Monday 18 December 2017

Shatter raises Irish concerns at US spy leak

Justice Minister Alan Shatter
Justice Minister Alan Shatter

Tom Brady Security Editor

Irish concerns about the US National Security Agency seizing data from internet and phone firms have been raised by Justice Minister Alan Shatter with the US attorney general, Eric Holder.

The two men met yesterday in advance of EU-US talks in Dublin today on a range of security and surveillance issues.

Mr Shatter said last night he had outlined the concern in Ireland and Europe that the privacy of their citizens was respected when information was being accessed through the PRISM surveillance system.

Details of the PRISM project emerged last week when a former employee, Edward Snowden, leaked information about the extent of information being accessed and examined by the agency.


Mr Shatter said he told the attorney general that he recognised the security concerns of the US and the action necessary to counter terrorism.

But he emphasised that any intelligence-gathering activities should be necessary and proportionate.

Mr Holder said the US was committed to working with the Irish Government and its other EU partners to continue to fight crime and terrorism while protecting the rights of citizens.

The head of the national security agency, General Keith Alexander, has agreed to give the US Senate details of the secret surveillance programme, which, he said, had helped to foil dozens of terror attacks.

FBI boss Robert Mueller confirmed yesterday that a criminal investigation had been launched into the leaks.

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