Obama welcomes EU renewal of terrorist finance tracking agreement

President Barack Obama speaks about the attempted terror attack on a US bound airline on Christmas Day on January 7, 2010.

From Barack Obama, the White House:  The United States welcomes today’s decision by the European Parliament to join the Council and Commission of the European Union in approving a revised agreement between the United States and the European Union on the processing and transfer of financial messaging data for the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP).   We look forward to the Council’s completion of the process, allowing the agreement to enter into force on August 1, 2010, thus fully restoring this important counterterrorism tool and resuming the sharing of investigative data that has been suspended since January 2010.  The threat of terrorism faced by the United States and the European Union continues and, with this agreement, all of our citizens will be safer.

The TFTP has provided critical investigative leads — more than 1,550 to EU Member States — since its creation after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.  These leads have aided countries around the world in preventing or investigating many of the past decade’s most visible and violent terrorist attacks and attempted attacks, including Bali (2002), Madrid (2004), London (2005), the liquids bomb plot against transatlantic aircraft (2006), New York’s John F. Kennedy airport (2007), Germany (2007), Mumbai (2008), and Jakarta (2009). 

Excerpt from statement by the President on the U.S.-European Union Agreement on the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP).

From Valentina Pop, the EUobserver:  Top EU and US officials have breathed a collective sigh of relief after the European Parliament approved a new "Swift" deal on terrorism and bank data, closing a six-month "security gap" after it struck down an initial agreement in February.

After squeezing in last-minute concessions from the US side last week, MEPs, as expected, endorsed the new agreement by a large majority in Strasbourg on Thursday (8 July), with 484 votes in favour, 109 against and 12 abstentions.

Under the new deal, which comes into force on 1 August, the EU will appoint an independent person to oversee the way personal data on bank transactions from the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift) is searched by US authorities when looking for terrorist funding.  (photo: Getty)

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