1:57 PM 10/25/2017 – Media admit that the Hill’s Russia probes seem to be going nowhere …

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Saved Stories – Trump Investigations

Saved Stories – Trump Investigations
The man who helped cool Trump’s Russia rage – Politico
Dossier fight could be first legal test for Hill Russia probes – POLITICO – Politico
Democrats denounce new Hillary Clinton email probe as ‘massive diversion’ from Trump-Russia investigation – The Independent
Clinton team and Democrats ‘bankrolled’ Trump dirty dossier – BBC News
Who Are The Major Players in Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation? – Newsweek
cambridge analytica – Google News: Trump Data Guru: I Tried to Team Up With Julian Assange – Daily Beast
cambridge analytica – Google News: Trump campaign data firm sought Assange’s help on Clinton emails: report – The Hill (blog)
cambridge analytica – Google News: The Trump Campaign’s Data Firm Reportedly Asked Julian Assange To Find Hillary Clinton’s Emails For Them – UPROXX
GOP, industry skeptical of new rules for online political ads – The Hill
Tech companies and US lawmakers are clashing over the need for new regulations targeting political ads – Recode
Lowry: US democracy not for sale to Russia – Boston Herald
felix sater – Google News: Trump associate Cohen sold four NY buildings for cash to mysterious buyers – Sacramento Bee
trump criminal investigation – Google News: New York Times reporters blast Dems over Trump dossier funding claims – The Hill
trump criminal investigation – Google News: Former Trump campaign chairman under investigation for possible money laundering – The Independent
Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Today’s Headlines and Commentary
Palmer Report: Here are the next Republican Senators to publicly come out against Donald Trump
Anthony Weiner – Google News: Anthony Weiner will serve time in a federal prison with residential treatment for sex offenders – Jewish Telegraphic Agency
organized crime and Russian intelligence – Google News: Who Are The Major Players in Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation? – Newsweek
Elections 2016 Investigation – Google News: Who Are The Major Players in Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation? – Newsweek
trump criminal investigation – Google News: Who Are The Major Players in Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation? – Newsweek
organized crime and intelligence – Google News: Who Are The Major Players in Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation? – Newsweek
Trump anxiety – Google News: Corker: My Foreign Relations Committee Will Keep Standing Up To Trump – TPM
Just Security: Treasurys Turf War Over Domestic Spying
Elections 2016 Investigation – Google News: Russia Investigation: Republicans Leaking Info on Trump Dossier, Attorney Says – Newsweek

 

Saved Stories – Trump Investigations
The man who helped cool Trump’s Russia rage – Politico
 


Politico
The man who helped cool Trump’s Russia rage
Politico
Since the end of July, President Donald Trump has noticeably tempered his public complaints about the Russia investigation, avoiding any Twitter allusions to a witch hunt or threats to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. That’s partly due to the 
Donald Trump to help White House staff pay legal bills related to Russia investigationGlobalnews.ca
Donald Trump to ‘spend personal fortune paying legal fees for aides’ caught up in Russia probeThe Independent
Scoop: Trump pledges to personally pay some legal bills of WH staff and associatesAxios
NPR –The Atlantic –Roll Call
all 298 news articles »
Media admit that the Hill’s Russia probes seem to be going nowhere … – Fox News
 


Fox News
Media admit that the Hill’s Russia probes seem to be going nowhere …
Fox News
The congressional investigations into possible collusion between the Trump team and Russia seem to be going nowhere fast.and more »

Dossier fight could be first legal test for Hill Russia probes – POLITICO – Politico
 


Politico
Dossier fight could be first legal test for Hill Russia probes – POLITICO
Politico
A brewing battle over the bank records of the private investigation firm that commissioned the so-called “Trump dossier” could become the first legal test for the …
Donald Trump attacks Hillary Clinton and ‘fake news’ amid probe into Russian-bought Facebook adsThe Independentall 127 news articles »

Democrats denounce new Hillary Clinton email probe as ‘massive diversion’ from Trump-Russia investigation – The Independent
 


The Independent
Democrats denounce new Hillary Clinton email probe as ‘massive diversion’ from Trump-Russia investigation
The Independent
Democrats have denounced as a massive diversion from the Trump administration’s alleged links to Russia, a decision by Republicans to launch investigations into the FBI’s handling of a probe into Hillary Clinton. The Republican chairmen of two House …
Republican committees investigate Clinton and ObamaBBC News
Donald Trump’s grievances about Hillary Clinton to be investigated by House RepublicansABC Online
Republicans open investigations into Clinton uranium deal and Obama DOJABC News
New York Times –Los Angeles Times –Politico –The Hill
all 220 news articles »
Clinton team and Democrats ‘bankrolled’ Trump dirty dossier – BBC News
 


