How has the Civil Liberties Committee organised its work?
The Civil Liberties Committee inquiry began in September 2013. A total of 16 hearings have been held since then. MEPs heard journalists unveiling the case and discussed with several other actors the allegations of NSA tapping into the SWIFT data used in the TFTP programme, the allegations of “hacking” / tapping into the Belgacom systems by GCHQ and the role of parliamentary oversight of intelligence services at national level, among other issues. They also heard US civil society, US congressman, former whistle blowers, intelligence officers and representatives from companies such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook.
A Civil Liberties Committee delegation also went to Washington DC on 28-30 October 2013 to gather further insights into the allegations of mass surveillance of EU citizens by the NSA and its impact on EU-US cooperation. Members of the delegation met representatives of main federal departments involved in the NSA’s mass surveillance activities, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence Mike Rogers, and National Security Council Senior Director for European Affairs, Dr Karen Donfried, as well as private stakeholders and legal experts and academics.
They also met Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, author of the Patriot Act 2001, before he spoke before the Committee inquiry on 11 November 2013, in Brussels.