The effects of the controversial NSA spy program, PRISM, continues with news that the European Union (EU) has voted to suspend data sharing agreements in order to begin investigations into widespread surveillance of Europeans by the National Security Agency (NSA), ZDnet reported on Thursday.
Zack Whittaker of ZDnet said that the vote, in which 483 voted for the resolution, 98 against, and 65 abstained on a vote called on the U.S. to suspend and review any laws and surveillance programs that “violate the fundamental right of EU citizens to privacy and data protection,” as well as Europe’s “sovereignty and jurisdiction.”
The data sharing also pertains to detailed passenger lists and watch lists that could affect airline travel between the U.S. and Europe, which can affect the economies between the two continents.
Statements were released in April by a European organization called, “Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group (ALDE)”, headed by Guy Verhofstadt ahead of the joint, cross-party resolution by the EU.
In that statement, ALDE spokesperson Sophie in’t Veld of the Netherlands said, “The European Union must reflect in actions the gravity and magnitude of the problem we are confronted with. It is time the Commission and the Council finally act upon our repeated requests to solve the conflict of jurisdiction. We can no longer tolerate that the US or any other country’s law is applied directly on EU territory. EU citizens must be guaranteed protection under our own EU laws.”
“The creation of an EU-US expert group of civil servants meeting behind closed doors is not enough. We need political answers. President Obama should provide all 500 million EU citizens with an answer, not only Chancellor Merkel.”
“Clearly this situation will have an impact on other policies. We must consider now if the PNR and SWIFT agreements are still tenable in the circumstances.”
“However using the pretext of this situation to halt negotiations on the TTIP is severely misguided. Transatlantic free trade will give the much needed boost to our economy and create thousands of jobs. So talks must continue but we cannot sign anything off without clarification on the surveillance issues.”
As far as the fate of Mr Edward Snowden is concerned, Ms. in’t Veld ended her statement by saying, “In a democratic state, whistle blowers breaking the law to expose illegal acts by governments should be protected by law against the wrath of governments. Democracies dispense justice, not revenge.”
The Patriot Act, which was implemented during former President George Bush’s administration, was designed to track down and monitor terrorist threats after the 9/11 Islamic terrorist attacks on the U.S., a narrow threat window of surveillance on terrorist entities, and was not intended to monitor all Americans and beyond.
Last month, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican, said the spying on Americans was not the intent of the Patriot Act that he authored.
Sensenbrenner said, “While I believe the Patriot Act appropriately balanced national security concerns and civil rights, I have always worried about potential abuses.”
Sensenbrenner was correct to be concerned about abuses, especially political abuses under an administration that has had numerous scandals that have so far, gone abated as the NSA’s spy program under the Patriot Act expanded after President Obama took office and was used to attack political opponents as well as Republicans.
Last month, the American Thinker presented convincing evidence that the Obama administration intentionally used the NSA data collection to attack political opponents or for other means.
Michael Bargo, Jr. of American Thinker said, “The NSA, the National Security Agency admitted that it has been involved in spying on Americans. Their huge Utah data center is a storage house of personal information on almost all Americans. This information can be used to attack political opponents, and Barack Obama has not been reluctant to attack opponents for their personal behavior, even when the information is illegally or improperly obtained.”
While President Obama claims transparency and acts like nothing is wrong with the spy program, Bargo said, “Since Obama has already demonstrated a no-holds-barred approach to defeating both Democratic Machine candidates in Chicago and Republicans in general, one can reasonably conclude that the NSA data on persons is being gathered in large part to attack political opponents. And not just by Obama, but by any Democrat in the country who can use this information.”
“Obama has a history of personal attacks against his political opponents, it is reasonable to conclude that the NSA’s PRISM program is being used largely for political ends. It is another exercise of Obama’s use of campaign dirty tricks; only now he has Federal resources.”