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).
This new, legally binding agreement reflects significant additional data privacy safeguards but still retains the effectiveness and integrity of this indispensable counterterrorism program.
Protecting privacy and civil liberties is a top priority of the Obama Administration. We are determined to protect citizens of all nations while also upholding fundamental rights, using every legitimate tool available to combat terrorism that is consistent with our laws and principles.
The United States values the European Union's partnership in meeting the complex challenges of this era. Putting the TFTP on this cooperative course is another example of how we can work with our European partners to prevent terrorism and simultaneously respect the rule of law. This cooperation strengthens our transatlantic ties and makes all our people safer.