Foreign Policy Blogs

Europeans Weary of US Bank Regulations


According to UPI and NYTs reports about WikiLeaks diplomatic cables, ‘when the European Parliament ordered a halt in February to an American government program to monitor international banking transactions for terrorist activity, the US administration was blindsided by the rebuke from among our closest allies in continental Europe.  “Paranoia runs deep especially about US intelligence agencies,” a secret cable from the American Embassy in Berlin said. “We were astonished to learn how quickly rumors about alleged U.S. economic espionage” had taken root among German politicians who opposed the program, it said. The memo was among dozens of State Department cables that revealed the deep distrust of some traditional European allies toward what they considered American intrusion into their citizens’ affairs without stringent oversight.


geithner-tiradeThe program, created in secrecy by the Bush administration after the September 11th, 2001, attacks has allowed American counterterrorism officials to examine banking transactions routed through a vast database run by a Brussels consortium known as Swift. When the program was disclosed in 2006 just months after the newspaper reported the existence of the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program, it set off protests in Europe and forced the United States to accept new restrictions. But by 2010, new leaders at the European Parliament had what one State Department memo called “a fixation” on privacy issues. On February 10th, the Europeans voted 378 to 196 to halt the Swift program. Obama administration officials had valued the program because it allowed intelligence agencies to trace the transactions of suspected terrorists while including “robust” privacy protections, according to the cables. But many Europeans were skeptical. Some allies not only were concerned that program might be used to steal secrets from European companies, but also considered it of “dubious” value.’  Read more from the NYTs here

Sources: UPI, NYT



Elison Elliott

Elison Elliott , a native of Belize, is a professional investment advisor for the Global Wealth and Invesment Management division of a major worldwide financial services firm. His experience in the global financial markets span over 18 years in both the public and private sectors. Elison is a graduate, cum laude, of the City College of New York (CUNY), and completed his Masters-level course requirements in the International Finance & Banking (IFB) program at Columbia University (SIPA). Elison lives in the northern suburbs of New York City. He is an avid student of sovereign risk, global economics and market trends, and enjoys writing, aviation, outdoor adventure, International travel, cultural exploration and world affairs.

Areas of Focus:
Market Trends; International Finance; Global Trade; Economics