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Hullabaloo


Thursday, June 22, 2006

 
Hoovering, In More Ways Than One.

by tristero

When I first saw the headline in the Times, "Bank Data Sifted in Secret by U.S. to Block Terror" I naturally assumed that Bush was sniffing through my bank account. After all, he's listening to my phone calls. Why should my finances be any different? But then I read the article:
The program is limited, government officials say, to tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry, a Belgian cooperative that routes about $6 trillion daily between banks, brokerages, stock exchanges and other institutions. The records mostly involve wire transfers and other methods of moving money overseas and into and out of the United States. Most routine financial transactions confined to this country are not in the database...

The program is grounded in part on the president's emergency economic powers, [Treasury Undersecretary] Levey said, and multiple safeguards have been imposed to protect against any unwarranted searches of Americans' records.
Whew. Well, that's reassuring. There's really no potential for abuse. None. Just read the article.

I'm sure they have to obtain the proper warrants. And the outside firm that verifies there really is a good reason to examine the data has zero ties to the Republican party.

Look, it's not as if there's a systematic attempt on the part of the Bush administration to break down longstanding legal or institutional barriers to the government's access to private information about Americans and others inside the United States. It's only a temporary thing anyway, a response to a national emergency.

They're not just turning on a vacuum cleaner and sucking in all the information that they can.





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