Apparently the data does not include domestic bank-to-bank transactions. And while the surveillance court limits sharing the identities of Americans from the CIA data, the restrictions are not clear. But mainly the agency targets foreign activities with the aim of protecting the nation.
Juan Zarate who was a Treasury official under President George W Bush has stated: 'There is a longstanding legal baseline for the US government to collect financial information.' Without acknowledging the CIA program, he is the author of 'Treasury's War' the subject of which is on terrorist financing.
In a recent article on this subject published in the New York Times, the author reports that the surveillance court prohibits recipients from discussing business records. Western Union, which processes international money transfers, does comply with legal requirements in providing information. Citing a spokeswoman for WU, he wrote: 'We collect consumer information to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act and other laws. In doing so, we also protect our consumer's privacy.'
The idea that government agencies are monitoring financial information or phone conversations is mind-boggling. At best one hopes that these intrusions do protect the nation from unwanted terrorist or misguided acts. But at worst we also wonder at a world that appears increasingly anarchical and harder to cont