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Sen. Murphy: Brussels Attack Raises Concerns About Europe's Counterterrorism Efforts

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy
Cassandra Basler / WSHU

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) has expressed his sorrow over the terror attacks in Brussels on Tuesday morning. 

The Islamic State, or ISIS, has taken credit for the attacks in Brussels. 

ISIS also claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris last fall.

“This is a moment to express sorrow and grief, but it’s also a moment to have a conversation with the Europeans about what we can do with them to increase their law enforcement capability," Murphy said. "It’s not enough to find the perpetrators after these attacks happen, you’ve got to root out these cells beforehand.”

Murphy is a ranking member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Subcommittee on on the Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism. After an event on Tuesday in Fairfield, Conn., he said that Europe has been reluctant to work with the United States to root out terror cells before they strike.

“Often there’s a level of discomfort with our surveillance activities and how big and robust they are," he said, "but Democrats and Republicans in this country largely have come together to support the kind of surveillance necessary to root out terrorists here and, you know, hopefully other countries now will be willing to look at the models that we’ve developed.”

In Hartford on Wednesday, Murphy said he has four ideas to improve the way Europe fights terrorism.

Murphy said the Europeans should invest in a continent-wide anti-terrorism platform. Right now, he says Europe monitors terrorism on a country-by-country basis, and information collection and sharing between countries is often imprecise.

“Right now there is a very small office at the European Union-level tracking terrorism activities. Europe needs an FBI. Europe needs a continent-wide anti-terrorism capacity. They don’t have that now," Murphy said. "In Brussels alone, there are six police agencies. There needs to be more consolidation and coordination."

Murphy says Congress should require European countries to share all information about suspected terrorists with the U.S.

He says countries that don’t share information about ongoing terrorism investigations shouldn’t be able to participate in the visa waiver program. That program currently lets citizens of several European countries, travel to the U.S. without a visa, which means they don’t have to undergo individual background checks.

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