INTERPOL's surveillance network in curbing transnational terrorism
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This paper investigates the role that INTERPOL surveillance – the Mobile INTERPOL Network Database (MIND) and the Fixed INTERPOL Network Database (FIND) – played in the War on Terror since its inception in 2005. MIND/FIND surveillance allows countries to screen people and documents systematically at border crossings against INTERPOL databases on terrorists, fugitives, and stolen and lost travel documents. Such documents have been used in the past by terrorists to transit borders. By applying methods developed in the treatment-effects literature, this paper establishes that countries adopting MIND/FIND experienced fewer transnational terrorist attacks than had they not adopted MIND/FIND. Our estimates indicate that, on average, during 2008–2011, adopting and using MIND/FIND results in 1.23 fewer transnational terrorist incidents each year per 100 million people. Thus, a country like France with a population just above 64 million people in 2008 would have 0.79 fewer transnational terrorist incidents per year owing to its use of INTERPOL surveillance. For most treatment countries, this amounts to a sizeable proportional reduction of about 60 per cent.