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Obama Administration To Allow All Spy Agencies To Scour Americans' Finances 405

New submitter KrisJon writes "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. Financial institutions that operate in the United States are required by law to file reports of 'suspicious customer activity.' A move like the FinCEN proposal 'raises concerns as to whether people could find their information in a file as a potential terrorist suspect without having the appropriate predicate for that and find themselves potentially falsely accused,' said Sharon Bradford Franklin, senior counsel for the Rule of Law Program at the Constitution Project, a non-profit watchdog group."
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Obama Administration To Allow All Spy Agencies To Scour Americans' Finances

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  • by Sparticus789 ( 2625955 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @04:45PM (#43163585) Journal

    Hope and "look at all that change left in your bank account"

    I'm Barack Obama, and I approve this message.

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @04:47PM (#43163609)

    and some duct-tape at your local Home Depot, and I guarantee you you'll be flagged as a terrorist. Thinking of paying for things in cash to avoid that? That looks suspicious too these days.

    Welcome to the Vater^H^H^H^H^HHomeland Americans. Enjoy your civil liberties while you can...

  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @04:48PM (#43163619) Homepage Journal

    somewhere, and he wants it!

    Obama administration - making sure you're broke and enforcing it in every way possible!
    (unless you're a campaign contributor of course, then you get "stimulus")

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @04:50PM (#43163655)

    Total surveillance is the road to hell. Once the people have reached a suitable level of fear, those in power can do anything and everything. It does not take long to start killing off those deemed "undesired". Or better, lock them up and have the other pay for that. Already happening? Maybe the US voters are asleep at the wheel?

  • by prisoner-of-enigma ( 535770 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @04:58PM (#43163771) Homepage

    And people wonder why gun owners don't want the Feds to have a central database with all of our names, addresses, etc. in it. I'm all for background checks, but I'll be damned if I let the government develop a database they can "scour" like this for whatever purposes they deem fit in some nebulous future where the party I trust the *least* is in power.

  • by lostmongoose ( 1094523 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:02PM (#43163831)
    I realize facts are anathema to political discourse, but the president doesn't operate in a vacuum. Congress has just as much, if not more, blame than either Bush or Obama have. The sooner people see this, the sooner the messes can be cleaned up. Too bad it won't happen as long as The People are more concerned with Facebook, Twitter, et al.
  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:03PM (#43163843) Homepage

    Certain interesting financial transactions have been reported on for quite some time. This predates both Obama and Bush II. The only thing new here is perhaps the idea that people are actually looking at the information we've been collecting pretty much forever.

    You're pretty tardy if you are trying to get your panties in a bunch over this situation.

    Yeah, if they collect it they are going to data mine it sooner or later. That's pretty obvious. That's why you don't create the data to begin with.

    Horse left the barn and the barn burned down there a long time ago.

    Although I wouldn't mind getting back the $500 and $1000 bills what with inflation being what it is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:04PM (#43163859)

    I agree with your statements. The answer to your question on where am I going to get my supplies is 'from my neighbor who doesn't believe in gun ownership and thinks the cops will show during a crisis.'

  • Huh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ira Sponsible ( 713467 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:05PM (#43163879) Journal
    I just always assumed they were already doing this.
  • by mjr167 ( 2477430 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:06PM (#43163905)
    This is slashdot. If we can't spin it into "OMG Obama/MS/Apple/Patents/Republicans are evil and spying on us and there is no freedom" it's not worth mentioning.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:12PM (#43163955)

    Yet again, Obama ceases to surprise me. Anyone who wasn't dazzled by the "hope and change" saw this coming a mile away. I can understand people being fooled the first time around. It was the charismatic yet relatively unknown Obama vs. John "Bush squared" McCain.

    Then Obama turned out to be Bush cubed. He continued exactly the same policies that Bush put in place, then added his own touch by maxing out the taxpayer's credit card several times trying to fix the economy with no better results than could easily be explained by the economy recovering on its own, pushing through a health care law that basically merged the worst parts of American and European style systems with almost none of the benefits, increased domestic spying to a level that would have had Bush salivating, claimed the right to kill citizens with drones, and now wants to peek in on all our bank accounts.

