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March 2, 2006
Europe Puts On Its Blinders

In a spectacularly misguided effort, the European Union has released a report scolding members for allowing the CIA and other American agencies to operate unfettered on the Continent in its search for Islamofascist terrorists, failing to mention at all the fact that so many can be found there:

Europe has become "a happy hunting ground" for foreign intelligence agents looking to kidnap terrorist suspects, the leader of the continent's top human rights group said Wednesday, urging European governments to crack down on operatives working for the CIA and other spy services.

Terry Davis, chairman of the Council of Europe, also criticized several European countries for not being more forthcoming about whether they have helped the CIA carry out extralegal counterterrorism operations on their soil. These include the secret detention and abduction of suspected members of al-Qaeda.

"I strongly support cooperation between Europe and the United States of America on all issues and especially the fight against terrorism," Davis said at a news conference at the council's headquarters in Strasbourg, France.

"But I also insist that European governments should have sufficient confidence to participate in such cooperation as equal partners."

According to Davis, the pressing problem for the EU is not the fact that their countries have been infiltrated by terrorism to such an extent that they present a "happy hunting ground", it's that they haven't forced the CIA to get a hunting permit. They complain that the CIA does not operate under European sensibilities for legality and human rights. However, Davis doesn't understand that the CIA isn't a law-enforcement agency but an intelligence and espionage organization; by definition, that means that their agents operate outside the law and in a covert manner. Not only that, but somehow Davis manages to avoid drawing the line between the amount of terrorists found in their countries and those same legal and human-rights standards that keep Europe from doing much about it.

Europe plays the same game that the American Left does at home -- draw no distinction between the terrorists and the people trying to catch them and keep civilians safe. This effort treats terrorists as if they were the equivalent of the American intelligence forces that wish to capture them, almost as if the EU looks at them as the successor to the KGB. Terrorists are not spies or moles, at least not primarily; they are mass murderers, intending on killing large amounts of civilians if not stopped. The CIA and the intelligence agencies with whom they work have to disrupt those plans and grab the perpetrators before they can attack in order to achieve success. That's why this is a war and not a law-enforcement action.

In fact, the report itself states that it has no real factual basis on which to make these claims:

The report contends that the CIA has unfettered ability to mount covert counterterrorism operations in Europe with little regard to European legal and human rights standards. But the council said it was unable to collect any fresh evidence or obtain independent confirmation of several alleged CIA plots to apprehend or detain suspects on the continent.

So in the end, all the Davis report does is regurgitate the rumors and anonymously-sourced news reports to condemn the CIA and the nations that understand the threat of terrorism. If we wanted that, we could have just bought the New York Times for a buck.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 2, 2006 6:29 AM

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