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US, European Lawmakers to Discuss NSA, World Hotspots in DC

By    |   Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 09:48 PM

Members of Congress and European parliaments will discuss international "hotspots" such as Iraq, Ukraine and Gaza, as well as the controversy surrounding the National Security Agency, when they meet at a special conference in Washington on Sept. 18.

Coming two weeks after President Barack Obama concludes a summit meeting with other heads of state from Europe, the conference in Washington will give legislators in the U.S. and several European countries an opportunity to exchange ideas on other areas of controversy.

"The objective of the conference is for our friends to hear exactly what security and intelligence procedures we are using and to allow them to ask any questions," Rep. Robert Pittenger, a North Carolina Republican and chairman of the House Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, told Newsmax last week.

Among those attending the conclave at the Capitol will be lawmakers from the Austrian, German, and Greek parliaments. Along with Pittenger, members of the House Intelligence, Homeland Security, and Foreign Affairs committees will be on hand to talk to their counterparts from Europe.

Also on hand will be experts from foreign policy think tanks such as the Brookings Institution, the Heritage Foundation, and the Foreign Policy Initiative.

The meeting of international lawmakers comes amid lingering anger from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other U.S. allies in Europe over reports of widespread eavesdropping by the NSA.

In response to that anger, NSA staff members will also take part in the session and will be accessible to European lawmakers.

"We can't allow the fracturing of relationships," said Pittenger, "so there will be plenty of access and personal time to discuss every issue."

The North Carolina congressman noted that the attitude toward the U.S. of many he has met at inter-parliamentary conferences is one of "we want our privacy, but we want your intelligence as well."

"So, we will probably have some pretty frank discussions on the role the U.S. should play in terms of intelligence with its allies."

But Pittenger also expects some frank talk on "hotspots" such as Gaza, Iraq, Libya ("It's falling apart"), and Ukraine.

"As a world leader, we have failed leadership under Obama," he told Newsmax, "and it's being filled by the likes of Vladimir Putin. Too many allies of ours in the world see a 'paper tiger' in us, and I have had heads of states and foreign ministers say 'we don't understand America anymore.'"

The Tarheel State congressman has long advocated a policy of tougher sanctions against Russia and its key business and political leaders, with the goal of getting them "upset enough to convince Putin to change his policies or, failing that, to depose him."

"Meetings like the one we are going to have are going to help our country in the short and long run," he said, adding, "This is not a one-time deal."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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Members of Congress and European parliaments will discuss international "hotspots" such as Iraq, Ukraine and Gaza, as well as the controversy surrounding the National Security Agency, when they meet at a special conference in Washington on Sept. 18.
Congress, parliaments, conference, hotspots
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2014-48-02
Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 09:48 PM
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