FBI Legal Attaché Office

The Phnom Penh Legal Attaché (Legat) Office is the 60th overseas presence for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a division of the U.S. Department of Justice.  Legat offices are staffed by FBI law enforcement professionals and support staff who work to stop foreign crime as far from American shores as possible and to help solve international crimes that do occur as quickly as possible.

As former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III has noted, “The globalization of crime—whether terrorism, international trafficking of drugs, contraband, and people, or cyber crime—absolutely requires us to integrate law enforcement efforts around the world. And that means having our agents working directly with their counterparts overseas on cases of mutual interest—not only to solve crimes that have been committed, but to prevent crimes and acts of terror by sharing information in real time.”

The activities of the Legat Offices are to:

  • Coordinate international investigations with their colleagues;
  • Cover international leads for domestic U.S. investigations;
  • Link U.S. and international resources in critical criminal and terrorist areas that better ensure the safety of the American public here and abroad. The rules for joint activities and information sharing are generally spelled out in formal agreements between the United States and the Legat’s host country; and
  • Coordinate FBI training classes for police in their geographic areas—everything from counterterrorism and cybercrime matters to forensic techniques to human trafficking and human rights.

The FBI’s Legal Attaché program is overseen by the Office of International Operations, headed by a Special Agent in Charge, at FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC. This Office keeps in close contact with other federal agencies, Interpol, foreign police and security officers in Washington, and national and international law enforcement associations.