BBC News
Clinton team and Democrats ‘bankrolled’ Trump dirty dossier
BBC News
A spokeswoman told the Washington Post, which broke the story: “But let’s be clear, there is a serious federal investigationinto the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, and the American public deserves to know what happened.” Some of Mr Steele’s 
Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossierWashington Post
Report: Clinton campaign and DNC helped fund TrumpRussia Steele dossierThe Guardian
Launch probes! Congressional GOPers try desperately to take focus off TrumpCNN
Telegraph.co.uk –Vox –Voice of America
all 305 news articles »
Who Are The Major Players in Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation? – Newsweek
 


Newsweek
Who Are The Major Players in Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation?
Newsweek
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged links between Russia and the campaign of Donald Trump inched closer to the president’s old stomping grounds Tuesday amid calls from Fox News host Sean Hannity for Mueller to resign …
Robert Mueller Tightens Paul Manafort’s NooseVanity Fair
Manhattan US attorney adds to probes of ex-Trump aide Manafort: reportsReuters
The Manhattan US attorney’s office is reportedly investigating Paul Manafort for possible money launderingBusiness Insider
CBS News –New York Daily News
all 28 news articles »
cambridge analytica – Google News: Trump Data Guru: I Tried to Team Up With Julian Assange – Daily Beast
 


Daily Beast
Trump Data Guru: I Tried to Team Up With Julian Assange
Daily Beast
Nix, who heads Cambridge Analytica, told a third party that he reached out to Assange about his firm somehow helping the Wikileaks founder release Clinton’s missing emails, according to two sources familiar with a Congressional investigation into … 

 cambridge analytica – Google News

cambridge analytica – Google News: Trump campaign data firm sought Assange’s help on Clinton emails: report – The Hill (blog)
 


The Hill (blog)
Trump campaign data firm sought Assange’s help on Clinton emails: report
The Hill (blog)
Alexander Nix, who leads Cambridge Analytica, reportedly told a third party that he reached out to Assange to see if Nix’s firm could help Assange release Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails. Assange reportedly told Nix he preferred to do the work on his own.
REVEALED: Trump-backing data analytics boss asked Julian Assange to help find Hillary’s missing emailsRaw Storyall 10 news articles »

 cambridge analytica – Google News

cambridge analytica – Google News: The Trump Campaign’s Data Firm Reportedly Asked Julian Assange To Find Hillary Clinton’s Emails For Them – UPROXX
 


UPROXX
The Trump Campaign’s Data Firm Reportedly Asked Julian Assange To Find Hillary Clinton’s Emails For Them
UPROXX
According to a blockbuster report by The Daily Beast, Alexander Nix, the head of Cambridge Analytica data firm employed by Donald Trump’s election campaign, allegedly asked Julian Assange to find Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails. In an email …
Trump Data Guru: I Tried to Team Up With Julian AssangeDaily Beastall 275 news articles »

 cambridge analytica – Google News

GOP, industry skeptical of new rules for online political ads – The Hill
 


The Hill
GOP, industry skeptical of new rules for online political ads
The Hill
Republicans and the advertising industry at a hearing Tuesday criticized proposals to expand disclosure rules on online political ads amid revelations Russian actors used social media platforms to influence the 2016 election. Randall Rothenberg  

Tech companies and US lawmakers are clashing over the need for new regulations targeting political ads – Recode
 


Bloomberg
Tech companies and US lawmakers are clashing over the need for new regulations targeting political ads
Recode
Will Hurd, it’s an urgent problem that Russian agents purchased political advertising on major American social mediaplatforms ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. To his Democratic colleague, Rep. Robin Kelly, federal laws must be updated 
Twitter Shows Who Pays for Ads Amid Election Meddling ProbeBloomberg
Twitter promises ‘transparency’ in ads after 2016 election miscuesWashington Examiner
Twitter will now label political ads, including who bought them and how much they are spendingCNBC
Reuters –The Spokesman-Review
all 36 news articles »
Lowry: US democracy not for sale to Russia – Boston Herald
 


