CIA gathering data on money transfers
Press Trust of India
New York, 15 November
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is secretly building a huge database of international money transfers both into and out of the USA, including the financial and personal data of millions of Americans, despite concerns about surveillance programmes.
The CIA is secretly collecting bulk records of money transfers handled by companies like Western Union under the same law used by the National Security Agency for its huge database of phone records of Americans, a report in The New York Times said.
“The CIA financial records programme, which the officials said was authorised by provisions in the Patriot Act and overseen by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, offers evidence that the extent of government data collection programmes is not fully known and that the national debate over privacy and security may be incomplete,” the report said. Purely domestic transfers or bank-to-bank transactions appear to be kept out of the data collection, several officials said. The officials suggested that the surveillance court had imposed rules withholding the identities of any Americans from the data the CIA sees, requiring a tie to a terrorist organisation before a search may be run, and mandating that the data be discarded after a certain number of years. Other US officials did not acknowledge whether the programme exists. Several officials said more than one other bulk collection programme has yet to come to light, the report stated. “The Intelligence community collects bulk data in a number of different ways under multiple authorities,” an official was quoted.