    Anyone who voted for Obama deserves exactly what they get. It's just too bad they had to drag me into all this. Can't I just opt out of all this nonsense and take my chances with the terrorists?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:12PM (#43163965)

    What's it going to take for people to realize that Obama is just as bad as and in many ways worse than Bush?

    I swear, Obama could issue an executive order mandating that they suck a dick and the apologists would just shrug and say "Yeah, but Bush would have made us swallow!"

    It would be grand if people only had to live with the consequences of the policies they support.


    It would be even nicer if people understood that we have this thing called Congress, and that THEY are the ones who passed the laws which require your bank to report this activity in the first place.

    "legal experts emphasize that this sharing of data is permissible under U.S. law. Specifically, banks' suspicious activity reporting requirements are dictated by a combination of the Bank Secrecy Act and the USA PATRIOT Act"

    If you really must bitch, at least bitch about the right people. You retards are busy attacking what is essentially a Straw Man who will be gone forever in a few years, while the goons who actually are trashing your liberties keep getting elected term after term. It's not an especially clever plan, but it works every damn time... Congress gives power to the President to decide to implement an unpopular policy, he takes the blame and all you fucking idiots eat it up like candy.
    It's not the President's fucking budget, it's Congress's budget. It's not the President's Law... it's Congress's law. If you mental midgets can't figure this shit out it's never going to change.

  • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:15PM (#43163991)

    Or he could have voted for Romney. Anyone who thought he'd be an improvement is naive. It was heads they win tails we're screwed. That's the beautiful two party system for you. Two fucked choices both backed by banks and hollywierd.

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:17PM (#43164029) Homepage Journal
    Hey...ya'll voted for him.

    I guess another benefit of this will be, they can now much more easily see who the big contributors are, and if they aren't giving to your campaign (or after campaign organization to keep paying for access to the White House through Organizing for Action [] ) then you must be looked at as supporter of people against you.

    I"m guessing this is a cleverly disguised tool to help persecute your enemies, as that I'm reasonable sure this data doesn't have the strict need to see regulations that say, medical data like HIPAA gets.

    But hey, in the larger picture, this is no surprise, I mean, he went back and voted for protections on the telcos from the unwarranted wiretaps starting from his predecessor and continuing on.

    And he's also hesitant to say they'd never use a drone to take a US citizen out on US soil....and....

    Well, like the earlier post said, how's the hope and change working out for ya?

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:18PM (#43164037)

    Classic 4th amendment, but the 4th has been raped for about 30 years now in the name of the War on Drugs with no complaints. NYC allows stop-and-frisk which is by the letter a violation of the 4th as are most unwarranted searches by law enforcement. It's simple, you can't search me, my house, my car, or my records without a warrant. But, every time a big bad drug dealer gets away "on a technicality" people agree to turn the other way and allow laws to encroach just a bit further on our rights.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:23PM (#43164099)

    Just asking ...

    Your question implies the invalid assumption that the constitution is still followed.

  • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo ( 1000167 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:27PM (#43164139)
    You keep using that word. [Communism] I do not think it means what you think it means.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:38PM (#43164277)

    We really need some sane opposition to the Democrats. With the Republicans completely bonkers on superstition and bigotry, we accept too many negatives from the Democrats.

  • geeze... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:41PM (#43164315) Journal

    Is there any room at all in this discussion for "this is wrong, regardless of whether the President has an "R" or a "D" after his name"?

  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:42PM (#43164323) Journal

    Fourth Admentment Anyone? Just asking ...

    Which of *YOUR* papers and effects are being searched, hmm...? What's being searched is the *GOVERNMENT'S* papers and effects, or possibly the banks'. This is not a Fourth Amendment issue.

  • Re:Holy shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anagama ( 611277 ) <> on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:44PM (#43164337) Homepage

    He's more than Bush 2.0. He took what was radical under GWB, and made it the "New Normal." Before Obama, there was hope that the abuses of the previous administration could be rolled back. That is no longer possible because those abuses are now firmly ensconced in those issues that form the bipartisan consensus. As a result, expect to hear virtually nothing about them from most of the cheerleader/stenographer "press" corps. It's sickening the way Democrats as whole have just clammed up during the Obama administration, and proof that their rhetoric during the GWB administration was nothing but hot air designed to fraudulently attract liberal voters so that they, like the GOP, could go agro-neo-con on America. There is no way back now -- only through to what comes next.

  • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:44PM (#43164343)

    I just follow the money dude. The banks gave Romney a pile of money but it was a much smaller pile than they gave the President. You really think those guys don't get anything for all those bucks they pile up? Small banks are suffering and getting swallowed by the big banks who are flooding the coffers of both parties. Maybe you think they aren't getting their money's worth but I'm pretty sure they know what they're doing.

  • by ebno-10db ( 1459097 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:47PM (#43164387)
    But he hasn't answered the follow up to the follow up: define "engaged in combat". Judging by current trends, the definition might get pretty creative, or include "preparing to engage in combat" based on the say-so of some jerk off in the executive branch. Just because we survived the British Empire, the Civil War, the Kaiser, the Nazis, the Japanese Empire and the USSR with the Constitution more or less intact doesn't mean we can continue with that luxury. Now we face a serious enemy, don't ya know?
  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:47PM (#43164389)

    You must have missed the follow up.

    Dear Senator Paul:

    It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional qustion: "Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?" The answer to that question is no.

    Eric Holder

    So, what exactly does "not engaged in combat" mean to this administration, given their rather interesting interpretation of the word "imminent"?

    Note, by the way, that when I read the article that Holder was "responding" to, the whole "not in combat" thing was included in the original query by Paul, but at that time, Holder could not be pinned down to a "no".

    Note that he wasn't pinned down to a "no" in his answer either, since there is pretty much no situation where someone is actually "in combat" in the USA where anyone is going to be asking the President for permission to wax him - the local SWAT team will handle it quite nicely without consulting with the Pres....

  • by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:48PM (#43164405) Homepage Journal

    As a Libertarian, obviously I voted Gary Johnson. However, I think our best candidate from the two major parties in the past 8 years was McCain. But the Democrat spin at the time was McCain was Bush 2.0, and if you hated Bush, you had to vote against him. They said he would be pro-war and bad for the country.

    McCain routinely called out Republicans while heading the ethics commission in D.C. After he was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, he volunteered to go back to Vietnam as an ambassador and help end the war. He did the same thing in Korea. While Americans wanted to see the war in Iraq and Afghanistan ended, we had a president with strong military background (having served, and was raised by a 4-star Admiral), existing rapport with foreign leaders and experience ending wars. But the media said he'd probably be pro-war.

    Americans wanted someone who would improve foreign relations, so we voted against he guy who had great rapport with foreign leaders, and voted for Obama who went on TV and made a joke about the Special Olympics, and who made fun of McCain's physical disabilities (a result of his POW torture). We have a President only capable of speaking off a teleprompter who makes offensive comments when off it. I don't see how that helps our rapport with foreign leaders.

    McCain routinely crossed the aisle in D.C. and didn't care about party lines, but rather what was right. He promised to call out individual politicians in either party who added pork to bills.

    He also said that instead of doing talk shows perhaps as a Senator, his first job should be working in D.C. to fix the economy, which Obama disagreed with. Apparently talk shows are more important than fixing the economy.

    I get a number of reasons why people didn't like Romney, but it is a damn shame we elected Obama over McCain.

  • by wiggles ( 30088 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:53PM (#43164453)

    We told you so.

  • by isotope23 ( 210590 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @05:56PM (#43164487) Homepage Journal

    And in case you haven't been paying attention, who do you think does the background checks??

    Do you think they are really going to delete that data in the age of "big terror"???? []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @06:14PM (#43164649)

    The first sentence is a lie; First, this was not just coming to his attention, and second it was not a new question... Eric Holder had been asked repeatedly and kept dodging a straight answer. His people told congress moths ago that Obama had authority to kill Americans with drones (and Obama had done it) that this included people in non-combat situations (like the US citizen teenage son of an American who Obama had killed with a drone) and they had also (separately) said that the entire world was now the modern battlefield; all of this led to the very natural question about drone-striking an American within the US.... and administration officials were first asked about drone-striking Americans within the US about 3 months ago. Every Obama admin person who responded to the questions in congress either gave a different answer or pointed at some other official ("ask him...") so Holder is just being a dishonest jerk when he pretends this is a new question or that it has just come to his attention.

