Bush administration compiling massive database of bank records

Posted: August 7, 2008 in 2006, Articles
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Bush administration compiling massive database of bank records

The Bush administration has been secretly tapping into a global network of confidential financial transactions and compiling a vast database of bank records. According to an article in the June 23 New York Times, the program was initiated shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and has examined banking transactions involving tens of thousands of individuals in the US and internationally.

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Through the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, ordered by Bush 10 days after 9/11, the US Treasury Department has been collecting data from the worlds largest financial communications networkthe Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT. The Bush administration has authorized the program through administrative subpoenas under a little-known authority of the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

Administration officials asked the Times not publish its story. When the Times went ahead with it, the White House denounced the newspaper, implying that by informing the American and international public of the massive and warrentless intrusion of privacy it was aiding and abetting the terrorists. We are disappointed that once again the New York Times has chosen to expose a classified program that is working to protect Americans, Bush administration spokeswoman Dana Perino said. We know that Al Qaeda watches for any clue as to how we are fighting the war on terrorism and then they adapt.

Exposure of the government spying on bank records follows revelations of far-reaching secret spying operations on Americans by the National Security Agency (NSA) involving eavesdropping on telephone calls, emails and faxes without the benefit of court-issued warrants and the assembling of a database, again without court warrants, covering hundreds of millions of domestic telephone calls. The Justice Department has also requested that Internet providers keep two-year records of web sites their customers visit and addresses to which they send email.

As with the previously exposed spying programs, the Bush administration is using the so-called war on terrorism as the pretext for implementing, in the form of the SWIFT program, another unconstitutional and illegal assault on democratic rights. The piecemeal revelation of such programs provides only a glimpse of the vast infrastructure for police-state forms of rule that has been put in place.

Read More
http://wsws.org/articles/2006/jun2006/spy-j24.shtml

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