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National Security Investigations Division

HSI Agent overlooking city sky line
ICE Agents examining evidence

HSI's National Security Investigations Division leads its effort to combat criminal enterprises by investigating vulnerabilities in the nation's border, infrastructure and economic and transportation systems. It also prevents acts of terrorism by targeting people, money and materials that support terrorist and criminal activities. The division's mission is strengthened by the unique investigative authorities that HSI commands.

Counter Proliferation Investigations Program

The Counter Proliferation Investigations Program oversees a broad range of investigations related to preventing terrorist groups from obtaining U.S. military technology, weapons of mass destruction, or chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials. It also enforces U.S. laws involving the export of controlled materials to sanctioned or embargoed countries. View the Counter Proliferation Investigations Program page for more information.

Export Enforcement Coordination Center

The Export Enforcement Coordination Center serves as the primary force within the federal government to coordinate U.S. export control enforcement efforts. The center was created by Executive Order 13558. View the Export Enforcement Coordination Center page for more information.

Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit

The Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit investigates nonimmigrant visa holders who violate their immigration status. The unit places the highest priority on monitoring the activities of suspected terrorists and combating criminal exploitation of the nation's student visa system. The unit accomplishes its mission though research and analysis, targeted operations, special initiatives and leveraging of expertise with partner agencies. View the Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit page for more information.

Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Unit

The Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Unit pursues foreign war criminals, persecutors and human rights abusers who seek shelter from justice in the United States. The unit also oversees the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center, which consists of HSI special agents and intelligence research specialists, special agents and intelligence analysts from the FBI's Genocide and War Crimes Unit and attorneys and historians from ICE's Office of the Principal Legal Advisor. View the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Unit for more information.

National Security Integration Center

The National Security Integration Center focuses on federal and interagency partner coordination through its three sections. The center's Interagency Strategic Coordination Section works with the Department of Defense to provide operational, technical and intelligence support. It also supports training, outreach and funding efforts. The center's Visa Security Section screens and vets visa applications as mandated by ICE's Visa Security Program. Additionally, the Center's Threat Analysis Section provides intelligence support to the National Security Investigations Division and works with the National Counterterrorism Center and national media.

National Security Unit

The National Security Unit combines the HSI's national security and counterterrorism efforts into a single force. The unit has oversight of all counterterrorism investigations within ICE and works directly with the National Security Council and ICE senior leadership to carry out interagency policy.

The unit's Counterterrorism Section oversees HSI special agents assigned to Joint Terrorism Task Forces and uses ICE's unique authorities in counterterrorism investigations to shut down terrorist networks. The unit's National Security Threat Section is co-located with U.S. Customs and Border Protection's National Targeting Center – Passenger. The section provides information to Joint Terrorism Task Force special agents and attachés. Additionally, the National Security Threat Section maintains relationship with the intelligence community, the National Counterterrorism Center, the Terrorist Screening Center and the Terrorist Screening Operations Unit.

Overstay Analysis Unit

The Overstay Analysis Unit identifies visitors who violate their immigration status by overstaying their authorized period of admission. The unit also researches violator records from the Arrival and Departure Information System.

The unit creates biometric and biographic alerts on records, which are used by the Department of State and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to settle visa and port of entry decisions. Additionally, the unit works in conjunction with Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit by providing them with leads for law enforcement review.

National Security Liaisons

National Security Liaisons are senior HSI personnel who coordinate investigative activity under assignments to various federal agencies and departments. As part of the National Security Investigations Division, liaisons are essential to establishing partnerships and developing close and cooperative working relationships with HSI's partner agencies.

Student and Exchange Visitor Program

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program manages information on foreign students and exchange visitors in the United States. The program uses the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System to monitor schools, active nonimmigrant students, exchange visitors and dependents approved to participate in the U.S. education system. The goal of the program is to ensure that those who seek to harm our nation are excluded from entering, while legitimate students, researchers and exchange visitors are welcomed. The balance between open doors and protecting the country's national security is at the heart of the program's mission. View the Student and Exchange Visitor Program page for more information.

John P Woods, Assistant Director, National Security Investigations Division
John P. Woods
Assistant Director, National Security Investigations Division

Mr. John P. Woods currently serves as the assistant director for the National Security Investigations Division. The division is part of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and is responsible for investigative, regulatory, and technological programs targeting transnational national security threats arising from illicit travel, trade, and financial enterprises. Mr. Woods has served in this position since April 2009, overseeing 450 people and managing a $160 million operational budget.

Mr. Woods has 26 years of experience in law enforcement. He has spent the majority of that time developing and managing programs for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and HSI.

Previously, Mr. Woods served as the deputy assistant director of the National Security Investigations Division, the unit chief of ICE's Counterterrorism Unit, and as the assistant special agent in charge of the Miami SAC Office. During his career with INS, he served as a section chief for the Miami District Office. He has also served as a supervisory special agent in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

In 1987, Mr. Woods began his federal law enforcement career in New York City as an INS special agent. He worked significant employer sanctions, fraud and terrorism cases during his field agent tenure. In 1996, Mr. Woods was the recipient of the INS Commissioner's Award for Quality and Improvement as supervisor of the Worksite Enforcement Unit.  He also worked with the Joint Terrorism Task Force after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the subsequent Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman conspiracy prosecution.

Mr. Woods has overseen multiple undercover operations targeting human smuggling and trafficking organizations. During the course of his career he has received two additional INS Commissioner's Awards for overseeing Operation Mission Impossible, a multi-jurisdictional undercover immigration benefit fraud and bribery investigation and prosecution, and his role as the planning and operational chief of Operation Reunion, where Elian Gonzalez was safely and successfully reunited with his father. Mr. Woods has both worked and supervised many other cases that have been recognized by local U.S. attorneys and the attorney general.

Mr. Woods has been instrumental in the development of the Human Rights Violator & War Crimes Center. The center leverages the knowledge and expertise of a select group of special agents, attorneys, intelligence specialists, criminal research specialists and historians at the center. These employees direct the agency's broader enforcement efforts against offenders.  He has also been integrally involved in the Export Enforcement Coordination Center that was established to enhance and strengthen interagency enforcement of export laws and other counter proliferation activities.

Mr. Woods holds a degree from Long Island University, C.W. Post College. He has made several appearances before U.S. congressional committees to provide testimony and has several published articles and speeches on law enforcement topics.