II. Investigative Techniques

Establish and employ a legal framework and practical measures for undercover investigations of terrorist recruiters and facilitators. (GCTF’s Rabat Memorandum, Good Practice 310).


Ongoing initiatives include:


Used in the “Toronto 18” case from 2006, and continues to use, undercover operatives along with electronic surveillance and informants to disrupt and prosecute terrorist recruitment and facilitation activity. Undercover investigation was also used in the Mohamed Hersi investigation discussed as a case study at the workshop and described below. Defendants in Canada are protected against entrapment by undercover operatives through the opportunity to have proceedings stayed upon establishing abuse of process by police investigators.



Employs undercover operatives, along with other intrusive surveillance techniques, such as electronic surveillance, including recently to penetrate and disrupt a major terrorist recruiting and facilitation network, leading to numerous prosecutions and convictions. (See further detail in description below of Kosovo case study presented at the workshop.) Use of undercover operatives requires prior judicial approval.



Employing against terrorist online recruiters and facilitators the new authorization in the Spanish code of criminal procedures for use of online undercover operatives.


Establish mechanisms to encourage cooperation, coordination, and information-sharing among domestic government agencies about the threat and activities of terrorist recruiters and facilitators (GCTF’s Rabat Memorandum, Good Practice 211).

Ongoing initiatives include:


The Joint Counter-Terrorism Centre (Gemeinsames Terrorismusabwehrzentrum, GTAZ) is a common platform for cooperation and communication to combat Islamist terrorism involving 40 federal and state agencies working in the field of internal security, including:

  • The Federal Criminal Police Office
  • The Federal Intelligence Service
  • The Federal Police
  • The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution
  • The Federal Public Prosecutor General
  • The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees

The Joint Counter-Terrorism Centre is an inter-agency body and no autonomous authority. None of the member agencies were granted additional powers or responsibilities or gave up any of its sovereignty when joining the Joint Counter-Terrorism Centre. Each agency takes action on its own behalf and responsibility and in accordance with the laws and principles applying to it. On account of its organizational structure, there is no “Joint Counter-Terrorism Centre head”; rather, the representatives of the agencies involved work on an equal footing. The aim of the Joint Counter-Terrorism Centre is to identify threats at an early stage, to optimize the exchange of information and to reinforce the analytical capacity of all agencies. An optimized flow of information, as well as the compilation and concentration of expertise, are of mutual added value to the agencies, thus leading to a gain in security. The continuous and early exchange of current intelligence and its joint analysis based on the principle of the division of labor allow or facilitate the identification of potential threats from their beginning stages.



In its operational response, Italy adopts an integrated approach and focuses on synergic cooperation between investigative and intelligence services. A Strategic Committee for the exchange of information between law enforcement and intelligence agencies has been set up within the Ministry of Interior (C.A.S.A. – Comitato di Analisi Strategica Antiterrorismo). The Committee systematically assesses possible threats and analyzes information collected from police forces, intelligence services, international partners, and open sources.



Cooperation and information-sharing among law enforcement, intelligence services, customs and border authorities, as well as international partners, has supported an effort that led to the penetration and disruption of a major terrorist recruiting and facilitation network, leading to numerous prosecutions and convictions.



The Intelligence Center against Terrorism and Organized Crime (CITCO) was established in October 2014 to gather and share information among law enforcement, intelligence, and other agencies to link terrorist activities with other forms of organized crime. The CITCO integrates and analyzes relevant information, coordinates and determines the appropriate law enforcement action, produces weekly threat assessments and quarterly analytical reports, and proposes national strategies. The CITCO also shares information with foreign counterparts.


United States

Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) are teams of local, state, and federal officials working together to combat terrorism on a regional scale. JTTFs include about 4,000 members nationwide, hailing from over 500 state and local agencies and 55 federal agencies (including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. military, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Transportation Security Administration). JTTFs investigate leads, gather evidence, coordinate making arrests (either under federal or state law depending on the case), track threats to help ensure security for special events, conduct training, collect and share intelligence, and respond to threats and incidents swiftly. The JTTFs coordinate their efforts largely through the interagency National Joint Terrorism Task Force, working out of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which makes sure that information and intelligence flows freely among the local JTTFs and beyond. They pool talents, skills, and knowledge from across the law enforcement and intelligence communities into a single team that responds together. In doing so, they unify federal, state, and local law enforcement efforts to prevent and investigate terrorist activity by ensuring that all levels of law enforcement are fully benefiting from the information and skills possessed by each.


Establish mechanism to encourage such cooperation, coordination, and information sharing, particularly among domestic agencies responsible for collecting and analyzing commercial and other records generated by terrorist recruiters’ and facilitators’ efforts to move operatives, funds, and goods across borders, in order to build investigations against recruiters and facilitators of terrorist travelers.

Ongoing initiatives include:


The Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s counterterrorism investigative workforce is coordinated through the National Security Branch (NSB) within the Department’s operational arm, the Australian Border Force (ABF). Investigators work collaboratively with other Australian law enforcement agencies to manage border-related risks through seconded investigators within a number of key State and Federal Task Forces, including the National Disruption Group, Australian Counter-Terrorism Centre, and Regional Joint Counter-Terrorism Teams. To enhance the fight against border crime, the Department has a strategic partnership with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) that combines the skills, intelligence, and investigative resources of the Department and AFP to disrupt criminals and prosecute breaches of Australia’s border legislation. This includes established protocols for the joint triaging of referrals or allegations for investigation.


United States

For example, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security helps to develop investigations through a range of investigative techniques aimed at revealing the patterns of conduct of terrorist recruiters and facilitators, including analyzing Passenger Name Records (PNR) and other travel transaction information; assembling related transactional information (such as credit cards, hotels, points of contact, etc.), revealing patterns of recruitment and facilitation; following financial flows such as trade-based money laundering and bulk cash smuggling; tracking refugee and immigration data to identify recruitment trends; and exercising expanded search authorities at borders.

10. Supra note 2.

11. Supra note 2.