March 13, 2013 / by emptywheel


WikiLeaks Will Be Nothing Compared to FinCENLeaks

According to Reuters, the Treasury Department is planning on expanding access to FinCEN reports — which include Suspicious Activity Reports from over 25,000 financial institutions — to the intelligence community, including CIA.

The Treasury document outlines a proposal to link the FinCEN database with a computer network used by U.S. defense and law enforcement agencies to share classified information called the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System.


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.

There’s so much to say about this batshit crazy plan…

First, when I made fun of John Brennan’s confirmation vow, people assured me CIA doesn’t operate in the US. Maybe not. But now they have free access to all this data on Americans.

And remember that DOJ, as far back as 2002, argued it was legitimate to use FISA to collect information on crimes the government could use to coerce people into becoming informants. Imagine how much easier that will be with access to people’s bank irregularities.

Finally, think of the security nightmare here. While I doubt anyone is going to leak a whole database of FinCEN data to WikiLeaks (though how much fun would that be?!?!), I can imagine a lot of people might avail themselves of this access to profit off the financial information. Maybe that’s how CIA will fund their ops, instead of (or inaddition to?) drug running: profiting off sensitive financial information.

There’s a whole slew of reasons why this is a bad idea. Which is precisely why it is bound to be pushed through regardless.

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