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Personal freedom in Europe ‘too high’ to fight terrorism – ex-CIA chief

The European Union has “incredibly high standards” for privacy rights, and the rules made in Brussels may be hindering the ability of member nations to fight terrorism, former CIA Director Michael Hayden said.
In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box” program on Monday, Hayden said there may need to be some compromise between privacy rights and security concerns in Europe in order to better detect terror threats such as last week’s bombings in Belgium that killed 35 people and injured hundreds more.

“In the European Union, the division of labor between the union government and the national governments is that questions of commerce and of privacy are held by the Brussels bureaucrats. Questions of security remain in national capitals,” Hayden said.

“What you’ve got are the folks in Brussels, the Euro institutions, imposing incredibly high standards with regard to personal privacy at the expense of what the national governments are still expected to do, which is keep their citizens alive.”

His comments come just a few days after he similarly criticized the EU, arguing that officials were too worried about privacy rights and that “nobody is interested in the trade-off between privacy and security.”

On Monday, Hayden argued that outside of a few countries – Britain, France, Scandinavia and Germany – European nations are “not up to this task” of securing their people.


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