15 JUNE 2010


Alicia Keyes provided a soft atmosphere while Ronald Noble presented the hard facts. The Secretary General of INTERPOL pointed out that our one world was becoming increasingly unsafe; enlightened, informed and sharp focus was required more than at any other time, not only to swiftly avert risks and identify perpetrators, but also to ensure that the innocent are not unjustifiably targeted and unfairly inconvenienced. A voice of reason was required to ensure the rule of law. Equally crucial is building needed partnerships with other global organizations, particularly the all-inclusive United Nations.

As a practical step, Mr. Noble made an impressive presentation over lunch to a select group of U.N. officials and correspondents at New York's Roosevelt Hotel. A cyber-security firm, Entrust, seemed to have covered the expenses. The link seemed clear in the process when its CEO, Bill Conner, indicated its Innovative Smartcard Credential Service, which he hoped would find gradual acceptance to facilitate border crossings. For short, it's called e-ID and e-Visa.

With a few members of the International Criminal Police Organization -- Interpol -- present, Ronald Noble cheerfully assured guests that their fingerprints would not be traced, nor was their conversation monitored. In a pleasant yet confident mood, the first American to lead Interpol sought wider awareness of pressing issues and further support for the thrust of his operations. A New York University School of Law Professor on a leave of absence, he had served as Chief of Staff and Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General, and Assistant Secretary of Treasury (Enforcement), then Under-Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. Under his 10-year leadership, INTERPOL created the first global 24-hour Command and Co-ordination at its Headquarters in Lyons, France. It built a network of regional offices in Africa, the Americas and Asia, and in 2005 opened a liaison office at the U.N. in New York, strengthening its co-operation with the Security Council. It inaugurated an office at the European Union in Brussels. Having visited 135 member countries, its Secretary General has pursued wide diversification of staff policy, raising their representation from 54 to 89 countries. Mr. Noble was awarded the "Legion d"honneur" by President Sarkozy in 2008.

INTERPOL has a one country, one vote structure, and no Permanent Members with veto power; perhaps that's why Mr. Noble looked less stressed than U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. It will be interesting to have a further briefing with him after his Organization gets closely involved with police operations at U.N. Peacekeeping Missions. Good Luck.