Thursday, March 14, 2013

Your bank account...WHO has the right?

I pose a question at the bottom, please read this and let us know what you think...thanks.

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON | Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:31pm EDT
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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

A move like the FinCEN proposal "raises concerns as to whether people could find their information in a file as a potential terrorist suspect without having the appropriate predicate for that and find themselves potentially falsely accused," said Sharon Bradford Franklin, senior counsel for the Rule of Law Program at the Constitution Project, a non-profit watchdog group.
Despite these concerns, 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.
National security experts also maintain that a robust system for sharing criminal, financial and intelligence data among agencies will improve their ability to identify those who plan attacks on the United States.
"It's a war on money, war on corruption, on politically exposed persons, anti-money laundering, organized crime," said Amit Kumar, who advised the United Nations on Taliban sanctions and is a fellow at the Democratic think tank Center for National Policy.
The Treasury document outlines a proposal to link the FinCEN database with a computer network used by U.S. defense and law enforcement agencies to share classified information called the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System.
The plan calls for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence - set up after 9/11 to foster greater collaboration among intelligence agencies - to work with Treasury. The Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.
More than 25,000 financial firms - including banks, securities dealers, casinos, and money and wire transfer agencies - routinely file "suspicious activity reports" to FinCEN. The requirements for filing are so strict that banks often over-report, so they cannot be accused of failing to disclose activity that later proves questionable. This over-reporting raises the possibility that the financial details of ordinary citizens could wind up in the hands of spy agencies.
Stephen Vladeck, a professor at American University's Washington College of Law, said privacy advocates have already been pushing back against the increased data-sharing activities between government agencies that followed the September 11 attacks.
"One of the real pushes from the civil liberties community has been to move away from collection restrictions on the front end and put more limits on what the government can do once it has the information," he said.  (end of article)

Z:  The friend who sent me this information was pretty upset about it.   It doesn't bother me so much.   I know it reeks of privacy breaches, but really?   Don't we need to see if people are moving money around in ways that can badly affect us?   I will say I think that $10,000 is a very low amount to have banks reporting all transactions above that, but...  DOES THIS BOTHER YOU TERRIBLY MUCH?  I'm curious.



Always On Watch said...

Partnered with THIS?

Rita said...

Banks have been reporting on these activities for decades. All I read is that they are finally getting around to adding that data to other data they already have to spot patterns. That that makes sense to me.

Originally the $10k reporting was used for illegal activities such as drugs and gambling. One can argue that the $10k is certainly too low by today's standards since that was the amount when I started in banking in the late 70's. but we are talking about $10k in CASH.

I don't know about you, but I rarely go around with $10k in cash.

The "over reporting" the article is referring to is due to people who go to the bank and drop $9k in cash and then another $7k, as an example.

When it's obvious that someone is deliberately keeping the cash deposits under $10k, the bank naturally has to wonder if the customer is deliberately attempting to circumvent the report., so the bank will make that customer report all large cash deposits as a routine.

It sounds to me like they are only taking the data and using it in a smarter way to find terrorist.

Not a problem in my book.

Always On Watch said...

Creepier and creepier: "Your Brain Scans Show Who You're Thinking About."

Thersites said...

AoW. We don't need no stinkin' drones in Harford County... now wave to the camera!

Anonymous said...

What happened to the concept of privacy that is only envaded with "probable causee and warrents"?

Z said...

Rita, I think I veer in your direction of thinking. it's not THAT different than it's been.

Sadly, most of us who see what Obama's doing, and how the left's so eager to take freedoms away, we don't trust as we have in the past that a president has America's best interests at heart.

I can't open all the links right now, but maybe later.

Thanks, everybody.

cube said...

Personally, I don't have the kind of money that would raise any eyebrows (especially since my 20 day hospital stay), but it is disturbing to note further invasion into the privacy of the average citizen by big government. Where will it end?

Ducky's here said...

Not much is hidden.

New York City, where Mayor Benito rules, has gone operational with a system which records and stores every vehicle plate entering tunnels or crossing bridges.

Of course it's needed to "fight terrorism"(LMAO).

We gave the defense industry everything they could ask for when we fell for this phony "war on terror" crap.

JonBerg said...


"I will say I think that $10,000 is a very low amount to have banks reporting all transactions above that, but... DOES THIS BOTHER YOU TERRIBLY MUCH?"

I agree $10,000 doesn' seem like that much. However, I absolutely, DON'T trust anything that Obama is associated with. This poor excuse for a man has an adgenda and that is the complete destruction of our Country. So, yes this does "BOTHER" me "TERRIBLY MUCH"!

Z said...

Ducky, odd that you still insist there's nothing to worry about.
You're so misguided and simple in your thinking.
I'd read more on what's going on.
There are experts who spend their days doing nothing but study the terror threats and they speak on 'an existential threat that we're ignoring'...time to get with it, Ducky; more people like you and we'd be sitting ducks.

Whether this fed the defense industry (odd, considering how much we're LOSING in Iraq and Afghanistan)or not shouldn't even be part of this equation.
That Islam isn't threatening is just plain dumb, no offense.

And trust me, I wish you were right.

Cube...not sure loss of freedom WILL end as long as we have liberals in charge who don't think Americans are smart enough to do anything for themselves... And I'm so glad you're better.

JonBerg, it was reassuring that though that amount is small, banks do notice when someone takes, for example, 14 times $10 Grand out of the bank.

My BIGGEST worry (almost) is that our people supposedly helping us survive the threat are three things:

A. Stupid
B. Not trained correctly.
C. Mostly interested only in a paycheck

I think Americans used to care desperately for their neighbors, now I think we're so diverse and full of entitlement junkies that even those working couldn't give a damn as long as they get their paycheck from Uncle Sam for working, for example, the TSA and behaving as we've recently heard they do; ignorant, lazy, and uncaring.

