Monday, July 27, 2009

Imitation is the sincerest form of flatery

From an AP report:

EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Jacques Barrot said the 27-nation bloc wants to give anti-terror investigators at the U.S. Treasury access to European operation centers run by the bank transfer consortium SWIFT, expanding an existing 2007 anti-terror banking data sharing deal with Washington. To do so, it needs to negotiate under what conditions U.S. officials would have expanded access to such sensitive banking information. ...

The U.S. Treasury already has access to SWIFT's American database, but the banking consortium is setting up a new European office in Switzerland, which would focus on European clients. American investigators now want access to this new database as well.

SWIFT's other two database centers, in the U.S. state of Virginia and in the Netherlands, handle all the consortium's transfer orders, including those of European citizens.

"It would be extremely dangerous at this stage to stop the surveillance and the monitoring of information flows," Barrot said, adding that the current pact, which only covers U.S. operations of SWIFT have been "an important and effective tool to fight terrorism financing and to prevent terrorist attacks."

Powerline's reaction: "It's one more instance of the Obama administration not only adopting but expanding the once-secret anti-terror tools that were developed by the Bush administration. Somehow, though, I don't think this time around the SWIFT expansion will be the occasion for exposes or critical editorials."

As for me, I wonder if President Bush (43) has a sore shoulder from repeated pointing at the scoreboard.

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