[star]The American Mind[star]

June 24, 2006

ACLU Opposes Financial Surveillance

The slowly-healing Captain Ed (get well soon) points out the ACLU stuck their nose into the Swift story. It should be no surprise they're not happy:

The revelation of the CIA's financial spying program is another example of the Bush administration's abuse of power. The invasion of our personal financial information, without notification or judicial review, is contrary to the fundamental American value of privacy and must be stopped now.

As Captain Ed notes even though the ACLU has access to many highly-skilled lawyers on a host of technical legal subjects they don't point out a single piece of law the Bush administration violated. It's hard to call the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program an "abuse of power" when the traitorous NY Times reported, "Swift and Treasury officials said they were aware of no abuses" and could find no abuses themselves.

So we have the ACLU which offers nothing to support their argument against an administration that has the International Emergency Economic Powers Act as well as other laws as Andrew McCarthy writes,

And unlike the last vital program the New York Times compromised ó the National Security Agencyís Terrorist Surveillance Program, which the same reporters, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, exposed last December ó there is not even a facially plausible concern that the TFTP violates statutory law. The provisions germane here (mainly, the Right to Financial Privacy Act that Congress enacted in 1978 in reaction to Miller) do not even apply to the nerve center at issue, the Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

Thatís because SWIFT, as it is better known, is not a financial institution at all. It is a consortium, centered not in the U.S. but in Belgium, which simply ó albeit importantly ó oversees how funds are routed globally. It is a messenger, not a bank. Nevertheless, in an abundance of caution, the government uses administrative subpoenas ó which were expressly provided for by Congress in the aforementioned Financial Privacy Act and the Patriot Act ó when it seeks SWIFT information. Thatís not just legal; itís hyper-legal.

In their press release the ACLU continues to bloviate:

Once again, this administration has performed an end-run around the legislature, allowing for no Congressional approval or oversight....

Someone must tell the civil liberties organization to keep up with the news. This from the scandalous NY Times story:
While the banking program is a closely held secret, administration officials have conducted classified briefings to some members of Congress and the Sept. 11 Commission, the officials said.

No, there's weren't public hearings broadcast on C-SPAN. Since it's been an effective tool in following the financial web of Islamist terrorists it's understandable Congressmen were told on a need-to-know basis.

Someday, there will be another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. There will be investigations, and hearings, and discussions of what went wrong and how to prevent future attacks. More than likely some blue ribbon panel will chastise the government for not doing more to track terrorists' financial dealings. When that happens I will be on the frontline showing nothing but contempt for the ACLU for not realizing we are at war.

"ACLU, Right On Schedule"

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