The Terrorist Finance Tracking Program is a highly successful program which, as the name implies, tracks known terrorists via their financial paper trail. The program relies upon data provided by a consortium of banks and has generated 1,500 reports and leads credited by Europe and the U.S. as having uncovered or prevented numerous terrorist attacks.
But all that will change now that the bureaucratic-nightmare which is the EU Parliament has revoked American access to European records. Privacy-based excuses for walling off EU banks have been largely dismissed as a facade, as plentiful safeguards have been in place for a decade. Even a French judge found the "privacy protections were robust and effective."
The true motivation seems to be the stunning pride of EU parliamentarians, attempting to assert their authority over the EU Council while poking a finger in America's eye. The U.S. and EU Council concluded an agreement last November granting the U.S. continued access to files moved from America to Europe. However:
The Treaty of Lisbon, which took effect in December, gave lawmakers [in the EU Parliament] the power to review and approve measures that affect internal security and counterterrorism, and their vote [revoking U.S. access] was seen as a flexing of that new power.
The EU decision is an invitation for terrorist to use European banks as terror-havens in order to avoid U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies. And the EU has taken this reckless action for no reason other than ... because it can.
One hopes the EU leadership is simply risking our mutual safety for a momentary episode of grandstanding and will soon restore the program to it's full functionality. But one must never underestimate the churlishness and tenacity of an entrenched bureaucrat, nor the willingness of EU leaders to tolerate the "infiltration" of their governments by "Islamic radicals," as is presently being decried by members of Britain's Labor Party.