The result, banking officials say, is that many banks, now in a defensive mode, are sending the government far more reports than ever before on “suspicious activities” by their customers – and potentially clogging the system with irrelevant data – for fear of being penalized if they fail to file the reports as required.
Some smaller community banks have sold out to larger companies for fear of increased liability, banking officials say, and banks have dropped some money-transmittal businesses that do significant business overseas because of the risk.
New York Times: Free Registration
I find stories like this to be the most complicated for me to take a position on.
First of all, if I were made King of America, the first item on my agenda would be to identify every arms dealer I could, and to break up their criminal and/or clandestine business structures.
Most of these arms dealers are also involved in drug dealing, and many of them are intricately involved in human slavery, the diamond trade and mercenary activity in Africa.
In short, they are the greatest purveyors of human misery in the world. They are allowed to operate because they come in handy from time-to-time. Every major intelligence agency in the world has the same cast of characters in their rolodexes. And lax banking regulations are used to conceal who the true clients are.
So, I love the idea of cracking down on money laundering. But I hate the idea of the government compiling reams of financial information about private citizens. I hate the fact that banks are being intimidated into providing information that has little or no relevancy to any investigation.
Kind of a Catch-22. I have come to the firm conclusion that the only proper response to the Bushies, is to oppose the passage of ALL laws, and all foreign policy initiatives. They may sound good in theory, but every law they pass makes things worse.
After all, the most famous example of an arms dealing, drug dealing, and money laundering syndicate is the Enterprise. The Enterprise was set up to deal with our covert war in Laos, extended to handle our arms deals with the Shah, and finally exploded into plain sight during the Iran-Contra affair. The Bush family is close friends with many of the Enterprise spooks, and Bush Sr. ran their operations out of the National Security Council’s office during his Vice-Presidency.
I simply don’t believe the Bushies are really interested in cracking down on money laundering.