Recent revelations have brought to light that the CIA are now monitoring and collecting data surrounding money transfers. The United States Counter Intelligence Agency is permitted to gather any relevant information under the Patriot Act which was initiated in the wake of the September 11th attacks back in 2001.
The Act has caused much controversy in the US as it grants authorities the ability to indefinitely detain immigrants suspected of being involved in acts of terrorism with the FBI also being allowed to search telephone, financial and email records without the requirement of a court order.
The CIA are therefore able to gather intelligence from wireless transfer funds through organisations such as MoneyGram and Western Union. This information will only relate to individual suspects who are already being investigated by the Agency in connection to certain acts and they will first have been granted permission prior to obtaining any money transfer records.
The majority of the intelligence obtained by the CIA through this method will relate to transfers between non-US Citizens. However, in cases where an American is involved in a case then the CIA will then need to obtain all relevant personal data through the FBI. It has also recently been confirmed that the CIA is also paying the AT&T (the American Multinational telecommunication corporation) a staggering $10 million a year to access call records. Most logs relate to calls made outside of the US and help to identify individual associates.
Information passed over from AT&T will not contain any personal information or even a phone number, if the CIA requests more information they then have to ask the FBI to subpoena them to hand over further data.
A spokesman for the CIA, Dean Boyd said, ”the CIA protects the nation and upholds the privacy rights of Americans by ensuring that it’s intelligence collection activities are focused on acquiring foreign intelligence and counterintelligence in accordance with US laws”.
In accordance with the Patriot Act, all data gathered must be destroyed within a certain time frame. Suggestions have also been made that CIA currently uses other means to gather data, but as of yet we are unsure as to what this might be. The Agency ultimately aims to acquire all of their intelligence in order to protect its citizens.