Boasting that they have an “exclusive” Reuters is now “reporting” that the government is about to start violating the financial privacy of Americans and the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution even more than before.
“The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters. The proposed plan represents a major step by U.S. intelligence agencies to spot and track down terrorist networks and crime syndicates by bringing together financial databanks, criminal records and military intelligence. The plan, which legal experts say is permissible under U.S. law, is nonetheless likely to trigger intense criticism from privacy advocates.”
Notice how this “story” is presented. The government’s excuse for this action is reported as if it were unquestioned fact. The only point of the plan is to “spot and track down terrorist networks and crime syndicates.” Nothing else to see here.
And then there are those “privacy advocates.” Those are other people who have an opinion. Their opinions are reported as just that: only opinions. The government’s claims, on the other hand, are the objective facts of history.
Why is Reuters assuming the government’s side in this story? I’m sure there are many cynical explanations for this, but the most likely is that they wouldn’t have gotten the “exclusive” if they hadn’t promoted the government’s agenda and treated as the unquestionable truth. The entire story is simply a report on a document that they were given. The only other “reporting” they did was call a couple of sources for some quotes about privacy, and got some quotes from a “Treasury spokesman” who might have been their source for the document.
Typically, these kinds of moves are made after a crisis strikes. Bush got the Patriot Act pushed through because of 9-11. We started being irradiated or groped at airports because of the underwear bomber (even though the underwear bomber would have been waved on through one of those nudie scanners). So why the sudden change? Why are we suddenly hearing that the CIA or other “spy agencies” need to be able to be able to have open access?
It is amazing to me that the story actually admits that we already have our privacy violated and yet somehow it is still credible to demand more such violations. The FBI already has full access to this information, and we all know that they are all completely trustworthy and would never misuse or abuse such information… or do we?
“More than 25,000 financial firms – including banks, securities dealers, casinos, and money and wire transfer agencies – routinely file “suspicious activity reports” to FinCEN. The requirements for filing are so strict that banks often over-report, so they cannot be accused of failing to disclose activity that later proves questionable. This over-reporting raises the possibility that the financial details of ordinary citizens could wind up in the hands of spy agencies.”
This story assures us that the spying is legal, but you would never know the United States government had a Constitution that included the Fourth Amendment by reading it.