Washington Post
Lowry: US democracy not for sale to Russia
Boston Herald
The Russians, as far as we know, bought more than $100,000 in Facebook ads between June 2015 and May 2017. A little more than half was spent after last November, when, obviously, Donald Trump had already won. The scale here is singularly unimpressive 
Is tone of Trump-Russia probe changing?East Oregonian
Parscale to testify Tuesday before House intelligence panelSan Antonio Express-Newsall 45 news articles »

felix sater – Google News: Trump associate Cohen sold four NY buildings for cash to mysterious buyers – Sacramento Bee
 

Trump associate Cohen sold four NY buildings for cash to mysterious buyers
Sacramento Bee
And the former personal injury lawyer has longtime ties to Felix Sater, the Russian-born operative with whom Cohen explored the Moscow Trump tower deal last year; Sater is a twice-convicted former government informant whose associates were accused of … 

 felix sater – Google News

trump criminal investigation – Google News: New York Times reporters blast Dems over Trump dossier funding claims – The Hill
 


The Hill
New York Times reporters blast Dems over Trump dossier funding claims
The Hill
“But let’s be clear, there is a serious federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, and the American public deserves to know what happened.” President Trump took to Twitter last week after Fusion GPS partners Peter Fritsch and and more »

 trump criminal investigation – Google News

trump criminal investigation – Google News: Former Trump campaign chairman under investigation for possible money laundering – The Independent
 


The Independent
Former Trump campaign chairman under investigation for possible money laundering
The Independent
… sources told The Wall Street Journal. Mr Mueller is carrying out a criminal investigation into money that was allegedly laundered by Mr Manafort as part of a broader inquiry into possible Kremlin-backed attempts to interfere in the 2016 and more »

 trump criminal investigation – Google News

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Russia blocked the renewal of the U.N. investigation into uses of chemical weapons in Syria, the Washington Post reported. At the Security Council, Moscow vetoed a resolution extending the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism for another year. This is the ninth time that Russia has vetoed Security Council efforts on Syria.Kurdish leaders offered to freeze the results of the recent independence referendum in a bid to reach an agreement with the Iraqi government, the Wall Street Journal reported. The offerlargely a symbolic gesturewas meant to win favor with Baghdad as Kurdish leaders seek a deal to avoid losing more territory to Iraqi forces. On Tuesday, Kurdish forces repelled Iraqi troops from taking a key border crossing to Turkey, the New York Times reported. Baghdad is massing forces to retake all disputed areas, including the border crossings that provide important revenue for the cash-strapped Kurdish government.

The State Department ended U.S. assistance to military units in Myanmar involved in the displacement of Rohingya Muslims, Foreign Policy reported. The measures will likely have little effect, as the U.S. has few military ties to Myanmar. U.S. diplomats are planning to recommend that the State Department label atrocities carried out against the Rohingya as ethnic cleansing, according to the AP. U.S. officials have lagged behind their international counterparts in condemning the violence in Myanmar. At a congressional hearing, Sen. Tim Kaine demanded that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson explicitly state that Myanmars forces are carrying out ethnic cleansing.

Hillary Clintons campaign and the Democratic National Commission (DNC) paid for part of the Steele dossier, a research document that said the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia, the Post reported. A lawyer representing Clinton and the DNC retained Fusion GPS, a political research firm, to conduct the research in spring 2016. A court filing in a suit against Fusion GPS revealed the connection, which Republican lawmakers have sought to make public for months. Fusion GPS is resisting a subpoena about its financial records from Rep. Devin Nunes, an action that may provoke a legal battle in the Russia probe, writes Politicos Josh Gerstein.

The federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chair, for money laundering, the Journal reported. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York is coordinating with special counsel Robert Muellers probe. The U.S. attorney continued the investigation this summer after its public corruption chief became a part of Muellers team. The investigations have also coordinated with the New York attorney generals own money laundering investigation into Manafort

The Senate intelligence committee passed a version of a bill to renew the intelligence communitys surveillance authorities under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, the Post reported. The bill includes some new restrictions on surveillance activities but not the requirement for the FBI to obtain a warrant to search the emails of Americans collected under the program, as civil liberties groups have demanded. The House judiciary and intelligence committees have proposed competing versions of the bill with more restrictive requirements for the FBI.

The Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuits decision in Hawaii v. Trump, one of the challenges to President Trumps second travel ban order, after the administrations temporary refugee ban expired,Reuters reported. The justices remanded the case to the Ninth Circuit with instructions to dismiss it as moot, because the 120-day refugee ban expired on Tuesday. Civil liberties groups have challenged the latest travel ban in lower courts and the issue may reappear before the Supreme Court on appeal.

