updated 5/11/2009 11:11:40 AM ET 2009-05-11T15:11:40

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation says it will permanently base a computer crime expert in Estonia this year to help fight international threats against computer systems.

FBI assistant director Shawn Henry says this will be the first time the bureau is placing outside the United States an agent focused purely on cybercrime.

He said Monday that Estonia was chosen because of its expertise in information technology, well-developed computer infrastructure and the government's commitment to fight computer crime.

The FBI official says the agency may also cooperate with a NATO cyber-defense center that was established in Estonia last year.

After wide-scale attacks on private and public computer systems in 2007, Estonia has led international efforts to fight cybercrime. Estonian authorities have said they believe Russia was behind the attacks.

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