    This is what we get for putting a terrorist's lawyer (Eric Holder sought-out and voluntarily represented terrorists who'd killed Americans before becoming Obama's Atty Gen) in charge of the U.S. Department of Justice

    BTW: Obama does lots of things he has no authority to do (like taking over car companies, voiding their stocks, and replacing their CEOs) safe in the knowledge that his buddy Harry Reid will block any attempt to stop him in the Senate...... So the Holder letter is essentially meaningless

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @06:35PM (#43164881) Homepage

    Oh come on, you think the government is paying any attention to that old piece of paper? For reference, here's the status of the Bill of Rights:

    • First Amendment - Completely gone. Protesters are beaten and maced by police, people are investigated and harassed for what they say on the Internet, political organizations are routinely infiltrated by government agents, people have been spied on and rounded up solely for practicing a particular religion, some religions receive special government funding,
    • Second Amendment - Severely restricted.
    • Third Amendment - Well, they haven't tried to quarter troops in people's homes in a long time. It's kinda quaint anyways: Why bother doing that when you can spy or blow up people's homes from far away.
    • Fourth Amendment - Gone. This latest article is just publicizing what they're already doing, namely electronically spying on everyone in the United States (Hello, NSA, by the way). And you can toss in the TSA searches, the border searches, the searches of people less than 100 miles from a border, and the recent complaints from police in Oregon and Colorado that they can no longer pull someone over on a slight pretext and search the vehicle by claiming to smell pot.
    • Fifth Amendment - Gone. Anwar al-Awlaki being the most obvious example, but you can also look at the routine harassment and even criminal prosecution of lawyers who defend certain people in court.
    • Sixth Amendment - Gone. Bradley Manning, enough said.
    • Seventh Amendment - Gone. In contracts between corporations and individuals, the courts have repeatedly ruled that the corporations can insist upon binding arbitration, with the arbitrator determined by the corporation. In other words, there's a second parallel legal system for anything important where one side gets to pick the judge.
    • Eighth Amendment - Gone. In addition to the aforementioned Bradley Manning, you can also look at Yaser Hamdi and Jose Padilla, both US citizens thrown into Gitmo for many years without trial, where they were apparently tortured.
    • Ninth Amendment - Are you kidding me?
    • Tenth Amendment - Are you kidding me?
  • by flyneye ( 84093 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @06:42PM (#43164933) Homepage

    At first I was going to refute you and give a quickie wiki citation [] but, then I read it and saw far too many similarities in the current "regime" to be able to let loose with a sarcastic " PULEEEAZUH!
    I don't see us pushing the weak aside for living space, but I don't have to think for a second to find current analogs most of the rest. Not exactly the government that the left figured they were voting in, huh?
    Hollywood should be going broke soon, all we have to do is open our eyes in the morning to get a 3D horror show.
    Funny , I don't feel like joking now...

  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @06:47PM (#43164969) Homepage Journal

    McCain made himself unelectable when he picked Palin as a running mate. Then the republicans shot themselves in the foot by offering Romney. All the while, the republican congress was doing its best to give us as many reasons as possible to not respect the republican brand. Your convention cheated Paul out of his moment in the sun, insignificant as it was in the light of the political atmosphere. On the other side, Obama was offering healthcare to a bunch of people who really needed it and had a record of doing a number of other things people liked.

    You had enough advantages among the swing voters -- particularly with those who don't care about the health of others, and the homophobes, and those who would declare a fertilized egg a "baby" -- to win. But you pissed it away with bad choices, congressional malfeasance above and beyond the usual, and a running mate as crazy as anyone I've ever seen proffered for office.

    It's that simple.

    Obama, for all his faults (and I could go on and on) still seems to me to be better than the alternative was. That was all we had to go with, you know. There was nothing "good" out there. There rarely is. Paul would have been best for civil liberties, but he would have rocked the economy, rolled back civil rights to a ridiculous degree, and put a bullet in what little progress we've been able to make with health care. He just wasn't electable. McCain might have been, until they inflicted Palin on him. We'll never know, now. The rest were clown-shoes-of-the-week, all competing with one another to see just how far they could shove their own feet down their throat.

