Wednesday, June 28, 2006

SWIFT-Boating the New York Times

George Bush and Dick Cheney are said to be fuming that the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times published stories last week that SWIFT (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is cooperationg with a CIA program to track bank accounts to identify terrorist funds.
I didn't think it was news. As
Dan Froomkin in the Washington Post and Keith Olbermann on Countdown have pointed out, the organization makes no secret of it's cooperation with government authorities, as described on its compliance statement, which is of course published on the Internet:
SWIFT has a history of cooperating in good faith with authorities such as central banks, treasury departments, law enforcement agencies and appropriate international organisations, such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), in their efforts to combat abuse of the financial system for illegal activities.
Republicans in the House of Representatives plan to spend the day on a resolution condemning the leaking of the information, although President Bush had mentioned repeatedly since 9/11 that the government is tracking terrorist funds. It hasn't escaped my notice that although three newspapers printed stories on the program, Republicans have singled out the New York Times for leaking news of the program.

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