The Posts David Ignatius wrote about a Russian proposal to create an international convention to rewrite the rules for cyberspace.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Stewart Baker shared the Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring an interview with Mieke Eoyang and Jamil Jaffer on Section 702 reform.

Khaled Elgindy reviewed Grant Rumley and Amir Tibons The Last Palestinian.

Dana Stuster updated the Middle Easter Ticker, covering Iraqi-Kurdish oil pipeline dispute, the latest in the Gulf crisis and an Islamic State ambush in Egypt.

Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes shared their column from Lawfare@FP, noting Jeff Sessions extraordinary failure to address how the Justice Department is preparing for future Russian interference in our elections.

Sarah Grant summarized the recent executive order that allows the Pentagon to recall retired service members.

Matthew Kahn posted the Supreme Courts order vacating the Ninth Circuits ruling in Hawaii v. Trump.

Vanessa Sauter shared the Lawfare Podcast, featuring a panel from a Brookings Institution screening of the documentary Icarus.

Benjamin Wittes praised Sen. Jeff Flakes speech on Tuesday afternoon.

 

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit ourEvents Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on ourJob Board.

 Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

Palmer Report: Here are the next Republican Senators to publicly come out against Donald Trump

This week three Republican Senators publicly began trying to march Donald Trump toward the door, for a grand total of just three Republican voices. Two guys who aren’t running for reelection, and one guy who says he’s probably terminally ill, are bravely taking on Trump while the other forty-nine Republican Senators aren’t saying much of anything. But that could soon change, because certain GOP Senators are in a much better position to speak out than others.Let’s start with the unspoken but obvious: these aren’t the only Republican Senators who aren’t seeking reelection. They’re just the three we know about. Bob Corker and Jeff Flake are up for reelection a year from now, so they have a duty to inform their party now that they’re not running, so the party will have time to find potential replacements. Various other Republican Senators aren’t up for reelection until 2020 or 2022, and even if they’re leaning toward not running again, there’s no need for them to say so.

The 2022 crew in particular are in a position to take shots at Trump now, and then gamble that he’ll be long gone by the time they’re finally running again, meaning he won’t be able to screw with them during the primaries. So which Republican Senators are up for reelection in 2022? Let’s start with the full list: Lisa Murkowski, John Boozman, Marco Rubio, Johnny Isakson, Mike Crapo, Todd Young, John McCain, Chuck Grassley, Jerry Moran, Rand Paul, John Kennedy, Roy Blunt, Richard Burr, John Hoeven, Rob Portman, James Lankford, Pat Toomey, Tim Scott, John Thune, Mike Lee, and Ron Johnson. Now let’s narrow it down.

We already know where John McCain Stands. Lisa Murkowski has already taken multiple stands against Trump. Chuck Grassley is unlikely to seek reelection based on his age, and could go in any direction when it comes to Trump. Ron Johnson has already announced he’s not running again and has nothing to lose. Rand Paul despises Trump. Marco Rubio will likely be urged to run for President again in 2020, and his best shot at setting that up would be to attack Trump now.

The post Here are the next Republican Senators to publicly come out against Donald Trump appeared first on Palmer Report.

 Palmer Report

Anthony Weiner – Google News: Anthony Weiner will serve time in a federal prison with residential treatment for sex offenders – Jewish Telegraphic Agency
 

Anthony Weiner will serve time in a federal prison with residential treatment for sex offenders
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
(JTA) Former congressman Anthony Weiner will serve his sentence for sexting with a 15-year-old girl at one of the few federal prisons with a residential treatment for sex offenders. Weiner, who was sentenced to 21 months, will serve his time at the  

 Anthony Weiner – Google News

organized crime and Russian intelligence – Google News: Who Are The Major Players in Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation? – Newsweek
 


Newsweek
Who Are The Major Players in Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation?
Newsweek
On Tuesday, Hannity charged that Mueller has conflicts of interest in the investigation because he headed the FBI when it was investigating corruption in Russia’s state atomic energy company Rosatom, as it vied to buy up American uranium mines in and more »

 organized crime and Russian intelligence – Google News

Elections 2016 Investigation – Google News: Who Are The Major Players in Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation? – Newsweek
 


Newsweek
Who Are The Major Players in Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation?
Newsweek
Special Counsel Robert Mueller (right) has spearheaded Russia probe since May. Joshua Roberts/Reuters. Mueller isinvestigating whether the Trump campaign or its associates assisted Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election as well as the 
Manhattan US Attorney Adds to Probes of Ex-Trump Aide Manafort: ReportsU.S. News & World Report
US Attorney’s Office launches money laundering investigation into Paul ManafortNew York Daily Newsall 25 news articles »