    Plus, they're all either pretending to be, or actually are, religious crazies. I honestly don't know which is worse, but both are really bad.

    If -- somehow -- you can get the republicans in congress to act responsibly -- you know, pass laws, get rid of bad law, undertake some moderation of their fringe drooling, muzzle the idiots who keep saying batshit crazy things about rape and pregnancy -- you could still win the next election. The signs aren't hopeful at this point, but the American people have extremely short memories, so it could still happen. I would vote republican; all they have to do is convince me they'd do better for the people than the democrats. I just... don't see any signs of that right now.

  • by rogueippacket ( 1977626 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:41PM (#43165595)
    What a juvenile point of view. People like you are the first to die in any crisis - not only are you unwilling to participate in a community to survive, you automatically jump to violence against those who do not threaten you the moment you perceive your life to be threatened. It's like throwing the guy in the cubicle next to you out the window because the building is on fire; you perceive yourself to be ahead of them on the way to the door, but the entire community will now work against you.
    It simply does not matter how well-armed and prepared you are, either, life is full of examples of people, societies, and even entire species gone by the wayside for being overly aggressive and unwilling to change to their environment. So while you may be able to steal someone's can of beans at gunpoint, eventually you will either run into someone like yourself or someone who knows exactly what you are, and there is only one possible outcome.
    Start thinking about how you can keep your neighbours alive during any sort of crisis, and I promise you will live much, much longer.
  • by harrkev ( 623093 ) <> on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @07:50PM (#43165677) Homepage

    It seems like this always happens... President does bad, bad things (fascism,perhaps). New candidate promises change and reform... Get elected, does the same bad bad things or worse.

    So my theory is that whenever a new president is elected, they are taken into an office for "the talk." I have no idea, but would guess that it has something to do with nuclear weapons, aliens that look just like humans, Atlantis, and Elvis. After "the talk" the new president changes his underwear and gladly goes along with what the previous president did.

    No evidence, but it does seem to fit my observations that no president takes us further away from fascism.

  • by ebno-10db ( 1459097 ) on Wednesday March 13, 2013 @08:06PM (#43165839)
    True, but as unjustifiable as it was, within 3 years (even before the end of the war) the people were released. Here we are over 11 years after 9/11, and things are still getting worse.
  • by scamper_22 ( 1073470 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @12:04AM (#43167585)

    People can call Obama what they want, but I don't see him as hiding his agenda. Read his books.

    He is a progressive, through and through.
    Government is good. If there are problems, it just means we haven't found the right bureaucratic apparatus to solve it. Expert panels. Management of people lives. People working for the state for the benefit of the society at large.

    In reality, he is more intellectually consistent that those who criticize him.

    Half the people here probably support universal healthcare and expert run panels to determine healthcare outcomes. They probably support public education and all kinds of mandates

    Well... you entrust the government to do so much good with your heathcare, with your children... why wouldn't you do the same with your security and finances?

    I think far too many people put their own vision on what Obama stands for instead of actually listening to the man in his speeches and his writings.

  • My own theory (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @04:16AM (#43168643)
    90+% of those going into politics are power hungry and relatively rich. They care only for more money and more pwoer. It does not matter if they are democain , repucrate, socialist, libs, communist, facism, neo nazi or whatever country they are in. The political process is self filtering and self selecting the sewage waste greedy corrupt to come up. Some are just much better at hiding they are as bad as the rest, and still fool other people. Some are less able. They will tell the populist things to do during the election, but care only for the end results : the power and money. Yep I am very cynical.
  • by Sparticus789 ( 2625955 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:47AM (#43169889) Journal

    That's what happens when people forget that FDR was a progressive Democrat. The same people imprisoned for no reason turned around and voted for the next progressive Democrat selling snake oil.

  • Re:or perhaps (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 3.5 stripes ( 578410 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @09:10AM (#43170105)

    The problem is that none of these things have anything to do with communism, and everything to do with Totalitarianism.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"