Spiegel Online, 27 November 2009

EU opens its books to spooks

Published on 27 November 2009 at 13:20
Spiegel Online, 27 November 2009


To date, the CIA has been illegally sifting through European bank data. Very soon however, according to Spiegel-Online, “the EU will give the United States wide-ranging access to its citizens’ financial transactions.” The on-line version of the weekly news magazine explains a practice that has been common since September 11, 2001. At the time, the CIA exerted considerable pressure on the American offices of SWIFT, which is based in Belgium and has 8,000 associated banks worldwide. The financial services provider handles several million transactions every day and the CIA could therefore use millions of pieces of bank data for the fight against terrorism. SWIFT expanded its offices in Europe to be able to close down its American bureau at the end of 2009 and thus elude the CIA’s grasp. Spiegel-Online goes on to explain, however, that European Interior Ministers have come under such pressure from the United States that they wish to sign an agreement with Washington on 30th November, the day before the Lisbon Treaty comes into force, as MEPs – most of whom are hostile to these plans – would otherwise be able to veto it.

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