 Elections 2016 Investigation – Google News

trump criminal investigation – Google News: Who Are The Major Players in Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation? – Newsweek
 


Newsweek
Who Are The Major Players in Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation?
Newsweek
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged links between Russia and the campaign of Donald Trump inched closer to the president’s old stomping grounds Tuesday amid calls from Fox News host Sean Hannity for Mueller to resign and more »

 trump criminal investigation – Google News

organized crime and intelligence – Google News: Who Are The Major Players in Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation? – Newsweek
 


Newsweek
Who Are The Major Players in Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation?
Newsweek
American intelligence agencies said in January that Moscow led a misinformation campaign to tilt the election toward Trump. On Tuesday, Hannity charged that Mueller has conflicts of interest in the … as it vied to buy up American uranium mines in and more »

 organized crime and intelligence – Google News

Trump anxiety – Google News: Corker: My Foreign Relations Committee Will Keep Standing Up To Trump – TPM
 


TPM
Corker: My Foreign Relations Committee Will Keep Standing Up To Trump
TPM
Amid widespread anxiety that Trump is driving his staunchest critics out of public office, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who has also bucked the President on health care and other issues, told TPM she expects Flake and Corker will use their remaining and more »

 Trump anxiety – Google News

Just Security: Treasurys Turf War Over Domestic Spying
 

BuzzFeed News recently reportedserious allegations that the Treasury Departments Office of Intelligence Affairs (OIA) is illegally accessing and analyzing the ­financial records of Americans, according to unnamed officials inside the department. Treasury quickly responded to this news with a strong denial, but the departments inspector general is reportedlylooking into the matter. Though the sources are unnamed, it seems likely these are officials taking the side of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), another branch inside Treasury, who has long been in a kind of turf war with OIA.

We have grown accustomed to stories of mass data collection by federal intelligence agencies, and while being incredibly troubling, this one is ripe with bureaucratic hypocrisy and inside-the-Beltway intrigue, since FinCEN has been amassing this very same collection of data on Americans financial activities and distributing it to intelligence agencies and law enforcement for decades.

FinCEN and OIA have long been in a kind of turf war. The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, as modified by the USA Patriot Act of 2001, requires financial institutions (broadly defined to include banks, hedge funds, casinos, used car dealerships, and pawnshops, among others) to file two types of reports with FinCEN: Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs), required when someone withdraws or deposits more than $10,000 in cash, and Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), required when institutions identify unusual or potentially illegal activity. Almost 2 million suspicious activity reports were filed in 2016. Roughly 15 million currency transaction reports are filed each year as well. Put bluntly, FinCEN already collects the domestic financial records its officials now accuse OIA of unlawfully obtaining.

There is some merit to FinCENs argument that OIA should not have access to these records. FinCEN is a law enforcement agency that focuses on domestic and international money laundering, terrorism financing, and other financial crimes. Its collection of SAR and CTR data is intended to assist in its enforcement of these financial crimes. Established by the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2004, OIA is legally considered part of the intelligence community. Though this distinction might seem trivial, it is at the crux of this dispute. As an intelligence component, OIA is governed by a Reagan-era executive order, E.O. 12333, which strictly limits the collection of information about U.S. persons defined as both U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. E.O. 12333 (as amended by President George W. Bush) requires OIA to establish internal guidelines, approved by the attorney general something it has neverdone before collecting any U.S. persons information.

Reportedly, OIA has been accessing these domestic financial records for years, but it only became controversial in 2016, when officials at FinCEN learned about it and began objecting. Interestingly, this was around the same time that the agency overseeing OIA, Treasurys Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, suggested shifting much of FinCENs work to OIA. This proposal would have cut FinCENs budget and would have transferred many of its employees over to OIA.

It was at this point that FinCEN invoked E.O. 12333 and began arguing the proposed shake-up was illegal. OIA, which was already amassing domestic financial information at the time of these disputes, countered by saying it was complying with the order because it had a draft of the internal guidelines (which, over a year later, have not been finalized).

One unnamed senior official at Treasury told BuzzFeed that OIAs activities constitute domestic spying. But ironically, FinCEN accuses OIA of collecting and retaining domestic financial information from FinCENs own database. So, if OIA is engaging in domestic spying, FinCEN is too.

