FBI director Louis Freeh, apparently opting for diplomacy over confrontation, said on November 19 during a visit to Moscow that crimes committed by Russians criminal groups "do not threaten the domestic or national security of the United States, and compared to other crimes, are on a very low level." Freeh, addressing reporters alongside Russian interior minister Anatoly Kulikov, also applauded Russian-U.S. cooperation in battling crime and said that there "are absolutely no differences" between the agencies headed by the two men.
In early October, Freeh had spoken with alarm of the growing danger posed by Russian criminal groups, but he claimed yesterday that his remarks had been blown out of proportion. Last month, Kulikov dismissed the allegations — made by Freeh and others — that Russian crime groups pose a particular danger to the national security interests of Western countries. He claimed that such remarks were in fact aimed at scaring foreigners from investing in Russia. (Reuter, November 19; see also Monitor, October 15)
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