June 29, 2006
Privacy? What Privacy?
The recent leak by the New York Times and other news organizations, disclosing how the government tracks the money of terrorists, is quite a little puzzle to me: the Times acts as if this government program somehow violates our financial privacy.
But if they think the feds never looked into our bank accounts prior to this program, they're dreaming! The FBI has been monitoring our private banking transactions, in far more intrusive ways, for literally decades.
I used to work at Sanwa bank, and every morning we received a report of "suspicious transactions," sent us by the central office. In addition, we constantly monitored transactions looking for certain patterns that might indicate check kiting (large deposit quickly followed by a large withdrawal, low average balance, all timed around a check's "floating" period).
If we decided a crime might be occurring, we reported all this information to the FBI... including records of the account transactions (without any warrant). Besides that, we also reported to the FBI anyone who deposited or withdrew a large amount of cash. Overseas wire transfers with certain characteristics were also reported to the feds.
All this intrusive monitoring and information-sharing with law enforcement was mostly to track money laundering by drug runners. All banks in the United States are still required by the federal government to follow these monitoring and reporting rules. If the Timeses (New York and Los Angeles) ever complained about this Orwellian violation of "privacy" by the FBI, I must have missed the article.
It seems these newspapers can tolerate incredible penetration into our personal bank account information just to catch check kiters and drug dealers... but they cannot abide the much smaller intrusions, looking only at the transactions of large businesses, governments, and NGOs, in order to catch terrorists who have killed our fellow citizens and plot to destroy the rest of us!
It's beyond me. Maybe someone can explain how it's "totally different."
Hatched by Sachi on this day, June 29, 2006, at the time of 3:03 AM
The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith
What's totally different is that revealing the SWIFT program was a way to hurt the Bush administration. I linked from Small Town Veteran >> Privacy? What Privacy?
The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith at June 29, 2006 5:56 AM
The following hissed in response by: Big D
Obviously the difference is...wait...I had it there for a second...Bush is Hitler? I dunno, something like that. And since he is Hitler everything he does must be for some neferious...Hitlerian like purpose. And therefore it must be opposed.
Whew. It hurts my brain trying to think like that.
What I don't get is how, not so long ago the Democrats were rapping on Bush because he didn't follow the 911 Commission recommendations - which included precisely what he is doing here.
The following hissed in response by: Major Mike
Since my successful trackback pings never pop up on Big Lizards, I'm doing my trackback as a comment. "Sachi on Big Lizards asks why such turmoil about monitoring international bank transfers, when all along our banking system has been providing much more detailed and personal information to the IRS and FBI to track money laundering by drug dealers and to catch tax evaders. More...
The above hissed in response by: Major Mike at June 30, 2006 10:08 PM
The following hissed in response by: Infidel
"I don't question the left's patriotism, I question their sanity".
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