Diplomatic Security’s special agents, assigned to U.S. diplomatic missions overseas in the Regional Security Office, develop and implement effective security programs to protect our employees from terrorist, criminal, and technical attack both at work and at home. Special Agents receive valuable assistance in this effort from other Diplomatic Security personnel, Marine Security Guards, U.S. Navy Seabees, local and cleared American guards, security investigators, security engineering officers, and host government officials. In addition, the Regional Security Office provide unclassified security briefings and other professional security advice to U.S. business executives overseas.
The Special Agent in Charge of the office, called the Regional Security Officer (RSO), serves as the personal advisor to the Ambassador or Chief of Mission on all security issues and coordinate all aspects of a mission’s security program. The RSO serves as the U.S. law enforcement community’s primary liaison with foreign police and security services overseas in an effort to obtain support for U.S. law enforcement initiatives and investigations.
Embassy Sofia’s Regional Security Officer can be reached via e-mail at: DS_RSO_Sofia@state.gov or through the Embassy Operator at: +359 2 937 5100
Rewards for Justice Program
The Rewards for Justice Program is one of the most valuable assets the U.S. Government has in the fight against international terrorism. Established by the 1984 Act to Combat International Terrorism, P.L. 98-533, the program is administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
Under this program, the Secretary of State may offer rewards for information that leads to the arrest or conviction of anyone who plans, commits, or attempts international terrorist acts against U.S. persons or property, that prevents such acts from occurring in the first place, that leads to the location of a key terrorist leader, or that disrupts terrorism financing.
The Rewards for Justice Program has been effective. Since the inception of the Rewards for Justice program in 1984, the United States has paid more than $100 million to over 70 people who provided credible information that put terrorists behind bars or prevented acts of international terrorism worldwide. The program played a significant role in the arrest of international terrorist Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Today, the Rewards for Justice Program plays a critical role in the 2014 Afghanistan Transition Plan.
People with information on any past or planned act of international terrorism against the United States anywhere in the world are urged to contact the the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. military, or Rewards for Justice.
Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA)
The Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program trains civilian security and law enforcement personnel from friendly governments in police procedures that deal with terrorism. The Regional Security Office in Sofia works with the Bulgarian government to develop the most effective means of training for bomb detection, crime scene investigation, airport and building security, maritime protections, and VIP protection. Diplomatic Security assesses the training needs, develops the curriculum, and provides the resources to conduct the training. The bureau uses its own training experts as well as those from other U.S. federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, police associations, and private security firms and consultants.
Since its inception in 1983, the program has trained and assisted over 84,000 foreign security and law enforcement officials from 154 countries. These foreign security and law enforcement personnel have received training in bomb detection, crime scene investigations, airport and building security, maritime security, dignitary protection, and numerous other disciplines to increase their counterterrorism capabilities and capacity. These officials are now better prepared to fight terrorism and protect Americans overseas in times of crisis. DS has received numerous stories from foreign police officers who have used their ATA training successfully to counter terrorist situations in their countries.
Overseas Security Advisory Council
The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) was created by the Secretary of State to promote an open dialogue between the U.S. Government and the American private sector on security issues abroad. OSAC is directed by a council of 34 representatives from companies and government agencies concerned with overseas security. The Director of the Diplomatic Security Service is one of the co-chairs of OSAC, and a DS Special Agent serves as OSAC’s Executive Director.
With a constituency of 4,600 U.S. companies and other organizations with overseas interests, OSAC operates an Internet web site, http://www.osac.gov/, which is one of its principal means of information exchange with the private sector. The web site offers its visitors the latest in safety and security-related information, public announcements, warden messages, travel advisories, significant anniversary dates, terrorist groups profiles, country crime and safety reports, special topic reports, foreign press reports, and much more.
The OSAC information exchange mechanism also includes a staff of international security research specialists that is dedicated solely to serving the U.S. private sector. Additionally, OSAC has a network of country councils around the world that brings together U.S. embassies and consulates with the local U.S. community to share security information.