Chertoff's Remarks on Aligning U.S., European Air Security

Hear what Chertoff has to say in this transcribed speech from at the German Marshall Fund and European Policy Centre


To be sure, information sharing and exchange presents important cultural and legal considerations. Fundamentally, we do share the same belief in the importance of privacy and civil liberty, but we sometimes differ sometimes in our views of how to implement those values. We need to start to resolve these questions of implementation so that we can promote our common values. We’ve made headway on this issue, and I hope that we can start to talk about how we can finish the process of getting our information shared appropriately and with due respect for people's privacy.

Let me turn to a second area – technology. Technology is obviously crucial to creating a global security structure. We're doing a lot of work in the United States, just as you are here in Europe. We ought to make sure we get on the same page with that work for two reasons.

First, we maximize our resources if we have fully available to us all of the ingenuity and talent across the globe of people who are developing and thinking about ways to use technology. Second, we have to be compatible. For example, it doesn't make a lot of sense to have radio frequency chips that use different kinds of modalities in the United States and Europe and in Asia, because that’s only going to make it harder for us to connect and work together. Therefore, to the extent that we can start to build common platforms and common technological approaches, we will move ourselves closer to this concept of a security envelope. And we will also save ourselves some money, effort and time.

Finally, the area of law enforcement. As I've indicated, intelligence sharing and law enforcement sharing have been critical to dealing with the threat of terrorism globally. We need to continue to advance on that front. Both the U.S. and EU have done a lot within our respective borders to strengthen law enforcement coordination.

Now, we must move aggressively to do the same across the Atlantic. We must work to connect and network our respective law enforcement authorities so that we can more fully match the resources and abilities of the enemy. For example, each country holds a reservoir of fingerprints taken from terrorists and violent criminals. Exchanging such biometric data is an important way to ensure that terrorists and murderers do not exploit informational seams between countries.

In sum, these are some of the areas I look forward to discussing over the next few days and in the months to come. In the end, our methods for defeating terror must align with our values as free and democratic peoples. We won’t achieve a true victory if we destroy those things which we value in our own lives. We defeat terror by being able to carry on with our daily lives, we defeat terror by not giving way to fear, we defeat terror by preserving privacy and fostering prosperity…we defeat terror by once again heeding Churchill’s advice and faithfully serving the cause of freedom.

It is a cause we have championed together through many years and many struggles, and one that is well worth our continued vigilance, perseverance, and fortitude. Together, we have won great victories for freedom. And, if we continue to engage each other; if we continue to work together as we have on the difficult trials of the past, then together we will shape a future of hope and peace for our children and future generations.