September 30, 2010

Europe Hanging America Out to Dry (By the Heat of Terrorist Attacks)

Justin Katz

One wonders whether the days of international comity are coming to an end:

The European Commission has announced that it will negotiate deals to prevent countries like Pakistan from providing travel data to the United States — except when the US already suspects a particular traveler or is otherwise investigating a particular case. In other words, the European Commission wants to bar the kind of wholesale data exchange that's needed to spot at the border terrorists who have successfully disguised themselves as tourists. And it plans to withhold all European travel reservation data from Pakistan unless the Pakistanis agree to join a data boycott of the United States. ...

... The first salvo set forth the principles the Commission will insist upon in negotiations with the United States and other countries that gather travel data. These new negotiating principles include a demand that third countries supply data to the US and other third countries "only on a case-by-case basis." This would seem to prevent exactly the kind of sharing of information that the Caribbean countries have relied upon successfully for years. It would also prevent Pakistan from giving the US information about Europeans who traveled to that country for long stays.

Interestingly, the principles wouldn't prevent Pakistan from giving the same information to European countries. Quite the contrary. The EU's new principles for negotiation will require such sharing: "Information about terrorism and serious transnational crime resulting from the analysis of PNR data by third countries should be shared with EUROPOL, EUROJUST and EU Member States."

As Stewart Baker notes, this sort of attack on the United States by Europe has been a recurring theme in international intelligence cooperation, but wasn't that all supposed to end when the internationally respected, unifying, diplomatic figure of Barack Obama became president?

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Those crazy Europeans don't want to support our massive, intrusive, "big government" police state? The nerve of them! Umm, Tea Party? Anyone?

Posted by: Russ at September 30, 2010 11:01 AM

russ-you're sounding weird.Do you enjoy seeing the results of terrorists' efforts?If so,go observe them up close and personal.Seriously.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 30, 2010 12:53 PM

My wife was at the Trade Center. Lost a few friends that day. Thought you were above that kind of comment, Joe.

Posted by: Russ at September 30, 2010 3:05 PM

I cannot pass this one off simply. The War on Terror will not last forever, the diminution of our freedoms may.

To look at it further, I reverse the question. How would most people like it if we regularly passed travel information to Pakistan? I doubt most Americans would like the idea that their travels were reported to Pakistan simply because they were "suspicious".

This poses a difficult question to me. That these activities should be allowed to continue only for a limited time is only a band-aid, but at least it would mean an end.

Since "diplomacy" operates on quid pro quo, there is also the question of what we are giving the Pakistanis in return for this info. That might be a scarier question, and perhaps the Europeans already know the answer.

Mostly, I don't like what is already being done. Full body scanners are only the beginning of a slippery slope. That which we tolerate will increase.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at September 30, 2010 4:22 PM

So your wife was there?My brother in law missed it because he was working at LaGuardia that morning(he worked for the PA)-most of his friends were wiped out.
A high school friend of mine waas killed and another high school friend was the sole survivor of the FDNY command center becaus he was sent out to set up a triage area before the collapse. We can trade horror stories all day,but some of your comments seem to blame this country for practically everything rotten,or don't you see that?
I'm about sick and tired of hearing how the "moosad"did it and all the crap about how we had it coming.
I actually don't think the Patriot Act should be applied to US citizens except in the rarest of cases.
My ppoint is that if we slack off,the terrorists won't-you cannot appease these people.The democracies played footsie with Hitler and look at the results.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 30, 2010 8:20 PM

So you view a few thousand, loosely associated radicals who armed with box cutters managed to attack the U.S. with the threat of Nazism, responsible for the deaths of millions? Hard to know how to respond to that. Hey, right or wrong, I'm not willing to trade my liberty for either threat (or perceived threat).

Posted by: Russ at October 1, 2010 10:10 AM

Actually,Russ,the "loosely associated" rdaical terrorists(you're probably right about their level of association)are somewhat more dangerous than the Nazis because the latter were highly orgnized and more targetable-they could also be engaged head on in battle.
These terrorists frequently operate in cells,or even as "leaderless resistance"type individuals.The latter theory is compliments of the White supremacist movement.
They have access to more than boxcutters also,or did you overlook te hijinks in Mumbai,madrid,and London.You don't blow up a subway train with a boxcutter.
Let me ask you this-has your freedom been abridged?You are a very loud critic of the national security apparatus,but it doesn't seem you've been "disappeared" or locked up without chrges.
This is the USA,Russ.Sometimes I think you forget.We are more resilient in the defense of our personal freedoms than you seem to give us credit for.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 1, 2010 11:05 AM

"has your freedom been abridged"

How would I know? I had family in the Middle East for many years and in Europe. Were my calls monitored? How about anti-war activism? Do I have a file somewhere? You are aware of this, yes?

Goodman: FBI raids and the criminalization of dissent

Plus, let's be clear on what the Constitution guarantees:

Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Can I say with certainty that I'm "secure... against unreasonable searches and seizures?" If not, then I have lost some of the liberty I once had. Abduction and imprisonment without trial are no doubt worse but that's the wrong standard.

Posted by: Russ at October 1, 2010 4:10 PM

You probably have a file,but I kinda doubt anything is going to happen to you-maybe you're being a little paranoid?
I have an idea-if you haven't seen "Missing"with Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek(I'm sure you have),rent it for $2 at Acme.Now THAT was real political suppression.
I probably have a little bit more hands on with the 4th amendment than you,having participated in executing roughly a thousand search warrants during my career.
I was never assigned to national security investigations,but still,you'd be relieved to know that operations like wiretaps have strict rules to be followed at least in criminal cases.I don't really don't know how it works with the national security end.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 1, 2010 4:41 PM
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