Sunday, January 14, 2007

Oh My God! They’re Looking Over Our Financial Records!!! - The SKY is FALLING!

That’s right, while President Bush, as one New York City tabloid recently misrepresented, is NOT going through your mail, the Pentagon and in some cases, the CIA are going through the financial records of thousands of Americans.

According to Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman the Defense Department "makes requests for information under authorities of the National Security Letter statutes...but does not use the specific term National Security Letter in its investigatory practice."

Mr. Whitman didn’t indicate the number of requests made in recent years, but said authorities operate under the Right to Financial Privacy Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the National Security Act.

"These statutory tools may provide key leads for counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations," Whitman said. "Because these are requests for information rather than court orders, a DOD request under the NSL statutes cannot be compelled absent court involvement."

"It is our understanding that the intelligence community agencies make such requests on a limited basis," said Carl Kropf, a spokesman for the Office of the National Intelligence Director, which oversees all 16 spy agencies in the government.

These national security letters permit the executive branch to seek records about people involved in ongoing terror and spy investigations without a judge's approval or grand jury subpoena.

OK, so you ALREADY HAVE TO BE involved in an ongoing investigation into your possible involvement in terrorism or espionage.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the lead agency on domestic counterterrorism and espionage, has issued thousands of national security letters since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Mr. Whitman said Defense Department "counterintelligence investigators routinely coordinate...with the FBI."

One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said one example of a case in which the letters were used was the 1994 case of CIA officer Aldrich Ames, who eventually was found to have been selling secrets to the Soviet Union.

Vice President Dick Cheney said today (Sunday, January 14, 2007) that the Pentagon and CIA are not violating people's rights by examining the banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage in the United States.


Blue Wind said...

Is it ok with you to have Bush checking your finances??? And I thought you were libertarian...

JMK said...

I DO support the government's inalienable right to defend itself (not merely the people, the government has an over-riding right to defend ITSELF) from terrorism, so in that regard, I don't find anything wrong with them reviewing the banking records of those ALREADY INVOLVED in ONGOING terrorirsm or espionage investigations.

Like the NSA wiretap program used by the previous administration to catch Aldrich Ames, this program was also used in the Ames case and thus is NOT "new" or "part of the Patriot Act," as some folks have erroneosuly claimed.

JMK2006 said...

There's a big disconnect" ïn a lot of people's heads between believing rights (like the right to privacy) and a realistic understanding of what it takes to preserve them. Also a big misunderstanding of how terrorism operates, (i.e., moey laundering operations, esp. in the US).

JMK said...

Jmk2006, you have it exactly right.

Too many people want to naively view terrorism as a criminal act.

That's a huge mistake.

It's not a CRIME, it's an act of unconventional warfare, sponsored and funded by various rogue states.

James Fox (then head of the FBI's New York Office) said that "Dealing with international terrorism is beyond the scope and purview of American law enforcement," in the wake of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

The increased domestic security post-9/11 has no doubt saved thousands of Arab-American and Islamic-American lives, for in the wake of another major terorrist attack on U.S. soil, law enforcement here would be unable to secure the safety of those groups.

Many thousands would probably be harmed or worse, and tens, maybe hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of others would probably wisely choose to leave or "self-deport," for their own safety.

I'll gladly put up with some increased domestic surveillance and security to keep the many decent and moderate Arab-Americans and Islamic-Americans from becoming targets of the righteous indignation on America's part, in the wake of another major terrorist attack here.

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