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U.S. diplomacy beats spying, EU leader says

Nov. 26, 2013 at 10:39 AM

BRUSSELS, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said it was a good confidence building measure for U.S. lawmakers to discuss surveillance concerns in Brussels.

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe, led a delegation to Europe to discuss concerns emanating from a controversial surveillance program.

Reding said it was right for U.S. lawmakers to address the issue in Brussels.

"This is the right way forward. Continuous dialogue builds mutual trust," she said in a statement Tuesday. "Knowledge and understanding provide the best defense against ignorance. We are talking and listening, not spying on each other."

Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked the details of the program earlier this year. The U.S. intelligence community has since been accused of spying on European leaders.

Reding said she wanted assurances that EU citizens can take legal action if and when their personal data is misused.

"I have also made clear that Europe expects to see the necessary legislative change [on the issue] in the U.S. sooner rather than later," she said.

Reding led a delegation to Washington last week to discuss the issue with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Rand Beers.

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