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Obama Gives Intel Agencies Access To Finances

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.

Are these intelligence agencies able to do this to terrorists, as well? Or will the New York Times and ACLU protect them?

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 porn viewing. And contributions to Republican candidates and conservative PACs.

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…

The government can move amazingly quickly when it wants to.

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.

"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…

Naturally. Our financial information is just like our income. It all really belongs to the government first.

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.

So only terrorists have to worry. The trouble is, anyone can become a domestic terrorist. In fact, the Tea Party is already dangerously close to fitting the administration’s criteria.

Despite [some] concerns [from ‘privacy watchdogs’], legal experts emphasize that this sharing of data is permissible under U.S. law. Specifically, banks’ suspicious activity reporting requirements are dictated by a combination of the Bank Secrecy Act and the USA PATRIOT Act, which offer some privacy safeguards…

So will we see the same kind of outrage at this real invasion of privacy by the Obama administration that we saw over the imagined transgressions under President Bush? (This is a rhetorical question, of course.)

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, March 14th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Obama Gives Intel Agencies Access To Finances”

  1. River0 says:

    Illegal searches and seizures, restriction of speech, drone strikes, and spying don’t bother the Demonicrats a bit, as long as they’re in power.

    This is proof that they’re traitors to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which they’ve taken an oath to protect.

    Our fellow citizens don’t even care, mostly. Sickening.

  2. canary says:

    You all might have caught Donald Trump talking about his finances being hacked among other famous people to include our kings wife, JayZ, etc. While he was at it, he answered other questions and just praised some of the most liberal beings in this country.

    Donald gave his gushing what a great Mayor Bloomberg was and gave total support in backing Mayor Bloomberg’s limiting large sodas. Scary to think of him running for president.

    So, while everyone is staying away from the hacker site as the FBI investigates media reports
    when you click on Michelle O’s name a comment appears.

    “Blame your husband, we still love you, Michelle.”

    It will be interesting to find out who is responsible, but we may never know, especially with the media not wanting to touch this.

  3. canary says:

    “Some privacy watchdogs expressed concern about the plan when Reuters outlined it to them.”

    Why doesn’t Reuters show the Mar 4th document instead of their own version of outlining it to their experts?

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