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Flashback: Obama Lets Agencies Scour Finances

This is something we noted back in March from Reuters:

EXCLUSIVE – U.S. to let spy agencies scour Americans’ finances

By Emily Flitter and Stella Dawson and Mark Hosenball | March 13, 2013

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON(Reuters) – The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters.

There are now at least 16 official intelligence agencies in the federal government. That adds up to a lot of prying eyes.

The proposed plan represents a major step by U.S. intelligence agencies to spot and track down terrorist networks and crime syndicates by bringing together financial databanks, criminal records and military intelligence. The plan, which legal experts say is permissible under U.S. law, is nonetheless likely to trigger intense criticism from privacy advocates.

Financial institutions that operate in the United States are required by law to file reports of "suspicious customer activity," such as large money transfers or unusually structured bank accounts, to Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

The Federal Bureau of Investigation already has full access to the database. However, intelligence agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, currently have to make case-by-case requests for information to FinCEN.

The Treasury plan would give spy agencies the ability to analyze more raw financial data than they have ever had before, helping them look for patterns that could reveal attack plots or criminal schemes.

Or contributions to Tea Party groups and conservative PACs, as well as Republican candidates.

But this is significant because this financial data is far more revealing than phone logs. As with credit card transactions, financial records actually show content. It is not the ‘outside of the envelope’ stuff.

That is, when you have financial or credit card records, you see all you need to know. How much money was deposited, and from where, etc. What was bought, and by whom.

The planning document, dated March 4, shows that the proposal is still in its early stages of development, and it is not known when implementation might begin…

We haven’t seen any further reports as to whether it’s been implemented or not. So maybe it can be stopped. Or, at least, amended with safe guards to keep it from being used against Americans for political purposes.

Financial institutions file more than 15 million "suspicious activity reports" every year, according to Treasury. Banks, for instance, are required to report all personal cash transactions exceeding $10,000, as well as suspected incidents of money laundering, loan fraud, computer hacking or counterfeiting.

There are now 16 official intelligence agencies in the federal government. So that adds up to a lot of prying eyes scouring a lot of financial transactions.

"For these reports to be of value in detecting money laundering, they must be accessible to law enforcement, counter-terrorism agencies, financial regulators, and the intelligence community," said the Treasury planning document…

And political campaigns

A Treasury spokesperson said U.S. law permits FinCEN to share information with intelligence agencies to help detect and thwart threats to national security, provided they adhere to safeguards outlined in the Bank Secrecy Act. "Law enforcement and intelligence community members with access to this information are bound by these safeguards," the spokesperson said in a statement.

Sure they are. Only terrorists have to worry about being spied on.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, June 10th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Flashback: Obama Lets Agencies Scour Finances”

  1. Folks, let’s be up front about this crap and not kid ourselves.

    This has been building through successive criminalized Presidencies and Congress(es) since the end of WWII and the beginning of Harry Truman’s intelligence-oriented surveillance state.

    Congress has allowed and encourage the surveillance state we suffer under, just as Congress allowed and encouraged the creation, funding and operation of the damnable IRS, and our fake money.

    There is almost no crime against Humanity that does not begin and end with the United States Congress. Paid for by vampirical members of that Congress sucking lifeblood out of you and me, while simultaneously enriching their contributors and fanboys with regulatory law, actionable Law, roadblocks, and free passes as they see fit.

    The most lawless, corrupt and heinous organization in the world … the single most dangerous gang of people in the world sit in seats we pay for … the hallowed House and Senate of the US Congress.

    “It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace – but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

    Patrick Henry

    If that does not resonate with you ….

  2. MARK STEYN: The All-Seeing State: The inevitable corruption of the permanent bureaucracy. “When Nixon tried to sic the IRS on a few powerful political enemies, the IRS told him to take a hike. When Obama’s courtiers tried to sic the IRS on thousands of ordinary American citizens, the agency went along, and very enthusiastically. This is a scale of depravity hitherto unknown to the tax authorities of the United States, and for that reason alone they should be disarmed and disbanded — and rebuilt from scratch with far more circumscribed powers. . . . It may be that the strange synchronicity between the president and the permanent bureaucracy is mere happenstance and not, as it might sound to the casual ear, the sinister merging of party and state. Either way, they need to be pried apart. When the state has the capability to know everything except the difference between right and wrong, it won’t end well.”

  3. In 2010, improper payments in federal programs totaled $125 billion. That’s more than six times the total budget for NASA. The NSA is one of at least 15 intelligence agencies, and combined the total U.S. intelligence budget in 2012 was $75 billion.

    That, friends, is some f*****g perspective for you.

    But they want to know what sex chat line you’re calling and which political Party Mrs. Butterworth is taking calls from.




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