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Colm Gannon /

It takes a NETWORK to defeat a NETWORK

3 min read
Photograph of Alberto Gonzales delivering a speech in a courtroom.
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For a long time, people have heard me use the phrase "it takes a NETWORK to defeat a NETWORK". Many believed that this phrase was brought about by a General, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, in 2011. However, it was brought to the public arena a lot sooner and from an event that had influenced my career in Policing and remains to do so, a long time after working in government.

September 2001, I was a Police Officer, just out of my probationary period with An Garda Siochana, the Irish National Police. The terrorist attacks of the World Trade Centre hit on the 11th September, causing untold damage, death, emotional destruction and spun the world into the effects of terrorism. The question asked by many, how did this happen?

In 2006, Attorney General Alberto R GONZALES presented a review of Law Enforcement and the Prevention of Terrorism 5 years after 9/11 (ref: t.ly/dfux ). These remarks shaped my definition of what it was and still remains to be a "public servant".

In this speech, AG GONZALES states, "I have not forgotten about the need to address traditional, non- terrorism crime on the streets of our cities, towns and neighbourhoods. I know all of you are well aware of the ongoing battle against traditional criminals in our country because you are the on the front line, day in and day out. We have not and will not lose sight of the need to assist you in the fight against the sexual predators, the drug dealers, and the gangs that terrorize law-abiding citizens in our communities."

"It takes a network to defeat a network. Our network, bound by the common cause of stopping the terrorists, is a formidable force, one that will ultimately prevail in this war."

Having worked in Crimes Against Children for a period of time, I revisit these remarks over and over again. Substituting the crime type. GONZALES words continue to resonate freshly every single time I read them, and in the Crimes Against Children, echoing louder for the voices of innocent children.

"A successful network must have three primary characteristics:

First, outstanding coordination of partners and resources. Second, constant flexibility. And third, perhaps most important, an infinite passion to prevail. We take the" Crimes Against Children "so seriously because we recognize that their network possesses those characteristics". The offenders against children working together, constantly changing and will seek opportunities to exploit children whenever it presents itself.

Sometimes we focus too much on the origins of the words as opposed to the motivator, the power of the words. For those who have gone before, remain steadfast and the Investigators to come, the Trust and Safety teams in the online world, the NGO's who fight hard every day, the Journalists who shine a light onto the dark issues of sexual crimes against children, and the Public and Private Sector Workers; developing, advocating and holding the law accountable: Keep working to let those innocent voices be heard, be seen and be safeguarded.

In the edited words of GONZALES "Our network, bound by the common cause of stopping the Crimes Against Children, is a formidable force, one that will ultimately prevail in this war"