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Once Snubbed by FBI, Europol Is Now Google of Counter-Terrorism
Inside the Google of Counter-Terrorism
Once snubbed by the FBI, Europol emerges as a force
By Suzi Ring and Franz Wild
Shortly after taking over Europol a decade ago, former British MI5 officer Rob Wainwright met with then-FBI Director Robert Mueller to pitch the idea of sharing data, figuring he couldn’t turn the European Union’s budding criminal-intelligence service into a global force without America’s help.
Mueller wasn’t interested, so the Welshman says he winged it.
“If the FBI doesn’t engage here with their equivalents, the leading lights of the police world in Europe, then you’re a second-rater basically,” Wainwright said in his corner office at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague, a state-of-the-art complex with bulletproof windows. “I had to do something about that.”
Milking cooperation accords with hundreds of other agencies across Europe and abroad, Wainwright, who’s stepping down in May, has turned Europol into a transnational clearing house for information on terrorism, trafficking, laundering and hacking that now has 38 U.S. attaches—including four from the FBI. Often confused with Interpol, which operates more like the United Nations, Europol has a bigger budget, more staff and arguably greater impact than its better-known cousin.