25 years ago, I heard an ex bigwig in the FBI or CIA on CSPAN giving a talk about how they get NO (NONE) applicants anymore of any real quality, that they used to get Yale and Harvard grads coming in and NONE (none) of them apply for the FBI or CIA anymore. None also pass the theft lie detector test...NONE. And none haven't done drugs.
The left has made that kind of patriotism look silly to our young people, and there is no "greatest generation" thinking anymore IN GENERAL....

Obviously, we have soldiers in Afghanistan we have all heard say they wish we were staying even tho they could lose their life.. because they feel we ARE making progress there, and all those great guys who gave their lives cared...but in general? Americans aren't what they were.

Ducky's here said...

Well, z, I suspect you're okay with it all.

Better to let "our kind soldiers" (as you call them) use an attack helicopter to stitch a couple Afghan kids collecting firewood than admit we have failed miserably.

But defense contractors, mercenaries and everyone connected with the military are really bringing in the sheaves so they don't care. And DO NOT even think about cutting the defense budget or questioning the militarization of every police force from NYC to East Podunk.

... but do cut Social Security and Medicare. Damn it the seniors and the poor can tighten their belts while the useless military sucks at the trough.

We are screwed as a people. There may not be any way back.

Paul/West 2016 !!!!

Rita said...

Just for clarification. The banks do not report $10k transaction. They report $10k in CASH transactions. They as someone going into the bank and handing over ten grand in real money.

I would doubt that most of us here have ever has to fill out a report to the bank because we walked in there with $10k worth of cash.

It doesn't happen that often. And when I was in banking it was usually car dealerships that completed the reports. That's where the drug dealers find the easiest method to spend their cash.

Z said...

Ducky, your thinking is even more screwed than I thought.

Bad things happen, Ducky, and I'm SO SO SO Tired of political correctness that used to keep me from saying "Ducky, that's war...those children are dead, that's as sad as it gets, but we're fighting a war where their fathers could be the ones who feel that collateral damage to American children is the goal...the more the merrier...We cannot favor the enemy or its innocent victims anymore, might hate our children, I don't."

Rita...thanks for that clarification; of course that makes sense.

Z said...

By the way, Ducky, your ridiculous comments about entitlements isn't worth responding to.

I thought you weren't so immature as to still think that Republicans don't care about the elderly or the poor or the sick.
And no, our soldiers are doing nothing at any trough and you know it.

Anonymous said...


" I'm SO SO SO Tired of political correctness.."

Which is nothing more than an attack and restrictions on the 1st Amendment.....which we will not have any longer without the second. Then the rest will follow and fall under the "progressive" fascism and house of cards.

You know it's true to.

Chuck said...

I can't get too excited about this. This goes back to the hysteria over a lot of the patriot act.

What I do find amusing, as usual, is the pass Obama gets on it. You know the left is bent about this but you hardly hear anyone raising hell. Would we be hearing this silence if it were Bush? (rhetorical question).

FreeThinke said...


Z said...

Chuck: we could make a list a mile long of outrageous things Obama's doing and, when we ask ourselves what the media'd do if it were Bush, we'd know they'd FLIP FREAKIN" OUT!>>>FLIP FLIP OUT.

As it is , most Americans don't even understand the hideous repercussions of the Obama Care situation...they honestly don't know the taxes included, the way it'll close up R&D America's helped the world with all these years, etc etc.
It's astonishing what America doesn't know.
This bunch of liars isn't talented enough to do this alone; there's something behind it all $$$

Pris said...

It bothers me a lot! I see most here are hoping it's no big deal, but it matters who's in power, and how the Patriot Act is used.

To say one's privacy will not be infringed when many agencies are involved, is nonsense. We'll have no privacy!

So, in my mind, when the government as it stands right now says jump, most people will say, "how high"?

I see the step by step control over our lives!

Always On Watch said...

For what it's worth, I'm with you on this issue.

JonBerg said...

Pris, AOW:

We seem to be getting "Frog Boiled" on every front!

Pris said...

I watched the video you put in your comment, so for what it's worth, I'm with you too!

Yes JB, it is getting pretty hot isn't it!

Chuck said...

Z, I agree.

My dad (a, gasp, Democrat) tells me he doesn't let the media tell him how to vote. I believe he is right, he is a smart enough man to make up his own mind.

The truth is though, and I have said this to him, is he only gets half of the information he needs to make up his mind.

This is how the media controls public opinion. It is not through outward advocacy for Obama (which they do in fact do) but through filtering and picking and choosing what info to give the public.

Always On Watch said...

Boiling the frog -- that's how nearly every modern tyrant finally achieved power.

People are more consumed with matters that are trivial AND with keeping their heads above financial water to pay much mind to the boiling of the frog. **sigh**

Liberalmann said...

Chuck said: "
This is how the media controls public opinion. It is not through outward advocacy for Obama (which they do in fact do) but through filtering and picking and choosing what info to give the public.'


And then there's that pesky 47% tape,lol!

Chuck said...

Libidiot, where to start?

First, what exactly was wrong about his 47% statement? 47% of people do not pay taxes. The left is buying votes with entitlement. This is what he was saying and you know it.

Dr Benjamin Carson spoke to this at CPAC.

“Let’s say somebody were [in the White House] and they wanted to destroy this nation,”“I would create division among the people, encourage a culture of ridicule for basic morality and the principles that made and sustained the country, undermine the financial stability of the nation, and weaken and destroy the military. It appears coincidentally that those are the very things that are happening right now.”

Through ridicule the media and the rest of the left is keeping us from having the conversation we need to have on entitlements.

Enjoy the ride into the shithole you and your heroes on the left have us on.