MURPHY STATEMENT ON ALLEGED NSA SURVEILLANCE OF EUROPEAN ALLIES

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs, released the following statement regarding the alleged scope of U.S. intelligence gathering operations in Europe: 

Over the last several months, our European allies have raised legitimate concerns about the nature and scope of US intelligence programs.  U.S. intelligence gathering has helped identify terrorist threats throughout Europe, just as Americans have greatly benefitted from information received from our allies. It is my sincere hope that close cooperation continues based on mutual trust and respect—which is why it is so important that, to the extent that our countries conduct foreign surveillance, it should be carefully targeted to focus on potential threats.

I believe that at times, U.S. surveillance programs have not been conducted with the appropriate restraint and security, both in the United States and Europe. While foreign citizens do not enjoy the same constitutional protections as American citizens, the United States should have processes in place that assure non-U.S. citizens that all possible steps are being taken to limit the scope of our surveillance programs so that we are targeting only the information absolutely necessary to find and catch individuals who pose a security threat to the United States and our allies.  As technology changes, our policies must be reevaluated to maintain an appropriate balance between the security of our citizens and allies, and the privacy concerns that we all share.

The President has ordered a review of U.S. intelligence programs, including a review of the way we gather intelligence with respect to our foreign partners. While I understand the need for a careful and thorough review process, in light of the recent revelations regarding the scope of intelligence gathering in Europe, I encourage the President to expedite the adoption of additional safeguards to protect European privacy rights. I look forward to working with the Administration and our European allies to improve cooperation on these matters.