \
Political Director Anton Thalmann, DFA Security Policy \
director Jacques Pitteloud, and Poloff, Ambassador Crumpton \
said that the USG, while pleased that Switzerland has frozen \
over 34 million Swiss Francs (about $28 million) in \
Al-Qaida/Taliban assets, was concerned that suspected \
terrorists continued to operate in Switzerland, and that \
Swiss officials were too restrictive in what information they \
shared.  Crumpton stressed that it was not sufficient to \
share only intelligence information having a specific U.S. \
nexus; only with the broad picture can governments adequately \
assess the threat. \
 \
3.(S) Deputy PolDir Thalmann expressed surprise at the USG's \
dissatisfaction with the Swiss performance.  He had not heard \
this dissatisfaction expressed with regard to Swiss Justice \
Minister Blocher's August visit to Washington for the signing \
of the new Operative Working Agreement (OWA) on \
counterterrorism cooperation.  Pitteloud -- a former Swiss \
intelligence official aware of (and sympathetic to the USG \
concerns) intelligence sharing shortfalls -- offered that USG \
officials may have wished to emphasize the positive as they \
signed the OWA.  Thalmann promised to consult with his \
interagency colleagues. \
 \
4.(S) Noting President Bush's speech the previous evening \
announcing the transfer of 14 high-value suspects from \
confidential confinement to Guantanamo Bay, Thalmann and \
 \
SIPDIS \
Pitteloud said they were pleased the USG was moving closer to \
what they considered a more transparent approach to \
detainees.  Pitteloud regretted that differences over \
detainees, overflights, and renditions had made closer \
Swiss-U.S. cooperation less popular with the Swiss public. \
 \
--------------------------------------------- -- \
Bank Secrecy and Countering Terrorist Financing \
--------------------------------------------- -- \
 \
5.(C) Meeting later with Swiss officials from the Swiss \
Banking Commission and from the departments of Foreign \
Affairs, Economics, and Finance, Ambassador Crumpton -- \
joined by Embassy law enforcement and Econoff -- observed \
that Swiss bank secrecy laws proved a formidable obstacle \
regarding how much information the Swiss could share with the \
U.S. on suspect assets.  Urs Zulauf, spokesman for the Swiss \
Banking Commission, explained that the Swiss needed very \
specific information from the USG in order to freeze assets \
or start criminal cases; information that was not always \
forthcoming.  He explained that the Swiss legal system had \
very explicit requirements regarding terrorism financing: "we \
have no flexibility". \
 \
6.(C) Ambassador Crumpton acknowledged Swiss concerns and \
constraints and indicated he would relay this to Washington \
agencies.  He requested, however, that the Swiss think \
creatively about ways the government could improve its \
information sharing.  He stressed that there is no piece of \
information that is "purely domestic" as terrorists are \
micro-level actors with a macro-level impact.  He noted that \
intelligence and information-sharing programs such as Swift \
have benefited Switzerland and have produced information -- \
Swiss-origin information -- that resulted in anti-terrorism \
cases.  Ambassador Crumpton stressed that it was inadequate \
for the Banking Commission, DFA and others in the Swiss \
Administration to restrict information exchanges to threats \
specifically identifiable to the United States.  Important \
puzzle pieces in the global war on terrorism could be \
disregarded if this limited approach is not expanded. \
 \
--------------------------------------------- ------ \
Accustomed to Police Cooperation, not Intel Sharing \
--------------------------------------------- ------ \
 \
7.(S) Charge joined Ambassador Crumpton for a meeting with \
Federal Police Director Jean-Luc Vez, Jean-Paul Rouiller and \
Michel Perler of the Federal Criminal Police (BKP), and Juerg \
Buehler, deputy director of the Service for Analysis and \
Protection (Internal Intelligence Service).  Ambassador \
Crumpton thanked Vez and Justice Minister Blocher for \
pressing forward on the U.S.-Swiss Operative Working \
Agreement (OWA).  He hoped the new OWA would be more than a \
piece of paper, but rather a vehicle for real \
counterterrorism cooperation.  Given the threat faced by both \
countries, one could not confine intelligence sharing only to \
"Swiss-specific" or "US-specific" intelligence.  The Heathrow \
plot was thwarted because of good intelligence sharing among \
different services, which we were sharing even before we knew \
the American nexus.  All friendly services should share as \
much as possible with each other. \
 \
8.(S) The Swiss officials chafed at the suggestion by Embassy \
law enforcement officials that they had not been responsive \
to specific requests for information.  Traditionally, the \
Swiss had turned to the police forces to undertake \
investigations of all threats, including terrorism.  He was \
convinced that it was time to develop the intelligence side, \
but the Swiss services were small and it would take \
considerable time to push the changes through the legislative \
process.  Vez described U.S.-Swiss cooperation as good, but \
asserted that the USG needed to provide more detailed \
information if we expected the Swiss to prosecute terrorists. \
 (Comment: The Swiss complaint that USG intelligence is \
insufficiently specific reflects their passive approach \
counterterrorism -- one would hope Swiss investigators could \
use this "lead-information" to build their own cases, rather \
than await complete criminal cases to be provided them on a \
platter.  End comment.) \
 \
9.(S) Charge observed that recent polling had shown the Swiss \
public relatively unconcerned about terrorism.  Asked how he \
viewed the threat, Vez said that he was confident there was \
"no threat to Switzerland," but he realized the situation \
could change rapidly.  There was an evident \
"individualization" of the jihadi threat, and the fact that \
there was less coordination and control by a central command \
widened the threat, as seen with the attempted train bombings \
in Germany.  Rouiller followed with an informative slide \
presentation on the Swiss nexus with senior al-Qaida leaders \
dating back to the early 1990s. \
 \
10.(S) Pulling Vez aside at the end, Ambassador Crumpton \
underlined the gravity of the situation, describing \
Switzerland as nearly the only country in Western Europe to \
have not provided a response to our information on the \
al-Qaida threat in Europe.  Vez was vague in his response, \
giving no indication he would improve things in the near term. \
 \
------- \
Comment \
------- \
 \
11.(S) The Swiss Service for Analysis and Prevention (DAP) is \
uncooperative toward Embassy law enforcement and other \
officials.  This could partly be due to the anti-Americanism \
of DAP's director Urs von Daeniken, but the problem is more \
widespread; DAP doesn't share very well with other services \
or within the Swiss bureaucracy itself.  What little \
information does get shared is by the Federal Criminal Police \
(BKP), a sister office in the Federal Police Bureau, whose \
counterterrorism cell hosts an FBI agent.  However, even the \
BKP's information tends to be solely U.S.-specific, and short \
of the broader picture desired. \
 \
12.(S) Domestically, DAP has little to lose from poor \
cooperation with the U.S.  Public sentiment leans against \
involvement in intelligence gathering, foreign or domestic. \
Justice Minister Blocher's attitude toward the situation has \
not been as helpful as initially hoped when he took office in \
January 2004.  Although he is obviously aware of the problem, \
he apparently sees no political percentage to making a swift \
change.  Embassy will continue to encourage senior USG \
officials to send the message conveyed by Ambassador Crumpton \
(and Treasury Under Secretary Stuart Levey after him), namely \
the need to share intelligence information broadly, in order \
to tackle the threat. \
CONEWAY \