How problematic is this spying? Tracking withdrawals or deposits of over $10,000 in cash is a straightforward endeavor governed by objective standards. However, the Bank Secrecy Act, passed in 1970, failed to peg the CTR threshold dollar amount to inflation (adjusted for inflation, the amount today would be over $60,000), and so there has been a steady increase in the number of reports filed. SAR filing requirements, however, are decidedly less clear cut. Though FinCEN offers broad guidelines for making these determinations, specifically instructing institutions to report evidence of money laundering or transfers to foreign terrorist organizations, it acknowledges that the decision to file a SAR is an inherently subjective judgement. Many banks have complained these guidelines do not provide sufficient instruction on the broader requirement to report potentially illegal or suspicious-seeming activity.

The number of SAR filings has exploded since the USA Patriot Act expanded the BSA requirements in 2001. According to FinCEN reports, financial institutions submitted just over 160,000 SARs in 2000, compared to almost 2 million in 2016, more than a ten-fold increase. Federal white-collar crime prosecutions, including those for money laundering, have lagged over that same time period, suggesting that FinCENs SAR and CTR programs are not well-designed to identify cases of law-breaking.

They are, on the other hand, an extremely potent form of domestic surveillance. SAR reports include a tremendous amount of personal and private financial information, including an individuals address, tax identification number, social security number, account numbers, and financial transaction history. The individual making the suspect transaction is not notified that a SAR has been filed. Reporting institutions are not held liable for the accuracy of information they put into a SAR, but they are held liable for neglecting to file if the Treasury Department later determines one was clearly warranted. Naturally, this leads to over-reporting. FinCEN instructs them to include all known subject information in SARs, and the reports are kept indefinitely in FinCENs database.

FinCEN shares SAR and CTR information broadly throughout the law enforcement community. The FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Secret Service, and the Internal Revenue Service can access and download SAR and CTR records in bulk for analysis. These agencies can then incorporate SAR data into existing databases, with other law enforcement data.

Though this data is widely accessible to law enforcement, it is surprisingly difficult for a person subjected to a SAR to obtain it through other means. It is exempt from discovery in civil court, and financial institutions are prohibited from revealing anything about the contents or existence of a SAR, including in cases requesting damages for their disclosures. Civil courts are not authorized to order disclosure of a SAR. FinCEN does issue annual reports with SAR filing data, including statistics on the category of activity being reported, but these reports offer limited insight into how FinCEN or other law enforcement agencies use SARs, or the information contained within them.

The overbreadth, wide distribution, and lack of independent or public oversight over the governments use of SAR data creates high potential for abuse. A 2002 FinCEN report indicated that an unspecified number of SARs were filed because individuals appeared to be of Middle-Eastern descent. The report goes on to advise against reporting based on ethnicity but does not offer any incentive for institutions to do so, nor any system of accountability to protect against biased reporting based on race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, or any other protected characteristic.

To echo the unnamed Treasury official quoted by BuzzFeed: This is domestic spying. To recognize the danger posed by FinCENs own activities is not to diminish the threat of OIAs lawless access to FinCENs databases, but rather to put it in context. Any data collection system that lacks independent oversight and due process poses a threat to Americans privacy and civil liberties. A system that offers no protection against reporting that can target Americans based on race, religion, and political affiliation must change. Financial institutions must be given more specific guidelines about making SAR filing decisions, so this reporting is narrowly tailored to identify criminal or terrorist activity. Equally important, due process protections need to be incorporated into the system, and there must be more effective oversight and public accountability over all domestic intelligence collection programs that impact the privacy of millions of Americans.

Image: Getty/Richard Sharrocks

Read on Just Security »

 Just Security

Elections 2016 Investigation – Google News: Russia Investigation: Republicans Leaking Info on Trump Dossier, Attorney Says – Newsweek
 


Newsweek
Russia Investigation: Republicans Leaking Info on Trump Dossier, Attorney Says
Newsweek
The dossier forms part of their investigation into allegations that members of Trump’s team colluded with Russia during the2016 election. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, questions FBI Director James Comey and National …
House GOP leaders launch new investigations into Clinton, RussiaLas Vegas Review-Journal
House Republicans Launch New Investigations Into Clinton Email Probe, Uranium DealNPR
Trump Russia Investigation: Mystery Campaign Aide Pushed Meeting With Putin, But Trump Kept Him On Team Why?The Inquisitrall 86 news articles »

 Elections 2016 Investigation – Google News


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