Urbin Report

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

It was a secret to the Belgium government...

The NY Times latest spin is that the "secret" program of tracking terrorists through their financial records wasn't really the "secret" they told their readers it was.
No big deal, every body knew about it is their new claim, dispite how they described the program in their initial story. Everybody except the host country of SWIFT, it seems.

Dubai: Financial transaction details may have been surrendered on a far greater scale to US intelligence agencies than originally believed as part of the "war on terror", privacy campaigners claim.

Last month the New York Times broke the story that CIA agents and US treasury officials have been secretly monitoring financial transactions routed through Swift, an acronym for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

Swift provides electronic instructions for transfers between virtually every bank, brokerage house, and stock exchange and routes 11 million transactions each day. The Brussels-based, industry-owned co-operative links 7,800 financial institutions in more than 200 countries.
...
The European Commission has already said that EU law does not cover the handing over of financial data by Swift. The European Parliament will debate the US action on Monday.

Belgium Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has ordered an investigation into the activities of Swift, which is regulated by the Belgian central bank and is subject to Belgian law.


HT to Rob at SayAnything, who points out:
If all this was news to the Belgium government than certainly this was news to the terrorists.

Thanks again, New York Times.


Stephen Spruiell notes this important bit of data:
Why should any company in any country cooperate with the United States? Its assistance will almost certainly become a major liability once the New York Times splashes the details all over its front page.