US spy agencies might eyeball your finances
The Obama administration wants to give the CIA and NSA easier access to a huge database with Americans' information.
Updated 5:22 p.m.
A new proposal from the Obama administration would allow U.S. intelligence agencies including the CIA to gain access to Americans' financial data, according to a new report.
The plan is setting off criticism, with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, calling it an "erosion of constitutional protections."
Under the plan, U.S. intelligence agencies could tap into a massive database that contains financial information on U.S. citizens, with the goal of tracking down terrorist networks and crime syndicates, Reuters reports.
The database, called the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), is already accessible to the FBI, although the CIA and the National Security Agency are required to make requests to view information on a case-by-case basis, according to the report.
While the plan is still in the early stages, the sharing of data is legal and was made permissible by a combination of the Bank Secrecy Act and the USA Patriot Act, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush more than a decade ago, Reuters notes.
FinCEN, a bureau of the Treasury, reports to the Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, according to its website. Its goal is to "safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat money laundering and promote national security."
The Treasury refuted some aspects of the Reuters story, with a spokesman saying there isn't an initiative underway to give the intelligence community expanded access to information that financial institutions provide to the banks. Treasury would not allow the intelligence community to mine FinCEN's data, the spokesman said.
But by expanding the CIA's and NSA's access to FinCEN, Americans could find their financial data shared with groups outside the U.S., charges Texas AG Abbott.
"My concern is this information can be not only shared with law enforcement agencies here in this country, but your financial records can be exposed worldwide and people can be falsely accused of being involved in some kind of terrorism scheme without being afforded due process," Abbott said on CNBC.
Advocates for the plan say a strong system of sharing financial data will help identify people planning to attack the U.S., according to Reuters.
Currently, FinCEN is allowed to share information with intelligence agencies as long as they abide by safeguards in the Bank Secrecy Act, a Treasury representative told Reuters.
Leadership of this once great nation has abandoned our Christian roots and values.
Not the least bit surprised. Totally consistent with Obama past policy and, apparently, just what the 47%ers (oops 51%ers) wanted. Nothing like voting for a slow but steady voluntary suicide.
People wonder why we have gridlock. It's because informed people understand that doing nothing beats the heck out of the Democrats proposals. There is a culture coming from the Democrats that we citizens exist solely to be subserviant to the government wishes and they will allow us a lifestyle of their choosing. If your poor, they will raise your standard of living and, if your successful, you will be penalized - making us all equal.
Just another example of the dumbing down of America.
We are getting just what they voted for - LEGALIZED GOVERNMENT THEFT AND REDISTRIBUTION - SHAMEFUL. There is just an erosion of personal pride and ethics among Americans. When our leadership creates a culture of jealousy, naturally it's easy for the sheeple to mentally justify theft by government (since they are to cowardly to do their own stealing). And what the heck, there is prison time if you steal it yourself - much smarter to have the government do it for you.
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