U.S. and European security officials
are trying to work out differences over sharing airline passenger information
in the war against terrorism.
The European Commission's Director-General of Justice and Home Affairs Jonathan
Faull says European nations have not yet agreed to U.S. demands to hand over
particular passenger information. Mr. Faull says he is concerned that the information
will be used, not only for fighting international terrorism, but also local
crimes and misdemeanors.
"There is a question of how much information we should provide, then there
is a question, how long do you keep it and what is it for? Again, what databases
do you check, are you using it to pick out terrorists, no body objects, are
you using it to pick up people who are known to be involved in or suspected
of having being involved in organized crime? Nobody objects," he said.
Mr. Faull says he welcomes recent efforts by the secretary of Homeland Security,
Tom Ridge, and the head of Border and Transportation Security, Asa Hutchinson,
to explain new U.S. security programs to its foreign partners in the war against
But Mr. Faull is calling for even greater openness. For example, he says
he learned about plans to place armed U.S. sky marshals on some international
flights to the United States from a media report.
"The need to inform partners overseas may sometimes take second place," he
said. "That is unfortunate. But we need channels of communication in order
to understand better what is happening in both directions, so we can explain
it to people at home. That is well understood that is one of the reasons I
Mr. Faull made his remarks in New York at the private East-West Institute
after holding talks with U.S. officials in Washington. During his talk, he
discussed a wide range of issues, including European border security, migration,
and demographic trends.