Terrorism and cybersecurity: the American minister welcomes “close” cooperation with France and the EU
During a meeting with EURACTIV France on Wednesday (22 June), US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas welcomed the quality of cooperation with France and the EU on cybersecurity and of counter-terrorism.
Ahead of the EU-US justice and home affairs ministerial meeting on Thursday (23 June), Alejandro Mayorkas recalled the quality of the “very close partnership” between the United States, France and the European Union in the fight against terrorism.
A cooperation judged “excellent” by his French counterpart, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, whom he met shortly after our interview.
Mr Mayorkas insisted on the need to continue the “information sharing” between the various Western partners, in this area as in that of cybersecurity, “a challenge that has grown exponentially”especially when it comes to ransomware – malicious software that demands a ransom from the victim to recover their data or the use of their device.
“A close collaboration” between the United States and France, explained Mr Mayorkas, is all the more necessary “We are at an inflection point because in the cybersecurity landscape, most of our critical infrastructure is in private hands”.
The U.S. Homeland Security Secretary also shared his concern about the “possibility of retaliation [cybercriminelles] Russians, given our solidarity with the Ukrainian people” – a concern that also concerns Europeans.
The dangers of the Internet are intertwined with the issues of terrorism: Mr. Mayorkas explained that in the United States, the threat, which was originally foreign, has evolved into the profile of “ the individual already residing in the United States and radicalized by a foreign terrorist ideology through social media and online platforms”.
A situation that France is also experiencing, since the attacks in Paris in 2013 and 2015, and which justifies increased sharing of experiences and information: “the channels are multiple, bilateral and coordinated” both between public officials and within “the intelligence community”detailed Mr. Mayorkas.
Among other elements discussed both bilaterally with France and at EU level during Thursday’s ministerial meeting, Mayorkas mentioned support for Ukrainians fleeing the war, some of whom are being hosted in the United States. He specified that they will be allowed to “stay until it is safe for them to return” in Ukraine.
The meeting with European ministers will also focus on the repression of the exploitation of child pornography, indicated Mr Mayorkas, according to whom “our collaborative efforts are only waiting to progress, given the progress of the scourge”welcoming the cooperation in this area with the European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson.
Asked by EURACTIV about the possible lack of trust between Europeans and Americans when the latter warned of the imminent invasion of Ukraine, Mr Mayorkas argued “that the mistrust that may have existed before this administration [celle de Joe Biden] was overcome well before January 2022”emphasizing good relations, cooperation and effective information sharing between the United States and the European Union.