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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs > Remarks, Fact Sheets, Reports, Other Releases > Other Releases > 2002 - 2004

Anticorruption Initiatives

May 25, 2004

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
May 2004

The destabilizing effect that corruption has on political systems and democracy threatens vital U.S. national security interests. Corruption deters foreign investment in many countries, stifles economic growth and sustainable development, distorts prices and undermines legal and judicial systems. By diverting or misallocating government resources, corruption prevents public benefits from reaching those most in need of them.

Poor governance and corruption help create the economic and social conditions that can breed disillusionment and nurture fanaticism. Terrorists thrive on corruption, collaborating with transnational organized criminals and utilizing smuggling and trafficking networks to facilitate and finance their activities. Corrupt officials, knowingly and unknowingly, aid terrorists by facilitating the illicit laundering of funds and illicit trade of weapons, passports, drugs, and persons. Terrorists also use bribes to obtain sensitive information from government sources. Corruption can help terrorists move across borders and find safe havens.

Fighting corruption has become a key foreign policy priority for the President and his Administration. President Bush, in a statement to representatives of over 120 countries at the Third Global Forum on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity in May 2003, remarked that "Fighting corruption is essential to meeting the great challenges of our times....When corruption flourishes, it weakens confidence in public institutions such as law enforcement, and undermines the honest values that democracy depends upon. All people deserve legal systems that spread opportunity, instead of protecting the narrow interests of a well-connected few."

The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs is committed to strengthening the international fight against corruption. In recent years, INL has pursued a mix of diplomatic and programmatic efforts to attain four primary international anticorruption goals. These four goals are:

  • Uniting Governments Under Common Commitments. By recognizing and helping to shape international norms to counter corruption, the U.S. Government (USG) opens the door to better bilateral and multilateral cooperation on traditionally local fronts.

  • Helping Governments Meet or Exceed Those Commitments. Where pockets of political will exist, the USG can assist governments to take effective action against corruption. The U.S. is also beginning through the Millennium Challenge Account and Anticorruption Compacts to reward those countries that are committed to effectively rooting out corruption.

  • Mobilizing Popular Will and Private Sector Action. Popular will is the best expediter of political will against corruption. The USG can help enhance popular will in other countries by helping encourage civil society, the media, and the private sector to be active in the fight against corruption, increase transparency in governments, and increase integrity in the private sector.

  • Leading by Example. The USG has been a leader in the fight against corruption by promoting integrity within its own country and making its actions an example for the world. The international community can benefit from examples in the United States, particularly regarding its efforts to deny safe haven to corrupt officials, prevent U.S. multinational business from bribing overseas, enforce corruption laws, promote good public/corporate governance, and build tools and institutions to prevent corruption.


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