US plans to allow spy agencies to monitor every citizen’s finances – report

c30edeposit box US plans to allow spy agencies to monitor every citizen’s finances – report

The Obama administration is preparing legislation to enable thecountry’s numerous security and intelligence agencies to spy on theaccounts of US citizens, Reuters has revealed. The scheme’s statedaim is to help to identify and track terrorist cells, exposemoney-laundering schemes, trace criminal syndicates and curbcorruption.”It’s a war on money, war on corruption, on politicallyexposed persons, anti-money laundering, organized crime,” AmitKumar, the UN advisor on Taliban and a fellow at theDemocrat-established Center for National Policy think tank toldReuters.The plan, dated March 4, is in its early stages but appears tohave no judicial obstacles, as US legislation does not prohibit theexchange of information between government bodies. However, humanrights activists have already criticized the planThe planning document obtained by Reuters that the US Treasury’sfinancial database, which previously was only fully accessible bythe FBI, will soon be integrated with national criminal,intelligence and other databases  to become accessible to“law enforcement, counter-terrorism agencies, financialregulators and the intelligence community.”Today, the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network(FinCEN) does not only collect data on clients of financialinstitutions, it also gathers reports of so-called ‘suspiciousclient activity’.An estimated 25,000 financial institutions operating inside USterritory – like banks, money transfer agencies, securities dealersand casinos – are obliged to report any activity consideredsuspicious, such as large (over $10,000) cash transfers, strangely account structures, computer hacking, counterfeiting andsuspected money laundering.The system is arranged so that if a bank is revealed to have notreported its clients’ suspicious activities, it risks of payingsevere fines. Many banks err on the side of caution, and filereports on any activity deemed even slightly unusual: Every year,15 million ‘suspicious activity reports’ are filed to the USTreasury, which allocates considerable resources to deal with themall.If the Obama administration’s financial spy plan is enacted, USgovernment agencies will have access to virtually all financialinformation on citizens or foreigners doing business in the US.Currently, investigating a financial crime involves unraveling atangle of evidence that could lead to a certain person, such asdemanding a specific financial dossier from FinCEN. Once agencieslike CIA, NSA or Counter Terrorism Center are allowed unrestrictedaccess to FinCEN data, it would become possible for them to targetan individual and arrest them for a crime for which they are notcurrently under investigation.A US Treasury spokesperson vowed the agencies will adhere tosafeguards outlined in both the Bank Secrecy Act and the US PATRIOTAct: “Law enforcement and intelligence community members withaccess to this information are bound by these safeguards.”But Michael German, the senior policy counsel for the AmericanCivil Liberties Union, told Reuters that “the intelligencecommunity simply ignores the rules” when it comes to how sensitiveinformation is used.German recalled Congress had refused to approve a similar plan adecade ago, but now “the guidelines were subsequently loosened…It’s in a black hole.”

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US plans to allow spy agencies to monitor every citizen’s finances – report

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