U.S. secret service forms three new task forces

Published 15 July 2009

New task forces will deal with electronic crimes, and the agency says the partnerships will bring together law enforcement, academia, and private sector

The U.S. Secret Service has announced the formation of three new Electronic Crimes Task Forces (ECTFs), a public-private partnership aimed at fighting high-tech computer-based crimes. The three new U.S.-based task forces are located in St. Louis, Kansas City, and New Orleans and join an existing network of nationwide operations. The Secret Service also recently announced the creation of the first European Electronic Crimes Task Force, based in Rome, Italy, to provide a forum through which U.S. and European law enforcement agencies, the private sector and academia can collaborate to investigate, suppress and prevent computer related crimes.

One of the top priorities for the Secret Service continues to be combating the computer related crimes perpetrated by domestic and international criminals that target the U.S. financial infrastructure,” said Secret Service director Mark Sullivan. “Building on the success of the Secret Service’s highly successful model, the addition of our new task forces has expanded the number of ECTFs from 24 to 28.”

The ECTF approach developed by the Secret Service has generated unprecedented partnerships among law enforcement at the local, state, federal and international level, the private sector and academia. The types of investigations handled by the Electronic Crimes Task Forces encompass a wide range of computer-based criminal activity, including network intrusions, hacking cases, identity theft, and other computer related crimes affecting financial and other critical infrastructures.

The Secret Service has a history of working with other law enforcement agencies and believes in partnerships versus membership, where there is a

strong emphasis on prevention and education, in addition to traditional law enforcement measures. The agency says that the Electronic Crimes Task Force model provides a productive framework and collaborative crime-fighting environment in which the resources of its participants can be combined to effectively and efficiently make a significant impact on cybercrime.

Other law enforcement agencies bring additional criminal enforcement jurisdiction and resources to the task force, while representatives from private industry and academia bring technical expertise and research capabilities.