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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Naked in the Howling Wind

I'm going to go out on a limb and say the federal fix is in. All of us who are complaining about privacy rights are doing so while standing naked in a howling wind tunnel. It's gone, baby, gone. We are nude in the eyes of the bad guys. The phones are tapped; the internet is monitored; medical records are under surveillance; spy satelites can read the writing on your T-shirt and it has just come to fore that "thousands" of bank records were being secretly watched by the federal government.

It is a WHWLINE moment, people! (What Have We Learned, If Nothing Else?) What we've learned is that when this regime says there is nothing go on -- SOMETHING is going on. So, for them to admit to thousands of surveillances means there are millions of instances of the act. And, boy wasn't the Oliver Cromwell Bush PO'ed about being uncovered once again? To wit: "Bush today condemned as "disgraceful" the disclosure of the operation, which intended to help the government track overseas money movements of suspected terrorists. "For people to leak that program, and for a newspaper to publish it, does great harm to the United States of America,” Bush told reporters in Washington."

Strong words coming from the Head Leaker in Charge. But, then, Bush is great at saying one thing and doing another. A little known habit of his is to write presidential directives that allow him to circumvent or ignore any law Congress enacts. For example, he made a big fanfare about signing the anti-torture bill, but then wrote a directive that allows him to ignore it. Interesting times we live in.

By the way, KILL ANN COULTER! (fair is fair).

By Michael Isikoff
June 26, 2006 - Over the last four years, U.S. law enforcement agencies have gained access to over 28,000 financial records inside the United States under a little known provision of the USA Patriot Act that parallels the secret international bank data program disclosed by news organizations last week, Treasury Department records show.

The disclosure of the overseas program—under which Treasury Department officials have tapped into the records of a vast Belgian-based international financial database called Swift (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications)—has kicked up a storm of controversy. Some critics have decried the program as another example of the administration's invasion of privacy in the name of the war on terror. At the same time, President

But the international program is only one part of a much broader, if little publicized, Treasury Department effort to probe suspect financial records—including thousands of bank accounts, wire transfers and other transactions involving individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations inside the United States.

Under a section of the USA Patriot Act passed by Congress in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks, Treasury officials were given new powers to direct U.S. banks and other financial institutions to search their records for accounts or transactions involving any individuals or groups who come under scrutiny during investigations of terrorism and money laundering cases.

Although it has received little attention, the Patriot Act program has produced a wealth of previously unavailable financial data that has been shared with U.S. law enforcement agencies—without any notice to the account holders who are being investigated. Since the fall of 2002, when the program began, U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN)—an arm of the Treasury Department—has directed searches of 4,397 "subjects of interest" and received reports back on 28,463 accounts and financial transactions, according to recent Treasury records.

Once there is a positive "match" showing a suspect individual or company has conducted a financial transaction with a U.S. bank, FINCEN then notifies the law enforcement agencies, which can use the existence of a reported "match" as the basis for a grand jury or administrative subpoena. The Treasury records show that U.S. agencies have used the program to obtain 1,206 grand jury subpoenas and 328 administrative subpoenas. It has also led, according to the Treasury records, to 90 indictments, 79 arrests and 10 convictions.

link | posted by Jae at 8:12 AM |


Anonymous jadacat commented at 10:27 AM~  

Imagine if, in 2003, Bush had told reporters the following:

"For me to leak the name of a covert CIA agent, and for a newspaper to publish it, does great harm to the United States of America.”

Blogger Olive commented at 12:51 PM~  

The White House's massive spy program is being sold in the name of 'the war on global terror.' But it's carried out in the name of the war on any one who would oppose the illegitimate Bush Administration.

Mining the personal files of such organizations as Moveon or the Sierra Club, yields all sorts of political gold for the GOP. These organizations are unjustifiably audited and their records seized as part of that process. This is an effort to cast suspicion on their work, smear reputations and infiltrate organizations. Such organizations as Green Peace have already been placed on terrorist watch lists, while violent groups such as the KKK go unchallenged.

Gonzales justified the bank-records spying program by citing the capture of a ragtag group of would be terrorists dreaming about blowing up the Chicago Sears building. Yet...

" The suspects had "aspirations" but "no means" to attack the Sears Tower or other buildings, a senior federal law-enforcement source said.--Chicago Tribune.

Blogger Renegade Eye commented at 8:02 PM~  

In the 1960s, when J. Edgar Hoover, kept files on political activists, is small potatoes, to what is going on now.

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