AN AMERICAN college that trains FBI agents is considering setting up a campus in Waterford to offer degree courses in intelligence.
The Institute for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst, in the Pennsylvanian city of Erie, is understood to be in advanced talks with Waterford Institute of Technology and the local authorities.
Local Fine Gael TD John Deasy, a graduate of Mercyhurst, has encouraged links between the college and his home town.
A two-day conference in Dungarvan organised by the institute, which ends today, has attracted over 150 delegates from 15 countries to discuss “best practices in intelligence analysis”. Delegates included representatives from the intelligence and security services communities in Sweden, Czech Republic, Romania, the US, the UK, Canada, and Belgium.
Irish delegates included representatives from the Garda, the Criminal Assets Bureau, the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, the Revenue Commissioners, DCU and the Department of Justice.
Organisers hope the Global Intelligence Forum will become an annual event in Dungarvan.
Yesterday’s keynote speaker, former US secretary for homeland security Tom Ridge, said Mercyhurst was “a model for intelligence education” and hopes to develop a centre in Dungarvan.
Mr Ridge, the main security adviser to former president George W Bush following the 9/11 attacks, said the world was now a safer place following improved intelligence gathering and the sharing of information between the United States and its allies.
He said the greatest threat to international stability came from “the administration in Iran” and its support for Hamas and Hizbullah. Asked if he agreed with Mr Ridge’s analysis, Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern, who also attended the conference, said the Government had “very strong views in relation to the type of regime that they have in Iran”.
Ireland at risk of Jihad attacks
The former secretary of the US Homeland Security Department, Tom Ridge, has said the world should anticipate more attacks from al-Qaeda.
Speaking at a conference in Waterford, Mr Ridge said intelligence services across the world were now working together like never before, which is essential in fighting the threat of terrorism.
Mr Ridge said intelligence departments work on the basis that the next terrorist attack is only a matter of time given the unprecedented nature of terrorism, particularly of jihadists.
Regarding the recent spy swap story involving the US and Russia, he said espionage is part of how the world operates, even though now the Cold War is over.
In his keynote address, Mr Ridge, said, ‘information sharing has become the epicentre of everything we do.’
He continued: ‘it makes little difference whether you are chasing criminals or expanding your business, decisions are best rendered with benefit of information analysis.’
Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern said that the Government is committed to enhancing the intelligence capabilities of the gardaí.
Minister Ahern said that the use of covert surveillance evidence in court allows more strategic targeting of both terrorism and organised crime in Ireland.
Irish Independent: British/American Sponsored Terrorism In Iraq and Omagh (NI) *